Angels and Their Responsibilities Part 3

Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:27
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‌The functional word “angel” ἄγγελος (angelos) is by far the principal New Testament term for celestial beings in service to God. The label—effectively a job description (“messenger”)—communicates assistance from heaven.
Of the 175 occurrence in the Greek, it is translated 7 times as “messenger”, 6 time as a “human messenger”, and 1 time as an “evil spirit messenger” in 2 Corinthians 12:7. Only 4 of the 175 occurrences of “angelos” point to fallen divine beings.
For New Testament authors, “angelos” is a catchall term for the supernatural agents who faithfully attend God. The varied vocabulary of the Old Testament and Second Temple Jewish Literature is, therefore, largely conflated into “angelos”.
Michael S. Heiser, Angels: What the Bible Really Says about God’s Heavenly Host (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018), 120.
The first responsibility of angels is carried in the very definition of their name, which is a messenger from God, as seen in Matthew 1:20 as an example of the 33 approximate occurrences of them acting as messengers.
Matthew 1:20 ESV
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
The second responsibility of angels would be ministering spirits. This ministry is performed for God, and for humanity, as directed by God. This comprises about three-quarters of the 175 references to angels. Acts 12:7-16 is an example of angels ministering to humans. One way they minister is the idea of guardianship, which is also captured by Matthew 18:10. Matthew 4:11 is an example of them ministering to Jesus. Revelation 1:1; 4:1; 10:7–10; 17:1, 17; 21:9, 10; 22:1, 6, 8 all illustrate the ministry of angels ministering through interpretation.
Revelation 1:1 ESV
1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
Acts 12:7–16 ESV
7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.
Matthew 18:10 ESV
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 4:11 ESV
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
The third responsibility of angels is to be agents of God’s judgement. The majority of the angels in Revelation are ministering to God in bringing about his judgement on the earth (Revelation 7:1–2; 8:5–13; 9:1, 13–15; 10:1, 5, 7; 15:1, 6, 7, 8; 16:1, 5; 17:1; 18:1, 21). A passage outside of Revelation would be Matthew 13:47-50.
Matthew 13:47–50 ESV
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The fourth responsibility of angels is to be heavenly warriors, as seen in Revelation 12:7-9; 19:14; Zechariah 14:5
Zechariah 14:5 ESV
5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
Revelation 19:14 ESV
14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
Revelation 12:7–9 ESV
7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
The fifth responsibility of angels is to minister in worship to God, as in Luke 2:13-14; and Revelation 5:11-12.
Luke 2:13–14 ESV
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Revelation 5:11–12 ESV
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
This whole study on angels started because of the angel in charge of fire, Revelation 14:18 and the angel in charge of water Revelation 16:5.
Revelation 14:18 ESV
18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.”
Revelation 16:5 ESV
5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.
Where does the idea of an angel having authority over different elements come from?
The best proof text is The Book of Jubilees 2:2 and 1 Enoch 66:2.
Jubilees 2:2 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.
1 Enoch 66:2 But the Lord of the Spirits gave an order to the angels who were on duty that they should not raise the (water) enclosures but guard (them)—for they were the angels who were in charge of the waters.
After going over all this data we can see that the heavenly host is comprised of both good and evil spiritual beings. The evil ones are in rebellion against God and will be judged, and the good ones are in faithful service to him.
What role then do we play in this family of God?
Paul says believers will “judge angels” 1 Corinthians 6:3
1 Corinthians 6:3 ESV
3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
Paul is referencing the fact that the fallen spiritual beings who presently rule the nations will be replaced by believers. This point is made twice in the book of Revelation, first in Revelation 2:26-28, and then in Revelation 3:20-21
Revelation 2:26–28 ESV
26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star.
Revelation 3:20–21 ESV
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
So we see that God’s plan is to unite his heavenly and earthly family for all eternity. He wants us as believers to have joint rule with him in both realms, enjoying him and the gift of all creation forever.
What a privilege it is to play a part in God’s epic plan of redemption.
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