Angels, Part 2 by Allan McGuirl
We started a new topic last week. We will be looking at angels in the Bible and what we can learn about them and from them. Most people are aware that there are angels, and from reading the Bible we know a number of angels made contact with people over the centuries. We will consider some of these instances as we go through this series.
However, there is a lot of information that many people are unaware of, such as: what is the origin of angels? Are there good and bad angels? Can they actually fly? How long do they live? What do they actually do? Perhaps you are thinking right now of some questions, so let’s get started and learn some basic facts about angels.
Angels are mentioned in the Old Testament at least 108 times and in the New Testament at least 165 times. The word “angel” actually means “messenger.” Angels are not human beings, although they can appear as humans. In Matthew 22:30 it says, “They do not marry and do not reproduce.” As for the origin of angels, we know that God created them before the He created this universe. Job gives some insight into this in Job 38:4-7. In this passage the Lord says to Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together, and all the angels for joy.” God had already created these beings before the creation of this world. How long before the creation of the world, we are not really told.
One of the special tasks of angels is to be ministering spirits, sent to serve those who will receive salvation. Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” That’s you and me, and I find that amazing.
Next we come to this question: are there good and bad angels? One of the classic passages on this is found in Isaiah 14. This passage has consistently been regarded as referring to the fall of Satan. Let’s listen to these verses from 12 to 15. “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.”
From this passage we understand that Satan once lived in heaven as the highest among the angels God had created, and further Biblical references describe him as a very evil angel, the devil, or Satan. He is also referred to as Lucifer, as a dragon, as a serpent, as the prince of darkness, and the father of lies. The Bible says in I John 3:8, “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” In Revelation 12:9 we read, “The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” How did this happen? A few verses earlier in the chapter, it says, “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.”
When Satan was cast out of heaven, he took a host of angels with him. There is only one devil. The angels who fell with him are referred to, more correctly, as demons. Now we read in I Peter 5:8, “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.” It appears that there was a point in time when the angels had free will to decide who they would follow. They could follow the righteous and just Creator, or they could cast their lot in with the most beautiful angel ever created, who promised them a part in the power he was seeking in Isaiah 14. Thousands of angels followed the Deceiver but many more thousands chose to be faithful to God. So we see the battle between good and evil existed before the creation of this world. Satan was cast down to earth and that is why we read in Ephesians 6 that, “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We need to be on guard against the evil attacks of the enemy of our souls. As believers in the Son of God who has ransomed us by His death and resurrection, we know that “greater is He that is in (us) than he that is in the world” – Christ in us, the hope of glory. He alone gives us the victory over that great deceiver and father of lies, the devil.
May the Lord bless you as you walk with Jesus. Until next week, God bless.