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The Bible and Angels-Part 3
Their Number and Organization
As we study the angels, we have to acknowledge the fact that they are a highly organized and intelligent creation of Almighty God. I have no doubt that if God were to open our eyes to see these beings, it would astound us as to their number and the role that they play in this universe.
I. Their Number
Although we really don't know how many angels there actually are, from Scripture it can be understood that there are great multitudes. Hebrews 12:22 and Revelation 5:11 both indicate this. The book of Revelation says: "Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands..." The wording here is used to indicate a number beyond calculation. The Greek expression can also be translated "innumerable" or "many thousands." So it is safe to say that the amount is huge.
II. Their Organization
It would stand to reason that since our God is not a God of chaos and confusion, His creation would have order. That is true in all of His universe. And it certainly is true of angels. For instance, the Bible designates Michael as being the Archangel, or chief of angels. (Jude 9; I Thessalonians 4:16). Daniel 10:13 indicates that he is one of several high ranking angels, although he is the only one called the Archangel. Daniel actually calls them "chief princes."
In Paul's epistles we see the angels referred to with governmental classifications. Seven times he calls them rulers or principalities. These designations are used of both the good and the evil angels governing the universe. (Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10,15). They are called authorities or powers because of their superhuman authority in relation to the world. The demons are called the world rulers of this darkness in Ephesians 6:12. And Paul refers to the agels as thrones or dominions. This shows their dignity and authority in the rule that God has given them in His government (Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16). We see Peter and Jude speak of them in this way as well in II Peter 2:10 and Jude 8.
The Cherubim are another order or classification of angels found in the Bible. It would appear that they are of very high rank since Satan was a Cherub before he fell (Ezekiel 28:14,16). Their job is to be the guardians of the holiness of God. They guarded the way to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:24).
The Seraphim are an order of angels similar to the Cherubim. We see them in Isaiah 6 as attendants at the throne of God and agents of cleansing, such as when they cleansed the lips of Isaiah. The prophet gives us a description of them as six-winged human-like figures.
Gabriel is an angel of high rank, though not designated the Archangel. His name means "hero of God." In Scripture, his function was to bring important messages from God to key individuals. He did this to Daniel (8:16; 9:21), to Zacharias (Luke 1:19); and to Mary (Luke 1:26).
From all of this we can see more and more of the power of God who created these wonderful beings called angels. In the next section we will study more about their ministry. They do indeed play a marvelous role in God's plan for the ages. But for now, let us learn something from these beings who spend their existence doing the bidding of God and praising His name. We too are created by God, and our lives should be a continual reflection of His glory and plan. May we, like God's holy angels, demonstrate the glory of God to a world that has forgotten His name.