Dr. Andy Woods
Angelology Lesson 1
Colossians 1:16, 6-16-2019
Shall we open with a word of prayer and then we’ll get started. Father, we’re grateful for Your Word, Your Truth; we’re grateful that You have given to us an all sufficient Canon of Scripture that comments on every area of life; it even tells us about an invisible realm, the angelic realm, that we would really know nothing about if You hadn’t seen fit to disclose it. And as we’re going to see in the next service that follows You tell us very matter of factly with no sugar coating how this world without You will end up. So help us to be mindful of these truths that You have given us. Help us to be good stewards of them here at Sugar Land Bible Church and help us to learn these things this morning and apply them to our lives. And we’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus name, and God’s people said…. Amen.
Good morning everybody. Happy Father’s Day. If you’ve ever in your life had a father just raise your hand. [Laughter] So fatherhood is kind of important, right? Amen! And so what we’re doing is we’re starting a new series in Sunday School on the doctrine of angels and what we’re doing in Sunday School is something called systematic theology. Why do we need systematic theology? Well, if I wanted to study a certain area of truth, let’s say I wanted to study angelology, I can’t just look in my index and say let’s see, where’s the angel’s book. There’s not one single book that gives you all the data about angels. So, to understand angels you can’t just look at a single book, you’ve got to look everywhere where God has revealed something about angels.
So that will take you into many, many books of the Bible. And once you go into those many, many books of the Bible and you look at all the Scriptures related to angels how do you put it together in a way that’s meaningful? Well, that’s sort of the work of systematic theology. Systematic theology is sort of like taking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and kind of putting them together in a way that it makes a meaningful hole. And so once your outline is complete you kind of step back and you say aha, now I have the mind of God on angels. So systematic theologians have done this basically in ten areas and this is a study that we call systematic theology. Don’t let these fancy words scare you, they all come from the Greek language.
You have number one, Prolegomena. “Pro” means first; “legomena” means word. So prolegomena means introductory word. Prolegomena is basically what you have to learn to do systematic theology correctly. So, you go over things like the Bible inerrant, and the Bible is clear, and things like that. Then you have what’s called Theology, Theo means God, ology means the study of. Actually, ology comes from the Greek word logos meaning word. And what do you do with a word? You study it! So from logos we get ology or study of. Theology is the study of God; what does the whole Bible reveal about God, because there’s not a God section, you have to go through the whole Bible to understand what the Bible reveals about God.
Then you have a second area called Christology which is the study of Christ. And then you have another area called Pneumatology, Pneuma in Greek means spirit, so Pneumatology is what does the whole Bible reveal about the Holy Spirit. And most people start there in the Book of Acts but no, you’ve got to start much earlier than that. You’ve got to start in Genesis 1:2, where the Spirit of God was hovering on the waters, and you go through the whole Bible and you arrange it, and then you can step back and say I have the mind of God on the Holy Spirit. [Genesis 1:2, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”]
And then another area of theology is called anthropology, anthropos is the Greek word for man, anthropology is what does the Bible reveal about man? Hamartiology, hamartia is the Greek word for sin so hamartiology is what does the whole Bible reveal about sin. And usually hamartiology is followed by soteriology; soterios is the Greek word for salvation so what does the whole Bible reveal about salvation? And you would want to study hamartiology before you study soteriology because you can’t get a man saved until you get him what? You’ve got to the him lost first. Most people don’t realize they’re lost because they have a poor hamartiology and so once you understand you’re lost then you suddenly see aha, I’ve got a solution here called soteriology.
Angelology, which is the topic we’re moving into, the study of the angels. And then there’s ecclesiology, ekklesia is the Greek word for church so ecclesiology is what does the whole Bible reveal about the church. And then probably my personal favorite out of all of them is eschatology, eschatos is the Greek word for last, or end, so eschatology is what does the whole Bible reveal about the end. And most people say well that’s just the Book of Revelation. No, no, no, no, eschatology starts as early as Genesis 3:15 where there was going to come one from the seed of the woman who was going to do what to Satan’s head? Crush it. [Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”] So eschatology starts very early on in the Bible.
And you get all the pieces together from the whole Bible and you arrange them and you say aha, now I can have the mind of God on eschatology. So that’s sort of what we’re doing; we’re doing in this class, Sunday School, systematic theology. And at this church we’ve been very fortunate because I’ve already gone through soteriology, the doctrine of salvation and all of that’s archived, if you want to go back and study that. And we’ve also gone through ecclesiology or the doctrine of the church.
And then once you think you’ve got everything figured out, people like Arnold Fruchtenbaum come along and he says you forgot one and he writes a book that looks like the GTE phone book, it’s this thick, now when I say GTE phonebook I’m dating myself a little bit, because I say GTE phone book to my daughters and they don’t know what I’m talking about. But he wrote a book called, and it was part of his dissertation at NYU, his doctoral dissertation. “Israelology, The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, so he went through the whole Bible and he tried to figure out what does the whole Bible reveal about Israel. And it’s sort of like you slap your forehead and say duh, how do we forget that one since Israel is such a big part of God’s program.
So, there you have it, you have about ten, if you throw in Fruchtenbaum, eleven major areas of systematic theology. And what it is just getting the mind of God on these big-ticket items. So, what we’re moving into here is angelology or what does the Bible reveal about angels. And angelology basically has four parts to it. The first thing we talk about is the good angels; there’s two-thirds of the angels on our side (aren’t you glad we have two –thirds on our side). And then Satan originally was a high-ranking angel so then you have to talk about what’s called Satanology. I mean, who is Satan, where did he come from, what does he do, what are his methods, what is his future, etc. And then when Satan fell he deceived a third of the angels into falling with him and they became the demons so now you have to get into the whole subject of demonology. And you get into topics like what is all this stuff we read in the Bible about demon possession, are people demon possessed today, can they be demon possessed, things like can a Christian be demon possessed, those sorts of topics under demonology.
And then most people stop there but I throw in a fourth one, the Genesis 6:1-4 controversy, the sons of God and the daughters of men that created that race of people called the Nephilim, just prior to the flood. And I think this should be covered under angelology because I see the fallen angels at work there. And that is a big, big topic today, was there really an angelic rebellion in Genesis 6:1-4? And if there wasn’t an angelic rebellion of some kind in Genesis 6:1-4 and Jesus said “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be again.” Is that going to resurface in the last days?
[Genesis 6:1, “Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,  that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose  Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’  The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”]
And a lot of people max out conferences and auditoriums telling people the Nephilim are going to come back and these kinds of things. So, we deal with those kind of subjects when we get to number four.
Prolegomena – Introduction
Theology – Study of God
Christology – Study of Christ
Pneumatology – Study of the Holy Spirit
Anthropology – Study of Man
Hamartiology – Study of sin
Soteriology – Study of salvation
Angelology – Study of angels
Ecclesiology – Study of the Church
Eschatology – Study of the end
So that’s sort of the lay of the land, and what’ we’re starting off with here is the good angels and so here’s the outline that we’re going to follow related to part one, the good angels.
- Origin – where did they come from
- Nature –what are they like
- Appearance– what do they appear as
- Names and classifications
- Abode — where do they live
- Activities – what have they done in the past, what do they do in the present, what are they going to do in the future
We look at A, their existence. B, their origin, where did they come from. C, their nature, what are they like. D, their appearance, what do they appear as. E, their names and classifications. F. their abode, where do they live. And then the last one, their Activities, what do they do. What have they done in the past, what do they do in the present, what are they going to do in the future. And it’s somewhat shocking to go through the Bible and discover how much of God’s Word is devoted to the subject of angels. Probably a very good book I could recommend to you on it is Billy Graham’s book, and I have the title, Angels, God’s Secret Agents. And even if I don’t agree with every little thing in the book it’s a very helpful book because it’s sort of a shock when you read it how much of the Bible is devoted to the subject of angels. So if you’re kind of looking for a primer on it and you’ve never studied this before you might think about getting Billy Graham’s book.
But anyway, let’s start here with our first sub category under good angels and number one, we talk about their existence. Do angels really exist? You ask the average person today if they believe in angels and if they say yes, most people would think they’re crazy but the fact of the matter is if you believe the Word of God and you assign any authority at all to the Scripture, you learn very quickly that angels are in existence. The Bible, it’s interesting, doesn’t try to defend the existence of angels, it simply tells us that they’re there. And the Bible is like that with the existence of God, it’s not going to spend a lot of time defending the existence of God. There are some passages that defend the existence of God but by and large you open the Bible and you learn God is real, God exists, and He is presented very matter of fact. So that’s how it is with this subject of angels.
