Study for Month November 2012
ANGELS IN OUR MIDST
In October 11, 2003, a local Adventist church celebrated their seventh anniversary at the Carson Civic Center. They published a souvenir program marking their church milestone with the theme: “Angels in Our Midst.” It was their chosen theme that caught my attention—not the pictures of the highlights of their church activities—although it is still true that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The subject of angels lingered persistently on my mind, compelling me to review my notes and references of previous studies on the subject and update them from the law and the testimony. Finally, as a matter of habit, it resulted in putting this study notes together for my own personal edification and handy reference. It is by no means exhaustive but rather informative, open to further expansion in the light of the plan of salvation through prayerful study by any and all diligent spiritual truth-seekers of the magnificent plan of redemption.
Declaration of Intention
As usual, I share this information, with all the references included for further personal study in the hope that it will result in at least three things:
1. To help us better understand and appreciate the indispensable role of heavenly angels to our salvation so that we can fully cooperate with them and do nothing that will grieve them or that which will cause them to actually fold their wings in sadness and leave us. When they, “the wall of protection” that God places around His people depart, we are left to be helpless sports of Satan, his evil angels and their wicked agencies on earth.
2. To become more perceptive and sensitive to the subtle work and influence of evil “angels in our midst, almost always undetected, and cognizant of their works. In fact, they are there, carrying out Satan’s “unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds, that we “they not dwell upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted,” (GC 488), to tempt, vex, harass, accuse, maim, cause all manner of suffering, and kill.
3. To develop the Berean habit of testing and verifying every assertion of doctrine and every use of Biblical references by anyone by the Scriptures itself, for “the Bible is its own expositor.” Notice:
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Isaiah 8:20. The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining knowledge of the Bible; for its plain utterances reveal his deceptions. At every revival of God’s work the prince of evil is aroused to more intense activity; he is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and His followers. The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle is to be tested. . . .None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.”—Great Controversy, 593.
Satan and his fallen angels–the evil spirits–have long been at work on a devastatingly successful mass operation. Yet, countless Christians are oblivious to the fact that in carrying out certain regular, even habitual activities, including overtly religious ones, they are actually serving and worshipping him! Notice (emphasis mine):
“Nothing is more treacherous than the deceitfulness of sin. It is the god of this world that deludes, and blinds, and leads to destruction. Satan does not enter with his array of temptations at once. He disguises these temptations with a semblance of good. He mingles with amusements and folly some little improvements, and deceived souls make it an excuse that great good is to be derived by engaging in them. This is only the deceptive part. It is Satan’s hellish arts masked. Beguiled souls take one step, then are prepared for the next. It so much more pleasant to follow the inclinations of their own hearts than to stand on the defensive, and resist the first insinuation of the wily foe, and thus shut out his in-comings. Oh, how Satan watches to see his bait taken so readily, and to see souls walking in the very path he has prepared! He does not want them to give up praying and maintaining a form of religious duties; for he can thus make them more useful in his service. He unites his sophistry and deceptive snares with their experiences and professions, and thus wonderfully advances his cause.” –-With God at Dawn, 226.
“Satan’s work today is that of a deceiver and an accuser. The Lord declares him to be an accuser of the brethren day and night. By long practice, Satan has become well skilled in his trade of fault-finding, and will educate every person whom he can use to unite with him in this work. By him many are being deceived, and are moving blindfolded into paths of Satan’s openings. The central power of the earth is a demon. His throne is in the midst of the world, where should have been the throne of God. He has been patronized by the church, for the church has been conformed to the world, and is living in transgression of the holy law of God.”—This Day With God, p. 28.
