DOCTRINE OF ANGELS
February 16, 1986
  1. Preliminary considerations.
    1. That there is an order of beings quite distinct from humanity and from the Godhead, who occupy an exalted state, is the teaching of much of Scripture.
      1. They are referred to at least 108X in the Old Testament and 165X in the New Testament.
      2. It is from this body of Scripture that we construct the Doctrine of Angels.
    2. The designation "angel", whether %a'l.m; (mal-ak) of the Old Testament, or a;ggeloj (aggelos) of the New Testament, means "messenger".
      1. The holy angels carry out the purpose of the One they serve.
      2. The fallen angels are messengers of Satan whom they have chosen to serve.
    3. Angels as created beings more closely resemble God in their make up than man. Angels combine the material with the immaterial.
      1. Angels are thus designated "spirits".
      2. These generally unseen creatures not only observe the activities of men, but the good angels minister to man (Heb.1:14).
      3. The evil angels wage war against man (Eph.6:12).
  2. The creation of angels.
    1. The Son of God, the Father's agent in creation, created the angels (Col.1:16,17; Neh.9:6; Ps.148:2,5).
      1. All angels were created simultaneously in eternity past.
      2. None will be added to their number.
      3. They do not procreate and are not subject to death (Mt.22:28-30).
    2. The angels were created before the universe. They were worshipping spectators when the world was founded (Job.38:4-7).
    3. As to the number of the angels, it is unstated, but it is a multitude (Heb.12:22; 1Kgs.22:19; Ps.68:17; Dan.7:10; Rev.5:11).
  3. The nature of angels.
    1. They are incorporeal beings (i.e., having no material body; Ps.104:4 "He makes the winds His messengers"; Eph.6:12).
    2. However, they can reveal themselves in bodily form (Gen.18-219; Mt.1:20; Jn.20:12; Heb.13:2).
    3. They are greater than man in knowledge, but are not omniscient (2Sam.14:20; Mt.24:36; 1Pet.1:12).
    4. They are stronger than man, but are not omnipotent (Ps.103:20; 2Pet.2:11; 2Thess.1:7).
    5. Angels possess volition, as seen in the fall of Satan.
  4. The fall of angels.
    1. The fact of their fall.
      1. Angels were all created perfect and sinless, as the case with Satan makes apparent (Ezek.28:15).
      2. Satan's fall is described in Ezek.28:15-17 (cp. Isa.14:12).
      3. Satan took with him one-third of all angels (Rev.12:4).
      4. Scripture represents some of the angels as evil (Mt.25:41).
    2. The time of their fall was before man's creation and sometime after original creation. Gen.1:2 speaks of the pre-restoration chaos of planet earth, and Gen.3 speaks of man's temptation and fall under Satan.
    3. The cause of their fall.
      1. Angels, being created perfect but with volition, individually chose to follow Satan's lead and revolt against God (Ezek.28:15-17; Rev.12:4).
      2. God is not the cause of their fall, as that would make Him the author of evil in the universe (Jam.1:13; 1Jn.1:5).
      3. God created the angels with volition knowing some would fall and bring evil into the universe, but God is not responsible for their sin (note the five "I will's" of Satan in Isa.14:13,14).
    4. The result of their fall.
      1. They lost their original holiness and became corrupt in nature and conduct (Mt.10:1; Eph.6:11,12).
      2. They were sentenced to hell but were not immediately sent there (Mt.25:41; cp. Rev.20:10).
      3. They were left free to engage in opposition to:
        1. God (Isa.14:12-14).
        2. The work of the good angels (Dan.10:12,13,20,21; Jd.9).
        3. The people of God (1Chr.21:1; 1Pet.5:8; Eph.6:11; 2Tim.2:26).
        4. The nations (Isa.14:12).
        5. The unbeliever (Lk.8:12; 2Cor.4:3,4).