In Lewis Sperry Chafers Systematic Theology which I recommend to you as well, Volume 2, page 3, he says, “In the Old Testament there are a hundred and eight references to angels.” That’s a lot of information, isn’t it, a lot of references. And then in the New Testament you’ve got about a hundred and sixty-five references to angels. And the Old Testament word for angel is Molech, a Hebrew word. Molech means messenger or my messenger. In fact, there’s a prophet in the Old Testament, the very last one in the Protestant canon kind of named after this name, called the Prophet Malachi. I used to think when I got saved his name was ma-la-chi, I must have thought he was the first Italian prophet but no. [Laughter] His name is actually Malachi, messenger. Malachi is sort of a derivative of Moloch.
And then in the New Testament, of course the Old Testament is written primarily in Hebrew, the New Testament is written primarily in Greek, the word for angel is angelos. Now do you recognize the “eu” prefix, the letters “eu” as in euthanasia, good death; euphoria, good feeling. When you put the “eu” prefix in front of angelos what Greek word do you get? You get the word euangelizo, which means to evangelize. So evangelism is a message. And so, it’s very interesting to me that angelos is very connected to the concept of a message. And in the Old Testament Molech is very much connected to the concept of a message as in Malachi. So, the name in Hebrew and Greek for angels is sort of a clue as to why these beings exist. These beings exist primarily for the purpose of giving messages, primarily from God to man.
In other words, as you go through the Bible angels are very prominent in that regard. It was the angel Gabriel that gave to Daniel, back in the sixth century, the message of the seventy weeks. Daniel 9:20-23. [Daniel 9:20-23, “Now 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 in behalf of the holy mountain of my God,  while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.  He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. “At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”]
How could Daniel have known of that very important prophecy of the seventy weeks unless it had been delivered to him from God to Daniel via Gabriel. And Gabriel is very active in the New Testament. You go into Luke chapter 1 and you learn that Gabriel is very involved in giving messages to both Jesus’ mother and John the Baptist’s mother concerning what was happening in their womb. I mean, how would they know these special children that they were pregnant with unless Gabriel hadn’t disclosed that information from God to Gabriel to the parents of Jesus and John the Baptist. I guess what I’m trying to say is the word “angel” itself, Old Testament and New Testament, Hebrews and Greek, relates to message. And their name itself gives you sort of a clue as to what one of the primary purposes of angels are; they are to deliver messages. More on that later. But all of this to say that angels very clearly exist if you believe the Bible.
And this takes us to number two and that’s why I had you open your Bibles to the Book of Colossians, chapter 1 and verse 16, and here we get into the origin of the angels. I mean, where exactly did these angels come from. And take a look if you could at Colossians 1:16 because that verse in and of itself discloses massive amounts of information about angels, because what people were doing at Colossae is they were basically saying Jesus was no different than an angel. It’s called the Colossian heresy. And Paul sort of corrects the record here and he says Jesus was not an angel, Jesus is the One that created angels.
And notice what it says here in Colossians 1:16. “For by Him” that’s Jesus, “all things” that would include angels, “were created, both in the heavens” that would be things above in the heavens, “and on earth, visible and invisible,” and then it says, “whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him.” In other words, don’t reduce Jesus to something that He’s not in this Colossae heresy. Don’t reduce Him to an angel! Jesus is the one that actually created the angels. In fact, He created everything, things above, things on the earth, things visible, things invisible for Himself. And so, what we learn here is that angels have not always been in existence. Angels are, in fact, created beings.
Now when you understand this, this is sort of the foolishness of trying to contact an angel; a lot of people are into that and I think that TV show, Touched by an Angel didn’t help things because we have kind of an angel mania culture. People are very interested in angels, they’re just not going to the Bible to discover what God says about angels. Why would I get in contact with an angel? Why would I try to communicate with an angel when I can communicate directly with the Creator of the angels? I mean, who do you want talk to at the end of the day, the lady behind the counter or the CEO of the whole company? And so we discover here that angels are very interesting, they’re very profound creatures but they’re not to be worshipped because they themselves owe their creation and their origin to Jesus Christ. In other words, there was a time when angels didn’t exist. Now was there ever a time when Jesus didn’t exist? Jesus has always existed; Jesus is the eternally existent second member of the Godhead but not so angels.
