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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Angels

In preparation for Sunday School I am reading a few books about angels. Billy Graham's book is a classic. I trust will enjoy the quotes below:

Yes, there are angels in our very midst-but not all supernatural forces are good, and not all angels are from God. Paul warns that "Satan transforms himself into an angel of light" and he deceives many people-including many spiritual leaders. p. xii

Some biblical scholars believe that angels can be numbered potentially in the millions since Hebrews 12:22 speaks of "an innumerable [myriads-a great but indefinite number] company of angels." p. 32

But no matter what the traditions, our frame of reference must be the Scripture as our supreme authority on this subject. p. 36

While angels may become visible by choice, our eyes are not constructed to see them ordinarily any more than we can see the dimensions of a nuclear field, the structure of atoms, or the electricity that flows through copper wiring. Our ability to sense reality is limited: The deer of the forest far surpass our human capacity in their keenness of smell. Bats possess a phenomenally sensitive built-in radar system. Some animals can see things in the dark that escape our attention. Swallows and geese possess sophisticated guidance systems that appear to border on the supernatural. So why should we think it strange if men fail to perceive the evidences of angelic presence? p. 37

After all, the Scriptures mention their [angels] existence almost three hundred times. p. 45

At the same time, both angels and the Holy Spirit are at work in our world to accomplish God's perfect will. Frankly, we may not always know the agent or means God is using-the Holy Spirit or the angels-when we discern God's hand at work. We can be sure, however, that there is no contradiction or competition between God the Holy Spirit and God's command of the angelic hosts. God Himself is in control to accomplish His will-and in that we can rejoice. p. 48

The holy angels will never die. The Bible also teaches that angels are sexless. p. 52

We cannot study the subject of angels in the Bible without becoming aware of ranks among angelic beings. The evidence shows that they are organized in terms of authority and glory. Though some see the ranking of celestial powers as conjectural, it seems to follow this pattern: archangels, angels, seraphim, cherubim, principalities, authorities, powers, thrones, might, and dominion (Colossians 1:16; Romans 8:38). p. 79

While Scripture designates only Michael as an archangel (Jude 9), we have biblical grounds for believing that before his fall Lucifer was also an archangel, equal or perhaps superior to Michael. The prefix "arch" suggests a chief, principal or great angel. Thus, Michael is now the angel above all angels, recognized in rank to be the first prince of heaven. p. 80

Gabriel, in Hebrew, means "God's hero," or "the mighty one," or "God is great." p. 82

Gabriel is primarily God's messenger of mercy and promise. He appears four times in the Bible, always bearing good news (Daniel 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26). p.82

The word seraphim may come from the Hebrew root meaning "love" (though some think the word means "burning ones" or "nobles"). p. 85

The ministry of the seraphim is to praise the name and character of God in heaven. Their ministry relates directly to God and His heavenly throne, because they are positioned above the throne - unlike the cherubim, who are beside it. pp. 85-86

The Scriptures do not, however, support the common belief that all angels have wings. p. 86

God's angels often protect His servants from potential enemies. Consider 2 Kings 6:14-17. The king of Syria had dispatched his army to Dothan, learning that Elisha the prophet was there. Upon dressing in the morning, the prophet's helper exclaimed excitedly to Elisha that the surrounding countryside bristled with armies and implements of war. Elisha assured him, "Don't be afraid!...our army is bigger than theirs" (verse 16, TLB). Elisha then prayed that God would open the eyes of the young man to see the hosts of protective angels: as He did so, the young man "could see horse and chariots of fire everywhere on the hills surrounding the city."This passage has been one of the great assurances and comforts to me in my ministry. pp. 135-136

Some believe strongly that each Christian may have his own guardian angel assigned to watch over him or her. This guardianship possibly begins in infancy, for Jesus said, "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:10). pp. 136-137

The most important characteristic of angels is not that they have power to exercise control over our lives, or that they are beautiful, but that they work on our behalf. They are motivated by an inexhaustible love for God and are jealous to see that the will of God in Jesus Christ is fulfilled in us. p. 137

"There are many times when God withdraws to test your faith. He wants you to trust Him in the darkness. Now, Son, reach up by faith in the fog and you will find that His hand will be there." p. 147

In the same way any evangelistic ministry sounds the note of urgency concerning the gospel. We have no time to waste because we can never claim this moment. We may never have a second chance to witness if we neglect the first. p. 185

Satan always directs his sharpest attack at his victim's weakest point. He knows where the Achilles heel may be and he does not fail to strike at the opportune time. p. 192

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