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Summary: What about angels?

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We are living in a day when people are preoccupied with angels. According to one U.S. Gallup Poll, 72 percent of respondents said they believed in angels.

Books, magazines, films, stories, talk shows and angel paraphernalia abound. The extent to which the angel craze is captivating people is aptly summarized by an article that appeared in Newsweek magazine, which said: "Angels are appearing everywhere . . . those who see angels, talk to them, and put others in touch with them are prized guests on television and radio talk shows. Need inspiration? There are workshops that assist you in identifying early angel experiences or in unleashing your ‘inner angel.’ Tired of your old spirit guide? New Age channelers will connect you with Michael the Archangel. Have trouble recognizing the angels among us? Join an angel focus group."

But what is the truth about angels? Are there such things as "Spirit Guides?" Let’s look to the Bible for answers. Why the Bible? Because the Bible is the most comprehensive record concerning the activity of angels and their interaction with the human race. The Bible tells us that angels are real.It should be pointed out that the primary purpose of the Bible is to tell the story of the relationship between God and man - how that man is separated from God, but that God has made it possible through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for the relationship to be restored eternally.

In the process of telling that story, however, angels are mentioned, and certain things can be determined about them.

1. The Creation of Angels -

The Bible declares the fact of their creation in passages like Psalm 148:1-5. There, the psalmist calls upon all in the celestial heavens, including the angels, to praise God. The reason given is, "For He commanded and they were created" ~ Psalm 148:5. The Bible teaches that angels are created beings, separate from the human race. Angels are not humans beings who have died and gone to heaven!

While the time of their creation is never stated, we know angels were created before the creation of the earth. From the book of Job we are told they were present when the earth was created: "Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone - while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" ~ Job 38:4-7.

The one who created the angels is specifically stated to be Christ, the One who created all things. "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." ~ Colossians 1:16.

Angels were created simultaneously. Unlike human beings and the animal kingdom which were created in pairs and who procreate, angels were created simultaneously as a company, a countless multitude.

This is also suggested by the fact that angels are not subject to death and that they do not or were not to propagate. (see Nehemiah. 9:6; Hebrews 12:22; Daniel 7:10; Matthew 26:53; Rev. 5:11; with Matthew 22:28-30; Luke 20:34-36).

2. The Characteristics of Angels -

Angels are knowledgeable. Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone" ~ Matthew 24:36. This comment by our Lord suggest two things: First, the phrase, "not even the angels" implies that angels have superhuman knowledge. Second, the main statement of this verse shows they are limited in their knowledge, they are not omniscient.

Angels are powerful. That angels have greater strength than man is evident from specific statements we find in Scripture and from the activity of angels described in Scripture. Yet, it must be emphasized that angels are not all powerful. Only God is all powerful!

Angels are individual creatures, having personality - intellect, emotion, and will. As personalities we see them interacted with over and over again through-out the Bible. In fact, in Scripture we encounter specific angels with names such as Michael and Gabriel.

Angels are spirit creatures. Though at times they have been given the ability to reveal themselves in the form of human bodies as in Genesis 18:3, as our Hebrews 1:14 tells us, they are "spirits."

Most important to understand, however, is that angels are mere creatures. Angels are not divine and their worship is explicitly forbidden (Colossians 2:18).

Following the revelation given to John, on two occasions he fell on his face in worship, but the angel quickly rebuked him and then gave the reason. Angels are but "fellow servants," he said, and called upon to serve God as all God’s creatures should. So John was told to "worship God" (Revelation 19:10; 22:9).

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