“There are multitudes today as truly under the power of evil spirits as was the demoniac of Capernaum. All who willfully depart from God’s commandments are placing themselves under the control of Satan [who works through his fallen angels]. Many a man tampers with evil, thinking that he can break away at pleasure; but he is lured on and on, until he finds himself controlled by a will stronger than his own. He cannot escape its mysterious power. Secret sin or master passion may hold him a captive as helpless as was the demoniac of Capernaum. Satan is the god of the world; his influence is to pervert the senses, control the human mind for evil, and drives his victims to violence and crime. He sows discord and darkens the intellect. [But] the work of Christ is to break his power over the children of men. Yet how many in every department of life, in the home, in business transactions, and in the church, turn Jesus [away] from their doors but let the hateful monster [Satan] in. Satan’s path is the broadest and the most deceptive. It is made to appear the most attractive, while it is hard, mystifying, and full of disappointment [in the end].”—Faith I Live By, p. 312.
Not to be able to differentiate between these two classes of angels, one from heaven, the other from beneath, is, exactly as the master deceiver would have it for he can better control minds undetected. God’s Word says, “By their fruits ye shall know them” and, “spiritual things are spiritually discerned.” (Matt 7:20; 1 Cor. 2:13, 14). Thus, only the spiritual mind that constantly feeds upon God’s Word can safely distinguish between the two classes of “angels in our midst”—-by their works, and ours, too! For indeed, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12). That is why the true “soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3, 4), never forgets to put on the provision of the “whole armor of God” described in Eph. 6:10-18, as he daily sallies forth to do battle with self, Satan, sin, and temptation. Glorious, resounding daily success in this warfare is assured through the promise: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (Rom. 8: 37).
WHO ARE THE ANGELS?
Let us begin with six of my favorite “angel” verses and passages. They are as follows:
Ps. 34:7: “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him and delivereth them.”
Salvation is free and unshackles completely only when accepted as a perfect gift, i.e., a complete package, nothing is to be added or taken away from it—which includes the invitation to repent, the command to obey with its provision of abundant grace, then the right to claim the promises.
First, we are to come to Christ just as sinful as we are, in a broken and contrite spirit, acknowledging, repenting and confessing our sins, and seeking mercy and forgiveness. That very instant, we are fully forgiven, justified by His righteousness, which righteousness is imputed. This is our “passport” to heaven.
Then, following Christ daily by faith, lifting the heavy cross of self-denial, meaning, progressively overcoming all our inherited, acquired, and habitual propensities to sin, until perfect victory by God’s enabling grace is reached—which is a lifetime process. This is Christian growth, the “climbing of “Peter’s ladder” rung by rung, the fitness run for heaven. This is sanctification by His righteousness—the righteousness which is imparted. And, finally, receiving the crown of glory and immortality at His glorious return for Jesus said, “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” See 2 Pet. 1:4-12; Rom. 6:22, 23; Luke 9:23-26; Rev. 22:12.
Likewise, God’s “wall or hedge” of protection afforded through His ministering angels, is also conditional—to them that fear and obey Him, as in, “showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exo. 20:6). God offers a choice between two paths: the “strait and narrow, or the broad way.” We determine the final consequences by our choices. (See Matt 7:13, 14; Luke 13:24; Deut. 30:14-20). Once more, eternal life, as the final reward for faithfulness is based on “overcoming even as He overcame.” See John 16:33; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21:7; 22:14. Compare to Matt. 5:48, and Phil 4:13, etc.
Ps. 78: 24, 25: “And [God] had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them the corn of heaven. And men did eat angels’ food: He sent them meat to the full.”
Meat, in the original, did not refer to “flesh,” as is commonly thought and used today; it simply meant “food,” as God originally gave to man and beast. (See Genesis 1:29, 30). Furthermore, although angels are “spirits,” not human beings, even if they can and have taken on the form of men, they still need to eat! Their “meat” is manna, of which ancient Israel was able to exclusively subsist on for 40 long years, unmistakably testifying that it was nutritionally complete, and the original perfect food! Nothing was needed to supplement it, and neither was there a need to take away and discard anything from it, such as inedible peeling or seed, etc. And so is the word of God, which manna represents! Nothing can be added or taken away from it, without the risk of losing one’s spiritual health and eyesight, and eventually incurring the righteous wrath of God! See Rev. 22:18, 19; Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:5, 6; Eccl. 3:14, etc.
