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Angels and Us

December 10, 2017

Angels are a part of Christmas like lights on the Christmas tree.  These angels are singing, bringing good news, and getting together to proclaim the coming of the Messiah.  Angels are apart of mankind’s Christmas, but what can we learn about ourselves by looking into who they are?

 

First, it is important to bust any myths that might stand in our way of fully seeing how much worth that we have to God.  Angels and men are two different beings with different roles.[1]  Death is not the gateway to becoming an angel.  Death is the doorway to an eternity based on your standing with God, and as Christians, our standing with God is based upon the grace of Jesus that we have faith in.[2] Angels are never our servants to do our will.  They do not intercede for us in our prayers, the Spirit of God does.[3]  This does not mean that God does not send His angels to our aid as we do have angels ministering to us in the spiritual realm.  We just aren’t the ones in control.

 

So what is the difference in the nature of angels and our nature as humans?  The characteristics of angels, shown in the Bible, describes pure and holy beings who are completely dedicated and in tune with the heart of God.  They are powered and fueled by God.  They are dependent upon their Creator for their position that they hold in the heavenly realm.  We see that they have form yet are not confined to the physical realm.  These spiritual beings are ones of tremendous power that is given for them to enact in the physical and the spiritual realm.  In all, like their name, they are messengers and servants of God who live to worship Him.

 

Ezekiel does a great job explaining the nature of the angels.

 

As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings...”

- Ezekiel 1:4-6

 

While Ezekiel looks into this divine event he notices that these angels do in fact resemble some human characteristics.  He is very quick to mention, “but each had four faces.”  The nature of what the bible refers to as seraphim[4] do not exactly carry the exact characteristics that we have as humans. Ezekiel has witnessed these angels declaring the glory of God in the presence of God.[5]  This type of catastrophic event is known to ruin men.  When Scripture speaks of a man or women in the presence of God or a visit from an angel, they are in utter awe and fear.

 

“Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face.”

-Numbers 22:31

 

“Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves.”

1 Chronicles 21:20

 

“And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.”

-Luke 1:11-12

 

“Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.  Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”

-Ezekiel 1:28

 

It should be evident that you and I do not have the ability to dwell in the pure presence of Almighty God.  Unlike the angels, you and I are separated from God.  We are not in a realm that is pure and holy.  We dwell in a world plagued by sin that we beckoned to consume us.  In turn, God’s dwelling is not among men, yet.[6]  Because of how great a divide there is between the purity of God and the filthiness of man’s spirit when God reveals himself, we fall on our knees in awe and horror.  Often God chooses righteous men to reveal Himself, yet even they are overwhelmed by the presence of God.

 

So, since angels are in the presence of God throughout the ages worshiping His name, are they more important to God than us?  At first glance, one would be lead to believe so.  After all, they are currently proclaiming the excellence of God as we speak.  They have a purity that far exceeds ours.  And let’s be honest, the wings are just legit.

 

While all of this is true Jonathan Edwards gives us a reason for why we, as those bought by the blood of Jesus, are superior to angels.

 

“It seems to me very proper and suitable, that the human nature should be advanced far above the angelical nature by the incarnation of Christ. For men are a more ultimate end of the creation than the angels; for everything, even the highest heaven and the angels themselves, are created for men more than men for the angels. In the gradation of ends among the creatures, man is the highest step; the next immediate step is to God. Man was not created for any other creature, but it cannot be said so of the angels; for they are created for this end, to minister to the creatures.”[7]

 

The role of angels is to worship God and serve His creation.  Constantly throughout Scripture, we see angels sent by God to various people with divine messages.  This is their vital role they have been given.[8]  But we are different.  We were made to worship God as well, but we bear the image of God and have been given authority over His creation.  You were not created to serve angels; you were made to worship God.

 

Here is the encouragement that we have. 

You and I have entry into a nature superior to angels through the redemption of Jesus Christ.

 

Our sin, that we chose, has stripped us of who we are meant to be.  This sin has belittled us to a people that no longer are who we were.  The relationship that we see the angels have with the Lord; ours will be greater.  The beauty of the angels mentioned throughout Scripture; ours will be greater.  The joys for all eternity processed by the angel’s worship; ours will be greater.[9]  But this flesh must be liberated from the sin that plagues it.  It is for this reason that Paul writes:

 

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

-1 Corinthians 15:50-57

 

The beauty and power of angels show us how great of an eternity awaits those who have faith in Jesus Christ.  We see that Jesus put on perishable to make a way for us to become imperishable.  We follow in His salvation to receive eternal joy but know that we will always be inferior to our Lord.[10]  But look at the angels!  See how amazing and love they are by God!  How we in our current state tremble in their presence!  But one day we will no longer be plaque by sin.  While we endure pain and suffering throughout this life, we can see the angels and know that our God has joys that await us forevermore.

 

 

 

Notes                             

 

[1] Gen. 22:11, Ex. 23:20, Hosea 12:4, Matt 12:20, Acts 5:17-26 ESV

[2] Rom 5:1-2

[3] Rom. 8:26-28 ESV

[4] Isaiah 6:2

[5] For more information on the characteristics of the seraphim read all of Ezekiel chapter 1

[6] Revelation 21:3

[7] Jonathan Edwards [1722], The "Miscellanies": (Entry Nos. a-z, aa-zz, 1-500) (WJE Online Vol. 13) , Ed. Harry S. Stout [word count] [jec-wjeo13].

[8] Hebrews 1:13-14

[9] Pocessing a dominate mindset toward the angels is not the implication that is trying to be made.  The magnitude of love that God has for us is the goal.

[10] Luke 20:41-44

 

 

Caleb Rawls – is the pastor of Pleasant Home Baptist Church in Laurel Mississippi, and husband to Taylor Rawls.  Together they strive to lead the church to reach out to their community and world.  And yes, they have a dog named Tiglath-Pileser.

 

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