Let’s open with a word of prayer if we could. Let us pray. Father, we’re grateful for this morning and for Your people, grateful for Your Word and grateful for the opportunities You give us to gather in Your name, to fellowship, the study of Your Word with the church today and all of its [can’t understand word]. Be with Sunday School and Sunday School’s that are meeting right now and I just pray You’ll be with the worship service that follows. I do ask, Father, that You would do something in our lives today. [can’t hear]
Let’s open our Bibles to 2 Chronicles chapter 18 and verse 18. We are continuing in Sunday School our study through the doctrine of the angels. What does the Bible reveal about the angels? It’s an area called angelology, the study of the angels, what does the Bible reveal about the angels? As we’ve talked about there is not an angel book in the Bible, you can’t just say let’s see, let’s look up the angel book and read that. The doctrine of angels is sort of scattered all over the Bible so it becomes necessary to go through really the whole Bible on angels and try to arrange the data in a meaningful way. We’ll be getting into Satanology, the doctrine of Satan, Satan has to be covered here because he was once an angel. And then Satan deceived a third of the angels into rebelling with him against God and those are the demons so we have to study those, demonology. And then the study sort of wraps up looking at the sons of God, daughters of men controversy in Genesis 6:1-4.
We’ve actually covered letters A through E already. We just have to cover F and G. [A. Existence, B. Origin, C. Nature, D. Appearance, E. Names and classifications, F. Abode] So we’ve seen that angels clearly exist. As far as their origin is concerned we looked at all the different issues related to the origin of the angels, the fact that they are creations of God. We got into the discussion of when they were created and then we also got into the whole issue of the fact that the angels were created as angels. They’re not humans and they’re not deity. We talked about the fact that they’re creatures and as such they have the limitations of a creature; they’re not omnipotent, omnipresent, or omniscient as we’ve talked about.
Then we got into the nature of the angels and we saw that they were actually personages or personalities; they’re not sort of invisible spirits, like the Force in Star Wars. And we looked at their power, compared to us they’re very strong but obviously they’re not as strong as God. Their primary material is spiritual although they can appear as humans. We talked a little bit about the gender of the angels. And then we got into their appearance, when they appear on the earth they look like men actually; when the Bible records their appearance on earth but in heaven they’re often described as strange creatures; they are strange looking creatures to us because there’s no parallel with a creature on the earth that we know of.
And last week we got into the names and the classifications of angels. Those are some of the names of angels that we talked about. [General: Angels, Ministering spirits, Heavenly hosts, Watchers, Sons of God, Stars] Those are some of the general names of angels that we talked about. Some of the special classifications of angels are Cherubim, Seraphim, Michael and Gabriel, all of them fulfilling different roles. And we spent a bit of time last time on Michael because we wanted to communicate the point that contrary to what a lot of people are teaching today Michael should not be confused with Jesus.
So really the only thing left to cover is the abode of the angels and the activities of the angels. So, let’s take a look at their abode, and you might want to open your Bible to 2 Chronicles 18:18. When is the last time you studied the Book of 2 Chronicles? Is anybody having their devotions this week in 2 Chronicles…probably not, Yours Truly included, but there’s some wonderful things in those Old Testament books.
But what do we do with the abode of the angels? Where exactly do they live? Where is home for them? And we saw very clearly, I’m not going to re-read the verses because we’ve gone through them but clearly, they can make earthly visitations. You see that in Genesis 18 and 19. And Abram, then Abraham received some visitors, did he not, and what we discover is two of those visitors were angels, when you track the story all the way up to Genesis 19:1.
And we have that verse in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 13 and verse 2, that some of you have entertained” what? “angels unaware.” [Hebrews 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” KJV] Now how can you entertain an angel unaware unless an angel has the ability to take the appearance of a human. So there’s no doubt that biblically angels can make earthly visitations. However, the earth, I don’t think, is their primary home or their habitation. Their primary home or habitation is in heaven and that’s why I had you open up to 2 Chronicles 18:18, and notice what it says there. It says, “Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left.” So you notice there that angels are called “the host of heaven.”
