Serving God and Mankind

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MP3 Audio (16.42 MB)


Serving God and Mankind

MP3 Audio (16.42 MB)

God has given His angels important responsibilities. There are special individual duties, there are different duties for different types of angels, and there are obligations for all angels.

Common to all angels is the duty to heed and obey God. Angels were created as agents of God to carry out His will. And the righteous angels are in total obedience. This is why we pray to God, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The angels of heaven carry out God’s will perfectly—and we in prayer are asking that all people on earth would follow that example. Psalm 103:20 states, “Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.”

While God is able to see everything through His Spirit, it seems that He also wants a direct, eyes-on view and report of events on earth through angels. We saw this in the case of the angels who were sent to Sodom in Genesis 19. We see it in the seven spirits of God as “the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the earth” (Zechariah 4:10; see Revelation 3:1; Revelation 4:5; Revelation 5:6; compare Proverbs 15:3).

God has used some angels as intermediaries in communicating various instructions and laws. Acts 7:53 says the Israelites “received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” Galatians 3:19 says that Israel’s full legal and ceremonial system “was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator [Moses].” Hebrews 2:2 likewise referred to this “word spoken through angels [having] proved steadfast,” wherein “every transgression and disobedience received a just reward.” Likewise God sometimes used angels to communicate messages to prophets and apostles, as in Zechariah and Revelation (see also 1 Chronicles 21:18).

Serving God’s people and the needs of mankind

Angels are often spectators or observers of what God is doing through mankind. From this they learn more of God’s plan of salvation (see “Angels Are Not People Who Died—Man Has a Far Greater Purpose and Future”). While angels are spirit beings, they often minister or serve in very physical ways. Specifically, they minister to those called to be God’s people today.

We read about this role in Hebrews 1: “For to which of the angels did He [God the Father] ever say: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You’? And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son’? But when He again brings the firstborn [Jesus Christ as a forerunner] into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him . . .’ Are they [the angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:5-6; Hebrews 1:14).

In a famous example of physical service, an angel provided the prophet Elijah with food and water and encouraged him to eat:

“Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, ‘Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb [Mount Sinai], the mountain of God” (1 Kings 19:5-8).

The angel provided for Elijah’s physical needs, not the spiritual. Notice that the angel didn’t preach to him or tell him to repent. That was not his role here. It’s later in the chapter that Elijah hears the word of God.

Angels don’t typically take care of the spiritual matters for God. Jesus Christ and God’s ordained ministers and other members of God’s Church usually do that. Angels don’t take up that responsibility unless specifically assigned.

Of course, sometimes they do have that assignment, such as in communicating God’s laws, as we saw above, and preaching the gospel to the world at large (Revelation 14:6). But usually the responsibility is to help with physical needs.

Angels protect us: “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).

Remember the physical protection that angels afforded Daniel? They closed the mouths of lions (Daniel 6:22). An angel broke Peter out of jail in Acts 12:7-8, and then made sure that Peter got himself dressed and put his shoes on properly! Once again, we see angels making sure to meet the physical needs of God’s servants and giving them needed assistance.

Notice also Psalm 91:10-11: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

Angels will also defend us against our enemies: “Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me . . . Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the Lord chase them” (Psalm 35:1; Psalm 35:5).

Heralds, meting out judgment, gathering the elect

God also uses angels as heralds to proclaim good news and warn of judgment.

Gabriel was used to announce the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus Himself, as we saw in an earlier chapter. Angels rolled back the stone from Christ’s tomb and announced that He was not there—that He had risen from the dead.

In Revelation 14:6, cited above, the apostle John wrote: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.” The angel then tells everyone to “fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come” (Revelation 14:7).

Another angel then announces the fall of Babylon (Revelation 14:8), while a third angel warns against receiving the mark of the Beast so as not to “be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (Revelation 14:9-11).

Also in the book of Revelation we see angels sounding the seven trumpets that herald the calamities of the Day of the Lord and the glorious return of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 8:13 we see an angel in the form of an eagle pronouncing woes to the earth’s inhabitants over the final three trumpet blasts.

And the angels are used to mete out judgment at God’s command. After David’s sin in numbering Israel, an angel was used to bring a plague—and to show where a new altar of sacrifice was to be built (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21).

In defending Jerusalem from invaders, an angel of the Lord slew 185,000 people in the camp of the Assyrian army—causing King Sennacherib to head back home in defeat (2 Kings 19:32-37).

In Ezekiel 9 we see men from God who are angels, because of the sins of the people, sent in to slay the people of Jerusalem starting at the temple.

When God struck Egypt with plagues at the time of the Exodus, “He cast on them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble, by sending angels of destruction among them” (Psalm 78:49).

When Herod accepted the praise of people lauding him as a god, “immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:23).

In Revelation 15 through 16, we see angels pouring out bowls on the earth containing the seven last plagues at the time of Christ’s return.

We’ve already seen in Revelation 12:7-9 that Michael and his angels will fight against Satan and his demons and cast them down to the earth. Soon afterward, at Christ’s coming to the earth, He will have an angel lay hold of Satan to then shut him away for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3).

Jesus spoke of a harvest of His followers at the end of the age in which “the reapers are the angels” (Matthew 13:39). And they will get rid of what’s in opposition to God: “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:41-42).

Yet they will bring His true followers to Him: “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31).

And in the far future of the new heaven and new earth, we will find angels at the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:12).

God’s righteous angels will always be there, for they are immortal, as we will then be too (Luke 20:36). And forever they will devotedly serve God and His glorified children. Again, may we all follow the example of their perfect obedience!

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