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The Position, Nature and Class of Angels
11/13/2005
Scripture: John 1:1-3; Hebrews 2:5-7; Psalms 8:4-6;...
Track 2 of 7 in the Spiritual Realm series
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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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The Spiritual Realm
The Position, Nature & Class of Angels

November 13, 2005

There are many misunderstanding about angels in the church today and also in secular society. As I mentioned last week, much of what most people believe about angels was taught to them by parents, relatives, outside sources and little from the best and most reliable source, God's Word. Those who don't believe in God also have some understanding about angels and most of the time, their perception and descriptions are totally unbiblical.

So what does the Bible say about these unseen, mighty beings? Who are they, what are they and can we become one someday? How many are there and do they procreate?

How many moral and spiritual classifications of angels are found in the Bible? Believe it or not, the Bible only lists two classifications, good or evil. The good are termed "the elect" and holy". The evil include Satan their leader and demons. What is the position of angels relative to the Son of God, Jesus, and to man? There are some in Christianity that believe Jesus is the highest of all God's created angelic beings. This tragic error is degrading to Jesus and deceptive to the saints. What are their positions? They are less than Jesus. Jesus is eternal and they were created by Him.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Men are lower than the angels, for now.

Hebrews 2:5-7 (Psalm 8:4-6) But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet."

1 Corinthians 6:2-3 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

There are some similarities between men and angels:

  • We are both limited in time and space
  • Both are dependent on God for existence and well-being
  • Both of us have responsibilities and are accountable to God on how well we did
  • Both of us are called "sons of God" (Job 1:6)
  • Just like man, no two angels are alike in personal character

But there are differences between man and the angels:

  • Angels are essentially spirit while man is both spirit and physical
  • Angels are not a race; they are not related like man is because they don't procreate (Matt. 22:28-30)
  • Angels are greater in intelligence, strength and swiftness where man is a little lower than the angels.
  • Man is subject to death where angels are not
  • However, glorified man will judge the angels
  • Angels do not become man and man does not become angels
  • Believers are positionally above angels since we are "in Christ".

Names:

Can anyone tell me where the name angel comes from? Greek - angelos; Hebrew - malak. In both cases, the meaning if the word is "messenger".

There are a lot of names in the scriptures given to angels; they are called several times as Ministers, hosts, chariots, watchers, sons of the Mighty God, sons of God, Elohim, holy ones, and stars. The name stars is important. They are often called this because it describes where the angels live and work. Both the stars and the angels are called the "hosts of heaven"

One of my favorite hobbies is astronomy. I love looking at the stars, the constellations and deep space through my telescope. One of the things I think about a lot as I observe the stars and space is the power of God who made it all. The stars are just a reflection of the power and wisdom of God in his creation. I don't know if you are aware, but astrology is connected to demon worship through this term. Divination and worship of the stars is condemned in Scripture.

Deuteronomy 4:19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars-all the heavenly array-do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

In Revelation 12, it is no wonder that the great rebellion of Satan in heaven is described as a "wonder in heaven" and the angels being cast down from heaven being described as stars. Stars are the symbolic meaning of the heavenly spirits of God.

Revelation 12:1-4 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.

Special Classifications:

The Scriptures reveal to us that there are several special classes or orders of angels. Each class has its special distinguishing characteristic which seems to be a part of their created being.

Cherubim (singular is cherub)

This seems to be the highest order or class of angelic beings. Before we say too much about angels, the description of angels in the scriptures is man's attempt to explain in human terms something that is indescribable. Cherubim have indescribable powers and beauty. Their character and appearance is so far beyond what humans can imagine. In the book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel tries a number of time to describe what he is seeing. His description is that of cherubim.

When is the first time we see Cherubim in the scriptures?

  1. In the Garden guarding the entrance to the garden so man could not return. They teach that sin and paradise are incompatible.
  2. The next time we see them I when they appear in golden form on top of the Ark of the Covenant - the mercy seat of God. It is here that the shekinah glory was manifest. In Mosaic worship, they are one of the most important symbols. Usually when the temple is visualized in scripture, the Cherubim are pictured close at hand. The cherubim on the mercy seat have two wings.
  3. In Ezekiel's vision, the cherubim are more complex, they have four faces and four wings and they have the appearance as a man. They also had hands of a man under each wing and the four faces were faces of a man, an ox, a lion and an eagle. Their movements were described as flashes of lighting.