And over in the Book of Luke, chapter 1, verse 19, it talks there about Gabriel and it talks about how Gabriel stands in the presence of the Lord. So that’s sort of another hint that angels, their primary abode is in heaven. Luke 1:19, it says, “… ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, [and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.’”]
And you might recall Luke 15:10, remember what the angels do when a sinner repents? They rejoice and that’s a wonderful verse there telling us that angels have an emotional makeup because rejoicing is an emotion. But in the process of that description it says, “In the same way,” Jesus speaking, Luke 15:10, “I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” So there they are in heaven, (the way it looks to me) in heaven rejoicing.
And then over in John 1:51 the Jacob’s ladder passage. Notice what it says over in John 1:51…. I did warn you when we started we’d look up a lot of verses in this class. Theology is only as good as the text it’s found in… Amen! So that’s why I want to show you that there’s actually textual reasons for these ideas that we have about angels. John 1:51, “And He said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”’ The heavens opened! So you kind of take all these verses and you put them together and you sort of learn that yeah, angels certainly can make some earthly visitations but their primary home, their primary abode is in heaven.
Which leads us just to one more category to look at under the good angels is the activities of the angels. What do the angels do? And here we talk about their past activities, their present activities and their future activities and let me put your mind at rest. [Cherub(im) – Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:17-22. Seraph(im) – Isaiah 6:2, 6 Michael – Daniel 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7. Gabriel – Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:18-19, 26-38.] This is a highly abbreviated list. If we were to look up everything an angel did in the Bible this series may never end before the rapture. So this is very abbreviated. I’ve recommended a couple of times Billy Graham’s book, Angels, God’s Secret Agents. That was sort of one of my first exposures to the doctrine of angels because he just talks… it’s sort of astounding to read it and to see how frequent angels are portrayed in the Bible. So if you want to go deeper with it I recommend that book.
But let’s look at an abbreviated list. What had angels done in the past. According to the Book of Job, this is a passage we’ve covered, chapter 38 and verse 7, the sons of God were the ones praising God as he brought forth creation. And so, angels were there to witness creation, either angels existed long before creation and witnessed the whole thing or I tried to also communicate there’s another view is that angels were created during the creation week and therefore witnessed much of creation. But whichever view you take clearly angels understand the creative power of God because Job 38:7 describes them as praising the Lord as the Lord brought forth the heavens and the earth. [Job 38:7, “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”]
It’s kind of sad today, we live in a time period where God doesn’t get any credit for creation because what they teach in the public-school system is everything came about randomly and accidentally through the theory of evolution which is “from the goo to the zoo to you” over billions of years. And so if you believe that then why give God credit for creation. We know from Revelation 4:11 that God deserves glory on account of creation. [Revelation 4:11, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”]
But even angels have enough sense to give God glory for what He has done because Job 38:7 says, “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted out for joy. And the prior verses God says to Job, [Job 38:4] “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth.” “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.”  Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?  On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,” creation in other words. And then it says, “When the morning stars” it’s got to be angels because stars don’t sing, “morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” So when God was creating the angels just couldn’t contain it anymore and they just began to praise the Lord.
So, God deserves glory on account of what He has made and when you understand this you start to understand God’s anger with the human race, Romans 1, who takes what God has created and suppresses it. Romans 1:18 and following says the wrath of God is revealed because of this. [Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness  because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.  For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”]
So when you look at a Picasso painting or a Michelangelo or you read a Shakespearian masterpiece, you want to give glory to the Lord who created those things. Right? Shakespeare, what a mind he had we say, or what a wonderful talent in Picasso or Michelangelo. I mean, that’s natural, right? And yet what has the human race done? They’ve taken creation and explained it without God and that’s why God’s anger is kindled against humanity, Romans 1. But the angels at the beginning have enough sense to praise the Lord for His handiwork in creation.
Something else that angels frequently did in the past is they were instruments that God used to bring judgment. Remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, right? It’s interesting how God delegates the assignment of judgment over to angels; God empowers angels to bring judgments. And so in Genesis 19:15, concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, it says, “When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot,” the only believer that we know of in Sodom, and his family, “saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” So, the angels came to destroy the city and they came to warn Lot to get out of the city before destruction came. And when you go to Genesis 19:22 the angel that was given the task of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah said, “Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore, the name of the town was called Zoar.” So the angels said I can’t even destroy this city until you’re out of this city and so that very clearly communicates that God assigned the task of destroying the city to angels.
