Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Truth About Angels: An Army In Action

"Don't be afraid!" Elisha told him. "For there are more on our side than on theirs!" Then Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!" The Lord opened the young man's eyes, and when he looked up he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:16-17
Oh that our eyes would be opened like Elisha's servant's were. If only we could see the battle raging around us, maybe then we would take more seriously the threat that the enemy truly poses to those who are caught off-guard and unprepared; and likewise, how much more faith might we have in God's ability to protect us through his mighty angels.

We may not see much of this today, at least not with our eyes, but the Bible is full of many such tales and testimonies of those who did have the privilege of witnessing these beings in action with their own eyes and ears. In this post, I want to take you on a fly-over tour of some of these testimonies, as we take a look at what exactly angels do and what purposes they were created to fulfill...
  • God has used angels to deliver messages: 
    • Daniel engages in conversation with an angel through his series of visions in Daniel 7:15-28 and chapters 10-12, and specifically with Gabriel in Daniel 8:15-25 and 9:20-27. In each of these interactions, Daniel is given very specific information about the end times and about the tribulation and the antichrist.
    • We are told in Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19 and Hebrews 2:2 that angels were responsible for delivering God's law to Moses and the Israelites.
    • Gabriel appears to Mary in Luke 1:26-38 to deliver the news of the coming birth of Jesus.
  • Angels engage in both physical and spiritual battles:
    • As mentioned in an earlier post, one angel in particular was reported in 2 Kings 19:35-36 to have slain an entire army of 185,000 men, single-handedly, and in a single night. 
    • Also previously mentioned was the battle between one particularly powerful demon and an angel who was trying to reach Daniel in Daniel 10:12-21.
    • By their very nature and definition, angels are warriors. As a group, they are referred to as the "armies of heaven" in 1 Kings 22:19, 2 Chronicles 18:18, Psalm 148:2 and Luke 2:13.
  • Angels have been in the past, and will be again in the future, used as agents of God's righteous judgment:
    • In Acts 12:20-25, God sends an angel to destroy Herod as punishment for accepting the praise of his people, rather than giving glory to God.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:10 warns of destruction by the "angel of death" for those who forsake Christ and reject his ways.
    • 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 tells of the judgment that will be carried out by Jesus and his angels on those who "don't know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus."
    • We read throughout Revelation of the role that angels will play during the tribulation, as they administer the trumpet and bowl judgments on an unrepentant world, and as they aid in the harvesting of the earth in Revelation 14:14-20.
  • Angels are evangelistic:
    • After the birth of Jesus, God sends an angel to declare the gospel message to a group of shepherds. He tells them in Luke 2:10-11, "Don't be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!" And in verse 13, this angel is joined by an entire host of angels who all declare, "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."
    • In Revelation 14:6-13, we see three angels who fly through the air proclaiming the Good News of salvation and issuing a warning about the soon-coming judgment.
  • Angels are deeply concerned for our spiritual well-being, and they rejoice over our salvation:
    • Jesus tells us in Luke 15:10 that "there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."
And let's not forget about the other heavenly beings God created: the Cherubim and Seraphim. I promised to come back to them in an earlier post. What does the Bible say about these creatures?
  • Cherubim:
    • Isaiah 37:16 tells us that these creatures surround the throne of God like honor guards. 
    • They are also mentioned in Genesis 3:24 as being stationed outside the Garden of Eden after the fall and banishment of Adam and Eve.
    • They are referred to multiple times throughout the book of Ezekiel. Specifically in chapter 1, verses 4-28, we are given an extremely detailed description of their physical appearance and capabilities. They are truly unlike anything we could possibly dream up or imagine, and I would guess that even this description hardly does them justice. I cannot wait to see these beings for myself someday in heaven! Take a look at this passage to get a sneak preview for yourself!
  • Seraphim:
    • The word seraphim means "burning ones". These creatures must surely be a glorious sight to behold and to hear...
    • They are only mentioned once in Scripture. Isaiah 6:2-4 tells us of a vision of the Lord which includes these unique creatures: "Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven's Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!' Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke."
We learned in the last post of the frightening power of Satan and his fallen angels. They truly are a force to be reckoned with and absolutely must not be underestimated, ignored or entertained. But we can know with absolute certainty that those who are with us are greater than those who are with them! And indeed, if God is for us, who can be against us?

Satan may wage his war on this earth, but in the end, Jesus wins!

There is a real battle being fought, and your soul is at stake! Whose side do you want to be on in the end?

*If you missed the previous posts on angels, you can check them out HERE and HERE.
*For further study, I suggest you take a listen to these sermons by Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church in Phoenix: Angels Among Us: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

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