Spiritual Warfare: The Good Guys

            We have been talking about spiritual warfare.  We fight on the side of God.  GOD IS OUR COMMANDER.  Everything starts with God.  Everything came from Him.  God is our commander in spiritual warfare as well as in every area of life.

            While God is our commander, ANGELS ARE OUR HELPERS.  God created the angels before the world was created (Job 38:6-7), the same time He planned to create each one of us (and already knew us in His mind).  He created an “innumerable” number of angels (Heb. 12:22; Rev 5:11).  No angels have been created or destroyed since then.  The number is exactly the same.  People who die do NOT become angels, in eternity we have a position greater than the angels will have (I Cor. 6:3). 

            God created angels and humans in His image in that we all have a mind to rationally think and reason (I Peter 1:12), emotions to feel and experience (Luke 2:13), and a free will to choose our destiny (Jude 6). This is personality.  Soon after creation, the top angel (Lucifer, now called Satan Ezekiel 28:12-15) used his free will to rebel against God (II Thes 2:4) and as a result was kicked out of heaven (Isa 14:12-15, Ezek 28:15-17; Luke 10:18).  The angels then had a one-time choice to follow Satan or God.  About one third (Rev. 12:4) followed Satan in his rebellion and also lost their first position, now being called demons.  This was the only time angels ever had an opportunity to exercise their free will.  They are now ‘locked in’ and cannot change their state (angels cannot fall to becoming demons, demons cannot move up to being angels).  Angels do not know what it is to experience God’s grace in their lives.  That is why they are so interested in watching us as we talk and live (I Pet 1:12) for our lives show God’s grace and love in operation in a way they don’t personally experience.  They are impressed with God and His undeserved mercy on us.  They are amazed at His special love for us, unworthy as we are.

        As to their nature, angels are spirit beings.  They are not like God in that they do not know everything.  They are limited to being at one place at a time.  They are not all powerful or all knowing (Ps 103:20; II Thes. 1:7).  They have no physical body, but sometimes do appear in the form of a person (Heb 13:1).  This is to help God’s people in need.  Some have wings to show power and glory, but not all have wings.  While possessing all the traits we would call ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine,’ angels are always referred to as masculine.  Male pronouns are always used.  Angels are different, just like people are different: different abilities and functions in God’s service, different traits and skills.  Angels can’t and don’t reproduce (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25), although it does seem that demons somehow impregnated women before the flood in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:1-4).  Angels never die (Luke 20:36).

        Angels (and also demons) are organized in a military-like fashion with generals, colonels, lieutenants, sergeants, privates, etc.  They are called archangels, princes, rulers, seraphim, etc. (Rom 8:38; Eph 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:5).  Some have leadership over geographical areas, others over groups of people (as Michael the archangel cares for Israel).

Apparently, there are different kinds of angels with different characteristics and roles:  cherubim, seraphim, and archangels. Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2-3; Ezekiel 1:27) have a fiery appearance because they are usually associated with the Presence of God.  Cherubim (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:18-22; Hebrews 9:5) are represented with wings, feet, hands and often more than one face (Ezekiel 41:18; 10:21).  They guard sacred things (the tree of life in Genesis 3:24; the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Samuel 4:4).  Archangels are the highest created beings, angels of the greatest power and majesty.  Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12) was an archangel.  Michael (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9) and Gabriel (Daniel 8:15-26; 9:21-27; Luke 1:11-38).  Michael and Gabriel are warrior angels (Revelation 12:7) who do battle (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1).  Gabriel seems to be in charge of the care of the Jews.  Other angels exist in various levels of authority and function under these (Ephesians 6:12). God has angels organized in a military-like manner with a chain-of-command from ‘generals’ to ‘privates.’

        The Greek word for ‘angel’ (‘angelos’) means “messenger.”  Actually the word is just transliterated in our Bibles (English letters replace Greek letters but the word is the same).  Were it translated into English we would have the word “messenger” every time ‘angel’ appears.  That is basically their function — messengers (servants) of God.  They are God’s servants who help God’s people (Heb 1:14). Individual angels seem assigned to children and believers (Acts 12:12) to help them in special ways.  God could use His sovereign power to do things such as prevent an automobile accident or have a child fall safely and not be hurt, or similar actions, but usually He has His angels do that work. They protect God’s people (Psalm 34:7; 91:12; Matthew 18:10).  They bring answers to prayers (Acts 12:7), although sometimes demons oppose them and the answers are delayed (Dan. 10:10-21).  They minister to our physical, spiritual and emotional needs (Hebrews 1:14).   Angels watch and learn from believers (I Cor. 4:9; I Tim 5:2).  They encourage us in danger (Acts 27:23-24).  They even help in evangelism (Luke 15:10; Acts 8:26).  They care for God’s people when they die (Luke 16:22; Jude 9).  They fight against demons (Revelation 12).  They watch God’s children to learn about God’s grace (I Peter 1:12).

            If angels are our helpers, what is our relationship to them?  Angels are not to be communicated with, ordered around, or in any way contacted by us.  They do not steal any of God’s glory.    We aren’t in any way to focus on them or worship them (Revelation 19:10).  All the credit and glory all go to Him (Revelation 4:11; 5:9-11).  All the attention is His.  In the Bible when someone tried to give them credit they passed it on to God.  We aren’t to communicate with them, but we can ask God to send them to do various things that need doing.  And yes, they do manifest at times.  There are many cases in the Bible.  Sometimes they manifest as spiritual beings.  I think young children can see or sense them quite more readily than adults. They also manifest as people and help us without us knowing they are angels.  Hebrews 13:2 talks about this.  Angels are always present around us, especially when we gather with other believers in Jesus’ name.  However we never can see them unless God opens our eyes in a special way (II Kings 6:17).  It’s quite likely you have seen angels, but in appearance as people (Heb 13:2) and therefore not recognized as an angel.  That stranger who just happens to show up at the right time to provide help or assistance, whom we called an ‘angel,’ might well have been one! 

            How does it make you feel to think that there are always angels around you, protecting and guiding you?  Has there ever been a time when you suspected an angel helped you in some way?  Don’t worship angels, they are God’s servants just as we are.  But thank God for them and all the unknown things they do for us.

(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/.  My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)

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