Categories and Chores of Angels -- Part 7
We find several scriptural indications that angels are organized.
One of these is found in Jude 9 were reference is made to the archangel.
The prefix, "arch," means ruler.
The archangel is the ruler of angels.
Also in Matthew 26:53, Jesus referred to 12 legions of angels.
This does suggest some definite organization.
We are aware that this innumerable host transcends our ability to count,
and exceeds our imagination, is definitely organized and the purpose
of their organization is to do the will of God explicitly.
So, we will look at a number of categories of angels.
Many are mentioned throughout God's Word, such as: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions,
powers, principalities, archangel, and angels.
They are at least eight different Greek words used in the New Testament to designate these.
In Colossians 1:16 there is a reference to thrones, lordships, principalities and authorities.
In Romans 8:37 we read of angels, principalities, and powers.
In Ephesians 6:12 principalities, authorities, world rulers, and spiritual powers are named.
There is some similarity and overlapping in these designations,
but probably all of these refer to great dignity and varying degrees of rank.
I read where one author commented that if God were to send an angel into this world
to sweep the streets and another angel to occupy a position of regency on a throne,
they would come without any equivocation and would receive identical joy
simply through doing the bidding of God.
These categories must imply divisions among the angels for a specific reason.
God's will is carried out in one area by one category and in another area
by another category of angels.
So let's look at two of these categories.
First, the seraphim.
The only mention of these seraphim in the Bible is in Isaiah 6.
He describes them as possessing six wings, and in the vision of Isaiah,
these seraphim covered their faces with two wings, and they covered their feet with two wings,
and with the two remaining wings, they flew.
The covering of their faces indicates deep reverence.
The covering of their feet speaks of humility.
Using the two remaining wings to fly denotes service.
It is interesting that service comes last, pointing out the fact that this is not among
the first things that God wants.
He does not want you to serve Him first, and then later,
come to reverence and worship Him.
Service ought to be a product of our reverence and worship.
Reverence and worship ought to precede service not only for the seraphim,
but for each one of us.
And Revelation 4:8, there could be a possible reference to seraphim.
The word translated "beast" in the King James Version ought to be translated "creatures."
So, since the name seraphim means "burning" in the Bible,
the seraphim have been associated with purification.
In the vision of Isaiah one of the seraphim took from the altar a live coal,
and with it purged the lips of Isaiah.
So because of this, the seraphim is associated with purification.
Second category that we need to understand are the cherubim.
First, we find them in the Bible as guards for the Garden of Eden.
After Adam and Eve had been driven out, God stationed the cherubim at the entrance
to the Garden to keep Adam and Eve from returning.
They had sinned, and because of their sin they had been banished
from that wonderful paradise.
If they had returned, they might have eaten of the Tree of Life, which would have meant
eternal physical existence.
Just imagine how horrible it would've been for this whole mortal body,
after it is worn out, decayed, and diseased to continue to exist on and on and on.
The cherubim were stationed at the Garden of Eden to keep Adam and Eve from returning
and continuing their rebellion against God through the eating of still other forbidden fruit.
In Exodus 37:7-9, the cherubim are found again in connection with the mercy seat.
They were in the form of beautiful golden figures, considered as protectors
of the Ark of the Covenant.
God stationed them at the Garden of Eden to protect what He said should not be touched,
that was holy unto Him.
In the Ark of Covenant there were objects holy to God, and in one area was the sekinah glory,
which symbolized the eternal presence and holiness of God.
Again, the cherubim were looked upon as protectors of that glory.
In Exodus 26:1, there are figures of the cherubim embroidered on the curtains of the tabernacle.
These figures could stand for the protective care for the holiness of God.
The curtain upon which these images were embroidered separated between
the divine presence in the holy of holiest and the sinful people on the outside.
There are 19 references to the cherubim in Ezekiel.
So this is an angelic category that has special favor in the sight of God,
and they are generally associated with the things God would have done in this world.
Then, there is the classification of archangel.
There are some who believe that there were several archangels.
The Bible identifies only one.
Milton identified Gabriel as an archangel.
But Milton is not one of the inspired writers of the sacred canon of God.
Because of this, some think that Gabriel, along with Michael, is an archangel.
However, the Bible does tell us that Michael was the archangel.
Remember that "arch" means ruler, indicating the position of authority that Michael holds.
He is the angel above all angels.
He is most often associated with judgment.
Through the ages, he has been the messenger of God's vengeance,
and he is looked upon as a warrior.
Daniel 10:21 seems to specifically identify Michael with the nation of Israel.
He is referred to as Michael, your prince.
In this context, he could be looked upon as the Jewish angel,
the one who is given specific responsibility for these people of God.
Also in Daniel 12:1, he is referred to as "the great prince which standeth
for the children of thy people."
Again, he is associated with the Jews.
In the 12th chapter of Revelation, verses 7-12, Michael appears as the head of the armies
to fight the victorious battle against Satan and his angels.
