The Ministry and Abode of Angels -- Part 3
The ministry of angels is directed more towards the physical and material aspects
of human life than the spiritual.
We should keep this distinction in mind for angels are not to be confused with the presence,
the power, or the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the Interpreter and Revealer of Jesus Christ.
He elucidates the things of the spirit.
He gives our minds the understanding of things that we can never grasp with our carnal minds.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is separate and distinct from the ministry of angels.
Hebrews 1:13-14 reminds us that angels are ministering spirits.
They are not visible to the human eye.
Those verses say, “But to which of the angels said he at any time,
Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
There are cases in the Bible when the appearance of angels was so much like
the appearance of men that they passed for men.
People thought that they were men.
This was true with Lot in Sodom when he was visited by angels.
They were so like humans that other humans thought they were people.
The people didn't understand who they were.
So it is obvious that angels on occasion can bear characteristics similar to human beings.
For Hebrews 13:2 admonishes us to entertain strangers because there is a possibility
that we might entertain angels unawares.
There is no indication that they have a long physical existence,
but on occasion they have appeared in a form enough like that of humans
to be thought to be humans.
There are instances in which the appearance of angels is not connected
with any characteristic of the human body, but they are seen in dazzling brilliance
and blazing glory.
In Matthew 28:2-4, we find such an appearance where angels appeared in dazzling brilliance.
So we could conclude that angels possess the faculty of appearing in corporeal form
-- that is in bodily form, according to God's purpose.
If God chooses, an angel can visit this earth with characteristics similar enough
to our bodies to be mistaken for a human.
On other occasions, angels pierce the universe at a speed greater than the speed of light,
and it seems that they come and go unperceived by our mortal senses,
or they can appear visibly according to God's purpose.
So, if they appear in a form that we think is human, and if we see or entertain
an angel unawares, this is because of God's purpose.
In the majority of cases, angels are not perceived by human eyes.
We need to make some comparisons between angels and Christians here on earth.
There are some differences between them.
First, an angel cannot call God "Father" by redemption.
The holy angels have never sinned, therefore they have no need of salvation.
They have never been saved because they have never sinned, and that is the difference
between us and them.
God is not their Father in the same sense that He is your Father and mine,
through the redemptive process and faith in Jesus Christ.
In the second place, angels are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit does not motivate the life of an angel.
The Holy Spirit is not their prompter because the Holy Spirit is given to believers
and comes into the believer's heart at the moment of conviction of sin
and conversion from sin.
Since the holy angels never sinned, the Holy Spirit does not indwell them.
In the third place, angels are not heirs of God.
The heirs of God are those of us who belong to the family of God by redemption.
These heirs of God are those who have heard and heeded the message of salvation.
We are the heirs of God for we are the ones to whom God promised the richest blessings
Heaven comes to us because of our repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The angels have never had this experience.
There is another associated difference.
Angels cannot witness to salvation.
Have you ever realized what a great privilege say God has given us that is denied
even to angels?
Every time we as Christians witness to those who need Jesus, this is a privilege
that is denied the angels in heaven and on earth.
They don't have the privilege of witnessing to what God has done for them in salvation.
The earth is not the only place inhabited by angels.
Out in the vastness of infinity, beyond the comprehension of the human mind,
beyond our ability to grasp, that are ministering spirits called the angels of God.
Their angelic home is out there in the heavenlies as well as here on earth.
In Mark 13:32 Jesus said, "the angels which art in heaven."
That statement establishes the place of their abode which is in heaven.
They inhabit the heavenly spheres.
Paul wrote: "Though an angel from heaven…"
Obviously, they inhabit the heavenlies.
Also, Ephesians 3:15, Paul wrote: "The whole family in heaven and in earth."
Remember that Jesus taught His disciples to pray a prayer like this:
"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
The inhabitants of heaven who are doing the will of God are those ministering spirits
standing ready for the call of God at any time to perform the will of God
and to do His service in the lives of human beings.
We must remember also that the earthly ministry of angels is stated in the Word of God.
Not only does the Bible reveal frequent visits of angels to our world as messengers of God,
both to governments and individuals, but Jesus Himself made reference to that fact.
We read in Luke 15:10, were Jesus said: "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy
in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
So Jesus said that angels are here, and they know when one sinner repents.
So where are they?
Where is their abode?
The answer is that they are in the eternities of the heavenlies,
but they are also here on earth, and are aware of what's going on in your life and mine.
When we turned from our sin in repentance, and when we received Jesus Christ as our Savior,
there was rejoicing in the presence of God and in the great angelic host,
over the fact that here on earth someone has turned from sin and has been redeemed.
Luke 15:10 presents the fact that they are in close contact with everything going on
in heaven and everything going on in earth.
They understand the joy in the heart of God when a sinner repents,
therefore they share that joy and express it with their exuberance.
You remember that Luke chapter 15 deals with the joy of God in recovering a sinner.
Three parables are found there that have to do with that joy.
Of course, one of them is the parable of the lost sheep.
Ninety-nine are safe in the fold, but there is one who is lost.
