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The study of angels is a fascinating study. A few considerations are necessary as we take up this study: angels are NOT to be worshipped; they are NOT mediators between God and man. The information we are given in the Scripture about angels reveals that they have an important part in the overall program of God.

Reality of their existence

Angels do exist. The Scripture relates this fact simply as a truth to be received. Both the Old and New Testaments establish the fact.

Psalm 68:17; Mark 13:32

Characteristics

  • Angels are not eternal as God is, or self-existent. They are created and dependent creatures. Psalm 148:2,5. The question as to when the angels were created may not be able to be determined positively. We do know, however, that they were in existence when the creation of the earth took place.

    Job 38:4-7

  • Angels are spirit beings without physical bodies. They do, however, take on visible, physical form at specific times.

    Hebrews 1:13-14

  • Angels seem to have personal characteristics, being intelligent and acting voluntarily.

    2 Samuel 14:20

  • The Bible does not teach that angels are sexless beings, but it does teach that they do not marry. Marriage is not God's plan, or order for the angels.

    Matthew 22:30; Luke 1:12, 26,29

  • Angels are deathless beings. God created them so, and it is not His desire, or intention that they should cease to live their spirit life. The equality with the angels referred to in Luke 20:35,36 is not becoming like angels, or becoming angels as such, but rather that the glorified state of man makes him incapable of death as angels are incapable of death.

  • The ability to be swift and manifest great power are other characteristics of angels. Their movement from one place to another must be inexpressibly rapid. The description of wings indicates rapid movement, even though all of them would not necessarily have literal wings. Their movement none the less must indeed be very swift. Matthew 26:53. Their power is superhuman. They are mighty, but not almighty. Their power is delegated for they have received it from God. The ability and strength of the angels is demonstrated in 2 Kings 19:35.

    Psalm 103:20; 2 Peter 2:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8

  • Angels are beings of various ranks and orders. They are a company, not a race; they constitute an organization; they occupy different positions. It is also quite possible that their number is far beyond human comprehension or computation.

    Hebrews 12:22; 1 Kings 22:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:16;
    Peter 3:22; Revelation 5:11

  • The Scripture indicates one Archangel whose name is Michael, meaning "Who is like God?". He is the victorious leader of the heavenly host.

    Revelation 12

  • Gabriel is "The Mighty One" who stands in the presence of God. Luke 1:10. He was entrusted with two of the greatest messages ever brought to earth. Daniel 9:21-23; Luke 1:26-38. The Cherubim and Seraphim are angelic beings of very high rank and are seen in connection with the throne of God.

    Isaiah 6

    Moral Nature

    At the time that angels were created it seems evident that they were created holy. This can be determined by the nature of God the Creator, and the quality of His creation. It also seems evident, however, that being created rational beings they had the ability to be either obedient of to choose to disobey when the option presented itself. Being holy in nature some became holy in character through obedience, while others became sinful in character through disobedience. The occasion to make that choice seems to have come at the time Lucifer rebelled against God because iniquity was found in him. The term used to describe that choice indicates a continuance and confirmation in the choice that was made. Thus for the fallen angels there is no provision made of redemption. The Scripture indicates that saints will judge angels. 1 Corinthians 6:3.

    Genesis 1:31; Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4;
    Matthew 25:31; Revelation 12:7-9

    Ministry

    The word angel carries the meaning of "one sent" or a "messenger". The holy angels are thus God's messengers doing His will in many ways. Their ministry is not totally devoted to the region of God's dwelling, or heaven, but they are also the servants of God on earth.

  • The holy angels
    -engage in direct worship of God: Psalm 148:1-2
    -they rejoice in God's work: Job 38:7; Luke 15:10
    -perform God's will: Psalm 103:20
    -guide, guard, and minister to believers: Psalm 91:11; Hebrews 1:14
    -defend and deliver God's servants: 2 Kings 6:17; Acts 5:19,20; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8
    -have some responsibility regarding the righteous dead: Luke 16:22; Jude 9

    Evil angels are those who took sides with Satan against God. They thus have become evil and are servants of satan. They will eventually share the fate that is spelled out for satan. The time when Christ was on the earth saw a great increase in their activity, being identified as demons. They seem to be extremely anxious to inhabit a body and thus take charge of that person. Their evil is a vengeful hatred against God and anything or anyone that is linked with God.

