Angels

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According to Colossians 1:16, creation included "things" invisible as well as things visible and angels are among the things that are invisible. They comprise a vast company of spirit beings concerning whom the Scriptures bear abundant testimony, but whose existence and ministrations have been strangely neglected in works on theology. Angels are mentioned about 108 times in the Old Testament. From the Greek word for angels, aYY^oq, is derived the term used in English. In any case, the word means simply messenger and in rare instances is used thus of men (cf. Luke 7:24; James 2:25; Rev. 1:20). Christ used the term when referring to departed human spirits (Matt. 18:10; cf. Acts 12:15). The position angels hold by creation is above men (Ps. 8:4-5; Heb. 2:6-7; 2 Pet. 2:11). The record of the origin of the angels by creation is given in Psalm 148:2-5 and in Colossians 1:16.

The angels are classified as follows: (1) The Angel of Jehovah, which terminology refers to the preincarnate appearing of the Son of God and therefore is not rightly classified as reference to an angel; yet the term is used of Him. His appearings in this form are recorded as ten theophanies. As the Revealer of God and the One whom Jehovah sends, He is a veritable Messenger (Ex. 23:20; cf. 32:34; 33:2). (2) Gabriel, meaning "the mighty one" (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26-38). (3) Michael, the archangel, a name meaning "Who is like God?" and he is head of the armies of heaven (1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 1:9; Rev. 12:7), and Israel's prince (Dan. 10:21; 12:1). (4) Cherubim, the defenders of God's holiness (Gen. 3:2224; Ex. 25:17-22; Isa. 37:16; Ezek. 1:5; 28:14). (5) Seraphim (Isa. 6:2). (6) Principalities and powers— sometimes used of good and sometimes of evil angels (Rom. 8:38; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; cf. 2:10, 15; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 3:22; Luke 21:26). (7) "The elect angels" (1 Tim. 5:21). (8) Angels known by their ministries—angel of the waters (Rev. 16:5), angel of the abyss (Rev. 9:1), angel with power over fire (Rev. 14:18), seven angels with trumpets (Rev. 8:2), "the watchers" (Dan. 4:13, 17, 23). (9) Satan and the demons, and (10) Jeremiel or Uriel, Raphael, etc., mentioned only in the Apocryphal writings.

The general facts regarding the angels are: (1) They are legion (Ps. 68:17; Dan. 7:10; Matt. 26:53; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11); they form the hosts of heaven (Luke 2:13. Note the R.V. term, Jehovah of hosts). Numerically, angels neither increase nor decrease. (2) Whether they have any kind of bodies cannot be determined. They appear as men when so required (Matt. 28:3; Rev. 15:6; 18:1). They are said to fly (Isa. 6:2; Ezek. 1:6; Dan. 9:21; Rev. 4:8; 14:6). (3) Their abode is evidently in heaven; but reference is thus made to the second heaven, the stellar spaces (Matt. 24:29). Christ passed through the angelic sphere going to and coming from earth (Eph. 1:21; Heb. 2:7; 4:14). (4) The ministries of the angels are varied and are all described in the Sacred Text (Ps. 34:7; 91:11; 103:20; 104:4; Dan. 4:13, 17, 23; 6:22; Matt. 4:11; Luke 16:22; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7; 27:23; 1 Cor. 11:10; Col. 2:18; Rev. 22:8-9). (5) The vast empires of angels are doubtless occupied with many enterprises and the execution of their governments. They do behold the things of earth (Luke 12:8-9; 15:10; 1 Cor. 11:10; 1 Tim. 3:16; Rev. 14:10). (6) Their presence is recorded at creation (Job 38:7), at the giving of the law (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2; cf. Rev. 22:16), at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:13), at the scene of His temptation (Matt. 4:11; cf. Luke 22:43), at the resurrection (Matt. 28:2), at the ascension (Acts 1:10), and just so they will be at the second coming (Matt. 13:37-39; 24:31; 25:31; 2 Thess. 1:7).

Angels are generally classified as unfallen or holy angels (Mark 8:38) and fallen (Matt. 25:41). There will yet be war in heaven between the two classes of angels (Rev. 12:7-10). The fallen angels are either free (cf. the demons) or bound (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6).

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