Ps. 91:9-12: “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is My Refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
The word “keep” begs better understanding here. In the temptation of Christ in the wilderness by Satan, it made all the difference between a true and counterfeit reading of the provision and promise of Psalms 91, which, by the way, is the favorite of the U.S. Navy. We will here quote directly the definitions of the word “keep” as used in the Old and New Testaments from the Hebrew/Aramaic, and Greek lexicons of Strong’s Comprehensive Concordance.
In the Hebrew/Aramaic, as in Ps. 91:11, it is shamar: “To hedge about (as with thorns, i.e., to guard); generally, to protect, attend to, etc,: beware, circumspect, to take heed (to self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure,(that lay), wait, watch, watchman.”
In the Greek, as in Rev. 14:12; 22:9, it is tereo: “To guard (from loss or injury by keeping the eye upon, i.e., to note a prophecy; figuratively, to fulfill a command; by implication to detain (in custody); figuratively, to maintain; by extension, to withdraw (for personal ends), figuratively, to keep unmarried); to hold fast, keep, serve, watch.”
See Matt 4:1-11; cf. Ps. 91: 10-12, and “The Temptation (of Jesus), Desire of Ages, pp. 114-123. In tempting Jesus to commit the deadly sin of presumption, Satan’s counterfeit of faith, he deftly left out the important work of the angels, that is, “to keep thee in all thy ways.” This is how our Savior, severely weakened by the forty-day fast in his adopted human nature, detected Satan, who had come to Him, true to form as the deceiver, appearing like an angel of light! But Jesus knew the Scriptures by heart. Thus, to every temptation, “It is Written” was His never-failing weapon! Satan knows only too well that he is totally helpless and defeated against this spiritual weapon. What he dreads most is that the tempted one resists him with the Word of God. He recognizes the rules of engagement in this conflict, and withdraws, defeated. This is the only sure defense of Christ’s true followers if they would win the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Through David, He declared centuries before His incarnation, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Ps. 119:11.
Acts. 5: 17-20 : “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees, and were filled with indignation (jealousy-margin), and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them into the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.”
It is important to remember that God’s people, especially messengers and workers of His anointing, have, and will be delivered from the hand of their enemies by His ministering angels—in order to do further and more aggressive spiritual battle with the enemies of the truth—not in order to be free from further obligation or tribulation! Ancient Israel was delivered from their 430 years of Egyptian slavery with the longest, uninterrupted series of direct miracles by the hand of God—not merely for them to “inherit the land flowing with milk and honey”—but that they may be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that they should show forth the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9). God Jehovah had brought them out in order to preserve the knowledge of His law and to be guardians and keepers of His law among the heathen nations, desiring them to be “wells of salvation” in the world. (AA 14; DA 27; PP 468). They were ordered by God to utterly destroy the Canaanites (PP 423), which they failed to obey, and fulfill God’s purpose. Hence, they ultimately suffered the consequence: “The kingdom was taken away from them and given to the Gentiles.” And God has ever worked on the same principle. Note:
“The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it to the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch [not the whole church!] of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the work of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But if, these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong word and action, if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them a reproach.”—Manuscript 33, Apr. 27,1903, “Gods Purpose for His Church;” Upward Look, p. 131.
Some have interpreted the foregoing passage from the Testimonies, as they do others, as proving that God has already “taken away the kingdom of God from the commandment-keeping remnant church of prophecy (Rev. 19:10) and given it to the Gentiles” because of her apostasies. Note that the servant of God was applying the principle to “every branch’ of the work, and was referring to “a church,” meaning any local church. That this is also largely counsel and reproof addressed to persons with important responsibilities in the church is clearly indicated in the warning that their lives must be purified “from every wrong word and action,” and “to establish pure and holy principles in all their borders.” Failure to do so, with true repentance, will result in them being “grievously afflicted,” and “removed from their positions,” attended with “reproach.” Further, she wrote this particular Testimony as “God’s Purpose for His Church” in 1903, and stood loyal to this very church till her death in 1915, twelve years later.
