Summary: This study covers the Ministry of God’s Holy Angels, as depicted in the Bible. What do angels actually do? Vital studies for all Ministers!
The Doctrine of Angels #3
The Ministry of Angels
Dr. Russell K. Tardo
In this series the nature of angels has been examined. To review, the angels are created beings, spiritual beings, personal beings, super-human in strength and intelligence. Angels are an order of being that is distinct from man, separate from man, entirely different from man. Angels constitute a company rather than a race. They’re not a race as each one was created separately and individually. There are tremendous numbers of angels and they are highly organized, both God’s holy angels and the satanic order of beings.
It was also previously noted that there are different orders of spiritual beings, that not all beings in heaven are angels. There are other orders of created beings such as the cherubim, who bear some similarities, yet are quite different from the angels. The cherubim possess unusual features in that they had four faces and four wings. It was the prophet Ezekiel’s record of them (chapter 1) that described them as possessing four faces and four wings. Yet in a later chapter (chapter 41), he mentions the cherubim again, but in this account he observed only two faces and four wings.
Does that mean there is a biblical error?
People are always ready to say, "You see, the Bible contains a mistake! The Bible contradicts itself. Over there they’ve got four faces while here they have two." Beloved, all one need to do is look at these things with a little spiritual wisdom and one readily perceives that there are different kinds of cherubim. Some have four faces while others have only two faces. There are things in heaven that are just beyond man’s comprehension and grasp. God allows only modest glimpses into the spiritual realm and the created beings. As much as I’ve studied, my mind still has a difficult time picturing a four-faced being with four wings who never turns around to change direction. We can, however, agree that these are impressive creatures, endowed with special abilities. Perhaps they are so designed in order to more quickly respond to and carry out God’s orders. That’s precisely what the cherubim do, in addition to acting as the divine guardians of God, guardians of His holiness.
The magnificent seraphim with their six wings were also discussed. Although they are somewhat similar to men in bodily appearance, yet they are also quite different. The seraphim are winged creatures that fly over the throne of God declaring God’s majesty, rejoicing in His attributes -- leaders in the worship and glory.
II. THE NUMBER AND ORGANIZATION OF ANGELS (continuation)
D. The Moral Character of Angels.
All of the angels were created holy.
God saw everything that he had created, and, behold, it was very good.... [Gen. 1:31]
All that God created was perfect, holy and good in the beginning. God, being perfect, possessing all of His attributes in perfection, is incapable of producing evil or creating anything evil. All that He created was good; it was right. The angels were created good, i.e., moral and pure. When God created man, man was good. He wasn’t defiled, fallen or sinful. God, however, did not create robots.
As expressed in earlier studies of some of these doctrines, God created both men and angels as free moral agents, giving them the right to make choices. Whom does one serve? One can obey God or disobey God. God did not create man as a robot who lacks the ability to make choice(s). Robots are controlled by their operator and follow what they’re programmed to do. God didn’t make the highest form of His creation into objects unable to make choices, but made them free moral agents with the ability to choose to serve God or rebel. Man can choose to obey God’s Word or disobey.
The same situation was true with the angels in that they were given freedom to choose. They could be holy; they could obey God or they could follow the example of Lucifer and some did. All of the angels were created holy and there were none that were not created good. They had a choice to obey or disobey just as man did, but some of them made unwise choices and sinned, falling from their state of innocence.
Theologians like to talk about the state of innocence because when man began with Adam and Eve, man was innocent. He didn’t even know he was naked. His mind was not polluted, defiled or corrupt. The same was true with angels; they were innocent and undefiled. All the angels were originally holy, righteous, pure and just. All that God created was good, but some angels fell from their state of innocence, with Lucifer being the first. The Bible says that Lucifer yielded to the temptation of pride. He exalted himself above God and in his rebellion, some of the angels followed him. That topic will be dealt with later in this study. Suffice it for now to look at this passage: