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                         "MINISTERING SPIRITS"

                    Terms And Descriptions Of Angels


1. The subject of angels has certainly become a popular one...
   a. Bookstores are filled with books dealing with angels
   b. Popular TV shows and movies depict angels working in our lives
      ("Highway To Heaven", "Touched By An Angel", "The Preacher's
      Wife", "It's A Wonderful Life")

2. Angels were an important part of the Jewish religion...
   a. Angels assisted with the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai - cf.
      Deut 33:2; Ps 68:17; Ac 7:53; Ga 3:19
   b. They appear throughout the history of Israel, coming to Abraham,
      Daniel, and many others

3. Angels also serve an important role in the Christian faith...
   a. They are described as "ministering spirits sent forth to minister
      for those who will inherit salvation" - He 1:13-14
   b. They have certainly ministered in the past - cf. Lk 1:11-38
   c. They will certainly minister at the time of Christ's return - cf.
      Mt 13:36-43

4. But to what extent do they minister in the present...?
   a. This is a subject that is prone to much speculation
   b. It is easy to get caught up in idle myths and fables
   c. About which we are warned to avoid - cf. 1Ti 1:3-4; 4:7; 6:20;
      2Ti 2:16; 4:3-4
   -- Yet angels are a Biblical subject, therefore worthy of careful

[With a desire to be content with what the Bible reveals on the subject
of angels, we begin this study with a look at some terms and
descriptions regarding angels...]


      1. The Hebrew word malak (found 103 times in the OT) simply means
         a. It can refer to a human messenger - 1Ki 19:2
            1) It is applied to the prophet Haggai - Hag 1:13
            2) It is applied to a priest - Mal 2:7
            3) It is applied to both John the Baptist and Jesus in
               prophecy - Mal 3:1
            4) The name of the prophet Malachi comes from the same word
         b. It can refer to a divine messenger - Gen 28:12
            1) Supernatural or heavenly beings sent as messengers to men
            2) Agents who carry out the will of God - ISBE
      2. The Greek word angelos likewise means "messenger"
         a. The word occurs 175 times in the NT
         b. Of men, it is used only 6 times in the NT

      1. Sons of God - God's sons by virtue of His creation - cf. Job
         1:6; 38:7
      2. Holy ones - suggesting they belong to God, 'set apart' for His
         purposes - Ps 89:5,7 (NASB, NIV)
      3. Watcher, watchers - likely referring to angels - cf. Dan 4:13,
      4. Host - denoting the armies of heaven, which likely included
         angels - cf. 1Sa 17:45
      5. Archangel - used twice, once in connection with Michael - 1 Th
         4:16; Jude 9
      6. Prince, chief princes, great prince - used in the book of
         Daniel - Dan 10:13,21; 12:1
      7. Paul used terms that may refer to angels - cf. Col 1:16; Ep 1:
         21; 3:10
         a. Principalities (archai)
         b. Powers (exousiai)
         c. Thrones (thronoi)
         d. Dominions (kyriotetes)
         e. Powers (dynamesis)
         -- Yet these are sometimes distinguished from angels (Ro 8:38;
            1Pe 3:22), and at times described as negative forces (Col 2:
            15; Ep 6:12)

[It quickly becomes apparent that the Bible has a lot to say about
angels.  More about angels can be gleaned from the Bible as we


      1. They are spirit beings
         a. Called "spirits", suggesting they do not have corporeal
            bodies  - He 1:14
         b. Though they did reveal themselves at times in the form of
            human bodies - Gen 18:3
         c. They do not function as human beings in such things as
            marriage - Mk 12:25
         d. They are not subject to death - Lk 20:36
      2. They are created beings
         a. They are part of the creation that is to praise Jehovah
            - Ps 148:1-5
         b. They were created by Christ, among all other things - Co
      3. They are innumerable
         a. An innumerable company - He 12:22
         b. John's descriptions suggests their number is countless - Re
      4. They are a higher order than man
         a. Man was created lower than the angels - He 2:6-7
         b. Angels are not capable of death - Lk 20:36
         c. They have greater wisdom, though limited - 2Sa 14:20; Mt
         d. They have greater power, though it too is limited - Mt 28:2;
            Dan 10:13
      5. They always appeared as men
         a. Never as women or children, always clothed
         b. Other than Cherubim and Seraphim> (whose classification as
            angels is suspect), they never have wings - though cf.
            Re 8:13; 14:6
         c. Many times they were so disguised as men they were not first
            identified as angels - Gen 18:1-2; 19:1; He 13:2

