ANGELS IN THE EPISTLES

KEY VERSE:

 

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The Epistles are letters written by early Church leaders under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and are preserved as part of the New Testament.  They extend from the book of Romans through Jude.  Thirteen were written by the Apostle Paul and are known as the “Pauline Epistles.”  The remainder are called “General Epistles”.  Their authors are James, Peter, John, and Jude.  The author of Hebrews is unknown, but many theologians credit it to Paul.

 

There is one reference in the Epistles that confirms that the evil angels will be judged (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).  This chapter focuses on the remaining references in the Epistles which pertain to the good angels of God.

 

THE REVELATION OF THE EPISTLES

 

The Epistles reveal that…

 

-Angels were created by God.

 

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.(Colossians 1:16-17)

 

-Angels can be impersonated by Satan.

 

            And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

            (2 Corinthians 11:14)

-Angelic messages must be in harmony with the Gospel.

 

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  (Galatians 1:8)

 

-Angels transmitted the Old Testament law.

 

Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

            (Acts 7:53)

 

For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?  (Hebrews 2:2-4)

 

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.  (Galatians 3:19)

 

-Angels cannot separate you from God’s love.

 

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

 

-Angels have a special language.

 

Paul speaks of the “tongues of angels” (1 Corinthians 13:1) and states that when he was caught up into heaven, he heard “inexpressible words”—assumed to be the language of angels  (2 Corinthians 12:4).

 

-Angels observe Believers.

 

For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

(1 Corinthians 4:9)

 

-Angels are not to be worshipped.

 

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind… (Colossians 2:18)

 

-Angels verify the deity of Jesus Christ.

 

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

 

Angels saw Jesus manifested in the flesh.

 

-Angels are classified as either elect or fallen.

 

Elect are those who love and serve God.  Fallen angels are those who joined in Satan’s rebellion.

 

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (1 Timothy 5:21)

 

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment…(2 Peter 2:4)

 

-Angels desire to look into the things that pertain to salvation.

 

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

(1 Peter 1:12)

 

-Angels can appear unrecognized.

 

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.(Hebrews 13:2)

 

-Angels will be judged by Believers.

 

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

(1 Corinthians 6:3)

 

-Angels do not exceed their authority.

 

Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. (2 Peter 2:11)

 

 

 

 

-Angels will return with Jesus.

 

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels… (2 Thessalonians 1:7)

 

-Angels are innumerable.

 

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels… (Hebrews 12:22)

 

-Angels minister to Believers.

 

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.(Hebrews 1:7)

 

But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:13-14)

 

All true Believers are the heirs of salvation and recipients of ministry by angels.

 

ANGELS AND JESUS CHRIST

 

The Epistles reveal that Jesus Christ is superior to the angels.  After His resurrection, Jesus went“…into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Peter 3:22 ).  When God raised Christ from the dead, He “…set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”  (Ephesians 1:20-23)

 

The book of Hebrews was written to Jews to convince them that Christ is superior to Moses, to Aaron, and to the angels. The reason it was necessary to address this issue was because angels were held in high regards by Jews.  The angels gave them the Law through Moses and guided them through 40 years of travel through the wilderness.  Angels ministered to Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, and Elijah and Jews were familiar with the decorative carvings and curtains of Cherubim in the tabernacle and temple.

 

The writer of Hebrews confirmed that Jesus is greater than angels because:

 

-Jesus has a more excellent name than angels:

 

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?(Hebrews 1:4-5)

 

-The angels worship Him:

 

And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.  (Hebrews 1:6.)

 

-Angels were created do His will:

 

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.(Hebrews 1:7)

 

-Jesus hasa greater position and anointing than the angels:

 

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.(Hebrews 1:8-9)

 

-Jesus is eternal—He always existed while angels were created:

 

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (Hebrews 1:10-12)

 

-Angels are the servants of God, whileJesus is the Son of God:

 

But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

 

-Angels have an assigned position in God’s hierarchy because all things are subject to Christ:

 

Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  (Hebrews 2:7-9  )

 

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