ANGELS AND THE INVISIBLE REALM
“He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalms 91:11).
Angels are mentioned nearly 300 times in the Bible. The word “angel” comes from the Greek word “aggelos” which means “messenger.” The Bible tells us in the 12th chapter of Hebrews that when we get to the Heavenly Jerusalem we will be met by such a large gathering of angels that they will be innumerable.
Many have asked “what do angels do?” Scripture tells us that the main activity of angels is to worship and praise God, but they also carry out a variety of other tasks. For example, we know that angels serve as messengers to communicate God’s will. Sometimes they are sent to deliver us from danger as they did in the fifth chapter of Acts (verse 19) when an angel released the apostles from prison. An angel did the same thing again for Peter in the 12th chapter of Acts (verses 7-11). And then sometimes angels are sent to strengthen and encourage us. Angels strengthened Jesus after His temptation by the devil in the wilderness(Matthew 4:11). Angels encouraged the apostles to continue preaching after releasing them from prison (Acts 5: 19 & 20). Sometimes God uses angels as a means of answering prayers. The Bible tells us that angels rejoice when someone repents and accepts Christ as Lord and Saviour - “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth….” (Luke 15:7). We also know that angels sometimes take on the appearance of ordinary men. The Bible instructs us to be hospitable to strangers because we may be entertaining angels unaware (Hebrews 13:2).
Few are aware that there is constantly taking place within the Heavenly realms a raging conflict that we cannot see which goes far beyond anything we can possibly imagine, It is a conflict between good and evil, between the angels of God and the fallen angels of satan. It is an incredibly fierce battle to say the least and one that will continue right up to the moment of Christ’s return. It is imperative to fully understand that this battle which is constantly taking place is NOT a battle between two “equal” powers. satan and his demons have only as much power as God permits them to have. It is God Alone Who reigns as the Supreme King of the universe and it is His will alone that continues to be carried out. We are given a small picture of this unseen battle in the tenth chapter of Daniel. There we read of how Daniel was in mourning because in a vision he had seen many terrible calamities that were going to take place but he did not understand the vision and so he began praying to God for understanding. For three weeks Daniel prayed and mourned and fasted until one day he saw a man approaching in the distance whom he describes as being clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold, his body was like a precious emerald and his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were as lamps of fire and his arms and feet like polished brass, and his voice was like the voice of a multitude. At this point Daniel’s strength leaves him and he falls to the ground, but then an angel touches him and his strength returns. The angel tells Daniel that from the very first day that he began praying God heard his prayer even before he finished praying. The angel further tells Daniel that God had sent him immediately to assist Daniel but for 21 days the angel of Persia ( an evil fallen angel working under the direction of satan) had engaged him in battle until the archangel Michael came to help him. Hence the “one and twenty days” delay of the angel reaching Daniel. (See Daniel chapter 10).
There are literally millions upon millions of angels at God’s command standing at attention to assist us as God instructs them. When the priests and pharisees arrested Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and Simon Peter tried to protect Jesus with his sword Jesus said to him “put your sword away, don’t you know that at this very moment I could pray to my Father, and he would instantly give me more than twelve legions of angels ?” (Matthew 26:53).Twelve legions would be 72,000 angels.
One of the best-known angels in the Bible is Gabriel who had the privilege of announcing the future births of both John the Baptist and Jesus. Gabriel said of himself “I am Gabriel, I stand in the presence of God” (Luke 1:19). Another well-known angel is Michael. Michael is an archangel and is described as the “chief angel.” When satan went to war against God in Heaven it was Michael who led the angels in a victorious battle against satan.
There are hundreds of instances of unnamed angels appearing and working on behalf of God as both messengers and warriors. Angels visited Lot in Sodom to warn him and protect him (Genesis 19:1). When King Sennacherib of Assyria tried to capture Jerusalem an angel went into the camp of the Assyrians one evening and slew 185,000 men to protect Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:36). And though it does not go in depth, the Bible also speaks of “guardian” angels. Psalm 34: 7 says “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear them, and delivereth them.”
Some of the mightiest angels are known as the “cherubim” among whom are the remarkable “four living creatures” described in Ezekiel chapter one as having “four faces.” They are also described by John in Revelation chapter 4 as four living creatures around the throne covered with eyes in the front and the back with the four faces of a lion, an ox, a man, and a flying eagle. God also placed cherubim with whirling, flaming swords to guard the gate of access back into the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were expelled to keep them from eating of the Tree of Life.
Clearly one of the many ways in which God demonstrates His Love for us is through the work of His angels. But often times we become so caught up and involved with the everyday pressures of life that we fail to experience and enjoy the many ways that God expresses His Love for us. A love that is often evidenced in the ministry of His angels.