      4. Satan, through the serpent in Eden, caused Adam's fall and has the power over death to mankind (Gen.3; Heb.2:14; 1Jn.3:8).
      5. Satan and his angels continue to have an audience in heaven, during which they malign believers (Zech.3:1; Lk.22:31; Rev.12:10). Satan insinuated that God hired men like Job to love Him by making them rich (Job.1:6-12).
      6. In the Tribulation they will be cast to the earth (Rev.12:8,9). Following their judgment by believers (1Cor.6:3), they will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev.20:10).
  5. Classification of the angels.
    1. The good angels, called "elect" and "holy", are classified as (1Tim.5:21; Mk.8:38):
      1. Angels, of which there are gradations, as indicated by Col.1:16.
      2. Cherubim (meaning uncertain), which are angels chosen by God to guard and cover as seen in:
        1. Lucifer's pre-fall ministry as the cherub that covers (Ezek.28:14).
        2. The two cherubs sent to guard the entrance to Eden (Gen.3:24).
        3. The two cherubs on the top of the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle and temple, symbolizing support for God's throne.
        4. Seraphim, mentioned by name only in Isa.6:2,6 and stand above God and lead heaven in the worship of God.
        5. The "living creatures" of Rev.4 and 5 share aspects of both the cherubim of Ezek.1,10 and the seraphim of Isa.6.
    2. The evil angels are called "unclean" (Rev.16:13) and "evil" (Lk.8:2), and are classified as:
      1. The angels who are kept in prison for their role in the Gen.6 infiltration, mentioned in 2Pet.2:4 and Jd.6, and are the same as those released to torment men in the Tribulation for five months (Rev.9:1-11).
      2. The angels who remain free, usually mentioned in connection with Satan (Mt.25:41; Rev.12:7-9; cp. Rom.8:38).
      3. The demons, a term used to describe all fallen angels (including Satan) and means a "lesser god" (Mt.12:24-28; 17:18; 1Cor.10:20,21; 1Tim.4:1; Jam.2:19; Rev.9:20; 18:2; Mk.1:32).
      4. Having different ranks and functions under Satan (Eph.6:12).
    3. Some individually named angels include:
      1. Lucifer, son of the morning (pre-fall title), known as:
        1. Satan (adversary; 1Chr.21:1; Job.1:6; 2:1; Ps.109:6; Zech.3:1,2; Mt.4:10, et al.).
        2. The devil (slanderer or accuser; Mt.4:1).
        3. Serpent (which implies his guile; Rev.12:9).
        4. Dragon (which implies his power).
        5. Apollyon (meaning "destroyer"; Rev.9:11).
        6. The prince of this world.
        7. The prince of the power of the air.
        8. The god of this world.
        9. Beelzebub (which implies that he is prince of the demons; Mt.12:24).
        10. the evil one (Jn.17:15; 2.Thess.3:3; 1Jn.5:19).
        11. the tempter (1Thess.3:5).
      2. Michael (meaning "who is like God?") is given the title archangel (Jd.9), and is seen as Israel's protector (Dan.10:11,21). He disputed with Satan over Moses' body and, with his angels, engages Satan and his angels midway through the Tribulation in a great "star wars", forcing Satan out of the heavens (Rev.12:7-12).
      3. Gabriel (meaning "the mighty one") is always seen in the Bible as a messenger or revealer of God's purposes, as to Daniel (Dan.8:15-27; cp. 9:20-27) and to Zacharias and to the virgin Mary (Lk.1:26-3).
    4. Some other occurrences.
      1. Angels of judgment (Gen.19:13; 2Sam.24:16; 2Kgs.19:35; Ps.78:49; Act.12:23).
      2. Watchers (Dan.4:13,23).
      3. Angel over fire (Rev.14:18).
      4. Angel over waters (Rev.16:5).
      5. Seven angels of the apocalypse (Rev.8:2).
      6. Sons of the Most High (Ps.82:6); sons of God (in the OT only; Gen.6:24; Job.1:6; 38:7.
      7. Gods (elohim; Ps.82:1 rulers; Ps.82:6 gods; Heb.2:7 elect angels).