Take your Bible if you could and let’s go over to the Book of Job for a minute. There’s sort of a discussion, I’ll give you both sides of it, and please don’t get mad at me. When I give people alternative views for some reason when I get to this subject they get real upset and I don’t know why. I think it’s because sometimes something I say interrupts their paradigm. We’re all friends here… amen! There’s no need to start a new denomination over when the angels were created. Do you guys agree with that? You know, we’re the first church of the angels have been in existence for two million years church kind of thing.
But the majority view out there is God is eternally existent and at some time in the remote past He created the angels. Now how long ago was it? A hundred years? A thousand years? A million years? A zillion year? When we’re never told but the angels we’re told existed long before the earth existed. And as you look at the literature that’s probably the majority opinion. That’s the way most people think about this and probably the main text they’ve used to support this is the Book of Job, chapter 38. Now you remember the Book of Job, right? The Book of Job is everybody is giving their opinions about everything; you might call the Book of Job “First Opinions” because everybody is pontificating as to why Job had these problems. So Job taught his three counselors, I put the word “counselors” in quotation marks because these guys really weren’t much help. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar talked and then another guy shows up late in the book named Elihu and he talks and so it’s everybody talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.
And we know they have it wrong because we know what happened because we’ve read the first two chapters that the counsellors didn’t see. I mean, Job had his problem because of a conversation between God and Satan that Job really knew nothing of. And all of these counsellors think they know what’s going on. Job thinks he knows what is going on, and none of them have a clue. And so it’s really a book explaining the finitudes of human knowledge and why at the end of the day we don’t know a lot of things; we think we know and so we have to just trust in the sovereignty of God.
But it is interesting that finally in Job 38 God talks. Up until this point in time everybody else has been talking, now God says it’s my turn. And the first thing God does to Job, who thinks he knows everything, is He gives Job a pop quiz. There’s nothing that humbles you more than receiving a pop quiz. Amen! And He starts to ask Job questions about things that Job was never around to see concerning the beginning. And he says to Job, “Where were you,” verse 4, “when I laid the foundations of the earth. Tell me if you know.” Now does Job have an answer to that? No, because he wasn’t around to see creation.
And in the process God says this as part of this question and answer session. Verse 7, it says, “When the morning stars sang together,” now morning stars here has to be angels because stars in and of themselves don’t sing. “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” And there you see that “sons of God” in the Book of Job is what you call Hebrew parallelism where the second line repeats what’s in the first line but in different words. But you’ll notice that “sons of God” is parallel with “morning stars” so “sons of God” in the Book of Job is used as a reference to angels.
And backing up to verse 4 it says, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,  Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?  On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,  When the morning stars” that’s the angels, “sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?” So the majority opinion is you’ve got God eternally in existence, then at some point, we’re not told when, the angels come into existence, and then when God, after a period of time, we’re not told how long, when He finally got around to creating the world in six days the angels were there cheering God. So the majority view out there is that angels existed long before the earth or else they couldn’t have been there to praise God as God brought forth the heavens and the earth in the six days of creation.
So, the majority view is that the angels, although they are created beings, existed before the earth. And that’s the view that I held to for a long time because I knew of no other view. But it has been very interesting to me to discover the existence of another view, a minority view, a less well-known view that I really knew nothing of and you can find it articulated in the book by Renald Showers, Renald Showers book is entitled, Those Invisible Spirits Called Angels.
And if you’re a starter on angels the Billy Graham book is good but if you want to go beyond some of the things Billy Graham says I recommend the second book by Renald Showers, who was one time a theologian and so forth, with Friends of Israel, who has passed on recently and is now with the Lord. But he makes the case, and it’s a very interesting case, that the angels did not exist before the earth, in fact, the angels were part of what God brought into existence during the creation week. Now why does he think that? Well, take a look at Genesis 1:1, let me just toss a few Scriptures your direction to show you how he gets there because then at least you’ll have two views on it.
