A Brief Doctrine of Angels

According to scripture, angels are created, spiritual beings (Psalm 148) who were created by God and chosen to carry out his purposes (Psalm 103:20). As we see in the fall of Lucifer and a third of the Heavenly host, angels were also created with a will of their own.

Angels & Demons

It’s important to note that when Scripture talks about demons, it is referring to those fallen angels who had rebelled against God. Although this may be a natural point to overlook, understanding demons as fallen angels helps us understand certain characters Scripture better. For example, when Jesus casts out Legion in the Gospels, He is confronting fallen angels.

“Angel,” whether good or evil, is a term that means “messenger.” New Testament writers use the term “angels” (Matthew 24:36) as well as “Heavenly Hosts” (Luke 2:13) or “Spirits” as we see in the first chapter of Hebrews.

Angels, Spirits & Demons. A Brief Doctrine of Angels Click To Tweet

God’s Messengers

We can see their unique responsibility to perform as God’s messengers throughout Scripture. This can be seen in multiple instances, including when angels appeared to people throughout the Old Testament, when an angel visited Mary during the intertestamental period, and when the angels visited the women at the tomb after Jesus had risen from the dead. Each of these incidents show that these “messengers of God” brought important news to humanity.

Winged Cherubs?

Angels possess intelligence (2 Corinthians 11:3). They exercise will (Jude 6). Though Paul refers to them as invisible in Colossians 1:16, they also possess the ability to appear in physical form (Mark 16:5). Angelic appearances vary. In some cases, they appear as light while in other circumstances they appear as human beings.

As Christians, we are commanded to be hospitable for many reasons, one of which is that we may be entertaining angels unaware (Hebrews 13:2). The writer of Hebrews (1:4) also tells us that Christ is superior to the angels. Perhaps we may think this should go without saying but the writer of Hebrews takes pain to make a particular case for this.

Can we entertain angels unaware? #hospitality Click To Tweet

Angels & Humans

As human beings, our relation to angels is quite unique. We were created a little lower than them, according to Psalm 8:5, yet someday we, the Saints, will judge them (1 Corinthians 6:3-4).

Let’s look at a few more interesting facts about angels. They praise and honor God (Hebrews 1:6, Psalm 148:2, Revelation 5). They do not receive worship themselves (Revelation 22:9). They are recorded as ministering to the needs the believers (Acts 5:19, 12:6-11). And in the Book of Daniel, angels wage war over certain earthly regions (Daniel 10:13).

Keeping in line with this idea of warring over certain areas, angels also execute God’s judgment on those who oppose Him (Acts 12:23, Revelation 8, 9, 16 & 19). Scripture doesn’t speak of angels in a female form. Nor does it necessarily portray them as winged creatures. The only exception to this would be the Seraphim in Isaiah 6 and the Cherubim in Exodus 25:20.

Winged Cherub or Mighty Warriors? #doctrineofangels Click To Tweet

Elect to What?

There’s one last interesting classification of angels that I’d like to look at; the elect angels mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:21. With constant debate in soteriology about election and reprobation, this class of angel seems to fit with either the notion of “elect to service” or perhaps it simply lines up with those who chose God and did not rebel.

Let’s Talk

I’d love to read your thoughts down in the comment section below. Want to talk this out? Feel free to email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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