What part do angels play today?
- Submitted by an unknown reader
Who are the Angels? (Part 1)
Angels are beings created by God; they are his servants and do his bidding. They usually dwell in the invisible realm of God's creation but there are times when they show up in our visible realm. Even when they are invisible they are around us all the time. The word angel in Hebrew means; "one who is dispatched as a deputy or ambassador." In Greek the word "angelos" means "one who brings good tidings."
In the scripture, there is more than one classification of angelic being and they have more than one function. For instance, God placed "Cherubim" at the entrance to the Garden of Eden with flaming swords to prevent anyone from entering and finding again the Tree of Life. There are "Seraphim" which surround God's throne and worship him twenty four hours a day. There are Archangels such as Michael who is a warrior and is the guardian angel over Israel and Gabriel who made the announcement to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah.
Satan or Lucifer was originally part of God's angelic host but he rebelled and was thrown out of heaven taking about one third (we think) of the host of heaven with him. Since these angels chose sin, that tells us angels have free will like we do. Also, since two thirds of angels did not sin there are many more in the service of the Lord (and also used by God to serve man) than the hoard of devils who work against us. Actually we have no idea how many angels there are; Hebrews 12:22 says that they are "innumerable."
Here are some other facts about angels: they have great strength and great intelligence; they are immortal and cannot grow weary, old or ever experience death. Angels are pure and holy and they are worshipers of God in heaven.
Next: What are Angels up to today?
Angels today (Part 2)
Angels are up to the same things today that they have always been engaged in; helping, guarding and protecting us, delivering messages, fighting battles so we will win, praising God, obeying commands. They are very active but since much of it is behind the scenes we may forget they are near at all times. Hebrews 13:2 tells us; "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels."
Have we encountered angels without knowing it? I'm sure it happens all the time. Maybe it has happened to you or to me. I remember an occasion when I suspected an angel was involved but I can't prove it. I was coming down the stairs in my house and tripped. As I started to fall I began grabbing for something but nothing was there to break the fall for me. Quickly though, I felt something steady me and place my feet firmly back on solid footing. I almost thought a hand took my hand. Was that a guardian angel the Lord had assigned to me?
Angels are always busy but as we get closer to the Second Coming of Christ there will be a huge increase in activity for the angels. Just as they played a part in the first coming of Jesus they will have many roles before he comes back again.
For instance, angels will gather the Bride of Christ. "He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31)
Angels will preach the gospel directly during the Tribulation. "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth - to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people - saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.'" (Revelation 14:6-7)
The final battle will involve angels. "And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought." (Revelation 12:7)
Seven angels will pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God upon the earth during the time of the Tribulation. (See Revelation 16) This will include such things as loathsome sores upon mankind, the sea turning to blood followed by the rivers and springs, scorching men with fire and great heat, etc.
All of this, and yet, angels are still doing simple services for us at God's command. "Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)
Next: Can we get too interested in angels?
Angels and New Age (Part 3)
There is a huge interest in supernatural phenomena today and that definitely includes interest in angels. To some extent, the New Age movement has attempted to hijack angels and make them their own. Browse any bookstore and see the amount of shelf space devoted to angelic beings and encounters with angels. But just because we both use the word "angel" doesn't mean we are talking about the same thing.
Remember that Satan was once a great angel in the service of our God. He still retains his powers and he is a master deceiver. His evil angels are out and about deluding gullible men and women. Much of the angelic visitation the New Age talks about is actually encounters with demons. Is there a way to tell the difference?
There is definitely a way to discern what you encounter in the invisible realm. The apostle John addresses this in 1 John 4:1; "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God."
Here is what this means: who do they say Jesus is? Do they say Jesus was only a good man, or a great prophet or that he is one of many paths to God? No, but Jesus is God made flesh and any angel of God will proclaim that. The Bible is our standard of truth on every subject. So if a book recounts an encounter with an angelic being who says anything other than what scripture teaches, we know we are dealing with the angels who report to the devil, not the servants of God.
Remember also that while angels may seem to be fascinating creatures, WE are the heirs of salvation and they are fascinated with how much the Father loves us. Our lives should not revolve around the subject of angels; instead we should concentrate on serving God just like they do.
Listen to what an angel told John in Revelation 22:8-9; "Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, 'See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.'"