Notice the Book of Acts, chapter 12, for a minute, verses 22 and 23, concerning the wicked ruler named Herod Agrippa. Notice what it says there, Acts 12:22-23, “The people kept crying out, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Everybody liked in the Greco-Roman world how this guy, Herod Agrippa, spoke. They gravitated towards their favorite politician based on how they talked. I’m glad we don’t do stuff like that today. [Laughter] And they began to say of Herod Agrippa,” The voice of a god and not of a man.” They began to call him a god. Now we know that when people do that God doesn’t share His glory with another… Amen! So anybody that claims to be God is, as my dad used to tell me when I acted up, “you’re cruising’ for a bruising.’” [Laughter]
And notice what it says there in Acts 19:23, “And immediately” God didn’t waste a lot of time on this one, “an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.” So, end of problem! But you’ll notice that it was not God that did this directly but the task was given for judgment, just like Sodom and Gomorrah, to an angel of the Lord.
Number three, the angels were involved in mediating the Law of Moses as the Law of Moses was given at the Sinai revelation. We learn that the angels were instrumental in [can’t understand word] that law through Moses to the chosen people, the people of Israel. And if you slip over to the Book of Galatians, chapter 3 and verse 19 it says, “What then the Law? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained” now some translations say mediated, “having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.” So it’s an interesting passage here about the Law and there’s a lot of things to talk about but the only thing I would draw your attention to is it was mediated via angels. So, the angels were somehow involved in that Sinai revelation.
Angels, of course, announced the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. Anybody remember the specific angel that was involved in that? Gabriel. So when you look over at Luke chapter 1, verses 11-13, we sort of talked about the fact that Gabriel seems to have a role in disclosing new truth. And it says in Luke 1:11-13, it says, “And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.  Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.” So, who was this man, John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb, Zacharias’s soon son, an angel, Gabriel was dispatched from heaven to explain that reality.
And then when you go down to Luke 1:26-27, Gabriel does the same thing relative to the birth of Jesus Christ. It says, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth  to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” So, notice also that it’s Gabriel that discloses what’s happening in Mary’s womb. And that’s in Luke 1:26-27. So angels in the past were involved in announcing the births of John and Jesus Christ.
Here’s something interesting; angels were involved in strengthening Christ during His ordeals. He was pushed to a degree a human being has never been pushed in the area of personal temptation. And that story, historical account, is given in Matthew 4:1-11.
[Matthew 4:1-11, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.  And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”  Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,  and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”  Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”  Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;  and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”  Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”]
What are the three areas in which temptation comes? John tells us “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life.” Eve, Genesis 3:6, was tested in all three; “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate also.” When it says “desirable to the eyes” “good for food,” “desirable to make one wise,” that’s the” lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life.” Jesus came into the world to be tested in those three areas also but because He was the God-man He could hold up under that temptation. You recall the temptation, command the stones to become bread, that’s lust of the flesh. Use your body in a way that’s displeasing to God, that’s an appeal to the body. And then Satan in an instant showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and said you can have them just bow down and worship me and they’ll all be yours, so that would be lust of the eye. It was an appeal to the eye. And then the final temptation is throw yourself from the temple and the angels will catch you. And there I think it’s an appeal to you can have an immediate following by performing a miracle outside of the will of God the Father. And I think that’s an appeal to the pride of life.
So this is why Jesus is called the “last Adam.” He succeeded in every area where our forbearers failed in the three avenues in which temptation comes, lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. You know, one of those temptations basically what Satan is saying is I know You’ve come into the world, Jesus, to redeem the world through the cross and guess what? You don’t have to go to the cross to have the world, you can have the whole thing right now, just give me a moment of worship Satan says to Jesus. And can you imagine how fast any of us would fold under that kind of temptation? And yet Jesus, after fasting for forty days, who was physically fatigued obviously, said no to that temptation.
By the way, that’s why Jesus is called a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. [Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”] Jesus was pushed the furthest degree a person has ever been pushed in those three areas, lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life. And so, when you and I experience our minor temptations in those same three areas He knows exactly what we’re going through.
