A Summary of the Doctrine of Angels

1) The holy angels engage in glorifying God.

From the time they saw God call the various parts of the universe and life forms into existence, the angels were there.  And I suppose that one of the greatest cheers that went up from the angelic hosts was when He made Adam, because angels are very smart.  They understood the intricacies of the human body and that man is too undeniably complex to have evolved by chance.  You could not have gotten all of these pieces together and had it work.  The angels stood there and saw this lump of clay stand up, and they could see all of the intricacies of his body inside, all the working parts, all the pressure systems, all the blood systems, the circulation system, the neurological system–all of these things clicking together in exact perfect form.  The angels looked at one another and they all shouted a praise of joy and of honor to God for what He had done.

The angels spend their time glorifying God.  It’s a pity that we don’t do a little more of that ourselves.  Revelation 5:11-12:  “And I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and living creatures and the elders and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.'”

The angels are so pleased to be able to constantly glorify God.  They spend their time doing it.  In Psalm 148:2, we read, “Praise Him all his angels.  Praise Him all his hosts.”  Now this is in part because the angels are able to do something with God that we cannot do.  They have a relationship with God that we are not privileged to have, and perhaps never will be.  The angels can see God.  Matthew 18:10 says, “See that you do not despise of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of my father who is in heaven.”  People do not see God and have never seen God, but the angels look upon the face of God the Father.  That alone is reason that the angels spend their time in glorifying God, and we could take good advice from them on that point.

2) The angels prevented fallen man from living forever in his sinful state.

After the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the holy angels prevented sinful man from re-entering the Garden to be able to eat of the tree of life in order to perpetuate his existence forever in a sinful fallen condition separated from God.  Genesis 3:24 says, “So He (God) drove the man out.  And at the East of the Garden of Eden he stationed the cherubim.”  The cherub class of angels is the strong powerful angel who accomplishes things.  The word “cherub” means “digger.”  He’s the toiler angel.  “And the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”

3) The holy angels protect children.

Anyone who has ever had children recognizes this as a marvelous divine provision, because you wonder how children ever grow up and manage to survive, some more than others.  But they do have a special protection of God by the angelic hosts.  Matthew 18:10 says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”  What marvelous occasions we will never be aware of that God has sent his protective angels around a little one at some critical point in life.

4) Angels will gather the Jewish people to the Promised Land at the Second Coming of Christ from all over the world.

Matthew 24:31 says, “And He (the Lord Jesus Christ) will send forth his angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together his elect (the Jewish people, the believers) from the four winds (from one end of the sky) to the other.”  It is the angels of God who will bring the Jews back to the final return to the Promised Land.

5) Angels are present in the worship services of the local church.

This is an interesting doctrine of the constant inquiry of angels into spiritual things.  The Bible lets us know that while the angels are wise, they are not omniscient.  Therefore they are on a constantly learning curve of information coming to them.  1 Corinthians 11:10 says, “Therefore a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head because of the angels.”  The context of this passage has to do with the public meaning of believers in the local church service.  And here it speaks of the fact of lines of authority.  The point is that women are not in positions of spiritual leadership, and the apostle goes through various reasons for that–the order in God’s creation; the fact that the man was created first–the responsibility is placed there; the fact that the woman was the one deceived by Satan, etc.  Then the fact that man is the glory of God, and the woman is the glory is man.  One of the signs of that authority is to have the head covered.  In both Hebrew and Greek society, it was the custom in the moment of worship for a woman to take those long gowns that she wore, the kind of dress she wore, and she would pull it over her head as a covering, as a sign of her respectful recognition of divine authority over her.

And here, the problem in the Corinthian church was that the women began running the operation, they were running amuck with talking in gibberish and calling it tongues.  It wasn’t tongues but it was done down in the pagan temples.  They did that same kind of gibberish just like is done in the charismatic churches today.  Paul is saying this is not of God, and part of the reason for it is that you’re not recognizing divine lines of authority or this would not be happening.  So Paul says that the woman should have this authority over her head because in the local church, the angels are there observing.  And when the angels observe this lack of propriety of covering, they are offended.  And their spiritual sensitivity is deeply offended by this act.  The point is to recognize authority, and it’s a matter of the heart, and that attitude should be respected.

But the point is that when you gather for the church service, the angels of God are right there with you.  They want to see God glorified; they want to see Christ honored; they want to learn from your experiences from what you have said.

Ephesians 3:10 also adds to this:  “In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities of heavenly places.”  These rulers and authorities of heavenly places are categories of ranks of angels.  Here, in order (carrying on in the local church, explaining the hidden mysteries of doctrine), in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church in those services through angelic hosts who reside in heavenly places.

The presence of angels is also expressed in 1 Timothy 5:21:  “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and in Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels to maintain these principles without basis, doing nothing in the spirit of partiality.”  The context of this verse is how to run the local church.  He’s speaking about conduct within the local church and how Christians should comport themselves.  He says that I solemnly charge you under that condition in the presence of God (yes, He’s there in that service), in the presence of Christ (yes, He’s there in that service), and of His chosen angels (because they’re there), and that the principles of the Word of God be applied without bias and that you do nothing in the spirit of partiality.  So, part of the doctrine of angels teaches us that they are present when God’s people gather in their official worship services.

6) Angels speak intelligible languages.

