Angels: Their Duties and Missions

Renewalists believe that angels are real. Many of us have seen them, either in our dreams or in person.

As noted in the other posts, certain modern interpreters have drunk too deeply of the anti-supernatural biases flowing from the Enlightenment (1600-1800+). They demythologize these Scriptures about angels. That is, they strip them out of the Bible or explain them away, because they are myths, in their opinion. It may be too embarrassing for them.

However, Renewalists believe that the Scriptures are infallible and authoritative, so they expect to see them, and many have.

Let’s start with a basic definition and description, as noted in other posts.

Angels:

(a) Are messengers (in Hebrew mal’ak and in Greek angelos);

(b) Are created spirit beings;

(c) Have a beginning at their creation (not eternal);

(d) Have a beginning, but they are immortal (deathless).

(e) Have moral judgment;

(f) Have a certain measure of free will;

(g) Have high intelligence;

(h) Do not have physical bodies;

(i) But can manifest with immortal bodies before humans.

With those basics, let’s get started with the Bible study.

If you would like to see the verses in many translations, please go to biblegateway.com.

I.. Their General Duties

1.. They revealed the law of Moses.

In Acts 7:38, Stephen in his defense before the Jewish High Council reminded them what they already believed—an angel was on Mt. Sinai and spoke to Moses and their ancestors.

In Gal. 3:19, Paul expands the number to two or more—angels were on Mt. Sinai.

Heb. 2:2 teaches that the “message” was spoke through an angel and was therefore binding, so the ancient Hebrews and their descendants who disobeyed received punishment.

The rest of the passage in Hebrews says we too will come under judgment if we neglect such a great salvation in Christ.

2.. They bring messages from God.

Zech. 1:14-17 says that an angel delivered a message to the prophet Zechariah about the high priest Joshua and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

In Acts 10:3-6 an angel appeared to Cornelius, a Gentile centurion, and told him to be ready to hear from an apostle named Simon Peter.

The main duty of angels is to bring messages and these are just two examples.

3.. They worship and praise God.

Heb. 1:6 says straightforwardly that all the angels should worship the firstborn, that is, Jesus.

Rev. 5:11-12 reveals a wonderful panorama of many angels, thousands and thousands, myriads and myriads who encircle the throne and the creates near it and praise God.

Let’s take some time to discuss what the Bible says about heaven.

Heaven is another dimension, not a distant planet or star within our universe. God did not move his throne room to a corrupt, fallen star or planet. If so, where did he live before he made the heavens and the earth, in the beginning of time and space (Gen. 1:1)? No, heaven is closer than that, but on a completely different order and a completely different realm. Example: When Stephen was about to be martyred, he saw heaven open up and the Son of Man welcoming him (Acts 7:55-56). He didn’t look off into space at a distant planet. Instead, the veil between him and heaven was pulled back

4.. They provide for God’s people.

In 1 Kings 19:5-8 Elijah was afraid for his life, so he ran away. An angel told him to get up and eat, and a meal was cooking on the fire.

Matt. 4:11 says that an angel came and ministered to Jesus, after Satan unsuccessfully tempted him. Presumably he served him by delivering food to him.

5.. They serve people who will inherit salvation.

Heb. 1:14 says that they are ministering spirits who serve the people who will inherit salvation. Theologically this means that they have spirit bodies but are invisible to us, unless God wills to manifest them. But personally, angels are nudging and assisting your loved ones who have not yet been saved. But please don’t pray to them or command them. They are God’s messenger, not yours (Ps. 91:11)

6.. They protect God’s people.

Ps. 91:11 says that God will command his angels to guard you in all your ways. Great promise.

In Dan. 6:22, Daniel says God sent his angel to shut the mouths of lions.

Acts 12:7-10 reports that God sent his angel to wake Peter up, open the prison doors and lead him out to the right street in Jerusalem.

7.. They serve as guardians.

Matt. 18:10 says that the children’s angels in heaven always see the face of the Father. “Face” means they are in God’s presence.

In Acts 12:15 the Messianic Jews praying for Peter at Mary’s house (the mother of John Mark) replied to the servant girl Rhoda that Peter was not at the door, but it was his angel. Humorous.

Many theologians of a rationalistic bent say there is no guardian angel with a permanent assignment for you, but God does send angels to guard us; those who have seen them when God manifests them sometimes testify that they are the same ones. You decide.

8.. They give guidance.

In Acts 8:26, an angel of the Lord directed Philip to travel down a certain road.

In Acts 27:23-24, while Paul and his team (Luke and Aristarchus) were in a great storm, an angel stood before Paul and told him they would be spared, if everyone followed orders.

9.. They interpret God’s will.

Dan. 7:16 says that an angel interpreted one of Daniels rich and complex dreams.

And Zech. 1:9 and Zech. 1:13-14, an angel interpreted one of the prophets visions.

There are other cases, but we must be careful. If you get in an extended conversation with an angel—as Renewalists believe they can and do—then they must not teach new doctrines that contradict the teachings of Scriptures. The Scriptures are infallible and trustworthy; you are not. The Scriptures have stood the test of time. You have not.

10.. They carry out God’s will.

In Num. 22:22, when Balaam was paid to curse the ancient Hebrews, an angel of the Lord stood in the road to block the prophet’s passage along the way.