Matt 18:1-10 : (In answer to His disciples’ question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”) “Jesus called a little child unto Him and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in heaven. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.”
These “little ones” whose angels do always behold the face of the Father in heaven are not only literal children but also those “little and weak in the faith.” God’ servant wrote:
“Before honor is humility. To fill a high place before men, Heaven chooses the worker, who, like John the Baptist, takes a lowly place before God. The most childlike disciple is the most efficient in labor for God. The heavenly intelligences [angels] can co-operate with him who is seeking, not to exalt self, but to save souls.”—Desire of Ages, p. 436.
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Rom. 15:1. No soul who believes in Christ, though his faith may be weak, and his steps wavering as those of a little child, is to be lightly esteemed. By all that has given us by advantage over another,—be it education and refinement, nobility of character, Christian training, religious experience,–we are in debt to those less favored; and, so far as lies in our power, we are to minister unto them. If we are strong, we are to stay up the hands that are weak. Angels of glory, that do always behold the face of the Father in heaven, joy in ministering to these little ones. Trembling souls, who have many objectionable traits of character, are their [angels’] special charge. Angels are ever present where they are most needed, with those who have the hardest battle with self to fight, and whose surroundings are the most discouraging. And in this ministry Christ’s true followers will cooperate.”—Ibid, p. 440.
“The angels of heaven are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. We know not who they are; it is not yet made manifest who shall overcome, and share the inheritance of the saints in light; but angels of heaven are passing through the length and breadth of the earth, seeking to comfort the sorrowing, to protect the imperiled, to win the hearts of men to Christ. No one is neglected or passed by. God is no respecter of persons, and He has an equal care for all the souls He has created. As you open your door to Christ’s needy and suffering ones, you are welcoming unseen angels. You invite the company of heavenly beings. They bring a sacred atmosphere of joy and peace. They come with praises on their lips, and an answering strain is heard in heaven. Every deed of mercy makes music there. The Father from His throne numbers the unselfish workers among His most precious treasures.”—Ibid, p. 639.
1 Cor. 6:2,3 : “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that ye shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”
Jesus likewise told His disciples, “you who have followed Me in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory, you shall also sit upon the twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28). Through the apostle Paul, He says, if the high and lofty privilege of judging the evil angels and the twelve tribes of Israel during the “thousand years” or the Biblical millennium, in heaven is part of the reward for faithfulness, how dare you go to the court of unbelievers to “settle differences among believers” over such trivial things? And even if fellow believers lose their spiritual mind and haul you off to court, “Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be defrauded? No, you yourselves do wrong and defraud, and you do these things to your brethren?” (1 Cor. 6: 7, 8).
NOTE: The trademark court battle between Rafael Perez and the General Conference Corporation, both Sabbath-keepers, is a contemporary classic case of failing to heed this Scriptural injunction.
“Christians should not appeal to civil tribunals to settle differences that may arise among church members. Such difference should be settled among themselves or by the church, in harmony with Christ’s instructions [see Matt 18: 15-18]. Even though injustice may have been done, the follower of the meek and lowly Jesus will suffer himself to ‘be defrauded’ rather than open before the world the sins of his brethren in the church. Lawsuits between brethren are a reproach to the cause of truth. Christians who go to law with one another expose the church to the ridicule of her enemies, and cause the followers of darkness to triumph. They are wounding Christ afresh, and putting Him to open shame. By ignoring the authority of the church, they show contempt for God, who gave to the church this authority.”—Acts of the Apostles, pp. 305, 306.
Rev. 14:6-12 : The Three Angel’s messages and the Third Angel’s—earth’s final warning messages of mercy since the opening the judgment session in the heavenly tribunal. (see Dan. 8:14; Eccl. 12:13, 14.). These “three angels” are not actual angels flying in the midst of heaven but rather represent the final work and message entrusted to the remnant church, and to those who faithfully carry them out. Notice:
“The third angel of Revelation 14 is represented as flying swiftly through the midst of heaven crying: ‘Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Here is shown the nature of the work of the people of God. They have a message of so great an importance that they are represented as flying in the presentation of it to the world. They are holding in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world. The love of Christ constraineth them. This is the last message. There are no more to follow, no more invitations of mercy to be given after this message shall have done its work. What a trust!.”—(1882) Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 206,207. (Italics supplied.)