You know Genesis 1:1, it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens” now is “heavens? There singular or plural? It’s plural, in fact in Hebrew it’s shamayim and when you have an “im” ending in Hebrew it’s the equivalent of putting the “s” at the end of a noun in English; it’s plurality. So, God in the six days of creation didn’t just create the earth and the first heaven but He created “the heavens,” plural. And you might remember that Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12, was caught up to the what’s called the third heaven. And there’s a lot of debate on what he means by the third heaven; it could work this way: the first heaven is the distance from the earth to the clouds. The second heaven is the distance from the clouds to the stars. And the third heaven is beyond the stars, where God dwells. And that’s how the Greeks sort of divided up the atmosphere. And so what I think this is saying is when God brought everything into existence in the six days of creation He brought into existence the earth, the ’eretz, and not just the first heaven but “the heavens,” plural.
Now “the heavens,” plural would also include the who? It would include the angels, wouldn’t it. And this expression here “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” that’s what you call a merism in figures of speech. A merism is where you identify the outer boundaries and then the outer boundaries would encompass everything in between. So, it’s like saying the Lord watches me when I wake up and when I lie down. Now does that mean God only watches me two times a day, in the morning when I get up and at night when I put my head down. No, it’s a merism because it would encompass what? Everything in between, God is always watching me. And so that’s how Genesis 1:1 functions; it functions as a merism. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” the outer edges in other words, which would include everything in between.
Now “heavens and earth” is used to describe the space where God indwells. For example, holding your place there in Genesis 1:1 notice Jeremiah 23:24. Look at what it says about midway through the verse, ‘“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord.” God is omnipresent, isn’t He? He’s everywhere so “heavens and earth” is a merism or it’s a figure of speech for everything. So, if that is true, in Genesis 1:1 when it says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and it begins talking about what He did in the six days of creation, it very well could mean that in the six days of creation He brought everything into existence, including the angels themselves.
And if you go over to Exodus 20:11 it’s a description of what God did in the six-day week of creation. Exodus 20:11 says, “For in six days” now what does six days mean? I think it means six days! For example, in the Book of Joshua it talks about how they walked around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and didn’t the walls fall on the seventh day. Now I don’t interpret that as they were out there for seven million years walking around. And particular with Esther, the Book of Esther talks about how she fasted for what? Three days or six days, something like that. If she’s fasting for six million years that’s a heck of a fast! So I think six days means six days.
“For in six days the LORD made” what? here comes the merism, “the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore, the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” This verse gives you the impression that everything God did, everything that God created He brought the whole thing together in the six days of creation which would also include the angels.
Notice, if you will, Psalm 148:2-5, and this is why I gave you that warning at the beginning that when we do systematic theology you’ve got to have your Bible ready because you’ve got to look at all the verses that deal with the subject because there’s no one verse that puts it all together for you. That’s why we need systematic theology.
Notice, if you will, Psalm 148 and notice verses 2-5 which is speaking of things that God brought into existence in the six days of creation. Notice verse 2, “Praise Him, all His angels;” Hebrew parallelism, “Praise Him, all His hosts!” Hosts” (as we’re going to see in a minute” is a synonym for angels. “Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!  Praise Him, highest heavens,” oh no, look at this, verse 4, “And the waters that are above the heavens!” What in the world is that talking about, “waters above the heavens”? Well, you might cross reference that with Genesis 1:6-7 which talks about the sky, it talks about the waters below (that’s easy, below the sky, that’s the ocean). And then it makes this peculiar statement about the “waters above” the sky.
And there’s a lot of conjecture as to what in the world is the “waters above” the sky? Well, I’m sort of the persuasion, I don’t know if it’s in the majority opinion or not, but at one time this planet had around it a giant ball of water. And when God brought the flood He simply released this water canopy. That’s why I kind of get a chuckle at critics of the Bible that say you believe in a global flood, there’s not even enough moisture in the clouds to cause a global flood. My answer is well how do you know God used the clouds to cause the flood; just because rain is caused by clouds today that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what God used in the global deluge. He could have very easily released the water canopy above the earth.
