Angels and Their Responsibilities Part 1

Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:12:49
0 ratings
· 9 views
Files
Notes
Transcript
Handout
Angels: What the Bible Really Says about God’s Heavenly Host What God Has Planned for Us: Eternal Rule with Christ

The imagers of God, eternal members in his family, have a lot more to do than cloud-lounging and singing. But discerning that requires grasping heavenly host (“angelic”) participation and reclaiming the nations currently under the dominion of evil, supernatural beings. A theology of the heavenly host is indispensable for conceiving our eternal destiny as co-rulers with Jesus.

Michael S. Heiser, Angels: What the Bible Really Says about God’s Heavenly Host (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018).
The Hebrew word מַלְאַךְ - mal'akh means messenger. The context determines whether the messenger is human or divine.
The Greek word ἄγγελος - angelos means one who brings a message, or a messenger.
The word angel has come to mean more than just messenger in our language and the New Testament. This change happened mainly in the Intertestamental period. Today it has lost most of the sense of messenger and come to reference the heavenly hosts, spiritual beings created by God.
There are three kinds of terms that describe angels: first is their nature, second is their status or rank, and third is their function.
The Hebrew and Greek words for angel describe which one?
The Hebrew words that address nature are: “spirit” ר֗וּחַ (rûaḥ). 1 Kings 22:19-23 illustrates that.
1 Kings 22:19–23 ESV
19 And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; 20 and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ 23 Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.”
The second word to address the nature of angels in the OT is “Heavenly Ones” שָׁמַ֣יִם (šamayim). Psalm 89:5-7 illustrates that. It is often translated as “heavens.”
Deuteronomy 32:43 ESV
43 “Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people’s land.”
Psalm 89:5–7 ESV
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! 6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, 7 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?
The third word for the nature of angels in the OT is “Stars” כּ֣וֹכְבֵי (kōḵeḇı̂m). Job 38:5-7 illustrates this.
Job 38:5–7 ESV
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The fourth word for the nature of angels in the OT is “Holy Ones” קְדֹשִֽׁים׃ (qedōšı̂m). Psalm 89:5-7 is an example.
Psalm 89:5–7 ESV
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! 6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, 7 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?
The fifth word for the nature of angels in the OT is “gods”/“divine beings” אֱֽלֹהִ֗ים(ʾelōhı̂m), translated to either speak of Yahweh or of gods. A biblical writer would use ʾelōhı̂m to label any entity that is not embodied by nature and is a member of the spiritual realm. An example of this is Psalm 89:7 and Psalm 82:1
Psalm 82:1 ESV
1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
Psalm 89:7 ESV
7 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?
The second term used in the OT is status or hierarchy. There are six Hebrew words used. Let’s take a look at them now.
The first word for hierarchy is “assembly” עֲדַת־ (ʿēdāh). The context determines if it is an earthly or a heavenly assembly. Psalm 82:1 is a good example of a heavenly assembly.
Psalm 82:1 ESV
1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
The second word for hierarchy is “council” סוֹד־ (sōḏ). The context determines if it is an earthly or a heavenly council. Psalm 89:7 is a good example of a heavenly council.
Psalm 89:7 ESV
7 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?
The third word for hierarchy is “congregation” קְהַ֥ל (qāhāl). The context determines if it is an earthly or a heavenly congregation. A good example of this is Psalm 89:5. Here it translated as assembly.
Psalm 89:5 ESV
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
The forth word for hierarchy is “assembled meeting” מוֹעֵ֖ד (môʿēd). The context determines if it is an earthly or a heavenly meeting place. Isaiah 14:13 speaks of a heavenly place of authority.
Isaiah 14:13 ESV
13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
The fifth word for hierarchy is “court” דִּינָ֥א (Aramaic: dı̂n). Daniel 7:9-10 is the passage of Scripture for that.
Daniel 7:9–10 ESV
9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. 10 A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
The sixth word for hierarchy is “prince” שַׂר־ (sar). The two illustrations of that are Joshua 5:14; Daniel 10:13.
Joshua 5:14 ESV
14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”
Daniel 10:13 ESV
13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,
The seventh word for hierarchy is “sons of God” (bā·nî ʾelōhîm). Job 1:6 or Genesis 6:2 are good examples.
Job 1:6 ESV
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
Genesis 6:1–2 ESV
1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.
Now we come to the six terms that describe their responsibilities or function or attributes related to a task.
The first Hebrew word related to their responsibilities is מַלְאַ֥ךְ (malʾāk) which means messenger, as already mentioned. It is translated as “angel” if the messenger is from heaven. Genesis 21:17 is an example.
Genesis 21:17 ESV
17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.
The second Hebrew word related to their responsibilities is “minister” מְ֝שָׁרְתָ֗י (šērēt). Psalm 103:20-21 is a good example.
Psalm 103:20–21 ESV
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
The third Aramaic word related to their responsibilities is “watcher” עִ֣יר (ʿı̂r) which means being wakeful and a guardian. Daniel 4:13, 17, 23 are examples for this usage.
Daniel 4:13 ESV
13 “I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven.
The fourth is best to consider as a group since they apply to the same responsibilities of a military group. The Hebrew words are “host” צְבָ֤א (ṣabaʾ), “mighty ones” גִּבֹּ֣רֵי (gibborı̂m), אַ֭בִּירִים (ʾabbı̂rı̂m). Example are found in 1 Kings 22:19; Psalm 103:20; Psalm 78:24-25.
1 Kings 22:19 ESV
19 And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left;
Psalm 103:20 ESV
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Psalm 78:24–25 ESV
24 and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.
The fifth Hebrew word related to their responsibility is “mediator” מֵלִ֗יץ (mēlı̂ṣ) in Job 33:23.
Job 33:23 ESV
23 If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him,
The sixth Hebrew word related to their responsibility is “cherubim” כְּרֻבִים֩ (keruḇı̂m) and “seraphim” שְׂרָפִ֨ים (śerāp̱ı̂m), which are guardians of God’s presence. Exodus 37:9; Ezekiel 10:1; Isaiah 6:2.
Exodus 37:9 ESV
9 The cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat were the faces of the cherubim.
Ezekiel 10:1 ESV
1 Then I looked, and behold, on the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire, in appearance like a throne.
Isaiah 6:2 ESV
2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
Now that we have a survey on angels in the OT, we will turn our attention to Intertestamental writings. One of the outstanding features of these writings is a well-developed concept of angels.
Let’s take a look at the nature and abilities of angels in the writings in the Intertestamental period.
The Book of Jubilees is our first example of the nature and responsibility of angels. It was probably written around 100 BC. The passage we want to look at is Jubilees 2:1-2.