NOTE: “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light form the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work.”—(1909) Testimonies, Vol. 9, p.19. (italics supplied.)
BIBLICAL SUMMARY OF WHO ANGELS ARE
Briefly, the Bible says that in the beginning, angels were heavenly beings created by God (Ps. 148:2, 5), as part of “all things created that are in heaven and on earth.” (Col.1:16). They are spiritual beings (Heb. 1:14); the two thirds who did not join Lucifer’s rebellion are now no longer subject to destruction and death (Luke 20:36), holy (Matt 25:31), wise (2 Sam. 14:17, 20), powerful, meek, and obedient (Ps. 103:20; Jude 9). They are innumerable (Heb. 12:22), sexless (Matt 22:30) yet possessing emotions (Luke 15:10). Though invisible to the human eyes (Num. 22:22-31), they have appeared in human form, many times unrecognized as angels (Gen 18-2-8, etc.), and are concerned with human things and endeavors (1 Pet. 1:12). As “order is heaven’s first law,” they are organized in ranks or orders (Isa. 6:2; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 4:6-9; 5: 8, 11, 14; 6:1, 6; 7:11; 14:3; 15:7; 19: 4; Eze.1: 1-28).
Angels Were Created to be Ministering Spirits
(See Ps. 104:4; Heb. 1:14; Mark 1:13)
It is important to reiterate the gospel Biblical truth that angels were created as spirits, not from the dust of the ground as man was, although they have taken the form of men.
Their ministry to Christ’s followers: to guide (Gen. 24:7, 40), provide for (1 Kings 19:5-8), to keep us in all their ways (Ps. 91: 11), protect (Ps. 34:7), to comfort (Acts 27:23, 24), and deliver God’s people (Dan. 6:22; Acts 12:7-10). At the end of the world, when Jesus finally returns, His angels will do the gathering together of “His elect from the four corners of the earth” (Matt 24:31).
Their work and ministry to Jesus Christ while on earth: Announced His conception (Matt 1:20, 21); heralded His birth (Luke 2:10-12); sustained Him in the Wilderness of temptation (Matt 4:11); assisted and witnessed to His resurrection (Matt 28:1-7;1 Tim 3:16); accompanied Him to heaven (Acts 1:9-11)
Visual appearance during the Old Testament times to : Abraham (Gen. 18: 2-15), Hagar (Gen. 16:7-14), Lot (Gen. 19:1-22), Jacob (Gen. 28:12), Moses (Exo. 3:2), Balaam (Num. 22:31-35), Joshua (Jos. 5:13-15), Gideon (Judges 6:11-24), Manoah (Judges 13:16-21), David (2 Sam 24;16,17), Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-7), Daniel (Dan. 6:22 8:15-19; 9:20-27), Zechariah (Zech. 2:3).
Visual appearance during New Testament times to: Zechariahs (Luke 1:11-20), Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38), Joseph (Matt. 1:20-25), shepherds (Luke 2:9-14), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matt 28:1-7), Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-13), the apostles (Acts 1:10,11), Apostle Peter (Acts 5:19,20), Philip (Acts 8:26), Cornelius (Acts 10:3-32), Apostle Paul (Acts 27: 23, 24), John the Beloved (Rev. 1:1).
Special ministry on special occasions: at world’s creation, they “sang and shouted for joy” (Job 38:1-7); in the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai (Acts 7:38, 53); in the binding of Satan during the millennium (Rev. 20:1-7), commencing at Christ’s glorious Second coming (Matt 13: 41, 49; 1 Thess. 4:16).
