The Bible and Angels - Part 1
The Existence of Angels
In this high tech world in which we live, many have chosen to deny the existence of a supernatural world, and certainly the existence of angels. Yet this is arrogance to the extreme to assume that there simply can't be anything outside of what we know as the physical world. We live in a vast universe and though our knowledge is growing, there is still so much that we don't understand about what we can measure and see. So it is foolish to think that a world beyond the physical realm is impossible.
The Bible assumes the existence of the supernatural world. It assumes the existence of God and angels and demons, or fallen angels. As a matter of fact it speaks extensively of these beings. The Old Testament talks about angels just over 100 times. And the New Testament mentions them 165 times.
It is important to realize that the truth about angels is not confined to a specific period of history, or just to a few writers. No less than 34 books of the Bible speak of them, from the earliest books like Genesis and Job, to the very last book, Revelation.
I. The Old Testament
The Old Testament sees angels as real beings that do the service of God. The Hebrew word for these creatures literally means 'messengers', as does the Greek word in the New Testament. Examples of Old Testament references include Abraham conversing and eating with angels in Genesis 18. And If you look in the life of David, you see an instance where an angel executed judgement on Israel when David wrongly took a census of the people (II Samuel 24:16). In the book of Isaiah, Isaiah's vision of the Lord included seeing the Sreaphim. (Isaiah 6). Ezekiel saw the Cherubim (10:1-3). Daniel talks about the angels Gabriel and Michael in his book (9:20-27; 10:13; 12:1). Zechariah see angels as agents of God and interpreters of visions (1-6). Throughout the Psalms, angels are seen as God's servants who both worship the Lord and keep His people from harm (Psalm 34:7; 91:11 and 103:20).
II. The New Testament
It is interesting that angels played, and will play a very important role in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. They ministered at His birth, during His life, at the resurrection, at His ascension, and they will play a prominent role in his return. (Matthew 2:19; Matthew 24:27-31; Mark 1:13; Luke 2:13; John 20:12; and Acts 1:10,11).
The book of Acts has several references to angels helping out the servants of God. They opened prison doors for the Apostles (5:19 and 12:5-11). These heavenly messengers directed people in their ministry. They did this for Philip and Cornelius (8:26; 10:1-7). Also we see an angel encouraging Paul during a storm on his voyage to Rome in Acts 27:23-25.
Paul, Peter, the writer of Hebrews and Jude, in their writings, assume the existence of angels, and the book of Revelation contains 65 references to them. That is more than any other book in the Bible. And of course our Lord Himself talks about them (Matthew 13:36-43). To deny their existence is to call the teaching of Jesus Himself into question.
There is no denying that the Bible clearly teaches the existence of the powerful beings called angels. And it is comforting to know that these beings, in their service to God, help us in our lives as we live here on this earth (Hebrews 1:14). Our God is an awesome creator. And His creation includes these marvelous creatures that, though invisible to you and I, are no less real. What a mighty God we serve!
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