The shepherd, who in the parable is God, keeps on searching, keeps on looking
until that last lost sheep has been found and brought to safety.
In the parable of the lost coin, God is like that woman who has lost something valuable
and does not stop her search until she finds it.
That Is how God is.
Then in the final parable, the joy of God is seen in the heart of the father,
whose boy, the prodigal son, has gone a long way from home, and has sunk
to the very depths of degradation and sin.
Then one day that prodigal son comes to his senses and returns home,
and his father is overjoyed.
The father called for the servants and told them to bring forth the best robe
and bring a ring to put on his hand, and bring shoes to put on his feet
for they were going to have a banquet for this boy whom has come home.
That describes the joy in the heart of God over a sinner who comes home.
The angels of God are aware of that joy, and when a sinner repents,
they ring the joy bells of heaven and rejoice.
So the abode of angels is firmly established in the teachings of Jesus Christ
as being both earthly and heavenly.
Just as there are angels praising God in worship daily in His eternal presence,
there are angels ministering to human need here on earth and rejoicing in the salvation
of those who are saved.
We learn from the teachings of the Word of God about those who are called ministering angels.
Angels are individual beings -- they are not a mass or a glob -- they are individuals
and apparently, they experience emotion.
In Psalm 148:2, we read that they render intelligent worship so they do possess emotions.
In Matthew 18:10, we are taught that angels possess due understanding
as they behold the face of the Father.
Another attribute of angels is that they understand or grasp their limitations.
In Matthew 24:36, we read that they do not have all knowledge, for there are matters
known only to God, and not by the angels.
In Hebrews 1:4, we also read that angels are inferior to Jesus Christ.
He is above the angels.
So let's remember these truths that are taught in the Bible regarding angels.
First, they are created beings.
God brought them into existence, and as we understand, they were created prior
to the creation of mankind.
According to the book of Job, they were witnesses to the creation.
According to Job, they were the morning stars who sang before man was placed on the earth.
In Psalm 148:5 and in Colossians 1:16, we read that they are created beings.
Psalm 148:5 says, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded,
and they were created.”
Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven,
and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions,
or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”
This means that God alone is un-created and eternal.
God's eternity is stated in 1 Timothy 3:16 were we read of God:
"Who alone hath immortality."
Then we also made remember that angels are incorporeal, that is, without human bodies.
They are described in our text as spirits.
This implies that they have no bodies for the Bible teaches us and Jesus has taught us
that they know nothing of growth, age, marriage, or death.
They do not procreate themselves.
Angels do not have children.
There are the same number of angels today that there were when God originally created them.
Since there is no death, and since there is no procreation, there is neither an increase
nor a decrease of the angelic hosts.
Their number is the same.
Then we must remember that angels have personality.
They are also intelligent, voluntary beings.
They can render intelligent worship such as we find described in Psalm 148:2
which leads us to understand as intelligent beings they are also personalities.
Psalm 148:2 says, “Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.”
They are voluntary also, just as you and I, otherwise Lucifer would have had no choice
between right and wrong.
He chose sin as result of his pride.
He was the leader of the fallen angels, whom we also call demons.
They serve with Satan and with all the power and force of hell.
They are in constant opposition to the holy angels, to the power of God,
and to the influence and power of God's Holy Spirit.
In 2 Samuel 14:20 we read, "… wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God."
So they possess personalities.
They have intelligence, and they have a voluntary spirit.
They can choose right or wrong just as you and I can.
We must remember that they are intelligent beings, and their intelligence is superhuman,
as is their power.
When we say superhuman, we don't mean omnipotent.
Their power, their intelligence, is between that of ours and that of God.
Superhuman -- greater than humans -- but not equal, not greater than the power
and knowledge of Almighty God.
There are things that they don't know.
For instance, the angels do not know the time of the second coming of Christ.
First Peter 1:12: “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves,
but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them
that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven;
which things the angels desire to look into.”
This indicates the angels desire to look into some things that are unknown to them.
Psalm 103:20 is an important verse that points out that angels are mighty in strength.
That psalm says, “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength,
that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”
Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 refers to the angels of his power.
“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed
from heaven with his mighty angels,
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord,
and from the glory of his power.”
In Revelation 20:1-2 and verse 10 we are told that it is the angels of God who will lay hold
on the dragon and bind him and cast him into the lake of fire.
Verses 1- 2 says, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key
of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil,
and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.”
That dragon is Satan or Lucifer, a fallen angel who rebelled against God because of his pride.
God's angels will bind Satan and cast him into that place of eternal punishment.
The power of angels is their outstanding characteristic.
They are better known for their power than anything else.
Remember that it was angels, who, with their power rolled away the stone
from in front of the tomb were Jesus Christ was laid after His crucifixion.
That rock of granite must have weighed as much as four tons.
The angels of God rolled away that stone from the tomb, and Jesus came out
of that tomb alive.
It is the ministry of angels in your life and in mine that helps us and strengthens us.
They are God's messengers, so they minister in response to His command,
and are certainly available to us in the fulfillment of our prayers in the will of God
every minute of every day.