What do you know about angels? 1 Timothy 5:21bOct 01, 2023
21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
Many years ago, I remember reading Billy Graham's book, simply entitled, "Angels: Who They Are and How They Help - What the Bible Reveals." In it, he says, "If we had open spiritual eyes we would see not only a world filled with evil spirits and powers—but also powerful angels with drawn swords, set for our defense.”
To be honest, I don't think a lot about angels, and I am light years away from being an expert. So, here's a little of what I know, which as I said, isn't a lot.
We know that angels have been created by God, and they were there when God created our world. We know that there are more angels than we can count. We know that they serve God, carry out missions on his behalf, sometimes as his messengers, and that they have free will to carry out God's work or not. They are eternal and immortal, mostly invisible to the human eye, and powerful, but they are not infinitely powerful, nor are they omnipresent nor omniscient as God is. They are spiritual beings, but sometimes they appear in human form. The obedient ones attend to God and worship him in heaven. They are individuals, and can only be in one location at a time. They may be much more intelligent than we are, but they do not have the all-knowing intellect of God. They therefore are limited. They do not procreate. We know three of them by name: Michael (who is called an Archangel), Gabriel (who appears on the hills of Bethlehem), and the fallen angel, Lucifer or Satan.
There are a lot of things that culture has attached to the term angels, including the idea that all babies born into our world were once angels, or that babies who die in our world become baby angels, or that humans become angels when they die. There is no biblical evidence for that.
We know that about a third of the angels chose to rebel against God and instead to follow Lucifer, who had been the head angel, but instead became the chief demon with more demons (fallen angels) at his beck and call.
We also know that, unlike mankind, angels have their fate set. They are eternal, but can never have their rebellious natures forgiven.
The angels sing a glorious song,
But not a song like mine,
For I am washed in Jesus' blood
And singing all the time.
(Edward Payson Hammond)
So, there are those angels who are obedient to God, and those who are not.
It only makes sense that, when Paul refers to "elect angels," he's talking about those who have remained on Team God.
Apparently, they are aware of what we are doing, and at times take on assignments for God.
For example, in Genesis 19, two angels arrived at Sodom, with a message for Lot, the uncle of Abraham, to flee the city because God was about to destroy it. In Genesis 28 and 32, an angel interacted with Jacob. In the account of Job, we find a conversation involving God, his angels, and Satan - all were aware of Job's faithfulness.
In the New Testament, Satan appears before Jesus in the wilderness, and tells him that God's angels would protect the Son of God. When he departed, the angels came to Jesus and "attended to him." In Matthew 26, Jesus says that he had angels at his disposal to do whatever he asked of them. They sang on the hills of Bethlehem when the Messiah was born, and they were there to greet Mary in the garden following Jesus' resurrection.
In John's Revelation, we learn that each of the 7 churches has an angel - I guess a guardian angel - assigned to it. Angels are important participants throughout that book, pealing back seals, sounding trumpets, fighting against the dragon (Satan), proclaiming the gospel to the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people, spreading plagues, pouring out God's wrath, and guarding the gates of the city of God.
And witnessing our trustworthiness, apparently, and being available to testify on our behalf before the throne of God.
Paul wrote, "I charge you, Timothy, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism."
They don't just hold you accountable, but also to help you be accountable.
We really are players in a most incredible drama from the mind of God!