Segment One, Part One
To begin, we will use the following from Harper’s Bible Dictionary:
Angel (Gk. angelos, “messenger”) a spiritual being subordinate to God, who serves at God’s command and pleasure to deliver his messages, help his people, and punish his enemies. (Page 30)
We also see the following definition from Webster’s: 1a: a spiritual being superior to humans in power and intelligence especially: one in the lowest rank in the celestial hierarchy
2: an attendant spirit or guardian i.e. guardian angels who watch over us
From the two quotations above, we have an idea of what Bible students should know about angels. Note that in both quotes, that “spiritual being” is used. An angel or “messenger” may appear to be human, but they are spiritual in nature.
This brings us to two thoughts. 1) How do we know that we have seen or spoken to a spiritual messenger? 2) Appearance is not always a clue, but the message is. The message will always have importance to ministry. Many times you will feel a spiritual connection to the messenger and what he brings.
Segment One, Part Two
We find in scripture three angels mentioned: Michael, Gabriel, and Abaddon (or Apollyon in Greek). There are at least three types or positions of angels: Archangel, Guardian angel, and seraphim. Extra biblical writings contain much more information, but the sources and reliability are questionable.
Michael the archangel is mentioned in the following verses: Daniel 10:13 & 21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7. He seems to be the most important and highest of the angel order.
Gabriel is a guardian angel and is mentioned in the following verses: Daniel 8:16; 9:21, and Luke 1:19 and 21. Gabriel seems to be the guardian angel of Israel.
Abaddon is a guardian angel and he seems to be the guardian of hell. He is mentioned in Revelation 9:10 and 11. His name in Greek is Apollyon.
Segment One, Part Three
We see angels and messengers of God mentioned throughout scripture. In this segment, we will look at verses from both the OT and the NT. These four verses are by no means the only references to God’s messengers but are typical instances.
In the OT I have chosen two incidents that to me seem to convey both a physical message and a spiritual message. The first is about Gideon. He was the reluctant leader that God chose to free Israel from domination of outside enemies. Once he was convinced, he then carried out God’s instructions exactly. He met God’s messenger face to face. Read his story in Judges 6. Judges 6: 11 And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.
The other incident is one that most readers of the Bible will recognize. This is when Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. He tells the king the following in a very matter-of-fact way. Daniel 6: 22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. It was obvious that Daniel saw the angel.
In the NT we see a teaching of Jesus that many do not understand the full impact. Jesus is teaching his disciples an important truth. Every child has a guardian angel! However, a parent has a responsibility to give proper care and guidance to his child because God is always informed by the child’s angel how the child is being treated. We as parents have a responsibility and prayer is part of it. Matt 18: 10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
In this next example, we get an insight into how believers will live and be seen in heaven. Note that there will be no marriage in heaven except with Jesus. Believers in heaven will be equal to the angels! We are special as God’s children. Luke 20: 34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
The last incident is important because the Gospel is introduced to the Gentiles. That action set the Good News going into all the world flung the doors of ministry wide open! Until this incident, the Gospel was primarily within the Hebrew world. Peter opened the door for everyone to hear the teachings of Jesus and the message of salvation. Acts 10: 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. Peter went to him in Caesarea and they received the Gospel.
This segment and post will bring to a close the teaching on Baptist doctrines. May God bless you with what you have learned.