Heavenly beings

A. GOD’S UNSEEN CREATURES

Up till now we have been looking at God’s physical creation: the sun, moon stars and the earth on which He created plants, animals and man, but He also created the vast unseen world of heaven, where He lives, surrounded by Four Living Beings, elders and angels which He also created. We will now search the Word for more information to see what they look like and what their functions are.

In this study, when referring to angels, we will not include The Angel of the Lord, which is the Lord Jesus Christ nor the devil; those topics will be dealt with in separate chapters.

B. THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES (BEINGS) AND THE ELDERS

Their first and foremost function is to worship God day and night.

And all the angels stood around the throne, and the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell before the throne on their faces and worshiped God, saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 7:11,12).

C. ANGELS 

  1. Characteristics (qualities)
      • Created beings; created by God.

 For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him. (Col 1:16)  

      • Spirit beings

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation? (Heb 1:14)

      • Eternal beings

Luk 20:35,36

      • No gender and cannot procreate after their own kind. Everyone is individually created by God (Mat 22:30).
      • Holy
        • So created.

 For whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words, the Son of Man shall be ashamed of him when He shall come in His own and in His Father’s glory, and that of the holy angels. (Luk 9:26)  

God created the angels as holy beings.

        • By choice

 And the great dragon was cast out, the old serpent called Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev 12:9)

When the angel, later to be called the devil, rebelled against God, the angels had to choose whether to follow him or remain true to God. Two-thirds chose God, as their God and King and they retained their holiness; so they are holy by choice.

      • Emotions
          • Joy: They rejoice for the salvation of a sinner (Luk 15:7).
          • Sorrow and anger? We are not told.
      • Stature: Glorious and mighty (2 Thes 1:7). Greater than man in power and might (2 Pet 2:11). 
      • Physical appearance
        • As seen in heaven: Glorious beings, having wings.

 Above it stood the seraphs; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of Hosts; the whole earth full of His glory.  And the doorposts moved at the voice of the one who cried, and the house was filled with smoke. (Isa 6:2-4).

Partly due to the vision of these angels, Isaiah was overcome with fear and with sorrow for the sin of his lips.

        • As seen on earth.

When appearing to man on earth, they are able to appear in a form that would suit the occasion best.

          • Where Abraham was sitting at his tent, they appeared as three ordinary travelers.
          • The angel that rolled away the stone of Jesus’ tomb appeared as a heavenly being.

 And behold, a great earthquake occurred! For coming down from Heaven, and coming up, an angel of the Lord rolled back the stone from the door and was sitting on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And the keepers shook for fear of him and became like dead men. (Mat 28:2-4). 

          • In Jesus’ empty tomb they appeared as two young men in white robes (Matt 24:1-4).
          • At Jesus’ ascension they appeared as two men in white clothing (Acts 1:10).
      • Knowledge
        • To worship God, they must have an intimate knowledge of him and since that is what they are doing most of the time, their knowledge of Him possibly supersedes ours.
        • Knowledge of what is happening on earth. Since they rejoice when a sinner gets saved, they must be aware of much that is happening down below.

 Likewise I say to you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luk 15:10). 

        • Some things they do not know
          • Mystery of the Gospel (1 Pet 1:12).
          • Date of the second coming of the Lord Jesus

 But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father. (Mat 24:36) 

  1. Types and names
      • Seraphim

Above him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (Isa 6:2).

Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: (Isa 6:6).

      • Cherubim

 And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold; of beaten work shalt thou make them, at the two ends of the mercy-seat. (Exo 25:18)

      • Archangels
        • Michael:  But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jud 1:9).  
        • Gabriel: Dan 8:16; 9:21; Luk 1:19, 1:26. And answering, the angel said to him, I am Gabriel, who stands before God. And I am sent to speak to you and to show you these glad tidings. (Luk 1:19). 
  1. Number and order
      • There are an innumerable number of angels in heaven.

 And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (Rev 5:11).

  See also Hebr 12:2.

      • The angels are set up in levels of authority.

 who is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1Pe 3:22).  

  1. Access to God
      • The devil had free access to God until cast down (Job 1:6) and Christians have uninterrupted access to God; Why not angels?
      • Angels guarding little children are continually seeing the face of God.

 Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I say to you that in Heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father in Heaven. (Mat 18:10).   

  1. Man’s relationship to the angels
      • They may not be worshipped (Rev 22:8,9).
      • They are ministering spirits sent by God to minister to God’s saints.

 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation? (Heb 1:14). 

      • We cannot command angels to do things for us. Even Jesus, during his lifetime on earth, would have had to ask his Father to send his angels if He required their protection.

 Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? (Mat 26:53).  

  1. Fallen angels

The leader of the angels, the devil, rebelled against God and was cast down from heaven together with the angels that followed him.

 For if God did not spare sinning angels, but thrust them down into Tartarus, and delivered them into chains of darkness, being reserved to judgment. (2Pe 2:4) 

 And there was war in Heaven. Michael and his angels warring against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels warred, but did not prevail. Nor was place found for them in Heaven any more. And the great dragon was cast out, the old serpent called Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev 12:7 -9).

 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them onto the earth.  (Rev 12:4). 