Fallen Angels : Like their master Satan, one third of the heavenly angels fell and became the demons, devils, or evil spirits, through pride and by rebellion against God’s government (Isa. 14:12-21; Rev. 12: 3,4; Jude 6); seen by Christ fall like lightning to the earth (Luke 10:18); make war on the saints (Rev. 12:7-17; 1 Pet. 5:8). Condemned to final destruction with everlasting fire(2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Matt 25:41).
Angel of God: Christ Himself, as Commander of the angelic hosts of heaven. Angel of God (Gen 21:17); Angel of the Lord (Gen.. 22:11); Angel of the Covenant ( ), Captain of the Lord of hosts (Joshua 5:14); Archangel, or Michael (1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 9; Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Rev. 12:7). He appeared to: Hagar (Gen. 16:7,8; 21:17); Abraham (Gen. 22:11,15; 18:1-33); Eliezer (Gen. 24:7,40); Jacob (Gen. 31:11-13; 32:24-30); Moses (Exo. 3:2); Balaam (Num. 22:22-35); Joshua (Judges 2:1); David (1 Chron. 21:16-18).
THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY ON ANGELS
The Testimonies deal extensively on the subject of “angels,” indicating their importance as a subject for close, diligent, and careful study. There are thirty-one sub-headings listed in the Comprehensive Index to the Writings of E.G. White. They are as follows: (1). Acts of (2). Amazement and interest of (3). Company or companionship of (4) Co-operation and help of (5) Description of (6) Destroying angels (7) Displeased, disgusted, or caused sorrow by (8) Enlightenment by (9) Figurative or symbolic of (10) Good and evil (11) Guardian (12) Guardianship and watch care of (13) Examples of their guardianship and watch care (14) Guests in home (15) Guidance and direction of (as in “they shall keep the in all they ways”-Ps. 91:11 (16) Impressions by (17) Influence by (18) Instruction by (19) Joy and rejoicing of (20) Ministry and work of (21) Ministry of, results of (22) Music and singing by (23) Presence of (24) Recording angels (25) Relationship of, to believers (26) Relation of, to Plan of Redemption (27) Satan’s relations with (28) Society of (29) Special angels (30) Watching or hearing (31) Miscellaneous.
1. Acts of Angels
During the time of trouble such as never was, Dan. 12:1.
“The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer from want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants.” –Great Controversy, 629.
2. Amazement and interest of Angels
The mystery of godliness. 1 Tim. 3:16; Col. 1:26, 27.
“This is the mystery if godliness. That Christ should take human nature, and by a life of humiliation elevate men in a scale of moral worth with God: that he should carry His adopted nature to the throne of God, and there present His children to the Father, to have conferred upon them and honor exceeding that conferred upon angels,–this is the marvel of the universe, the mystery into which the angels desire to look. This is the love that melts the sinner’s heart.”—Sons & Daughters, p. 22
3. Who Have the Company or Companionship of the Good Angels?
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne. . .and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Rev. 5:11.
“Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Savior. God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of such a one, rather than allow him to be overcome.”
Angels are God’s ministers, radiant with the light ever flowing from His presence, and speeding on rapid wing to execute His will. Angels are ever present where they are most needed, with those who have the hardest battle with self to fight, and whose surroundings are the most discouraging.
In all ages, angels have been near to Christ’s faithful followers. The vast confederacy of evil is arrayed against all who would overcome; but Christ would have us look at the things which are not seen, to the armies of heaven encamped about all who love God, to deliver them. From what dangers, seen, and unseen, we have been preserved through the interposition of angels, we shall never know, until in the light of eternity we see the providences of God. Then we shall know that the whole family of heaven was interested in the family here below, and that messengers from the throne of God attended our steps from day to day.”—Sons & Daughters, p. 35. (See also Great Controversy, pp 511- 517, “Agency of Evil Spirits.”).
6. Destroying Angels’ Fearful Work
Lukewarm Christians not to be spared by: Fate of the half-hearted ones. (See Luke 13: 24-30; 7BC 964.