And that’s why people in the post flood world are living into their 900’s; Methuselah is the oldest man that ever lived and he lived to the ripe old age of 969. Adam lived to the ripe old age of 930. So people were dying but they were certainly living a lot longer. Why is that? Maybe (and again this is not something to start a new church over necessarily but it’s just my model that I’m working with) maybe God released this water canopy and there was nothing left to filter the harmful rays of the sun and that’s why post floods people start dying faster. Suddenly you look at the post flood genealogies and they’re not living into their 900’s anymore, their life starts getting cut back around 175 years, etc. Bu these “waters above” were part of the original creation.
Back to Psalm 148.  “Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!  Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens!” And then verse 5 says, “Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.” Now what have these verses done here in Psalm 148? They’ve articulated all of the things that God brought into existence in the creation week. Did God bring the sun and the moon into existence during the creation week? Yes, day four. Did God bring the stars or the luminaries into existence in the creation week? Yes, day four. Did God bring the waters above into existence during the creation week? Yes, He did, Genesis 1:6-7 [Genesis 1:6-7, “He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away.  Praise the LORD from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps;” and you’ll notice what’s first on the list here? Verse 2, “Praise Him all His angels,” now if God brought everything else into existence in these six days of creation (and that’s how we interpret these verses) and angels is the first on the list, why would we say the angels were not also brought into existence during the creation week itself.
And see, what I’m giving you is just an evidence for a second view that perhaps the angels themselves came into existence during the creation week. Now having said all of that go to Genesis 2:1. It’s kind of a review of the creation week and it says this, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed” what’s the last expression there, “and all their” what? “hosts.” Now most people, and probably if you’re using a study Bible it will tell you that the “hosts” are stars, and that could be, host is used as a synonym for stars but I would challenge you to do a word study on the word hosts. What you’ll discover is many times the word host is used of angels. In fact, didn’t we just see that back in Psalm 148:2, “Praise Him all His angels, praise Him all His hosts.” So, when it says there in Genesis 2:1 of the creation week, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.” That may be an additional clue that the “hosts” are the angels themselves were brought into existence during the creation week.
You might want to hold your place in Genesis and just take a fast look at 1 Kings 22:19. “Micaiah said, ‘Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the” what? “host of” what? “heaven” that’s got to be a reference to angels, “were standing by Him on His right and on His left.” And you’ll discover this in the Bible that “hosts” is used many, many times to describe angels. So Genesis 2:1 when you look at that word “host” that means that may have to do with angelic beings, just as another piece of evidence that maybe we’ve had it wrong and the angels came into existence during the creation week itself.
By the way, we’re going to be getting to this, probably not today but what is one of the purposes of angels? Well not only are they messengers but when you look at the Book of Hebrews, chapter 1 and verse 14 you learn that one of their purposes is to assist human beings, particularly believers and those who will inherit salvation. Notice Hebrews 1:14, it says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” Angels exist, even though we can’t see them, they exist to help us, and I say “Amen” to that because I need all the help I can get. So one of the purposes of angels is to serve human beings or serve believers. Now if you believe that angels existed a million years or a billion years prior to the earth then you’ve got angels existing outside of why they were created so that may be another piece of evidence as to why angels could have possibly come into existence during the creation week.
So there you have it, two views on it: the majority view is they existed long before the earth, the primary passage is Job 38:4-7. [Job 38:4, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,  Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?  On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone? “
And then you have the Renald Showers view and I tried to explain that the best I know how, that the angels could have come into existence during the creation week. By the way, how would Renald Showers explain Job 38:7? Let’s go back to Job 38:7 for just a moment. God is creating the heavens and the earth. “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” The earth was originally… everything was water, right? Day one, day two, and if I remember right wasn’t it in day three that the land came up through the water? And so maybe the angels were created in those first two days and they were there in existence to watch what God did in day 3. I think that’s how Renald Showers would try to handle Job 38:7.
And we know that the stars came into existence in day four; stars is a synonym for angels and so some people pontificate that maybe the angels came into existence on day four as stars, God creating the physical hosts and the spiritual hosts as well. I don’t know, I liked to be dogmatic when the Bible is dogmatic; I don’t know if a person can be dogmatic on this, when the angels came into existence. Either they were created and they existed long before the earth or perhaps they came into existence during the creation week itself. But at any point, God created them… Amen!
