We are continuing through our journey through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Today we are touching on angels (pun intended). I have to be honest, I am curious to see if more people click on this blog because of its title. The reason I say this is because Americans seem to have an unhealthy infatuation with angels, many times leading to wild distortions of the truth and the undermining of God’s good design.
Angles are mentioned over 200 times in the Old Testament, and around 175 times in the New Testament. So if you believe in the Bible, you believe in angels. The first time the word angel is used in the Bible is Genesis 16:7 when “the angel of the Lord” found Hagar in the wilderness and encouraged her to return after she ran away from Abraham and Sara. The word angel in Hebrew (language of the Old Testament) is “mal'ak” which means messenger. The Greek word (the language of the New Testament) for angel is “aggelos,” which also means messenger. From their name we can quickly determine their primary purpose, messengers for God.
Though angels are mysterious to us, we can make some conclusions due to the frequency of their appearance in Scripture. First, angels are created beings (Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 148:2, 5). Second, there are different types and levels of authority of angels (Genesis 3:24, Isaiah 6:2-7, Daniel 10:13, Jude 9). Third, angels have names (Jude 9, Revelations 12:7-8, Daniel 10:13, Luke 1:19). Fourth, they can only be in one place at a time (Luke 1:26, Daniel 10:12-14). Fifth, there are a lot of them (Revelation 5:11). Sixth, some provide protection (Psalm 91:11-12, Matthew 18:10). Seventh, angels do not marry (Matthew 22:30, Luke 20:34-36).
So what are we to make of all this? Probably the most important reminder is that angels are creatures just like we are. They are not beings to worship. In fact, in Revelation 22:9 when the Apostle John fell at the feet of an angel and started to worship, the angel replied, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” No matter how interesting you think angels are, they must not undermine your relationship with God. Angles exist to glorify God, so do not exchange His glory, to worship created things (Romans 1:23).
Second, we must keep angels in their proper place. Deceased relatives and friends do not become angels. Humans remain humans and angels remain angels. Stating on Facebook that a loved one has become an angel is not true and should not be stated.
Lastly, celebrate that we have angels that are “fellow servants” with us, and look forward to the day when you will stand in the midst of the chorus and sing together, “Worthy is the Lamb.”