“There are those who, though professedly serving God, are witnessing against Him. To them the message to the Laodicean church is given. Christ says to them, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot.” When the avenging angel shall pass through the land, Christ cannot say of them, “Touch them not. I have graven them upon the palms of my hands.” No; of these half-hearted ones, He says, ‘I will spew them out of My mouth. They are offensive to Me.’”—E.G. White Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 963
7. Angels are displeased, disgusted, grieved, and sorrowed by:
Jesting, joking, etc.
“Dear Brethren and Sisters: Do we believe with all our hearty that Christ is soon coming and that we are now having the last message of mercy that is ever given to a guilty world? Is our example as it should be?. . . .Those who believe the important truths that we profess, should act out our faith. There is too much seeking after amusements and things to take attention in this world; and the mind is left to run too much upon dress, and the tongue is engaged too often in light and trifling conversation, which gives the lie to our profession, for our conversation is not in heaven, whence we look for our Savior. Angels are watching over and guarding us; we often grieve these angels by indulging in trifling conversation, jesting, and joking, and also by sinking down into a careless, stupid state.” –Early Writings, p. 111.
Irreverent use of God’s name. (See Exo. 20:7; Matt. 12:36).
“Holy angels have been displeased and disgusted the irreverent manner in which many have used the name of God, the great Jehovah. Angels mention that sacred name with the greatest awe, ever veiling their faces when they speak the name of God; and the name of [Jesus] Christ is so sacred to them that they speak it with the greatest reverence. But how opposite the spirit and influence attending the (1854 time movement). Some who are still under the same influence speak of God as they would a horse or of any other common place thing. In their prayers they use the words ‘God almighty’ in a very common and irreverent manner. Those who do this have no sense of the exalted character of God, of Christ, or of heavenly things.
“I was shown that when God sent His angels anciently to minister or communicate to individuals, that these persons learned that they had seen and talked with angels, they were struck with awe and were afraid that they should die. They had so exalted views of the terrible majesty and power of God that they thought it would destroy them to be brought into close connection with one direct from His holy presence. I was referred to Judges 13:21, 22: ‘Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord. And Manoah said unto his wife. We shall surely die, because we have seen God.’ Judges 6:22, 23: ‘And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee, fear not: thou shalt not die.” Joshua 5:13-15: “And it came to pas, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him, and with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay; but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto His servant? And the Captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose they shoe from off they foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” If angels were thus feared and honored because they came from the presence of God, how much greater reverence should God Himself be regarded!”–Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 410-11.
Parties of pleasure, worldly music
“Gatherings for social intercourse may be made in the highest degree profitable and instructive when those who meet together have the love of God glowing in their hearts, when they meet to exchange thoughts in regard to the word of God, or to consider methods for advancing His work, and doing good to their fellowmen. When nothing is said and done to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, but is regarded as a welcome Guest, then God is honored, and those who meet together will be refreshed and strengthened. . . .
“But there has been a class of social gatherings of an entirely different character, parties of pleasure that have been a disgrace to our institutions and to the church. They encourage pride of dress, pride of appearance, self-gratification, hilarity, and trifling. Satan is entertained as an honored guest, and he takes possession of those who patronize these gatherings. A view of one such company was presented to me, where were assembled those who profess to believe the truth. One was seated in at the instrument of music, and such songs were poured forth as made the watching angels weep. There was mirth, there was coarse laughter, there was abundance of enthusiasm, and a kind of inspiration; but the joy was such as Satan only is able to create. This is an enthusiasm and infatuation of which all who love God will be ashamed. It prepares the participants for unholy thought and action. I have reason to think that some who were engaged in that scene heartily repented of the shameful performance.
Effect of such gatherings. “Many such gatherings have been presented to me. I have seen the gaiety, the display in dress, the personal adornment. All want to be thought brilliant, and give themselves up to hilarity, foolish jesting, cheap, coarse flattery, and uproarious laughter. The eyes sparkle, the cheek is flushed, and conscience sleeps. With eating, and drinking, and merrymaking, they do their best to forget God. And heaven is looking on, seeing and hearing all. .