  6. The ministry of the elect angels.
    1. They continually, night and day, offer praise and worship God in heaven (Isa.6:3; Ps.148:1,2; Rev.4:8; 5:11).
    2. They protect and deliver God's people (Heb.1:14; Dan.6:22; Ps.91:11; Gen.19:11; Act.12:11; Mt.18:10).
    3. They guide and encourage believers (Mt.28:5-7; Act.8:26; 27:23,24).
    4. They interpret God's Word to men (no longer an issue with the closing of the canon; Dan.7:16; 10:5,11; Zech.1:9,19; 4:1,5; 5:5-11; 6:4,5; the teaching angel of Revelation, Rev.1:1; 17:7; 22:16).
    5. Angels mediated the Law to Moses (Act.7:53; Gal.3:19).
    6. Angels carry the saved home when they die (Lk.16:22).
    7. They execute judgment on individuals and societies (Act.12:23; Gen.19:12,13; Ezek.9:1,5,7; note the active role they play in the judgments of the Tribulation, Rev.16).
    8. Angels were active in the life and ministry of Jesus.
      1. Angels informed Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds of Christ's birth (Lk.1:26-38; Mt.1:20: Lk.2:8-15).
      2. Angels ministered to Christ after His temptation (Mt.4:11).
      3. An angel strengthened Him in Gethsemane (Lk.22:43).
      4. Angels were poised to deliver Him from His enemies (Mt.26:53).
      5. An angel rolled the stone from the empty tomb (Mt.28:2-7).
      6. Angels ascended with Him into heaven (Act.1:11).
    9. Angels as spectators.
      1. They rejoice when even one sinner is saved (Lk.15:10).
      2. They actually learn Bible Doctrine from the local church, taking a keen interest in our assembly (Eph.3:10; 1Pet.1:12).
      3. They observe all the affairs of men, and are pleased or offended, as the passage on hair suggests (1Cor.11:10).
      4. They took great interest in the incarnation (1Tim.3:16).
    10. Angels have future ministries.
      1. They will make important announcements during the Tribulation (Rev.14:6-11; 18:2,21).
      2. They will protect (seal) God's servants and carry out the prescribed judgments of that time (Rev.7:1-3; 8:2-13; 9:1,2,13; 12:7-9; 14:14-16; 15:1;16).
      3. They will be associated with the Second Advent (Mt.13:37-39,49,50; 2Thess.1:7; Heb.1:6; Dan.7:9,10).
      4. They will stand before the gates of the New Jerusalem as a kind of honorary body of sentinels, as if to guarantee that nothing that is unclean will ever enter that city (Rev.21:12).
  7. The relationship of men and angels.
    1. Angels were created superior to man in both position and inherent qualities (Ps.8:4,5; Heb.2:6,7).
    2. Christ was made lower than angels for a little while by assuming a human form so as to redeem fallen man (Heb.2:5-13).
    3. The very fact that He did not partake of the nature of angels (becoming a "God-Angel"), but did partake of human nature (becoming God-Man), has led the author of Hebrews to conclude that salvation was not provided for fallen angels, but only for man (Heb.2:15-18). Put another way, if He had to partake of humanity to be a high priest to man, would He not have had to partake of angelic nature to do likewise for angels?
    4. Furthermore, we are not to worship angels (Col.2:18; Rev.22:8,9), but to view them as our servants (Heb.1:14).
    5. Our final position will constitute us superior to angels in every way, for as He is so shall we be (Heb.1,2; Phil.3:21). At present, we are positionally superior to angels, being His Body and Bride.
Ps.103:20 "Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!"

Ps.104:4 "He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers."

Heb.1:6 "And when He again brings the first born into the world, He says, 'and let all the Angels of God worship Him.'"

Heb.1:14 "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?"

Reviewed: March 20, 1996

© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church, Inc.