And the angel of the presence spoke to Moses by the word of the LORD, saying, “Write the whole account of creation, that in six days the LORD God completed all his work and all that he created. And he observed a sabbath the seventh day, and he sanctified it for all ages. And he set it (as) a sign for all his works.”

2* For on the first day he created the heavens, which are above, and the earth, and the waters and all of the spirits which minister before him:

the angels of the presence,

and the angels of sanctification,

and the angels of the spirit of fire,

and the angels of the spirit of the winds,

and the angels of the spirit of the clouds and darkness and snow and hail and frost,

and the angels of resoundings and thunder and lightning,

and the angels of the spirits of cold and heat and winter and springtime and harvest and summer,

and all of the spirits of his creatures which are in heaven and on earth.

James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament: Expansions of the “Old Testament” and Legends, Wisdom, and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works, vol. 2 (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1985), 55.
The Dead Sea Scrolls also shows the nature and responsibilities of angels.
The Dead Sea Scrolls: Study Edition (Translations) Col. IX (Sukenik Col. I; = 4Q432 2)

In your wisdom [you] es[tablished] eternal […]; before creating them you know {all} their deeds

8 for ever and ever. [Without you no]thing is done, and nothing is known without your will. You have fashioned

9 every spirit and […] and the judgment of all their deeds. Blank You have stretched out the heavens

10 for your glory. Everything [which it contains] you have [es]tablished according to your will, and powerful spirits, according to their laws, before

11 they became h[oly] angels […] eternal spirits in their realms: luminaries according to their mysteries,

12 stars according to [their] circuits, [all the stormy winds] according to their roles, lightning and thunder according to their duties and well-designed storehouses

13 according to th[eir] purposes […] according to their secrets.

Garcı́a Martı́nez, Florentino, and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (translations). Brill, 1997–1998.
The idea of fallen angels is shown in 1 Enoch 21.

21 1 And I came to an empty place. 2 And I saw (there) neither a heaven above nor an earth below, but a chaotic and terrible place. 3 And there I saw seven stars of heaven bound together in it, like great mountains, and burning with fire. 4 At that moment I said, “For which sin are they bound, and for what reason were they cast in here.” 5 Then one of the holy angels, Uriel, who was with me, guiding me, spoke to me and said to me, “Enoch, for what reason are you asking and for what reason do you question and exhibit eagerness? 6 These are among the stars of heaven which have transgressed the commandments of the Lord and are bound in this place until the completion of ten million years, (according) to the number of their sins.” 7 I then proceeded from that area to another place which is even more terrible and saw a terrible thing: a great fire that was burning and flaming; the place had a cleavage (that extended) to the last sea, pouring out great pillars of fire; neither its extent nor its magnitude could I see nor was I able to estimate. 8 At that moment, what a terrible opening is this place and a pain to look at! 9 Then Uraʾel, (one) of the holy angels who was with me, responded and said to me, “Enoch, why are you afraid like this?” (I answered and said),” 10 “I am frightened because of this terrible place and the spectacle of this painful thing.” And he said unto me, “This place is the prison house of the angels; they are detained here forever.”

