“I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold.” Gregory, 5
“Angels talk all the way while they’re flying you up to heaven. The basic message is where you went wrong before you got dead.” Daniel, 9
“Everybody’s got it all wrong. Angels don’t wear halos anymore. I forget why but scientists are working on it. Olive, 9
“Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive.” Superman? No, angels!
They show up at Christmas in our songs and Sunday School plays. Our first encounter–the annual Sunday School Christmas pageant. Our vocabulary is sprinkled with angel talk: angel food cake, angel’s hair, angel’s dust, angel fish, the City of the Angels, the California Angels. 275 Bible references suggest their importance. We need to brush up on our angelology!
These superhuman beings, glorious and terrible, share God’s joy when sinners repent and wipe out a third of the earth’s population near the end of time. They join with the archangel Michael in warring with the dragon and his angels.
Not bound by time or space as earthbound creatures, one moment before the throne, the next moment announcing the birth of God’s Son, traveling faster than the speed of light. Are they omnipresent? No, but they can get from here to there quicker than we can. Are they all-knowing? No, but they know many things we don’t. They are the army of God. Scripture says that when the announcement to the shepherds was finished, “a great company of the heavenly host appeared” in a chorus of praise (Luke 2:13). The word “host” means “army.” The “Lord of hosts” is the Lord of the heavenly army.
If heaven includes an innumerable company, any one of which could clean up the United States in seconds, you begin to appreciate the awesome power of these amazing creatures—hardly the Christmas pageant variety. One can also understand that when an angel appeared to Zechariah, “he was startled and was gripped with fear” (Luke 1:12). We have emasculated these glorious creatures, genderless but not powerless.
These immortal beings serve God and help in the administration of His universe.They figure prominently in the Old Testament, often as instruments of judgment. They destroyed Sodom and rescued Lot. An angel led Israel through the wilderness and gave them the law. One angel smote the Assyrian army of 185,000 soldiers. An angel saved Daniel from the lions. God allowed Elisha to see a mighty, invisible host of fighters. Angels paid visits to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Elijah, Zechariah, Joseph, Mary and Peter.
Angels appeared to Jesus at important points. He spoke often about them, indicating that little children have guardian angels (maybe adults, too), that angels cannot die, that they will separate the righteous from the wicked on the final day.
They play a prominent role in the last book. They dictated the letter to John. An angel is used in answering the prayers of the saints. An angel will bind Satan near the end of history. These servants of God will return with Jesus in flaming fire. Hell will be populated to a large extend by the devil and his fallen angels, as heaven is inhabited by an innumerable host of angels. (Part 2 in three days).