Most men and women today when asked about ANGELS would give a vague description of spirit-like, winged creatures, decked with halos, inhabiting heaven. Many would also believe that the angelic state is a reward for those human beings who devote their mortal life to “doing good”.
But do we have any definite information available on angels? Or do we have to rely on these misty ideas passed down from one generation to another?
WHAT ARE ANGELS?
As our title suggests, we believe that the BIBLE contains authentic information about angels and so, as angels are undeniably connected with God in heaven and the Bible is his wholly inspired word, it seems logical to turn to its pages to find out more about them. In so doing, we discover the following FACTS:
Angels are described as “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14)
The Psalmist says “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his (God’s) commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure” (Psalm 103.:20-21)
The Greek word translated ‘angels’ in the New Testament is angelos, which means simply a ‘messenger’ and is in fact used several times in the scriptures to denote a person sent on an errand - see, for example, Luke 7:24 where “messenger” = angelos. As “ministers” or messengers of God we find throughout the Bible that their function is to superintend the outworking of God’s purpose on earth.
Whilst invisibly supervising various developments in the earth, the angels have a specific duty to guard and guide those men and women who “fear” God (Psalm 34:7), the supreme example of which was the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom is was said that God would “give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalm 91:11)
DO ANGELS HAVE WINGS?
To many this would seem a strange question to ask as it is almost uniformly accepted that these celestial beings have dazzling white wings to transport them through the realms of space. But what does the Bible say? The evidence of the scriptures shows that angels appeared, and were described, as “men” on several occasions (see eg. Mark 16:5: Genesis 19:1,5) and as such, have been mistaken for mere humans by those to whom they were sent. So much so that the apostle in Hebrews 13:2 warns believers to
“be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained ANGELS unawares.”
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE ANGELS' WORK?
It is obvious that God, through the ministration of his angels, is very much concerned with affairs on this earth and indeed his son taught us to pray for his kingdom to come and his “will to be done in earth, as it is (now done) in heaven” by the angels. Jesus also promised that “the meek shall inherit the earth” and those whom he accounts worthy of this inheritance, will then become “equal unto the angels”. This is what Jesus said.
“…they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:35-36)
The Bible has much to say on the subject of salvation, which consists of a far more concrete hope than the vague pictures of heavenly, angelic existence commonly taught today. We have to turn to its pages to unearth the FACTS and not rely on mere tradition which, as we have seen, can be far from Biblical truth.