A Bible study on angels

Angels

Definitions:  Both Hebrew mal’ak and Greek angelos = “messenger.”  Sometimes used of human messengers (Matt. 11:10; Lk. 7:24, 9:52; Jas. 2:25), but in vast majority of uses, refers to divine messengers and heavenly representatives.  Hebs. 1:14 provides the primary biblical definition: “ministering spirits.”  Angels are created beings, not “gods” (Ps. 148:5; Col. 3:16) and therefore not to be worshiped (Rev. 19:10, 22:8-9).

Examples of Revelatory Activities:

Gen. 18 – Told Abraham he would have a son

Gen. 19 – Warned Lot re destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah

Ex. 3 – Appeared to Moses in burning bush & commissioned him to free Israel

Ex. 23 – Led Israelites through wilderness

Hebs. 2:2; Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19 – Delivered Law to Moses

Luke 1 – Announced births of John the Baptist & Jesus

Matt. 4 – Ministered to Jesus after wilderness temptations

Matt. 28 – Rolled away stone at Resurrection & announced it to women

Acts 1 – Present at Ascension, told disciples Jesus would come again

Rev. 1:1 – Delivered the Revelation to John

Note:  All of the above show what a tremendous claim is made in Hebs. 1-2 in saying that Christ is “better than” the angels.

Angels in the Old Testament:

Gen. 16:7-13, 21:17-20, 22:11-18

Ex. 3:2ff

Judges 6:1ff

Daniel 7:10

Deut. 33:2

Angels in the New Testament:

 Messengers of God & ministers to humans – Rev. 19:10; Lk. 15:10, Matt. 18:10;

Acts 12:15; Hebs. 1:14

Visitations to humans – Lk. 1:11-20, 26-38; Matt. 1-2; Acts 5:19ff, 8:26, 10:3ff,

12:7-10, 27:23; Hebs. 12:22; Rev. 5:11

Association with giving the Law – Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Hebs. 2:2

Participants in Judgment – Matt: 16:27; Mk. 8:38, 13:27; 2 Thess. 1:7ff

Splendor – Matt. 28:2ff; Lk. 2:9; Acts 1:10

Observe Christian worship – 1 Cor. 11:10

Miscellaneous – Rom. 8:38; Gal. 1:8; 1 Cor. 13:1; Col. 2:18

Fallen Angels – 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6

“Guardian Angels”?

The concept that each person has a personal angel who watches over him/her is nowhere clearly articulated in Scripture, but people sometimes use these references:

Matt. 18:10 – “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

Acts 12:15 – “They said, ‘It is his angel!” (referring to Peter after his miraculous release from prison).

Rev. 1:20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14 – the “angels” of the seven churches of Asia (although the exact meaning of this is uncertain).

Other Names for Angels:

             “Holy ones” – Job 5:1; Ps. 89:5 & 7; Dan. 8:13

“Sons of God” – Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7 (some say Gen. 6:13, but this is questionable)

“Seraphim” – Isaiah 6:1-3.  Mentioned only in Isaiah; human in form, but with 6  wings.  Function = to lead in worship of God (cf. Rev. 4:6ff, 5:8ff).

Apparently derived from Heb. saraph (= to burn); “burning ones,” “shining ones.”

“Cherubim” – Gen. 3:24; Ezek. 28:14, 16; Ps. 80:1, 99:1; Isaiah 37:16; Ex.  25:18-20; 2 Sam. 22:11; Hebs. 9:5, etc.  Stand guard over the way to  the tree of life.  Wooden images of them were set over the ark of the covenant.  Mentioned 91 times in OT, once in NT. But never clearly defined, and described in a variety of ways.

“Archangels” – 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 9.  Possibly referred to in Rev. 8:2, 7, 10, 12; 9:1, 13; 11:15.  Only “Michael” is positively identified as an “archangel” (Jude 9; Rev. 12:7), but “Gabriel” is probably to be so identified as well due to the nature of his mission.  Note:  Michael  & Gabriel are the only 2 angels in the Bible who have names.

Tommy South

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