Deceptive workings of Satan. See Matt. 7: 13, 14. “The tenor of the conversation reveals the treasure of the heart. The cheap, common talk, the words of flattery, the foolish witticism, spoken to create a laugh, are the merchandise of Satan, and all who indulge in this talk are trading in his goods. Impressions are made upon those who hear these things similar to that made upon Herod when the daughter of Herodians danced before him. All these transactions are recorded in the books of heaven; and at the last great day they will appear in their true light before the guilty ones. Then all will discern in them the alluring, deceptive workings of the Devil, to lead them into the broad road and the wide gate that opens to their ruin.” –Early Writings, pp. 82, 84, 84, 85.
The Finally Saved Will Understand the Ministry of Angels
“Not until the providence of God are seen in the light of eternity shall we understand what we owe to the care and interposition of His angels. Celestial beings have taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come as men, in the garb as wayfarers. They have accepted the hospitalities of human homes; they have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They have thwarted the spoiler’s purpose, and turned aside the stroke of the destroyer.
“The rulers of this world know it not, yet often in their councils angels have been spokesmen. Human eyes have looked upon them. Human ears have listened to their appeals. In the council hall and the court of justice heavenly messengers have pleaded the cause of the persecuted and oppressed. They have defeated purposes and defeated evils that would have brought wrong and suffering to God’s children.
“Every redeemed one will understand the ministry of angels in his own life. The angels who was his guardian from his earliest moment; the angel who watched his steps, and covered his head in the day of peril; the angel who was with him in the valley of the shadow of death, who marked his resting place, who was the first to greet him in the resurrection morning—what will it be to hold converse with him, and to learn the history of divine interposition in the individual life, of heavenly cooperation in every work for humanity! All the perplexities of life’s experience will then be made plain. Where to us have appeared only confusion and disappointment, broken purposes and thwarted plans, will be seen the grand, overruling, victorious purpose, a divine harmony.”–My Life Today, p. 367.
WHO WAS LUCIFER?
The Word of God says Lucifer was created and anointed to be the “covering cherub” (Eze. 28:14-16)). What was he to cover? God’s servant explains thus (emphasis mine):
“He who was once the covering cherub, whose work was to hide from the heavenly intelligences the glory of God, perverted his intellect, and divorced himself from God. If a being so exalted could fall so low as to become the author of sin, let not man boast, but learn to wear gracefully the yoke of Christ, revealing His meekness and lowliness, believing on Him, cooperating with Him.”—Upward look, p. 286.
As the original mastermind of cloak and dagger, subterfuge, and deception, it is Satan’s studied purpose to deceive, to mask himself and his batteries. Therefore his masterful strategy is well served when he is constantly pictured as frightening and hideous as possible, by painters, artists, authors, song-writers, film-makers, even preachers and ministers, who are as deceived as their members. Satan’s real physical appearance was shown to God’s messenger for the last days so that members of His remnant church can be protected from this deception. Notice the following (emphasis mine)” See also “Spirit of Prophecy Treasure Chest,” pp. 51, 175.
See 1 Thess. 5: 6. “I was shown Satan as he once was, a happy, exalted angel. Then I was shown him as he now is. He still bears a kingly form. His features are still noble, for he is an angel fallen. But the expression of his countenance is full of anxiety, care, unhappiness, malice, hate, mischief, deceit, and every evil. That brow which was once so noble, I particularly noticed. His forehead commenced from his eyes to recede. I saw that he had so long bent himself to evil that every good quality was debased, and every evil trait was developed. His eyes were cunning, sly, and showed great penetration. His frame was large, but the flesh hung loosely about his hands and face. As I beheld him, his chin was resting upon his left hand. He appeared to be in deep thought. A smile was upon his countenance, which made me tremble, it was full of evil and satanic slyness. This smile is the one he wears just before he makes sure of his victim, and as he fastens the victim in his snare, this smile grows horrible.” – Faith I Live By, p. 318.