All of that to describe the ordeal of what He went through and it says in Matthew 4:11, I think Luke’s account says “the devil left Him for a more opportune time.” [Luke 4:13, “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.”] It actually says it here in Matthew 4:11 as well, it says, “Then the devil left Him;” and then it says this, “and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.?” So, they were used by God to minister to Christ at probably, I would guess His weakest point.
Angels also, if you go to Matthew 28, are involved in announcing the resurrection of Jesus. Let’s take a look at Matthew 28:5-7, It says, “The angel said to the women,” who came to visit the empty tomb, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.  “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” So, you notice there’s an angel here announcing the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And then Jesus, in between His resurrection and ascension has a forty-day ministry in the Book of Acts where He’s teaching the disciples on a lot of subjects concerning the Kingdom of God. And then Jesus disappears. And that’s what we call the ascension and who was there observing the ascension of Jesus Christ? Take a look at Acts 1:9 it says, “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”  “And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.” Now it doesn’t say they are angels but I would hazard to guess that these two are probably angels. And then they start to give a theology lesson on the second coming. They also said, “Men, Galileans, why do you stand looking into the sky?” Now why would they say that? Because He told them in chapter 1 verse 8, a few verses earlier, you’re going to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and into the remote parts of the earth. [Acts 1:8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”]
In other words, you’ve got a job to do. Now He told them to wait until they received empowerment from on high, the Holy Spirit. But it’s kind of funny, they’re kind of staring at Jesus going into heaven and these angels are saying what are you doing that for, your job is earthly; don’t worry too much about heavenly things or angelic things that you don’t understand, worry about the job that God has given you that you do understand. Do you think we need to hear that at all? I mean, I spend so much time trying to figure out things that God hasn’t spoken on when I ought to be spending my time doing what I know I’m supposed to be doing. Amen! So, there’s a good lesson here for all of us.
But you’ll notice that these angels are basically watching Jesus ascend back into heaven along with the disciples. And as we said earlier angels were very active in bringing messages from God to people. Luke 1:13. [Luke 1:13, “But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.”] It’s Gabriel that brings to the parents of Jesus and John the Baptist information about what’s happening in the respective wombs of the respective mothers. In fact, the name “angel,” you might remember from the first lesson we did on this, the name angel is derived from the word to evangelize. Old Testament and New Testament, the concept of the word angel, molech in Hebrew or angelos in Greek, you can see how those words are connected to messenger or message or evangelization because that’s one of the main tasks of angels. Angels exist to bring messages.
And that’s why the author of Hebrews spends two chapters explaining to his audience that Jesus is higher than the angels. Hebrews 1 and 2. I think we covered a little bit of that last time. Why does the author of Hebrews try to demonstrate that Jesus is higher than the angels in two chapters of the book? Why did he you spend the first two chapters dealing with that? Well, he’s trying to get his Hebrew Christian audience not to lapse backward into Judaism because of persecution from unbelieving Jews by explaining to them that the full revelation they have in Jesus Christ is better or higher than anything they had in Old Testament Judaism. And if you can demonstrate to that audience that Jesus is higher than the angels and the Jews well understood that angels are messengers, then you could understand or you could communicate that the message of Jesus is higher than the message of the Old Testament. Do you see the point? That’s why he spends so much time explaining that Jesus is higher than angels, because he’s trying to explain that Jesus is a higher message than that contained in the Old Testament. And he’s doing that by demonstrating that Jesus is higher than the very messengers of the Old Testament angels, including the ones that mediated or brought forth God’s Law.
So anyway, that’s just a very terse concise list. I probably left out quite a bit but it’s astounding, isn’t it, to discover all of the things that angels have done in the past. Well, probably what you’re more interested in is what are they doing right now. So what are some present activities of angels. One of the things that they do is they protect Christians and believers. Are you happy about that? I’m happy about that! You might remember the story that we referenced concerning Elisha. The servant of Elisha was very worried that the enemy was coming and Elisha tells the servant don’t worry, those that are with us are more than those that are with them. And the servant was puzzled by that statement, what is that supposed to mean? And so 2 Kings 6:17 says, “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.” So obviously angels play some sort of role in protecting believers.
