Track 1 of 7 in the Spiritual Realm series
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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.
View all sermons by this speaker.
November 6, 2005
A Vacation Bible School teacher, surrounded by her group of first graders, proposed a letter-writing project. Each child was asked to write to a friend. Six-year-old Lance produced the following letter in his childish print:
Now many of us would smile and say to someone or to ourselves that that was cute. Kids talking about angels, seeing angels on the Christmas tree, watching shows about angels; all these things are nice and have a sense of innocence about them, but how many times do you think about angels? How many times are you aware of what they are doing for you? Are you aware of the evil around you wanting to have its way with you yet being help back from the power of God sometimes through his angels? How much are you aware of what is really going on around you as you live out each minute of your life?
Those who consider themselves normal would look at us who believe in the supernatural as kooks, weird or really out in left field. But what is very interesting is how the Bible describes the life you and I are living; it doesn't see this present life as reality, it sees it as a brief temporary existence before we move into the real life God planned for us. This is a concept we learned during the 40 Days of Purpose.
For the next 7 weeks we are going to study what the Bible says about the spiritual realm, that existence that seems invisible to us but is oh so real and going on around us as we live our earthly lives. It existed before us and it will continue with us well after the present physical life is long gone.
We will turn to the Bible for the only trustworthy source of God's truth about himself, man and the spirit world. The Bible excels man's experience, research, and reason and discloses what man cannot know about God's truth if left to his own resources.
When we look in the Bible, we find the answers, the evidence and the explanation for the spirit world and we also find why man has such a strong interest in the occult and the supernatural. There are a number of benefits for studying this type of subject. Many ask why is it so important to know what the Bible says about the spiritual realm. Isn't it dangerous to talk about Satan, angels and demons and topics like the land of the dead, heaven and hell? Won't people look at this as fantasy and refuse to believe in things unseen?
When you think of the spirit world, what images come to your mind? What do you think that existence is like? Where do you think Christians get their bulk of information concerning the spiritual realm? What are angels like? When you think of angels, first, do you think they are really there and what do you think they are like? What are their characteristics?
There is one thing I know about angels, if a person doesn't believe in angels, then a huge portion of the Old Testament and most of the New Testament won't make any sense. In 34 of the 66 books in the Bible, there are specific references to angels (17 book in the Old and 17 books in the New). The word angel appears 108 times in the Old and 165 times in the New.
How many classes 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. The Bible does not answer all the questions about angels, but it leaves no doubt concerning the main facts about their origin.
One big question about angels, where did they come from and how old are they? Genesis 1 states that God created all things on the earth, even the best part from creation, man. Since man was not present to see the creation, how do we know the details? It came to us by revelation. God told us that he created everything and how he did it. The same is true with the origins of angels.
Even John backs up the claim in the Old Testament that God created angels when he opened his Gospel by stating, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3). This includes angels. Paul goes even farther, Paul states bluntly who made the angels:
One fact we can gather from the creation of angels, angels are not eternal beings. They certainly did not evolve nor were they formerly men, they were created as angels. The idea that man after death can become an angel and earn his wings is totally un-Biblical. Each angel is a direct creation of God and they do not procreate as humans do (Matthew 22:28). That is why several times in the scriptures angels are called the "sons of God". The word "son" indicates a direct creation of God as Adam is the son of God in Luke 3:28.
We are not sure the exact time of their creation but we know they were present when the earth was created.
In Genesis 3 Satan, an angelic being, appears on the scene and we can make an educated guess from this, angels were created before God created the earth. The scriptures lead us to believe that the angels were all created at about the same time. We also know from scripture that the angels were created by God's direct command (Psalms 148).
How many of you believe or think Satan is everywhere? For many, the idea that Satan is everywhere at the same time is a reality. But scriptures teach that Satan was created, he was created an angelic being, he is not eternal and he is not omnipresent. Only God is those things.
The Original Condition of Angels:
When God created the angels, he created all of them good and holy just as God made and pronounced all of his creation good. There are those who believe that God made the wicked angels but it is inconsistent with God's character that he would directly create anything wicked. In the beginning, there were only good and holy angels. Not only were they holy but they were surrounded by every good thing and influenced by every holy thing.
If this is true that every angel was created good and holy, then what happened to Satan and his angels? How could this happen? How horrible was the rebellion in heaven?
There is a truth about angels we have to remember, all creatures, including angels and men, were made to serve God. All are privileged, limited and responsible in all things to Him. The Bibles tells us a lot about the privileges of angels, their limitations and what they are responsible for.
They know God and have the joy of knowing him in a holy relationship. They were directly created by God and he is their Creator-Father. The Bible says each angel bares the marks of an individual, no two are alike. Knowing God, they have the pleasure of worshiping Him in their relationship. They behold in wonder his creative works and they were granted the unexplainable privilege of serving the God of all creation. They also probably have some insight concerning God's purposes and program of the ages.
One limitation is that of power. God is unlimited in power. Angels are greater in power than man, they can, through God's control, alter elements of nature, but they are limited in authority. There are examples in the Bible when angels struggled to accomplish their duties when they were opposed by evil angels. There were times when they needed assistance.
Angels are also limited in intellect. Mighty as they are in their wisdom, they do not compare to God and they are in need of revelation. They do not know when Jesus will return and they are amazed and seek to learn some of the marvels about salvation (1 Peter 1:11-13).
Angels are not absolutely holy. They are limited in their holiness. Some fell into sin and bondage through defection from God's will. It is hard to imagine being in a perfect environment and still falling into sin.
What sort of being is an angel? Are they spirit beings, persons? It is fascinating what the Bible has to say about this. Are angels persons as we know persons and do they possess personalities? People have a strange understanding of personalities and it is best to look at how the Bible describes personalities. The definition of personality does not find it's roots in what man is, but in what God is. God is basically a person. Jesus is a person as well as the Holy Spirit. Too often the Holy Spirit is referred to by man as an "it". The Holy Spirit is a person and also has a personality. Since God is a person, he can also create other persons…man and angels.
It is demonstrated in the scriptures that God has three faculties: intellect, emotion and a will. When he created man and the angels, he created them with the same faculties: intellect, emotion and a will. That is what makes man different from the animals that God also created. He created us in his image, he didn't do that with the animals. It is also demonstrated that God is superior when it comes to his intellect, emotions and will. The angels are higher in these areas than man but much less than God. Angels are superior beings but they are limited.
One thing we can note about angels, they have deep and sensitive emotions. Usually when angels are seen in the scriptures, they are responding with emotions like joy, awe, giving humble reverence to God, crying great proclamations about God's power and living in deep worship of God Almighty.
There is an area of their existence that is very interesting. They also have a will, they have self-determination and they can choose various courses of action and seek to carry their actions through. They were created to do the will of God just like man was created to do the same. God appeals to their wills by commanding. It is the same with man. Angels, as well as man are not robots, each has a will that was designed to serve God. But just like man, angels were also created with the propensity to deny God. As with some angels, there were those who chose to rebel and do things their own way. The leader of the rebellion was Satan.