Guards of the Heavenlies

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)

I thought this week we would look into the unseen. I want to look at the realm above us in the heavenlies, that realm that surrounds us here on this earth, and that realm that cries, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3) To the children of God, the beloved of God, we are blessed to have that hedge of protection around us. Satan bartered with God over the hedge of protection that God has placed around Job. “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” (Job 1:10) That hedge of protection is not a wall that keeps evil out or the righteous in but ministering spirits that protect us from evil and the wiles of the Devil. The Bible speaks much to us about the angels, those ministering spirits that are sent forth by the world of God to watch out for His children. They too are created beings as we, and some day we will be amongst them as they are amongst us now. So I thought it would be interesting to gain a snapshot of our neighbors who are with us here now standing guard over us from the adversary and ourselves.

What really does an angel appear as? Daniel was taken aback several times by the visit of an angel. We read this description in Daniel Chapter 10. “I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves.” (Daniel 10:5-7) As we read further in this chapter we read that this angel was no common angel, if there is such a one, but an angel of high significance. The Prophet Ezekiel gives us a more stunning description in Ezekiel 1:4-21.

Daniel as near to God as he was fell to the ground when in the presence of this angel. He was unable to regain his strength until the angel touched him and then only rose to his hands and knees. Touched again by the angel he was able to stand. An encouraging thought from this is that when we are in battle against spiritual forces a touch from a ministering spirit from God will revive our faculties that we may carry on in battle.

Let us look at three of the Archangels one of which we all know very well. We know him as Lucifer or Satan and the Devil. The Scriptures teach us the Lucifer was created as a cherub, a cherub is the most powerful of the angels. Because of his self-centeredness and an unknown time after his creation, but before the creation of man, Lucifer rebelled against God. Lucifer was in charge of 1/3rd of the angels in heaven and took those angels with him and now they are called demons.

The appearance of Lucifer is not that of a cartoon character. He does not go around in a red suit carrying a pitchfork sporting two horns on his head. Angels are neither male nor female but are addressed in the male gender. When angels leave the spiritual realm and come to earth they may take on the form of a human. All angels who are mentioned in the Scriptures are in the male gender and are addressed in the male pronoun “he.”

Lucifer as a cherub would have been a large creature. Possibly standing at a height of eighteen feet with eight foot long wings. The Prophet Ezekiel had a vision of Lucifer in which he had four wings. Beneath his wings were hands like that of a human. The surfaces of the cherub’s were covered with eyes. Cherubs, such as Lucifer, had four faces, one of a cherub, one the face of a man, the face of a lion, and the last a face of an eagle. In the book of Revelation similar creatures are described as having six wings and four faces. A face of a man, a face of the lion, the ox, and the eagle. Lucifer and the rest of the angels look nothing like the cute cherubim that you can buy for your garden or book shelf. Lucifer himself is described as being perfect in beauty and well adorned with all kinds of precious stones. For Ezekiel’s vision read. (Ezekiel 28:12-19)

Lucifer was created in perfection. At first he is described as being wise and completely righteous. He was the choir director in heaven and was in charge of the praise and worship of God. Self-pride filled his heart and led to his fall. “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you.” (Ezekiel 28:17) Lucifer desired the worship that was due to God alone. He caused one third of the angels of heaven to follow him and there was a rebellion in heaven. Michael and his angels did battle against Lucifer and Lucifer and is demons were cast down to the earth.

It was not enough for Lucifer to rebel against God but in his self-pride he sought vengeance. Lucifer first appears to man in the Garden of Eden and tempted them with sinful behavior which man fell into. He appealed to the same fault that he fell to in that he convinced that man could be as God. That God was keeping something good from man by not allowing him to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Since that day Lucifer’s mission is to rob God of what He desires the most, fellowship with man.

Lucifer continues in his rebellion today and shall till the very end of time. Lucifer hates God and most likely hates man as well. His want is for man to worship him and follow him in his evil ways. He also opposes Jesus Christ, the Son of God who defeated him on the cross and redeemed man from the kingdom of darkness unto the kingdom of light.

The next Angel we will look at is the Archangel Michael. His name means “who is like God.” Michael does not appear many times in the Scripture but when he is referred to he is always in action. We see Michael in the book of Daniel where he is battling the prince of Persia a wicked demon from Satan. “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13) We see Michael again mentioned in the book of Jude where is arguing with Lucifer over the body of Moses. “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9) Again a third time in the book of Revelation where he is battling Lucifer and putting him out of heaven. “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.” (Revelation 12:7-8)

Another powerful angel we see in the Bible is Gabriel. The name Gabriel means “God is my strength.” We see Gabriel appear four times in the Scripture. Twice we see him in the book of Daniel in Chapters 8 and 9. There he is explaining the meaning of the vision that Daniel has seen. In the New Testament he appears to Zacharias to announce the birth of John the Baptist. (Luke 1:11-20) and also to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus. (Luke 1:26-38)

There are four functions that the angels perform primarily. There are God’s messengers, God’s protectors, God’s worshipers, and God’s warriors.

The meaning of the word angel is “messenger of God.” To Daniel an angel delivered God’s answer to his prayer. Although we read in Daniel 10 that it took 21 days for the angel to arrive with the message. This was because he was hindered in Persia by demons who were trying to thwart the purposes of God. “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13) Gabriel came to Mary to tell her that she had found favor with God and would give birth to the Christ child. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” (Luke 1:31)

There are many accounts in the Scriptures that an angel was sent to protect the life of someone. In the book of Psalm we read. “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11) It was an angel that was sent to shut the mouth of the lion when Daniel was placed into the lion’s den. “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.” (Daniel 6:22)

We are not the only living beings that worship God. All the Angels worship Him and some worship His all the day without ceasing. The Prophet Isaiah saw this when he was at the throne of God. “Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:2-3) It was the angels that sang praises to God and worshiped Him at the birth of His only begotten Son Jesus. “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” (Hebrews 1:6)

Angels are the warriors of God. They were used in judgment of the Israelite people and also to fight the enemies of Israel. In the 2 Kings we see that the angel of the Lord slew 185,000 of the Assyrians. “Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead.” (2 Kings 1935) This the power of one angel of the Lord.

Some people have a tendency to worship angels but this is forbidden. The Apostles Paul warns that the worship of angels is a sin against God, for only He is worthy of our worship. “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.” (Colossians 2:18) The Apostles John who fell at the feet of an angel to worship him was rebuked by that angel to not do that. “But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:9)

Angels are all about us doing the work of the Lord. They are God’s ministering spirits sent to aid the children of God and to effect the will and purposes of God. You may not see then but they are there. Trust in the Word of God and walk in faith not by sight. You will miss so much by walking in sight. Then again you may be blessed as the servant of Elisha and have your eyes opened that you may see the myriads of angels about you. “Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant Bible College, September 3, 2015

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