It is interesting to note that even though cherubs are angelic beings, they are never called angels. The reason is probably their duties are not that of messengers. They are the proclaimers and protectors of God's glorious presence, his sovereignty and his holiness. No where in scripture do we see them sent from God's presence. When ever cherubim are present in scripture, it denotes the abode of God. They are in God's presence and they don't leave it.

Psalms 99:1 The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.

There were three places where cherubim marked God's abode? What were the places? Eden, the Ark of the Covenant and Heaven

Seraphim:

The seraphim are closely related in class to the cherubim. Their name means "burning ones". This is not a description of their appearance but a description of their consuming devotion to God and his will. Most of the time they are represented in human form for they have faces, hands and feet.

  • These beings have 6 wings
  • Two wings cover their faces, they can not bear the full vision of the Divine glory
  • Two wings cover their feet, symbolizes their reverence so not to tread uninvited upon holy ground
  • And with two wings they fly-they are described as swift in flight

    Isaiah 6:1-3 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

Scripture seems to reveal that the duties of seraphim are priestly in nature. Their activity is one of praise, worship and showing their adoration to God. They are consumed by his perfect holiness and by proclaiming "Holy, Holy, Holy" they are just that much more exclaiming the perfect holiness of God.

They are the messengers to man that God is holy and that man must be cleansed of sin before he can stand before God and serve him. In Isaiah 6, the whole message of the vision Isaiah witnessed was the message that man must be cleansed.

Specially Named Angels:

Of all the angels we find in the Bible, only two are actually named Michael and Gabriel and both are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. In emphasis, Michael seems to be the greater. The name Michael is a testament to who he is, "Who is like God". It is a name of humility and reality. The answer to Michael's name is "no one".

Michael is called an archangel in Jude 9 and one of the chief princes. He is described as the military leader of the army of God in Revelation 12 doing battle with Satan and his army of demons. He is specially assigned to the welfare of Israel as a nation as other angels are assigned to other nations (Daniel 10). It is believed that Michael is from the cherub class of angels as Satan is and if this true, then Michael is the only cherub to leave the presence of God.

The basic duty of Michael seems to be the one who stands for God and is endued with God's authority. He is constantly fighting the battles for God against Satan and his army of demons. Yet Michael is limited and there are times when he defers to God's strength to help him wins the battles for God. He also respects the power and strength of Satan.

Jude 9: In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Gabriel means, "mighty one of God". Gabriel is known for his great strength and his swiftness when sent by God to do his will. Of all the angels, Gabriel is the one who appears to many in human form and described himself to Zachariah as:

Luke 1:19 "The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.

Gabriel also appears to Daniel and he was described by Daniel as a man. Daniel said he spoke with a mans voice and had the power of touch. When he stood before Zachariah his presence caused Zachariah to have great fear but when he was with Mary, she didn't seemed troubled by his presence. Where Michael is the God's special champion, Gabriel seems to be God's special messenger. Four times God sent Gabriel and all four times his message proclaimed God's plan for his people.

Our Relationship With Angels

What kind of relationship do you think we have with angels? Is it even important enough to even care? So what if I have never seen an angel before, are they important to my salvation?

One thing to keep in mind concerning angels, our position in Christ vitally affects our relationship with angels. We have both present and future realities to experience with angels. Because we are "sons of God", we are linked to an innumerable company of elect angels. Their ministry is the same as ours and they are here to help us fulfill our responsibilities and to protect us from the evil plans set up by Satan and his demons to cause us to trip and fall.

Our Attitude Towards Angels:

  • We may wonder at angels - We are to respect their persons; appreciate their ministries and admire their example. It is okay to stand in awe of them and to feel fear at times. They are marvelous creatures and direct creations of God.
  • We may not worship angels - God forbids us to worship angels. No where do we ever see angels worshipped. Angels themselves told several people they visited not to worship them.

    Revelation 22:8-9 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"