And continuing to move on here as we look at the origin of angels, angels were created as angels. They weren’t created as people; they weren’t created as deity. They have a special classification as angels. And notice, if you will, the Book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verses 22 and 23. Notice what the Book of Hebrews says. Beginning in verse 22, “But you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels.” That’s category one. “to the general assembly and to the church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven,” that’s category number two, this is naming all of the people I think in the eternal state, and then it says, “to God the judge and all the spirits of the righteous made perfect,” now who would “the spirits of the righteous made perfect” be? I would guess that would be Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs, a different group of people.
But you’ll notice in this list that angels are different from members of the church. Angels are different than Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs. All of that to say that angels were not created as human beings, angels were not created as people. Angels were created as angels. Now when you get into some of this Hollywood stuff people have this idea that when you die you become an angel. I guess you get your wings and all that kind of stuff. And that’s just not even close to what God says. God says angels are angels, people are people!
In fact, the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:3 says something amazing to the very carnal Corinthian church as they’re suing each other and he’s telling them to get their act together. And he says, “Do you not know that the day will come when we will judge the” what? “the angels.” In other words, start acting like your regal authority now that you’re going to possess in the eschaton because you, as a member of the church, are going to sit in judgment on the angels. I don’t really know completely what that means other than the fact that we’re destined for authority. But the fact that we sit in judgment on the angels indicates to me that we are not angels; angels are a completely different classification and category.
So angels…the first thing you have to understand about them is they’re not human beings. And very important to understand is angels are not deity; angels are not to be worshipped! In fact, it’s kind of interesting to me how John closes his little epistle in 1 John 5:21 and he says, “Little children, keep yourself from” what? “from idols.” What’s an idol? And idol is something that you worship above God. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” and it’s interesting to me that John really didn’t practice what he preached because in the Book of Revelation he became an idolater, because at the end of the book… and head over to Revelation 19:10, you get to the end of the Book of Revelation and John is so enthralled with the vision that he has received that what does he want to do? He wants to worship the angel that gave him the vision.
And notice what it says in Revelation 19:10. You get to the end of the Book of Revelation and John is so enthralled with the vision that he had received that what does he want to do? He wants to worship the angel that gave him the vision. And notice what it says in Revelation 19:10. “Then I fell at His feet to worship him.” that’s the angel, “But he” that’s the angel. “said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold to the testimony of Jesus, worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” The angel rebukes him, he says knock it off, what are you worshipping me for, I’m just a messenger. Worship God! So very clearly you see there that an angel is not deity, an angel is not something to be worshipped because not only is an angel not a human but an angel is not deity and does not deserve worship.
And you would think John would have learned his lesson, right? But he doesn’t! A couple of chapters later, go over to Revelation 22:8-9, and he does it again. This is the same guy that said “Little children, keep yourself from idols.” He became an idolater two times at the end of the Book of Revelation. “I John, are the one who heard and saw these things.” The contents of the Book of Revelation. “And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.  But he” that’s the angel, “said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.” In other words, John, two times don’t worship me even though I’m the instrument that gave you the vision that we call the Book of Revelation, worship God! So very clearly an angel is not deity.
Matthew 4:10 quoting the Book of Deuteronomy, says “Worship” who? “The Lord and serve Him only.” Angels are not there to be worshipped. Now having said that let me throw a little curve ball at you. Go to the Book of Joshua for a minute, chapter 5, verses 13-15 where Joshua is ready to come in, he’s ready to take Canaan, the Battle of Jericho, he’s going to come in and so forth, and there’s somebody there that looks like an angel to me, a manifestation, and notice what happens here in “Joshua 5:13-15. Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho that he lifted up his eyes and behold a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand.
And notice what happens here in Joshua 5:13-15 “Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” That’s a great question to ask somebody, isn’t it?  “He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the” what? “host” interesting, “of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?”  The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.”
