CONCERNING ANGELS – Hebrews 1


Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?

Hebrews 1:14 ASV

The angels have the nature of servants, or “ministers,” as stated here, and thus must ever be accounted inferior to Jesus our Lord; despite this, however, those shining creatures of the unseen world possess a magnificence beyond our imagination; and the service they give to God and their activities on behalf of the saints, so mysteriously mentioned here, are matters of surpassing interest and curiosity.

Salvation appears in this verse, not as something people may earn, but as a blessing they shall “inherit,” thus corresponding with the same view prevalent throughout the New Testament.

In view of the attention lavished in this chapter upon angels and their place in the economy of redemption, it is considered appropriate to set forth some of the basic scriptural teachings concerning them.

They are innumerable (Hebrews 12:22); and from such impressions as may be gathered from our Saviour’s reference to “legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53) and the use of words like “archangel” (Jude 1:1:1:9), as well as from our Lord’s making angels of little children to be of the highest rank in heaven (Matthew 18:10), it is inferred that the angelic host are an organized company, or kingdom; and it is possibly from the nature of such an organization that the various words like “seraphim,” “cherubim,” and “archangel” have been derived, these terms standing for the several ranks or powers of the angelic company.

The intimate connection of the angels with the affairs of the kingdom of God is seen in the rejoicing of angels over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:7) and in the promise of Christ to confess his followers before God and his holy angels Mark 8:38).

The angels attended Christ’s earthly mission, announced his conception and his birth, strengthened him in Gethsemane, awaited his call during the passion, rolled away the stone from his grave, announced his resurrection, and escorted him to glory.

In the second advent, Christ will appear with ten thousand angels (perhaps a symbolical number for an infinite host) (2 Thessalonians 1:7); and to those angels of his power shall be assigned the task of separating the precious from the vile (Matthew 13:41,49).

The love of angels for people, though incapable of comparison with the love of Christ for people, is nevertheless a valid assumption from the above premises; and the loving regard of angels stands as an effective foil of the hatred engendered against people by Satan and his angels.

The verse before us is a flat declaration that angels perform services for them that shall inherit eternal life; and a fair inquiry is, “What services?”

The scriptures reveal the following kinds of services performed on behalf of people by the angels of God:

(1) They bear away the souls of the righteous in death (Luke 16:22), as in the case of Lazarus.

(2) They oppose purposes and designs of Satan, not in their own names, but in the name of the Lord (Jude 1:1:1:6).

(3) They execute the punitive judgments of God upon the incorrigibly wicked, as in the case of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35) and that of Herod (Acts 12:23).

(4) They exert influence over the rulers and governments of nations, as in the case of Persia (Daniel 10:20).

(5) They aid providentially in bringing the unsaved to hear the redeeming words of the gospel, as in the case of Cornelius (Acts 10:3).

(6) They exercise solicitous care over little children, as shown by Jesus’ words (Matthew 18:10).

(7) They are actively employed in maintaining free course and availability of the word of God, as indicated by a mighty angel’s holding in his hand “a little book” open (Revelation 10), a book which must certainly be hailed as the New Testament.

People can know nothing of angels except what God has revealed through the Bible; and, even from the Bible, it is possible to make incorrect deductions; but some things are definitely clear.

There are countless millions of angels whom God created to perform his will throughout a vast theater of operations, cosmic in dimensions, with particular emphasis upon those matters that concern the salvation of people.

Great as the privileges of angels appear to be, it would seem that there are two prerogatives not given them.

It is not recorded that any of them ever preached the gospel, nor is it indicated that they have the power to reproduce themselves.

Worshipping of the angels is forbidden (Colossians 1:18); and they have no mediatorial function between God and man, that position being reserved to Christ alone (1 Timothy 2:5).

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
Luke 1:30 ASV

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