The language of angels:  What language do angels speak?  The language of angels is not gibberish that nobody understands.  There is always this truth that you must remember about God:  Every time He speaks, it is in intelligible words that you can understand.  Therefore angels, whenever they carry a message, would never speak in an unintelligible way.  1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but I do not speak in (“agape”) love (mental attitude good will), I become a noisy gong, a clanging signal.”  Angels speak in whatever language is appropriate for the people they’re speaking to.  Angels speak the same language as men.  “I speak in the tongues of men or of angels” does not mean that speak different languages.  It means that whether a man is speaking or an angel is speaking, the principle is that they are speaking under the power of the Holy Spirit.  You cannot have love functioning in your soul if you’re not is temporal fellowship.  That’s what this whole passage on love is about.  If you’re not in temporal fellowship, then everything you do is useless.  It’s nothing.  It doesn’t count with God for anything in terms of eternal reward of blessing.  It is very important to keep those known sins confessed and maintain the fellowship (1 John 1:9).

7) Angels rejoice when a lost sinner is born again.

That’s a happy thought.  Luke 15:10 says, “In the same way I tell you there is joy in the presence in the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  The reason for this is that the angels more than anyone else knows what awaits Satan and his demons.  They were there when God spoke the words that created that terrible place that the Bible refers to as the lake of fire.  When unbelievers, Satan, and his demons are all placed into that lake of fire following the Great White Throne judgment, the intensity of the suffering will be very real.  It will be the pain of fire, but the problem will be that it will be dark.  It will be utter, total darkness.  They have chosen to go with the blackness of Satan’s doctrines, the blackness of human viewpoint, and God will now permit them to live forever in unenlightened darkness.

That should give us a new respect for coming to church.  There will be creatures of God who will never hear single bit of spiritual truth proclaimed forever again.  Their external condition will match their internal condition of darkness.  To be in the enlightenment of the Word of God, what a great thing that is.  We trivialize it and don’t show up for church.  There will be a time for all eternity when there will be these people in the lake of fire, suffering in pain and total darkness, and wishing they could hear a word of truth.  We who are saved sinners are a testimony to the justice of God.  Satan impugned that justice, but God demonstrated that He has covered our sins, and those who will accept Christ in that covering will go to heaven.  Those who will not, God will treat with equal justice and place them in the lake of fire.  This is the climax, the culmination of the angelic conflict.

8) The angels carry the saved person into heaven as the final expression of dying grace.

Luke 16:22 says, “Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom, and the rich man also died and was buried.”  The contrast is very great.  When Lazarus the poor man died, he was carried by the angels of God, escorted into that part of Hades which was called Abraham’s bosom by the Jews (Paradise by the Greeks) where the saved people were held until the resurrection of Christ when Jesus took everybody that was in the compartment of Abraham’s bosom (or Paradise) and took them up into Heaven.  People couldn’t go to heaven until Christ had died and had paid for their sins and had been resurrected.

Now the only people that go to Hades are those who are dead.  Both Lazarus and the rich man went to Hades before the resurrection, but the rich man was on the side of the unbelievers.  He was in the torment and the pain already that was a preview of what he was going to experience in hell or in the lake of fire.  He pled for somebody to just come across and give him one cool drop of water on his tongue, but was told that there was a gulf of separation and they could not cross over.

Now the angels know what’s going to happen, and it’s terrible on both sides.  But when the believer dies, those angels step in and they carry that believer into God’s presence.  The rich man was just to be buried like some dog because he had no future beyond an eternity of suffering.  So sometimes people almost do things near their moments of death, like their eyes have become open and they’re aware that someone is out there.  Sometimes they will even put their hands out like they were suddenly seeing the angels, and in that moment the person died.  The angels come in and take that soul and spirit of the believer and they escort them instantly into the Lord’s presence.

9) The holy angels are at war with the demon angels.

This war is on now.  It is demonstrating that God is just.  It is a battle over the justice and the fairness of God.  The climactic battle that finishes all this off will be in the middle of the seven-year tribulation period.  Revelation 12:7 says “And there was war in heaven, Michael the archangel and his angels waging war with the former archangel dragon Satan; and the dragon and his angels wage war.”  It is at this point that the climactic battle will take place.  Satan will be defeated, and he will be cast down to earth, never again to be able to enter heaven to accuse the saints or come into God’s presence.  However, you and I, while this battle rages now, are in the very midst of it.  Once the Lord Jesus Christ ascended, Satan could no longer strike at Him.  Therefore the only way that the devil can strike at Christ is by hitting His body, the believers.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle (as Christians) is not against flesh and blood (not against other people) but against the rulers (categories of angelic ranks–demon ranks), against the powers (the world forces of this darkness), against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  You and I are in a daily warfare spiritually.  Satan uses people in that warfare.  You would make a big mistake if get yourself focused on fight with people.  The battle is not with people.  The battle is with the forces behind those people which are Satan and the demonic world.  Those are the angelic creatures which are very powerful, where we need God’s supernatural capacity to be able to survive.  So whatever people may do to you, whatever undeserved suffering you may have at their hands, whatever misrepresentation, whatever abuse you may find yourself taking, remember that it isn’t that individual.  It’s unbelievable what people may do.  Always go behind to the person of the demonic world, the demon angel that is dispatched by Satan to be the source of opposition to you.

The holy angels will one day bind Satan and cast him into the pit of the abyss to be in prison during the millennium until Satan is released for a little while, one more rebellion against God, and then he will be placed into the lake of fire.  But for the millennium, there will be no devil running around tempting people or disrupting things.  Revelation 20:1-3 says, “And I saw an angel coming down from heaven have a key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand.”  The abyss is probably somewhere in the middle of this earth.  “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed.  After these things, he must be released for a short time.”  When he is released for a short time, the result is that people born during the millennium who have not accepted Christ who is ruling from Jerusalem during that 1000-year period, they will rally to join Satan in a final rebellion against Jesus Christ.  The sad thing is that even with the best of life, the best of environment, the best of conditions, some people will still reject Jesus Christ and go for Satan.  And once he is released, he has but a short time, and then God will finally finish him off once and for all.  In the meantime, he is the great deceiver of nations today, and he will seek to deceive until the very end.  Ultimately, God will be victorious.

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