In the Billy Graham book that I mentioned, “Angels, God’s Secret Agents,” it mentions some folks that were trying to kill some missionaries and basically what happened is these missionaries end up reaching this people group, this remote people group that was originally trying to kill them, and when the two groups started talking back and forth after salvations occurred the people in this particular people group said who are those men, those shining men that were standing around your tent that night? And the missionary said we don’t know of any such army or any such men and those that were evangelized said yeah, we were going to kill you but there was an army around your tent. And so the missionary, it sort of dawned on him that God had sent protective angels to protect him from this particular tribe until they were evangelized. So, I think when we die and get to heaven it’s going to be astounding to discover all the ways God dispatched angels to help us in time of need.
Psalm 34:7, notice what that says. There’s a lot here in the Bible about the protective care of angels. Psalm 34, and notice, if you will, verse 7, it says, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.” Another good verse on this is Psalm 91:11-12 and as I read this see if you can remember where this is referenced elsewhere in Scripture. It says, “For he will give his angels charge concerning you, To guard you in your ways.  They will bear you up in their hands that you do not strike your foot against a stone.” Anybody recall where this is quoted elsewhere in the Bible? This is Satan quoting the Bible. You say you mean Satan quotes the Bible? Yes, he does! He knows the Bible better than most pastors know it. The problem is when Satan, the father of lies, John 8:44, quotes the Bible he always twists it. [John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.]
So, in the three temptations in one of the temptations where he told Jesus to throw Himself from the temple and the angels will catch you, he was twisting it to make it sound like you need to intentionally put yourself in harm’s way. I mean, just go ahead out here on the freeway and lay out there and after all, God said He’s going to protect you through His angels, right? So that’s why Jesus responded, “Do not put the Lord thy God to the” what? “to the test.” So, Satan took the truth and twisted it, which is what Satan always does. But the truth of the matter is God, Psalm 91:11-12, uses angels all of the time to protect His people from all sorts of things. [Psalm 91:11-12, “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.  They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone.”]
So, I think it was one of our famous missionaries, I can’t remember which one, he basically said the servant of God’s life is virtually indestructible until it’s God’s determination that it’s time for that person to go home, because God is always using angels, constantly, to protect us in ways we’re not even aware of.
Now one of the questions that comes up is do we have guardian angels; I mean, is there a specific angel assigned to Andy Woods? And given the fact that I get myself into trouble quite frequently I think I might need more than one. I don’t know of a specific verse that teaches that but there’s a couple of inferences that maybe that’s true. Matthew 18:10, it says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones” children in other words, “for I say to you that their angels,” that’s interesting, the possessive there is “their angels in heaven continually see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” It doesn’t mention mere angels. And so if I was going to build a case that we each have guardian angels that’s probably the only verse I would have that would in any way communicate that.
There is this very strange reference over in Acts 12:15 to Peter; you remember Peter in Acts 12 was in prison and the church was praying that Peter would get out of prison. Remember that? And guess what? The Lord answered the prayer but the church didn’t believe the Lord answered the prayer so they kept praying and while the church kept praying what was Peter doing? He’s outside the door knocking, you guys don’t have to pray anymore, the prayer has been answered. And Rhoda comes to the door and basically, she’s the one that says Peter’s out there you guys, stop praying, the prayer’s been answered. And the church didn’t really believe that the Lord had answered the prayer and so they made this very strange statement to Rhoda in Acts 12:15. Notice what it says, “They said to her, ‘You are out of your mind!” See, that’s how unbelief works, right? “But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, ‘It is his angel.’” So they’re using sarcasm there that it’s really not Peter, it’s his angel.
Now I don’t think a piece of sarcasm like that would exist unless there’s some truth behind it. There must have been some sort of common Jewish understanding in the reality of guardian angels for you can’t be sarcastic about something that’s not true. Do you see my point? And so Matthew 18:10 is not very strong evidence, and Acts 12:15 also not very strong evidence either because its sarcasm, may be as close as you can come in the Bible to building a case of specific guardian angels. But whether there are specific angels assigned to me or not, or are assigned to you or not I do not know. I do know this much, that angels exist to minister to “those who will inherit salvation.” That would include us, amen! Their salvation is our future glorification and until we arrive at glory what does it say in Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.” So that’s one of the main purposes of angels is to protect believers.