  • Evil angels
    -oppose God's purposes: Zechariah 3:1; Daniel 10:10-14
    -they afflict God's people: 2 Corinthians 12:7; Luke 13:16
    -take possession of unwary souls: Mark 5:1-13; Luke 4:33-36
    -execute Satan's purposes: Matthew 25:41; Matthew 12:26,27
    -hinder the saints of God: Ephesians 6:11,12; 1 Thessalonians 2:18

    satan

    Satan is also known by other terms in the Scripture - the word satan means "adversary": the devil, the old serpent, the great dragon, the god of this age, prince of the power of the air, the father of lies, deceiver, accuser of the brethren, murderer from the beginning, and others. Satan would like to keep the reality of his existence hidden if at all possible. There are many who have fallen for that deception and thereby have become key targets for Satan's tactics. In the Old Testament satan is referred to by all the writers and is found mentioned in 19 books. Satan does exist, he is a real person, a spirit being, pernicious and totally evil and capable of extremely deceitful ways.

    Job 1:6; John 13:2

    The original state of satan was not what we know about him now. The Scripture, we believe, teaches that satan was created perfect in his ways, of great beauty and brightness, intelligent, and exalted in position and honor.

    Ezekial 28:12-15

    That such an exalted, created being should become degraded and evil may be hard to understand, but the Scripture relates his fall and the resulting condition of his being. Because of his great beauty and superiority of position, he became proud and sought to direct worship away from God to himself. The lifting up of his own heart with pride, and pursuing false ambition, constituted the beginning of sin. His sin of pride brought about a rebellion against God resulting in expulsion, degrading of his person, position and power, and becoming the avowed enemy of God.

    Ezekial 28:16-19; Isaiah 14:12-15; 1 Timothy 3:6

    Satan's nature has become completely evil. His wisdom and beauty have deteriorated but still retain the subtlety and cunning with which he now goes about to deceive.

  • he takes advantage whenever and wherever he can - 2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11-12
  • he has miraculous powers - 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:11,14; Matthew 24:24
  • he can take on the form of an angel of light so as to more skillfully deceive - 2 Corinthians 11:14
  • he has an exalted position and great power - Ephesians 2:2; John 14:30; Colossians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 4:4

    The sphere of his activity is immense, and the nature of his work is intense in avowed opposition to God. He and his host inhabit the heavenlies and from these parts they direct their evil activities upon the earth. He also seems to have access to God's presence since all spirit beings are subject to God's sovereign control. We are not told all the reasons, but we know that God limits the extent of his activities, and we know that satan accuses the failing believer before God, demanding just retribution. That's one reason why Christ took His place at God's right hand as our advocate.

    1 John 2:1; Job 1:6-7; Revelation 12:10;
    Ephesians 6:11-12; 1 Peter 5

    satan:

    - introducing sin into the human race - Genesis 3:1-13; 2 Corinthians 11:3
    - causes suffering - acts 10:38
    - causes death - Hebrews 2:14
    - allures to evil - 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 7:5
    - ensnares men - 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26
    - inspires wicked thoughts and purposes - John 13:2; Acts 5:3
    - takes possession of men - John 13:27
    - blinds the minds of men - 2 Corinthians 4:4
    - snatches away truth - Mark 4:14
    - accuses believers - Revelation 12:9-10
    - will energize the antichrist - 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

    The Word of God gives a clear picture of what the outcome will be and what the final destiny will be concerning satan.

    - a perpetual curse is upon him - Genesis 3:14-15
    - he is to be treated as a conquered enemy - Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:8
    - he is to be cast out of the heavenlies - Revelation 12:9
    - he will be confined to the abyss for a thousand years - Revelation 20:1-3
    - he is to be loosed for a short time after the millennium - Revelation 20:3, 7-9
    - he is to be cast into the lake of fire - Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10

    Since satan is the enemy of God and of the believer, what is to be our reaction to him? How can he be defeated in his evil purposes? God has not only shared with us the tactics which satan uses, but He has also shown us how satan can be overcome.

  • The redemption rights provided by Christ are to be claimed. We must recognize that we belong to God, that we have received a new nature, and that we have the Holy Spirit residing within.

    Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3,4,9; Galatians 2:20;
    Ephesians 4:24; 1 John 4:4

  • God has provided all the equipment and material that is needed to render satan ineffective. This equipment must be appropriated.

    Ephesians 6:11-18

  • Strict self-control needs to be exercised so that satan cannot get an advantage. This is not control that comes from the effort of the self-life, but rather the control over self that is exercised by the Holy Spirit when he is in complete charge.

    Ephesians 4:27; Galatians 5:22-23

  • Satan is subtle and deceitful. He is smarter than man and more powerful. However, he is not smarter than God and his power is limited. The believer must be increasingly vigilant, watching for any area in his life that might be unguarded and in which satan might seek to gain control.

    1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:18; 2 Corinthians 2:11

  • The believer must not allow satan to deceive him into thinking that the devil cannot be defeated. Relying on God's power and provision through Christ, the believer can always be victorious over satan.

    James 4:7; Revelation 12:11; 1 John 2:14;
    2 Corinthians 2:14