Ps. 103:20-21 teaches very clearly: “Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.”

Matt. 28:2 says that an angel of the Lord rolled back the rock that covered the tomb of Jesus, and sat on it. Then he conversed with women who had run to the tomb.

11.. They punish God’s enemies who live outside the New Covenant and sometimes those who still live in the Old Covenant.

In 2 Kings 19:35, the angel of the Lord put to death 185,000 Assyrian enemies who had besieged Jerusalem, in about 701 B.C.

Acts 12:23 says that Herod Agrippa was struck down by an angel because he did not give glory to God. Herod was steeped in Judaism, and in the Old Covenant, God judged him like that. “The law brings wrath” (Rom. 4:15).

See my post Why Did Ananias and Sapphira Drop Dead?

1 Cor. 10:10, in the context of Corinthians who grumbled, Paul reminds his readers that in the Old Covenant God through a destroying angel wiped out the ancient Hebrews. Of course God would not destroy Corinthian grumblers like this (I should think not!), but Paul is merely saying that Christians should be careful.

In Rev. 14:17-16:21 angels are shown to be fighting and winning against God’s enemies.

12.. They fight demons and demonic hordes.

In Dan. 10:13, Michael the heavenly prince fought against the spirit ruler over Persia.

Rev. 12:7-8 teaches that Daniel fought against the dragon (Satan) and his allies, who were thrown out of heaven.

In Rev. 20:1-3 an angel seized Satan and bound him with a chain and confined him for a thousand years.

II.. Their duties in service to Jesus Christ

1.. Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary.

Luke 1:5-25 reveals that Gabriel told Zechariah about the birth of John, the future Baptist.

In Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son by the Holy Spirit.

2.. An angel announced to Joseph in a dream the divine conception.

Matt. 1:20-21, as the bold point says, an angel appeared in a dream. Renewalists believe angels still do this (it has happened to me on many occasions—in my dreams).

3.. An angel announced his birth to shepherds.

In Luke 2:9-12, of course the shepherd were terrified. Who wouldn’t be? Then a chorus of angels appeared in the sky and sang praises to God.

4.. An angel warned Joseph in a dream to flee into Egypt.

In Matt. 2:13 an angel again appeared to Joseph in a dream and guided him. And once again, Renewalists believe angels can do the same thing today (and once again, they have guided me like this).

5.. An angel told Joseph in a dream to return to Israel.

Matt. 2:19-20: See points nos. 2, 4, and 5!

6.. Angels strengthened Jesus after he successfully resisted temptation.

Matt. 4:11 and Mark 1:13 say angels (plural) visited Jesus. It is a mystery as to what they said.

7.. An angel from heaven helped Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

In Luke 22:43, this was a very necessary visitation because Jesus was in such anguish that he sweat drops of blood.

8.. Twelve legions of angels could have helped Jesus destroy his enemies and avoid death on the cross.
In Matt. 26:53, Jesus said this to Peter, after the apostle had cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear. No violence needed to stop the crucifixion, which was God’s will (and so was the resurrection.

9.. An angel rolled away the stone which covered the opening to Jesus’s tomb.

As noted, above, Matt. 28:2 says God sent an angel to push back the gigantic stone.

10.. Angels announced Jesus’s resurrection.

Matt. 28:5-7 says, “He is not here! He is risen!”

Luke 24:23 says that on the Emmaus Road, Cleopas, Jesus uncle, reported to a mysterious traveler (Jesus) that angels had told some women that the tomb was empty.

In John 20:11-13 two angels appeared to the women and dialogued with them, asking why they were weeping. God often asks questions that appear out of context, but lifts people higher than their limited contexts.

11.. Angels were present at Jesus’s ascension.

In Acts 1:11, after Jesus ascended and went into the cloud, the apostles were standing and looking up. Two angels shook them out of their wonderment and told them that Jesus would return in the way he went up—visible and bodily.

12.. Angels will return with Christ.

Matt. 25:31 says very straightforwardly that Jesus will return to sit on his throne, and his angels will be with him.

2 Thess. 1:7 reveals that Jesus will appear in a blaze of fire, with his angels.

How does this post about angels help me get closer to God through Christ?

First, angels are real. They encamp about you and protect you and minister to you. They can appear to you personally or in your dreams as messengers (they have appeared in my dreams). God sends them to comfort you and reveal to you that he is watching over you and loves you. He sends them to guide you personally and in a way that conforms to Scripture.

Second, do not to obsess over angels. You don’t need to go to prayer meetings, for example, that communicate with angels or that claim an angel’s feather brushed up against you. That’s misdirected. Go to a Bible study.

Third, realize that God loves you more than any angel could. In fact, it is not clear from Scripture that angels do not have a capacity for love—certainly not for humans. They just are (but one never know for sure what angels feel!).

Fourth and finally, pray to your loving Father in Jesus’s name and ask him to answer your prayers. Focus on the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Seek to be filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit, not “angel-power,” whatever that is.

Jesus is the answer, not angels.

But it is good to know they do serve us, and we can be comforted and encouraged by this Scriptural truth.

Written by James Malcolm

SOURCES

Works Cited at Renewal Theology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s