Angels are very important in the scripture, they are mentioned 108 times in the Old Testament, and 165 times in the New Testament. Jesus himself told us more about angels than all the New Testament personalities. Angels have played very significant roles in history right from the very first moment when God placed them at the gates of the garden of Eden to stop Adam and Eve from returning. Angels will also play a much significant role at the very end of this world when they go about collecting all of God’s elect with a loud trumpet call, then the Lord himself shall descend to dwell for the rest of eternity with His elect in the New Jerusalem.
Angels were created by God prior to the creation of this material world. Psalm 148:5 tells us that God created angels, and Colossians 1:16 tells us that all things in heaven and the universe was created for Jesus by Jesus and through Jesus. Jesus always associated angels with His own glory, service, and ministry. Today, Jesus uses angels to serve His purpose in the life of believers. He uses angels to serve, witness, and to minister to His own. As messengers sent by God, angels minister to our physical needs. The angels are commanded by God to guard us, protect us, defend us and surround us. For example (in the scriptures):
- When Hagar wandered alone into the wilderness with little Ismael, an angel came to minister to her (Gen. 21).
- When Lot and his family lingered, the angels literally had to seize them out from the land of Sodom and Gomorrah before the swift destruction of the land (Gen. 19).
- When Balaam went about on his journey disobeying God’s order, it was an angel who literally blocked Balaam and his donkey dead right in their tracks (Num. 22).
- When the king of Syria waged war on Israel, Elisha prayed, and a league of angels appeared in horses and chariots of fire to surround and protect him. (2 Kings 6).
- It was an angel who went out and killed a staggering 185,000 Assyrians troops who had invaded Israel (2 Kings 19).
- When Daniel was thrown in the den of lions, God sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouth so they would not hurt him (Daniel 6).
- Angels came to minister to Jesus himself after his temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4)
- It was an angel who rolled away the very large stone at the entrance of the tomb (Matt. 28).
- It was an angel who rescued and guided Peter out of Herod’s secure Prison that was surrounded by guards and iron gate (Acts 12).
- It was an angel of God that came to minister to Paul when he was shipwrecked on his way to Rome (Acts 27).
Many people think that when they die, they will become angels, No, that is not true. What Jesus is saying in Mark 12:25 is that that on the resurrection day, we would assume some of the characteristics of angels. For examples, like angels, we would not be married or given in marriage; we would never die; we would be in perfect obedience to God; we would be praising God day and night in heaven without ever getting tired.
The bible says (Psalm 8:5) that when man was created, they were created a little lower than the angels. What does that mean? It means that in some aspects for now at least, angels possess some characteristic superior to ours. For example, they can float from one side of the universe to the other side of the universe in less than a nanosecond, but we humans cannot do that now. However, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6, that those redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, will one day be lifted up higher than the angels and will be given authority to rule over God’s angels.
I am told that the moon which is our closest neighbour is 240,000 miles away from the earth. It is mind boggling for me to think of the other planets which are billions of miles away. I just can’t fathom that Venus is approx. 160 million miles away from us. Or that Saturn is approx. 750 million miles away, or that Neptune is approx. 3 billion miles away from earth.
Apparently, it took 12 good years for the Voyager 2 spacecraft to reach as closest to planet Neptune while travelling at an average staggering speed of 42,000 mph. But guess what? It does not matter wherever an angel may be in the entire universe because, at the very command of God, they are down here in less than a nanosecond helping and protecting us as directed by God.
As I ponder on all these things, I think we all ought to take time out to think of the vast God who has all these myriads of angels at his service. We ought to take time out to think about the depths of God’s ocean of creation. We really ought to take time out to think of the awesomeness of the mighty God we serve! Unfortunately, everything in this world is pulling us to believe that all the reality is what we can see, but we should go beyond that and focus on the spiritual reality that is awaiting us all. Every now and then, we should take time out from this passing and disappearing world and contemplate the day we will pierce that veil into the spiritual world.
God created Angels in a way that they are trained to be in subjection to God alone. They are created to respond to God alone, and not at human’s request. It is not only idolatry to pray to angels, but it won’t do you any good. It is wrong to worship angels and venerate the saints because when we look to angels or the patron saints, we naturally take our eyes off Jesus, and that is the very heart of idolatry. We are not to worship angels, or pray to angels, or elevate angels to a divine position that only belongs to God alone. Angels are created beings, and they only serve at God’s command.
In all the popularity of angels as seen on media and bookstores, the Angel that really matters is the least these worshippers of angels are interested in. In fact, he is the only Angel deserving of our worship and praise, and not any other created angels. In the Old Testament, the scripture reveals him as “The Angel of the Lord” (Gen 16, Exodus 3:2), “The Lord” (Gen. 18), “The Face of God” (Gen 32:30), “The Captain of the Lord of hosts” (Joshua 5), “The Angel of the Covenant” (Malachi 3:1).
The Angel of the Lord is distinctively distinguished from all other angelic hierarchy and angelic beings. For example, unlike other angels, only the Angel of the Lord was unique because He knows the future (Gen. 16), makes promises and receives intercessions (Gen. 18), demands surrender and gives blessings (Gen. 32). There is no other like him, and there will be no other like him. This Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is none other than the pre-incarnate Christ.
To conclude with, I heard about a preacher of yesteryears who was once preparing to preach from the passage of Genesis 32 (which tells the story of Jacob wrestling with God). And so, the preacher asked a physician friend of his if there was any known medical point of view he may know of to why God touched Jacob’s hip socket during the fight which left Jacob with a dislocated hip from his joint. The physician responded saying the hip socket has the strongest tissue in the human body that even a horse could not tear apart… I think what God wants to know from this story is that the Angel of the Lord must break us down at the strongest point of our self-will before he can bless us.
Founder of CNN, Ted Turner, many years ago said that Christianity is a religion for losers. I do think he was right. We wrestle with God, not to win but to lose, and therefore, we are losers. In Matthew 16:25, Jesus said that those who lose their lives for His sake will gain it. As far as the world is concerned, we are losers because we want to lose to God… The world will never understand that servants of the Lord Jesus conquer by yielding, triumph in defeat, and have victory by glorying in infirmity.
Closing Prayer: “Lord Jesus, we are weak, frail, and helpless in the storm. Surround us with Your Angels and hold us in Your Arms. Lord, please break us gently at the strongest point of our self-will as we look forward to Your blessings in the here and the after. Amen.”