Angels, Bible-style

 
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Hollywood is hardly the place to learn the truth about angels. Apart from employing them in patronising, sexist ways (eg Charlie’s Angels), it presents them as fickle and fallible. Take Michael for example, staring John Travolta as Michael, the archangel, who, according to Yahoo!Movies.com, “chain-smokes, drinks and talks like a sailor”.
In City of Angels, Nicholas Cage stars as an angel sent to help Meg Ryan, a surgeon. He falls in love with her. To enter into a relationship, he has to “fall” and become human. And angels keep crashing through the roof of a gay man dying of AIDS, to tell him he is a prophet in Angels in America (www.nytimes.com).

Confused? Touched by an Angel is different. It’s a feel-good TV series that has actually impacted people spiritually. It “has the distinction of being the most openly, overtly religious primetime show,” says Cary O’Dell on PopMatters.com. “It doesn’t hide behind religious euphemisms.” But it does border on New Age sentimentality, where God loves and saves everybody, whether they accept Jesus or not.
So who or what are angels really? What does the Bible say about them?

Created By God

Where did the angels come from?
Nehemiah 9:6 “You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens …the earth and all that is on it…. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”

How many angels are there?
Revelation 5:11 “I …heard the voice of …angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.”

What are angels to do?
Psalm 103:20 “Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding.”
Angels are supernatural beings created by God, superior to humans, acting as representatives of God. They excel in strength. At the resurrection of Jesus, just one caused an earthquake (Matthew 28:3); when Daniel was in the den of lions, they shut the mouths of the lions (Daniel 6:22); they rescued Peter from prison (Acts 12:7).

Who rejoiced at the creation of this world?
Job 38:4-7 “When I laid the earth’s foundation …the …stars sang …and all the angels shouted for joy.”

Are angels spirits of the dead?
Genesis 3:24 “After he drove the man [Adam] out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden [angels] and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Angels existed before humans were created or died, therefore they can’t be spirits of the dead.

What is the relationship between angels and humans?
Psalm 8:4,5 “What is man? …You …made him a little lower than the heavenly beings [angels].”

Not All Angels Are Good

What battle did angels fight in heaven?
Revelation 12:7-9 “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven…. Satan, who leads the whole world astray …was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

In his warning against false messengers, what does Paul say?
2 Corinthians 11:14 “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

The Work Of Good Angels

How did God communicate to the prophet John?
Revelation 1:1 “By sending his angel to his servant.
Angel” means “messenger from God.” Angels announced the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:10-14). They move between heaven and earth to do God’s bidding (John 1:51). They rejoice over sinners who repent (Luke 15:10).

How are angels involved in our salvation?
Hebrews 1:14 “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Do angels protect people?
Psalm 34:7 “The angel …encamps around those who fear him.”

What did Jesus say children of God have?
Matthew 18:10 “I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

What did the angel say when John attempted to worship him?
Revelation 22:9 “Do not do it! I am a fellow-servant with you…. Worship God!”

What part do the angels have at the resurrection?
Matthew 24:30, 31 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” The Bible, not Hollywood, is the place to find out the truth about angels.