Lesson Number Ten
Footprints Of AngelsThe possibility of interplanetary creatures has fascinated many minds, but not without cause. Scientists acknowledge that just by the law of chance other planets could be inhabited. Bible prophets have given their record of heavenly beings visiting this earth. Righteous people, even of our day, can testify that they have had angel visitors. These angels have a deep interest in the affairs of people and may exert a powerful influence on the outcome of events. Their mode of travel is far more incredible than anything humanity has yet devised. It is true that there are many illusions, if not deceptions, but when there is an accumulation of evidence from honest, reliable sources, it cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, there are questions. Which are true and which are false? How much can we understand regarding these celestial visitors? To answer these queries we must have a reliable gauge by which to measure the evidence. Again we turn to the Lord to see what He has left on record for us.
What Are Angels?Angels are heavenly beings, created by God (Revelation 5:13). They are creatures of a higher order than humans. What is man, that thou are mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Psalm 8:4,5. Angels do not possess a physical body like men. They are, therefore, not limited by physical laws, such as gravity, heat or cold, and can move with incredible speed without any vehicle to transport them. The prophet Daniel was once praying a sincere prayer of confession on behalf of the people. He then recorded what took place while he was praying: And while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. Daniel 9:20,21. The angel Gabriel mentions how swiftly he was caused to fly: At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou are greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Daniel 9:23. Although angels are not usually seen, they are real beings, just as real as us. Isaiah describes one type of angel, the Seraphim, as having wings, faces and feet, and as able to speak. (Isaiah 6:1-3). David, when referring to the manna upon which Israel existed during their journey through the wilderness, declared that Man did eat angelsí food. Psalm 78:25. The exact number of these heavenly beings is not revealed to us. However the prophet Daniel described the number of angels which he saw before the throne of God: A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgement was set, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:10. Although this number is figurative, it indicates a great multitude. The apostle Paul refers to them as an innumerable company of angels. Hebrews 12:22. In the Bible the angels are divided into different categories. The nearest to the throne of God are the seraphim and cherubim. In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory. Isaiah 6:1-3. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Psalm 80:1. One high angel, who identified himself by name, was sent from the presence of God with an important message to be given to a man named Zacarias: And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. Then he was sent on a specific errand to a young lady called Mary. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. Luke 1:19,26. The holy angels are continually engaged in serving God and helping in the great plan of salvation to deliver man from the curse of sin. Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Psalm 103:20. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Hebrews 1:14. Originally all the angels were loyal to God, but, as we studied in Lesson Number Two, we saw that one third of the angels joined Luciferís rebellion, and were cast out of heaven with him. This rebellion against God caused them to be in opposition to Godís plan of redemption. Now they continually seek to lead people from the way of salvation so as to cause their eternal ruin. But we need not be deceived by these evil angels, (or devils), because Christ by His victory on the cross of Calvary has defeated Satan, their leader. (See Lesson Number Five.) Their ultimate destruction is now only a matter of time. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgement. II Peter 2:4. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Jude 6.
Heavenís AngelsAngels are not, as many believe, the spirits of the dead. They are an entirely different order of beings from humans. They existed before man was created: When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:7. The angels are described in this verse as stars, because of their bright shining appearance. People do not become angels when they die nor will they become angels in heaven. Those people who are saved will remain people forever but will again be restored to the image of their Creator: And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. Revelation 21:3. Angels do not accept homage, which is due only to God: And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. Revelation 22:8,9.
The Work Of The AngelsAngels continually wait upon God and are fully committed to carrying out His commands. Seraphim and cherubim grace the presence of God by praising His holy name. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. Isaiah 6:3. An important work of the angels is to record all that transpires in the life of each individual on earth. Every good and every evil deed, yes, even our thoughts are entered into the annals of heaven. No mistake is made, no detail overlooked and one day each will have to give an account of their life on earth. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. Malachi 3:16. Every living person has an attending angel. From the day of birth until death, this guardian angel watches over, encourages and records every event of that personís life. 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. Matthew 18:10. Peter was delivered from prison by an angel. He then went to the home of the believers who were praying on his behalf. Before they realized he was released, this early Christian church exclaimed their unanimous belief that it was his guardian at the door. Ultimately they accepted that an angel had assisted him. And when she knew Peterís voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. Acts 12:14,15. Angels have an interest in our temporal welfare and many times faithful people of God have been protected from physical harm by their attending angel. Angels constantly seek to influence us for good and endeavor to turn our hearts to God. Dear friend, even as you study this lesson, your heavenly watcher is at your side to strengthen your faith and deepen your understanding in the truth of God. The Word of God relates many experiences concerning angels. Elisha was once surrounded by a hostile army. To allay his servantsí fears, Elisha prayed to God that the eyes of his servant might be opened to see the large host of angels protecting them. And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. II Kings 6:16,17. Angels of God are often commissioned to protect us in our travels: For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalm 91:11. So close is the watch care of our attending angel, that David could exclaim: The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Psalm 34:7. It was Danielís attending angel who closed the mouths of the lions when he was thrown into their den. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lionsí mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Daniel 6:22. Depending upon the occasion and circumstances, angels have appeared to various people, sometimes as warriors defending the people of God. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him 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? (Joshua 5:13,14). Angels have accepted hospitality when visiting people in the form of men. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2. In a time of crisis Jesus informed His disciples that, if necessary, God could send twelve legions of angels to protect Him. (A legion equals 3 to 6 thousand soldiers.) Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? Matthew 26:53. From this statement we can infer that God can mobilize all heaven, if necessary, to save one of His beloved followers from sin or harm. When Jesus comes the second time to this earth He will be escorted by heavenly angels: The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41,42. The angels will not only gather the wicked for destruction but will also gather the righteous for heaven. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:31.
Living With AngelsThe angels of God are about us all the time, although we are unconscious of their presence. They are usually unseen by men, but can take on a visible appearance when necessary. If a follower of God becomes discouraged, it may seem that they are alone in a struggle against a powerful enemy, but it is not so. God never abandons His people. If our eyes could be opened we would see heavenly watchers all around waiting to protect us from the attacks of the enemy. When we realize the continual presence of these ambassadors from the courts of heaven, how careful we will be, not to do, speak or even think anything wrong that will be recorded against our names in the books of heaven! How sad the angels are when we choose evil instead of good: Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? Ecclesiastes 5:2,6. On the other hand, the angels rejoice when a sinner is converted and surrenders to Christ. Jesus said: Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10. Let us thank God for these heavenly guardians and be grateful that all heaven is interested in our salvation and is seeking to bring it about in every possible way. As you contemplate this overwhelming evidence of the love of God for us will you not resolve to cooperate with your attending angel? Then, one day in heaven you will be able to converse face to face with this close angel friend, who is so well acquainted with your earthly experience.