      1. The archangel, the "great prince"
         a. Michael is called the archangel - Jude 9; cf. 1Th 4:16
         b. Michael is called the "great prince", who watched over
            Israel - Dan 12:1; cf. 10:21
         c. Michael is mentioned in Re 12:7
         d. Some (JWs and others) believe Michael was the pre-incarnate
      2. The chief princes
         a. Of whom Michael was one - Dan 10:13
         b. Some would include Gabriel in this classification
            1) The angel sent to explain visions to Daniel - Dan 8:16;
            2) Who also made announcements to Zacharias and Mary - Lk
      3. The princes
         a. The term applied to angels in the book of Daniel - e.g., Dan
         b. Also to what appear to be evil angelic forces - cf. Dan 10:
      4. The Angel of the Lord
         a. An angel who seems to speak as the Lord Himself - e.g., Judg
            2:1; Gen 16:10-13
         b. Leading some to wonder if this was the pre-incarnate Christ
      5. Cherubim?
         a. Thought by some to be an order or class of angels, though
            others hold them to be a higher class of heavenly beings
            than angels
         b. Whose purpose was to be "proclaimers and protectors of God's
            glorious presence, His sovereignty, and His Holiness"
            - C. Fred Dickason
         c. In the Bible...
            1) They stood guard at the Garden of Eden - Gen 3:24
            2) Their golden figures covered the mercy seat above the ark
               in the tabernacle - Exo 25:17-22
            3) Their designs graced the walls and veils of the
               tabernacle, and later in the temple - Exo 26:1,31; 1 Kin
               6:23-35; 7:29,36
            4) They attended the glory of God in Ezekiel's vision - Ezek
               1:1-28; cf. 10:1-20
         d. Their description fits those of the four living creatures in
            Revelation rather than angels - cf. Re 4:4-6
      6. Seraphim?
         a. Six winged creatures attending the Lord in Isaiah's vision
            - Isa 6:1-13
         b. Whose name literally means "burning one", also considered by
            many as a higher class than angels
         c. Their work was to "praise and proclaim the perfect holiness
            of God" - Dickason
         d. Their description is also akin to those of the four living
            creatures in Revelation rather than angels - cf. Re 4:8-9
      7. Satan and his angels
         a. Many believe that Satan is a fallen angel
            1) That he is "Lucifer", a name applied to the king of
               Babylon - Isa 14:1-12
            2) That he was among the highest of God's creation, a cherub
               whose fall and judgment is applied figuratively to the
               king of Tyre - cf. Ezek 28:11-19
         b. Satan does has his angels, for whom condemnation awaits
            - cf. Mt 25:41; Re 20:10
         c. The doctrine of Satan and his angels (along with demons)
            will hopefully be examined in another study


1. With this brief introduction it should be apparent that...
   a. The Bible has much to say about angels
   b. It is easy to speculate about angels

2. My hope and prayer is that our future studies will...
   a. Focus on what the Bible actually reveals
   b. Avoid the vain speculation that is condemned

In the course of our study, we should never forget the One who deserves
our greatest attention:

   "For to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son,
   Today I have begotten You'? And again: 'I will be to Him a Father,
   And He shall be to Me a Son'? But when He again brings the
   firstborn into the world, He says: 'Let all the angels of God
   worship Him.'" (He 1:5-6)

Have we joined the angels in worshipping the Son, through our own faith
and obedience...?
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