Something else angels do presently is they deliver answers to prayer. Gabriel, Daniel 9:23, was dispatched from heaven to give to Daniel an answer to prayer, a tremendous prayer there in Daniel 9, the prayer of the seventy weeks. [Daniel 9:23, “At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so, give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”]
And then over in Daniel 10:12 it talks about how an angel was dispatched from heaven to answer Daniel’s prayer request as Daniel was seeking the future of the nation of Israel. [Daniel 10:12, “Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.”] But that angel was held up for 21 days. Why was that angel held up for 21 days? Because that angel is being resisted by a demon called “the Prince of Persia.” The prince over Persia. And the two of them duke it out for 21 days. That’d be quite a boxing match, wouldn’t it, to watch. And then finally Michael had to be dispatched from heaven to help the first angel and the two of them sort of tag-teamed, if you will, on the demon over Persia and then finally that angel got through to answer Daniel’s prayer request.
You’ll see that whole story recorded in Daniel 10. And there’s a lot of interesting things we could learn from that story but one of those things is angels are clearly involved in answering prayer. Somehow God uses angels in His providence to answer prayer requests. And by the way, when you die and if we’re not the rapture generation, we’re all going to die… Amen? The mortality rate is still 100% the last time I checked; every time I look in the mirror I don’t seem to be getting any younger. The grim reaper is coming for all of us. So, when you die and your physical body separates from your soul, when the material and the immaterial separate and it’s time for your soul in Jesus Christ to go to heaven, who comes and gets your soul? A lot of people think Jesus comes and gets us and I don’t think that’s true; I think He’s coming for the rapture generation but I don’t think He comes and gets every single soul and takes it to heaven. Apparently, that’s a task that He has assigned to angels. You say well where are you getting that from? It’s in Luke 16:22. It says, “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom;” so apparently the angels are involved in getting the souls of the deceased and taking them to their appointed destinations.
Angels are also involved in government. I say AMEN to that because some of those folks up there need some angels to look out concerning some of the decisions they make. But Daniel 10:21, remember it was Michael that had to kind of tag team with the first angel to defeat the Prince of Persia so the first angel could get through to answer Daniel’s prayer request? That shows you right there that angels are involved in human government. [Daniel 10:21, “However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.”]
Daniel 12:1 talks about how Michael exists to protect which nation? The nation of Israel. [Daniel 12:1, “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.”] So very clearly Michael has an assignment relative to politics.
And here’s something that I find very interesting over in the Book of Daniel, chapter 11 and verse 1. There was a good king in Persia. Remember how he was sort of tricked into putting Daniel in the lion’s den because they got him to sign a law against prayer? And then, according to the tradition of the Medes and the Persians, once a law is passed you can’t revoke it. And so, this particular king agonized all night long if he had been tricked into putting Daniel in the lion’s den. And it says that that particular king, Darius the Mede, it’s very interesting, Daniel 11:1, is says, “In the first year of Darius the Mede, I” now that’s the angel that had been sent to answer Daniel’s prayer request in chapter 10 that was held up for three weeks or twenty-one days. “In the first year of Darius the Mede I arose to be” what? “an encouragement and a” what? “protection for him.”
So again, it’s just sort of a little hint that angels are involved in encouraging and protecting Godly leaders in government. I mean don’t you think that Godly leaders in government need protection? Don’t you think they might need an encouragement? I think sometimes we should encourage those people, when you get a godly leader in government. (It does happen from time to time!) And we ought to be… we spend so much time complaining about things, maybe we ought to send an e-mail of encouragement to somebody but apparently this particular angel protected Darius the Mede and also acted as sort of an encouragement to him as well. So, angels are involved, it looks like, in government. So those are some of the things angels do presently.
Now what about the future of the angels? Have you ever thought about angels this way? The eschatology of the angels, what is the eschatology of angels? Eschatology is the study of what? Study of the end! The angels are dramatically in God’s future program. For one thing, and the angel of the Lord who I don’t think is Jesus, seems to be involved in the rapture. Notice the rapture passage, the most famous, clearest rapture passage that we have, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, it talks about the rapture and then it says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” and then it says “with a shout,” comma in the NASB, “with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” That’s the rapture.