Charlesworth, James H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Yale University Press, 1983.
Angels appear as men in the OT, the Intertestamental writings, and in the NT. Genesis 18:1-2 1 Enoch 17:1; Hebrews 13:2.
Genesis 18:1–2 ESV
1 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth

17 1* And they lifted me up into one place where there were (the ones) like the flaming fire. And when they (so) desire they appear like men.

Charlesworth, James H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Yale University Press, 1983.
Hebrews 13:2 ESV
2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
The Bible only records two names of good angels - Michael and Gabriel. It records several names of fallen spiritual beings, such as Marduk, Asherah, and Baal. In the Intertestamental period more angels are named. These names focus mainly on archangels, also know as watchers.

20 1 And these are names of the holy angels who watch: 2 Suruʾel, one of the holy angels—for (he is) of eternity and of trembling. 3 Raphael, one of the holy angels, for (he is) of the spirits of man. 4 Raguel, one of the holy angels who take vengeance for the world and for the luminaries. 5 Michael, one of the holy angels, for (he is) V 1, p 24 obedient in his benevolence over the people and the nations. 6 Saraqaʾel, one of the holy angels who are (set) over the spirits of mankind who sin in the spirit. 7 Gabriel, one of the holy angels who oversee the garden of Eden, and the serpents, and the cherubim.

Charlesworth, James H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Yale University Press, 1983.
Revelation 14:18.
The idea of angels being an army is further developed in this time period, as seen in the Dead Sea Scrolls War Scroll 1QM, 1 Enoch 29:3

10 Israel, for this will be the day determined by him since ancient times for the war of extermination against the sons of darkness. On this (day), the assembly of the gods and the congregation of men shall confront each other for great destruction.

11 The sons of light and the lot of darkness shall battle together for God’s might, between the roar of a huge multitude and the shout of gods and of men, on the day of the calamity. It will be a time of

12 suffering fo[r al]l the nation redeemed by God. Of all their sufferings, none will be like this, hastening till eternal redemption is fulfilled. And on the day of their war against the Kittim,

13 [t]he[y] shall go out [to] destruction. In the war, the sons of light will be the strongest during three lots, in order to strike down wickedness; and in three (others), the army of Belial will gird themselves in order to force the lot of [light] to retreat.

14 There will be infantry battalions to melt the heart, but God’s might will strengthen the he[art of the sons of light.] And in the seventh lot, God’s great hand will subdue

15 [Belial, and al]l the angels of his dominion and all the men of [his lot.] Blank

16 […] the holy ones, he will appear to assist the […] truth, for the destruction of the sons of darkness.

Garcı́a Martı́nez, Florentino, and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (translations). Brill, 1997–1998.
The idea of a heavenly council is embraced by the Second Temple writings. The Dead Sea Scroll 4Q400 is a good example.

1 [Of the Instructor. Song for the sacrifice] of the first [sabba]th, the fourth of the first month. Praise

2 [the God of …,] you, gods of all the most holy ones; and in {his} the divinity

3 [of his kingdom, rejoice. Because he has established] the most holy ones among the eternal holy ones, so that for him they can be priests

V 2, p 809 4 [of the inner sanctum in the temple of his kingship,] the servants of the Presence in the his glorious sanctuary. In the assembly of all the divinities

5 [of knowledge, and in the council of all the spirits] of God, he has engraved his ordinances for all spiritual creatures, and [his]

6 [glorious] precepts [for those who establish] knowledge, the people of the intelligence of his divine glory, Blank for those who are close to knowledge.

Garcı́a Martı́nez, Florentino, and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (translations). Brill, 1997–1998.
Angels in the Intertestamental Period have the function of guarding, interceding, and interpreting.

4 The first voice was blessing the name of the Lord of the Spirits. 5 The second voice I heard blessing the Elect One and the elect ones who are clinging onto the Lord of the Spirits. 6 And the third voice I heard interceding and praying on behalf of those who dwell upon the earth and supplicating in the name of the Lord of the Spirits. 7 And the fourth voice I heard expelling the demons and forbidding them from coming to the Lord of the Spirits in order to accuse those who dwell upon the earth. 8 And after that, I asked the angel of peace, who was going with me and showed me everything that was hidden, “Who are these four faces which I have seen and whose voices I have heard and written down?” 9 And he said to me, “The first one is the merciful and forbearing Michael; the second one, who is set over all disease and every wound of the children of the people, is Raphael; the third, who is set over all exercise of strength, is Gabriel; and the fourth, who is set over all actions of repentance unto the hope of those who would inherit eternal life, is Phanuel by name.

Charlesworth, James H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Yale University Press, 1983.
Next time we meet we will go over angels in the NT. We will see how this effects our views on what we will be doing for all eternity.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more