Isn’t it strange that people can believe in God, yet they can’t believe in angels? Angels are essential agents of God whom He uses for various purposes. They are part of God’s created order, and mostly they live with Him in heaven (Matthew 24:36).
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines an angel (angelos) as ‘a messenger’.
According to Hebrews 2:7, man is ‘a little lower than the the angels’. This is probably better understood if one uses the alternative text given in the New King James Bible, i.e., ‘for a little while lower than the angels.’ [for a little while – until the new creation of Revelation 21:1] In view of 1 Corinthians 6:3, it could be that in the new heaven, when the redeemed will judge angels, they will be subservient to the redeemed.
Angels are intelligent beings, and they are curious about God’s purposes and intentions (1 Peter 1:12). According to Job 4:18 God charges a number of His angels ‘with error’ – and I’m not surprised; for some rebelled against Him and allied themselves with the devil (Matthew 25:41) who was cast to the earth along with his angels (Revelation 12:7, 9).
There were other angels who sinned, and God cast them down to hell, and ‘delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4, 11).’
In sharp contrast to the fallen angels, there are others who are ‘holy’ (Luke 9:26) and ‘elect’ (1 Timothy 5:21).
God’s ministering angels are ‘spirits’ (Psalm 104:4), and although they do not have material bodies like ours, they can make their presence felt by touching or striking a person (Acts 12:23). They are ministering ‘spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation’ (Hebrews 1:14).
One such angel appeared to Cornelius in a vision (Acts 10:3). He was sent from God to deliver a message to him. Because of Cornelius’ obedience, and that of Peter the Apostle, a chain of events followed which led to the salvation of Cornelius, his family and thousands of other Gentiles (Acts 10).
Some very remarkable miracles took place in the presence of angels who played their parts in them. One such miracle happened to Peter. When in prison he was freed by *’an angel of the Lord’ (Acts 12:7-12). A similar miracle happened to a number of apostles who were in a different prison at a different time (Acts 5:17-19).
Perhaps the most well known appearance of an angel was at the ‘annunciation’, i.e., the visitation of the angel Gabriel to Mary: ‘Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” He told her she would, ‘bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS (Luke 1:26-31).’
An angel also appeared to Joseph: ‘But while he thought about these things; behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20).”’
After Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness He was attended to by angels: ‘Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matthew 4:11).’ When He was in agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and ‘His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground’, ‘an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him (Luke 22:43).’
That’s not the end of the story. At the second advent Jesus will come with His angels who ‘will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:31).’ Coming ‘in the glory of His Father and with His angels, He will reward each according to his works (Matthew16:27).’
Finally, He will send out His angels, ‘and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practise lawlessness, and He will cast them into the furnace of fire (Matthew 13:41, 42).”’
* The Angel of the Lord