  1. Functions on earth
      • God uses his angels to do things on his behalf.
      • God seldom does physical things personally.
      • He does things on earth through his angels: carrying his messages, protecting against enemies, strengthening, removing a tomb-stone. Since we are surrounded by evil spirits in the air, we are probably also surrounded by myriads of powerful holy angels. Children may have special guarding angels (Matt 18:10).
      • Instances of angels ministering on earth.
      • Guarded the Tree of Life (Gen 3:24).
      • Lead Lot and his family to safety (Gen 19:1-22).
      • Played a role in Moses’ receiving the Law from God (Gal 3:19).
      • Guarding the ark of the covenant and the rest of the tabernacle (symbolically) (Ex 25:18, etc).
      • Struck Israel with a plague (2 Sam 24:15,16).
      • Destroyed the Assyrian army (2Chron 32:21).
      • Protected Elisha in Dothan (2Ki 6:17).
      • Brought God’s messages to Zachariah (Luk 1:11-20) Joseph (Matt 1:9-23 en 2:13, 19, 20) and Mary (Luk 1:26-38).
      • Brought the message of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds and a huge heavenly choir of angels sang God’s praises (Luk 2:13-15).
      • Ministered to Jesus in the desert (Matt 4:11) and in Gethsemane (Luk 22:43).
      • Carried Lazarus to heaven after he died (Luk 16:22).
      • Delivered Peter from prison (Acts 5:19 and 12:7).
      • Rolled away the stone from Jesus’ grave and put the guarding soldiers to flight (Matt 28:2-7).
      • Appeared to Mary Magdalene and Johanna at Jesus’ grave (Luke 24:4-7).
      • Appeared and brought God’s message to the disciples at Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:10, 11).
      • Appeared to and encouraged Paul during the storm at sea (Acts 27:23). 
  1. Functions in the heavenly realms
      • Instances of:
        • Touched Isaiah’s lips with a burning coal from the alter, thereby removing his guilt (Isa 6:6,7).
        • Clothed Joshua, the High Priest, in a robe of righteousness (Zech 3:4).
        • Worshipping God

This seems to be what the angels mostly do and enjoy doing.

And all the angels stood around the throne, and the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell before the throne on their faces and worshiped God, saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 7:11,12). 

        • Fighting evil powers that war against God’s people

 But the ruler of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days. But lo, Michael, one of the chief rulers, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (Dan 10:13)  

Then he said, Do you know why I come to you? And now I will return to fight with the ruler of Persia. And when I have gone out, lo, the ruler of Greece shall come. (Dan 10:20).

These rulers were evil powers controlling the mentioned nations.

        • In the end times they will be engaged in many actions: announcing every new phase of God’s plan and thus bringing it to pass, executing judgment upon some of the peoples on earth while sealing others with a mark on their foreheads so that judgment will not come upon them, casting the devil into the bottomless pit, etc. (See the Book of Revelation).

D. LESSONS FROM THIS TOPIC 

  1. See God’s wisdom

The Creator of heaven and earth foresaw that man would fall and become extremely weak, needing continual protection and care. He could of course effortlessly take care of all of us himself, but this is not his way of doing; in fact the Father very seldom handles any physical matters personally; He delegates his work to others; so He appointed the angels to take care of us, until we too will emerge from our fallen state into our new life of glory.

During this study we have noted some of the instances of their sometimes humble and at other times mighty deeds in preserving us as we face the battle with weakness, sickness, nature and evil forces, but these recorded happenings are just one little drop in the ocean of what they are continually doing for human beings all over the earth. Myriads of mighty angels are on our side. They are our friends, co-workers, protectors, strengtheners. They rejoice when it is going well with us. They fight for us in the heavenly spheres. They react in a split second to save us.

So, let us rejoice and take courage to run the race of life, for we are not alone.

  1. Angels are not self-centered

The angels are fascinating beings. We as human beings, as Christians, find so much of our fulfillment in self-centered activities such as planning our futures, building careers, accumulating wealth. They, however, find their joy in worshipping their King and executing his wishes.

They are the perfect servants, running errands for their Master even if it means that they have to leave heaven for a while and visit planet earth where they sometimes have to perform menial tasks for man, like making patties for the miserable Elijah or being exposed to vile onslaughts of evil people like in Sodom where the inhabitants tried to rape them. Some of them must even engage in battle with powerful evil spirits.

Sometimes they must execute Gods judgment, slaying thousands of human beings.

They do not resemble selfish humanity but are more like God’s ants that live to serve their community and their king (queen) and not themselves. 

  1. Will angels be rewarded for their selfless service?

Since, apart from worshipping God, the angels’ activity centers around mankind, playing a very important role in man’s redemption, will they not perhaps also be rewarded in sharing the newly created earth (and starry heavens) with us one day?

After all, the Lord Jesus was awarded for what He did for mankind and was elevated to the right hand of the Father and given all the kingdoms of the earth and man is promised crowns and positions of honour?

Keeping in mind that mankind will be more like the angels in eternity, without gender, we and they will be more alike and may therefor live together comfortably in the new heaven and earth? At present, of course, we cannot enjoy fellowship with them for they are perfect and holy and we, as Christians, though redeemed, are still battling with our inherited sinful nature.

Well these are just fanciful speculations, but it is rather a pleasing thought that we may one day be in close fellowship with our friends, the hosts of angels. One of them may then even come and sit next to you and tell you how he cared for you during your lifetime and relate many instances of danger of which you were not aware and how he took care of you – not to mention what he did for your children!

  1. Has God perhaps created other universes?

Seeing that God created heavenly beings with life-styles totally different from ours, don’t you think that He might also have created other universes and intelligent creatures outside of the creation in which we live?

Let’s wait and see! We have enough to concern ourselves with during this life down below.

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