There’s a lot of people that hate the doctrine of the pre-trib rapture and you know you’re dealing with a pre-trib rapture hater when they call the rapture the secret rapture. They keep referring to our position as the secret rapture and every time I read that I get a chuckle, I’m wondering why do they think we teach a secret rapture? First of all, you’re going to have millions of people missing from planet earth, that doesn’t look like a secret to me. And even beyond that it describes “for the Lord Himself will descend with a” what? “a shout” that doesn’t sound very secretive to me, “with the voice of an archangel,” that doesn’t sound very secretive to me either, and then it says “with the trump of God.” Isn’t a trumpet loud. So I have no idea why they keep using this phrase, the secret rapture.
But at any rate what I think is happening here, and I tried to refer to this last week, I don’t think that Jesus here should be confused with the archangel because we went through many, many passages last time indicating that Jesus is not Michael, the archangel. What I think what is happening is Jesus is descending and angels are with Him. I don’t have too much of a problem with that because I know that many angels are going to be involved with the second advent of Jesus, when His feet touch the earth at the end of the tribulation period. So if that’s true of the second advent I don’t have any problem with Jesus being accompanied by angels at the rapture and I would assume that one of those angels is going to be Michael, and Michael is actually the one, it doesn’t say it as clean as I’d want it to say it, who is lending his voice and that’s why this event of the rapture is so noisy for the participants in the rapture.
So I came up with that solution, or I hold solution, I didn’t come up with it, I read it from some other commentators because I’ve got to have a way to harmonize this verse with a plethora of other verses that indicate Jesus is NOT Michael the archangel. And people that believe Jesus is Michael the archangel, this is the main verse they quote, and I think it’s worth noting here that Jesus is not actually the one who’s doing the shouting. I think it could be an accompanying angel with Jesus that does the shouting. But at any rate angels clearly are involved, at least at some point, at some level, with the rapture.
And then you have this very strange reference, and please don’t ask me what it means because I really don’t know, but we know that angels are going to be judged by humans. That’s over in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 and verse 3. Paul there is talking about our future millennial authority as believers. And that’s something to understand; if you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you may not have any authority in this world but you’re destined for authority. And the Corinthians had gotten their eyes off of that and they started to get into these dumb little disputes with each other and it got so bad that they were taking their disputes before pagan magistrates, discrediting the gospel in the presence of pagan judges or pagan magistrates since Jesus had told us in the Upper Room “By this all men will know that you are My disciples,” if you have abilities to win arguments with each other… it doesn’t say that, does it, “all men will know you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” John 13:35.
So if you’ve got dueling Christians and it gets so bad that they have to go before an unbeliever to get their squabble resolved then Paul says you’re defeated already. And then you’ve destroyed your witness. And in the process of that whole rebuke Paul says to them in 1 Corinthians 6:3, “Do you not know we will judge the angels? How much more the matters of this life.” Don’t you understand who you are in Christ? Don’t you understand the authority that you’re destined for? Don’t you understand that you in the millennial kingdom are going to sit in judgment on the angels, whatever that means. And you’re so outside of your identity that you can’t even resolve a little matter between yourselves, to the point where you’re discrediting the gospel. But in the process of that rebuke Paul communicates that we will sit in judgment on the angels; the angels will be judged by humans. Is that the good angels or the bad angels? I don’t know if I know, it’s just kind of an obscure reference.
And angels are also involved in the tribulation judgments. Do you guys know anything about the Book of Revelation? I hope so because we’ve been studying that, I think this morning we were on Lesson 45 and we’re already through chapter 1, verse 1. [Laughter] I’m just kidding, we’re in chapter 14 so we are moving. But we’re reading about the seal judgments and the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments and who does God use to bring those judgments to the earth? He uses angels, doesn’t He, just like He used angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. The future destruction of the earth he delegates that task to angels.
