What do you think about when you think about angels?
Do you think about little cherub-like beings that fly around somehow manipulate the world? Or maybe you think about human-like figures with great and beautiful wings and halos. Or, perhaps, you think about beings that look just like men and women.
Angels are perhaps one of the most misunderstood characters in Scripture. The true picture that Scripture paints of angels is one of eternal beings who follow God’s will, who wield His authority, and who represent Him in everything that they do. Oftentimes they are simply described as looking like humans, although they have also assumed the shape of a fiery pillar, a cloud, and, really, whatever else they may need to be in order to accomplish God’s will.
This is their main purpose: the fulfillment of God’s will.
Just consider some of the following pictures of angels:
When God determined that it was time to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent two angels to the city to accomplish that destruction and to rescue Lot, one of God’s servants who still lived there (Genesis 19:1). When Jacob, the patriarch of Israel, arrived in Egypt, he described the way in which God had been with him: there had been an angel leading him all along (Genesis 48:16). When Moses stood before the burning bush, the words of God were conveyed to him by an angel (Exodus 3:2). And, when the law of Moses was given to the people, it was given to them by the angels (Galatians 3:19).
The angels are God’s messengers and God’s servants. They do His will and they act on His behalf. Whatever it is that God wants done, the angels bring it to pass.
This work is summarized beautifully in a verse in the psalms and a verse in Hebrews:
“Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word.” Psalm 103:20
“Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14
The angels do God’s word and minister to those who will be the heirs of salvation.
Such is their task and such is their desire.
And yet, there is one other major charge that the angels are given, and this charge makes a crucial difference in the way that we understand the God of the Bible. This charge can be seen in each of the pictures of angels that were mentioned above, and it unifies them all beautifully.
Lord willing, in our next post, as we attempt to better understand God and to see the way in which He reveals Himself through Scripture, we will consider this vital charge that has been given to the angels.
– Jason Hensley
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