Summary: What the Bible says about angels’ roles as God’s ministering spirits.
When we were in the former Soviet Union this summer, we bought some watches. On the watch band was a figure of a man’s face. We tried to ask who he was but we did not have a translator at that time and so the people kept pointing to the sky. We sort of wrinkled our brow and asked, “Is that Jesus? Is that God?” We finally found out it was neither. It was the first Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who was a great hero to the Soviet people. In 1960 he was the first man blasted into space and when he came back and made his famous statement: “I’ve been to the heavens, and I did not see God!” Ten years later Yuri Gagarin died in a plane crash and by the way–that’s when he saw God. But it’s interesting that years later, what a different report some of the Soviet cosmonauts gave about heaven or space. This is an article from USA Today and it is dated in 1990. It says, “Six Soviet cosmonauts said that they witnessed the most awe-inspiring spectacle ever encountered in space–a band of glowing angels as big as jumbo jets!” It lists the names of the cosmonauts and they are all in Russian so I won’t try to pronounce all of them for you. “What we saw were seven giant figures in forms of humans with mist-like halos as in the classic depiction of angels. Their faces were round with cherubic smiles. Twelve days later the figures returned and were seen by three other Soviet scientists, including female cosmonaut, Svetlana Savitskaya said, “They were smiling as though they shared in a glorious secret.” Folks, there is no secret. God’s word and modern testimonies bear out the truth of the fact that there are angels, God’s ministering spirits.
Last Sunday I shared some of the truths about angels for you to at least come to the understanding that there are angels, even though you might not be able to see them. Today I would like to share with you how God uses his angels for ministry purposes, because you can believe in something, but if you don’t know the purpose of it, you are no better off.
Not long ago I read in Newsweek about Whammo Toy Company, who has the patent Frisbee patent, through a charitable trust sent 500 Frisbees to an African orphanage with no explanation. The President of Whammo Toy Company received an interesting letter back from Sister Dominic who runs the orphanage. She said, “Dear Sir: Thank you for the plastic dishes. We eat off of them every meal, but an amazing thing has happened some of the boys have started tossing them and they fly really well. This may be an idea for your toy company! I’m afraid some of us really don’t know the real purpose of angels and that’s the intent of this message today to inform you of the ministry of angels.
Psalm 34:7 says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” And we read this wonderful promise in Psalm 91:9-12. “If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
I would like to share five points of ministry of God’s angels with you. Last week we learned from Hebrews 1:14 that God’s angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who are heirs of salvation. Let me share with you what they do.
1. ANGELS PRONOUNCE GOD’S MESSAGE TO US
Number one, according to the scriptures, angels pronounce God’s message to us. That is the most basic ministry of angels. The word angel, itself, angelos means “messenger.” Angelos is even sometimes used in scripture of a human messenger. I happen to believe in the book of Revelation where it talks about the angel of the church at Laodicea, or Sardis, or Ephesus that it is speaking there of the human messenger of that church. The Hebrew word for angel is the word malachi just like the prophet, Malachi, which means “messenger.” The basic ministry of angels is to deliver God’s message to us. There are many, many examples in the Bible of this. In Acts 8:26, God sent an angel to deliver a message to Philip. “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’” God sent an angel to Philip telling him to go preach to an Ethiopian eunuch who needed to know how to be saved.