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Angels: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly! - Part I by Don Boys, Ph.D.

Angel-On-Stairs.jpgIn this first of three columns on angels, I will discuss Good Angels with the following two columns dealing with Bad Angels and Ugly Angels.

It is obvious that good angels are messengers of God who are ministering spirits, “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14). In fact, “angel” means “messenger” and they are often seen in the Bible as delivering messages from God. They are seen throughout the Bible and are mentioned 297 times in the entire KJV. They informed Mary of Christ’s impending birth; announced His birth at Bethlehem; one stirred the pool at Bethesda; one ministered to Christ in the Garden; another opened the prison door to release the disciples; one smote King Herod because he did not give God the glory; another stood by Paul during a storm; angels were active in the various actions in Revelation; and John fell at an angel’s feet in Revelation 22:8 to worship the Lord.

Angels rejoice over sinners who repent and trust in Christ (Luke 15:10). Moreover, Christians will judge angels according to I Cor. 6:3. However, angels are not to be prayed to, loved, or communicated with. They are not all powerful or all knowing, nor can they be everywhere at the same time. They never replace God! Angels are ministers of God who watch and protect Christians (Ps. 91:11).

Angel protection is an interesting, informative, and inspiring subject. The first mention of angels is in Gen. 16:7 where an angel found and directed Hagar and her infant son to safety. In Dan. 6, Daniel gives credit to an angel sent by God to protect him from the lions. There have been numerous accounts that are very similar where Christian missionaries have been protected by a crowd of angels. It almost always takes place on the mission field where God-haters sought to kill a missionary family yet stopped their assault and fled. Later, it was revealed that the attack stopped because a huge crowd of armed men with swords were seen surrounding the home or the mission compound! In one such case, a village chief and leader of the intended killers, became a Christian a year later and informed the missionary why they were not killed.

It is affirmed by some that everyone has a specific angel to watch over them and they point to Peter’s release from prison by an angel and when just-released Simon Peter arrived at the gate of the home of the mother of John Mark, the Disciples refused to believe it was he. They said “It is his angel” (Acts 12:14). It might be so but we should tread lightly to establish a teaching on so little Scriptural proof.

The Scripture indicates that angels, being spirits, are invisible but can take the appearance of humans. On two occasions, angels, appearing to be humans, ate with Abraham and later with Lot. The people of Sodom thought the two angels were men; moreover, God warns us in Heb 13:2 to be hospitable since “for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Almost all sketches depicting angels show them with wings but the Bible never says that angels have wings. In Daniel 9:21 we read about an angel "coming in swift flight," but that doesn’t mean that an angel must have wings to be able to fly. It is possible that angels have wings although it seems to be irrelevant.

Alternatively, there are creatures called cherubim (Lucifer seems to have been one), which do have wings as revealed in Ezekiel chapter 1. However, the Bible never says that cherubim are angels. The cherubim are similar to angels from what little Scripture we have about them. That may indicate that angels also have wings. In fact, many believe that cherubim and seraphim are angels. We cannot be authoritative when the Bible is not clear; often we indulge in pious speculation without much positive benefit.

Some artists have speculated, without any scriptural authority or suggestion, that angels are naked babies. Afraid not. Neither are they the spirits of departed humans.

Babies that die do not become angels. They die and go to Heaven. And I hate to prick your balloon but a ringing bell does not mean another angel “got his wings” no matter what Jimmy Stewart said in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Angels are often spoken of in connection with harps. Is that myth or reality? John the Apostle reveals that they do play harps. (See Rev. 5:8; 14:2, and 15:2.) But do they sing along with playing the harp? It seems the answer is negative. They “say” but don’t sing. After all, since angels don’t sin, have never been redeemed, do not possess the Holy Spirit, and are not children of God (creatures, not children), what do they have to sing about?

Christians have something to sing about!

More articles by this author...

Copyright 2012, Don Boys, Ph.D.


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