And in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Paul wrote that at the time of the coming of Christ,
when He returns to our earth, it will be with the accompaniment of the voice of the archangel.
That is Michael.
Gabriel is also mentioned as prominent in the Bible.
His name is said to mean, "God's hero, the mighty one, or man of God."
He appears four times in the Bible, and is associated in each case with good news.
He appears in Daniel 8:15 and following, talking about the coming of Christ.
He appears in Luke 1:19, making ready for the coming of Christ.
He also appears in Luke 12:6 and following where he is associated with good news.
Most often when we hear talk about the Second Coming of Christ,
Gabriel is mentioned as blowing his horn.
Whether Gabriel blows his horn or makes a verbal announcement doesn't matter,
but it is entirely possible that he will be the one to announce the good news
that Christ the Lord is coming, in that day when Christ will be known by all as King of kings
and Lord of lords.
Now, let us consider the duties that angels perform.
God's holy angels have been given the responsibility of the watch care of the church.
Just as angels ministered to Jesus Christ when He was here in the flesh,
they minister today to all those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
They cooperate fully with, and confirm the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
They do not usurp the ministry of the Spirit, but they complement the Spirit in making provision
for the physical needs of human beings, just as the Holy Spirit provides
for the spiritual needs of human beings.
First, angels give physical direction.
Remember that an angel led Philip the evangelist into Samaria.
There was a lost man there who needed to be saved.
Philip, whose heart was on fire for Christ, was looking for an opportunity to preach.
An angel pointed him in the right direction.
In Acts 10:12, an angel directed Cornelius to find the man who would give to him
the way of salvation.
The angel directed Cornelius to Simon Peter, who was that man.
In the second place, angels provide physical sustenance.
Angels fed Israel in the wilderness with manna.
Manna is sometimes called angel's food.
They provided for the people of God whenever they were in dire circumstances.
When God's people were doing God's will, God provided for them through this angelic ministry.
Angels provided bread for Elijah.
They gave nourishment and sustenance to our Lord after His temptations,
and they revealed the fact of physical safety for all on board to the apostle Paul
prior to the shipwreck.
An angel revealed to Paul that not one single person of the 275 people
on board would be lost.
Angels ministered to our Lord physically in the Garden of Gethsemane,
when His body was so wracked with the anguish of the moment that perspiration
came forth as great drops of blood.
In John 5:4, we see physical healing coming as a result of the ministry of an angel.
That scene happen at the Pool of Bethesda.
This pool would occasionally have its waters troubled by an angel.
At the moment the waters were troubled, the first cripple placed into the water
was miraculously healed.
One man said that when the water was troubled, no one was there to put him in.
He had never been healed, and was still a cripple because he didn't have anyone ready
at a instant notice to place him into the water when the angel came.
This is a case of physical healing as a result of the presence of an angel.
Third, angels provide physical protection.
They protected Jacob from Esau.
They protected Daniel from the lions.
Little children are protected by angels.
An angel delivered Simon Peter and the apostles in an unusual manner.
So angels have been given the responsibility for the physical safe keeping of Christians.
Also, they encompass the church.
In Hebrews 12:1, there is a passage that in all probability refers to angels.
"Wherefore seeing we also are encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."
That "so great a cloud of witnesses" could very well be the angelic host.
It is both challenging and encouraging to know that in our meetings angels are watching over us.
They observe the church for protection and with satisfaction.
I believe there is an abiding sense of joy in the being of an angel
when he sees one of the churches of Christ stand up for Jesus,
and begin to occupy the place that Christ has assigned it on the face of the earth.
There must be great joy not only in this cloud of witnesses that surrounds us,
but all through the heavens when one sinner repents and receives Jesus Christ as Savior.
The joy bells of heaven ring out loud when that happens.
So it must be with deep satisfaction that angels observe the ministry of the church
and rejoice in the proclamation of the gospel, in the convicting work of God's Spirit
that brings the lost from darkness into light and from damnation into salvation.
Another chore performed by angels is when they escort the redeemed in death.
Mark 13:27 tells us that at the time of the resurrection they shall gather the elect
for glory and for reward.
That verse says, “And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect
from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”
That means those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and look forward
to the end of time with and angelic accompaniment can say with assurance,
"I won't have to cross Jordan alone."
We also take note that angels will play a vital role in the second coming of Jesus Christ.
They will accompany Christ when He returns, and they will be assigned the responsibility
"to gather out of his kingdom all things that do offend and them which do iniquity
and shall cast them into a furnace of fire."
They will be the instruments of vengeance, seeing to it that God's holiness and righteousness
are vindicated and that those who have dared to reject the Son of God will answer
for their rejection.
When we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and as our Savior,
we received the protective watch care of angels.
Those who reject Jesus Christ, will receive all of the diabolical temptations of the devil
and his angels.
So, an unsaved person chooses whether or not to have this ministry in his life,
and whether or not to be the recipient of the best things of God.