Notice Revelation 8:2, concerning the trumpet judgments. Revelation 8:2, what does it say there? “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.” So, every time an angel sounds a trumpet another judgment comes to the earth. And slip over to Revelation 16, and notice, if you will, verse 1. “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” So every time an angel flies out and does this, dumps out a bowl, a judgment comes to the earth. So it’s interesting how God has assigned this task to the angels.
No longer talking about the rapture but the second advent and you probably should understand that we at Sugar Land Bible Church take the return of Christ and divide it into two phases. He comes first for the church to rescue us from the wrath to come, that’s the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
[1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
And then the events of the tribulation period unfold while we have the best seats in the house, from heaven. And then Israel is converted and Jesus Christ returns, this time very differently, at the end of the seven-year tribulation period; His feet, unlike the rapture, actually touch the earth. The Mount of Olives splits, Zechariah 14:4, and this time He’s not coming back to rescue the church, He’s coming back to rescue the nation of Israel from the beast who’s trying to kill them; two-thirds of them die, a third of them remain and Jesus Christ comes back and does a rescue operation for them. He comes back with violent judgment and He sets up His thousand-year kingdom. [Zechariah 14:4, “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.”]
So when He returns in His second advent clearly He’s coming back with the angels, is He not? Notice Matthew 24:31. By the way, who else is He coming back with? He’s coming back with you and He’s coming back with me who were raptured more than seven years earlier and they’re in glorified bodies, and that may mean don’t you know you’re going to judge the angels because we, under his delegated authority, are helping Him, (not that He needs our help but he gives us the privilege of assisting under His delegated authority, we are cleansing the earth which would include banishing Satan and his demons, and we are under His delegated authority, He’s setting up the kingdom of God on the earth and ruling and reigning with Him in that kingdom.
But notice Matthew 24:31, it says, “He” this is not the rapture, this is the second advent, “He will send forth His” what? “angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect,” now who are “His elect”? The elect is always Israel. Certainly, the church is called the elect sometimes but that’s not the context here. This is a Jewish context. “He will send forth His angels… they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” So notice that angels are involved in His second advent.
Notice Matthew 25:31, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory,” that couldn’t be the rapture, the rapture is only for the church, this is an earthly glorification, “and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” What throne would that be? It’s the throne of David in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, 2 Samuel 7:12-16. [2 Samuel 7:12, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,  but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”] When He comes and sits on His glorious throne in Jerusalem, notice that the angels are with Him.
Notice 2 Thessalonians 1:7, isn’t this interesting, a whole eschatology we can develop just about the angels. 2 Thessalonians 1:7, of the second advent of Christ, not the rapture here but the second advent, it says, “and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty” what? “angels in flaming fire,” So angels are clearly involved with the second advent.
And one other thing, angels do in the end times is they bind Satan. Notice Revelation 20:1-2, because when Jesus Christ comes back at the end of the seven-year tribulation period and establishes His kingdom on the earth Satan won’t have any influence during that thousand-year period until he is let out of the abyss. So the first order of business is the binding of Satan, and who binds Satan exactly. It’s very interesting, Revelation 20:1-2, it says, “Then I saw” what? “an angel” I mean who better to bind a fallen angel, Satan, than a good angel? “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;” So an angel actually seems to be involved in the binding of Satan. So, it’s kind of amazing, isn’t it, to look at all the things angels do past, present and future.
So today we finished up our material on the good angels, looked at their abode and their activities. And next week we’re looking at a bad angel, I mean a really bad angel, Satan who was once an angel. So, we’ll be getting into our teaching on Satanology starting next week.
Now I do want to warn you about this; every time I’ve taught Satanology all kinds of havoc gets played in my life, I don’t know why that is, the car won’t start, I mean, I could just go on, the phone won’t work, technology doesn’t work, it’s almost like Satan hates it every time we look into the Scriptures that reveal who he is and his doom. So just do a little extra praying this week as you think about that subject and maybe you might want to do a little research on your own, prayerfully, because the Bible reveals a great deal about your adversary, the devil. So, who is Satan? Where did he come from? When did he fall? Why did he fall? And how strong is he? And how in the world do we stand up against him? That’s all covered under Satanology.
Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for Your word and Your truth on the subject of angels. Make us good stewards in this area of theology we pray, and help it not just to be information but help us to change the way we think and live. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said, Amen!