Now you might be saying well, pastor, I thought you just told us that an angel will never receive worship; we see that two times in the Book of Revelation and here we are in the Book of Joshua where Joshua appears to be worshiping an angel and not only does the angel receive the worship but he says take off your shoes, you’re standing on holy ground, which sounds an awful lot like what God said to Moses when he revealed himself as the great I AM back in Exodus 3:5. [Exodus 3:5, “Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”]
So which one is it, I mean, does an angel receive worship or not? Well, I think in this case, in Joshua 5, this is what’s called the angel of the Lord. This is not an ordinary angel. You say well what’s the angel of the Lord? The angel of the Lord is what we would call a theophany or a Christophany which would be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. So, there are examples in the Bible where I think Jesus, prior to the incarnation, shows up. This would be just one such example. And you know that Joshua is not dealing with an ordinary angel because he worships this angel of the Lord with no rebuke. This is no ordinary angel; the angel would have told Joshua what the angel in the Book of Revelation told John two times about worshipping “Me.”
So angels are not there to be worshipped, except if it’s a theophany or a Christophany, or a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. So how do you know which one is which? Well you have to just look at the context to help you with that. If you’re interested in this subject I recommend the book by Ron Rhodes, it’s got a wonderful title to it, it’s called Jesus Before the Manger and it’s got basically in it every single reference to these Theophanies or these Christophanies in the Old Testament, as the angel of the Lord. But if we’re not dealing with the angel of the Lord and we’re just dealing with ordinary angels the thing to understand is that ordinary angels are not deity.
And when God created the angels He created a number of them and they’re in a state of constancy. How many angels did God create? We’re not certain (more on that in just a minute) but whatever the number was the number never changes. The number never fluctuates because angels never die. You say well how do you know that? Look at Luke 20:34-36 where you’re given a key piece of the puzzle related to the doctrine of angels. [Luke 20:34 “But Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,  but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;  for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”]
Remember Jesus, about the person who had seven husbands, was it seven husbands, a lot of husbands, whatever it was, I’m always wondering why would number seven marry her when the other six died, maybe she was putting poison in their breakfast cereal or something. But verse 35 he says, “but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead,” watch this, “Neither marry nor are given in marriage; [verse36] for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like” the what? “the angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”
So there you learn that angels don’t marry. I would understand that to mean angels don’t procreate with each other. Just take Genesis 6 and put that out of your mind for a minute because we’ll be explaining that as we go. But related to each other angels don’t procreate with each other so you don’t have baby angels, as cute as a baby angel may be in a movie or a card or something you don’t have baby angels! And you don’t have angels dying; you don’t have angels getting so old they can’t work anymore and they die. So whatever number God created He created in a state of fixity or constancy because they don’t die, and apparently, they don’t reproduce. And just look at Gabriel, for example. Gabriel is active 600 years before the time of Christ, giving the prophecy of the seventy weeks to Daniel, Daniel 9:20-23.
And six centuries pass and this same guy, same angel, Gabriel, shows up and he begins to reveal information to the mothers of Jesus and John the Baptist, Luke 1, concerning who these special children are in their womb. And we say well six hundred years passed between Daniel 9 and Luke 1, didn’t Gabriel die? No, he didn’t! Didn’t he get old? No, he didn’t! Didn’t he retire! No he didn’t, because angels we’re told here to not die.
And I would say this, God has finished creating; the work that God did in the six days of creation, which I think includes angels, is over! You way well wait a minute, don’t human beings reproduce, don’t animals reproduce? Well, that has to do with the design that God put into… the reproductive capacity God put into human beings, animals, etc. in the six days of creation. But as far as God doing the original creation, unless God does a miracle, God really is not in the business of creating. We can see that from Genesis 2:3 which says this: “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because He rested from all His work” what work? Work in creation, which God had created and made. In other words, God is not in the creating business today unless He does a miracle. And since the angels are part of the creation process God is not in the business today of adding to the angelic number. His work in creation is finished.
And you say well, if His work in creation is finished then what do you do with John 5:17. I know you guys all week have been worried about John 5:17 so I’m going to read this to you. It says, “But He answered to them, My Father is working until now and I Myself am working.” So, if God is not creating what does this mean in John 5:17 where Jesus says the Father and I are working? It’s not talking about God’s work in creation, it’s talking about God’s work in redemption. That’s His work. And not only is God at work in redemption today, He is also at work in sustaining creation because when you go back to the Colossians passage that we started with, Colossians 1:17 where it talks about how Jesus Christ Himself brought the angels into existence, it tells you also what Jesus Christ is doing right now as I speak.
Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” And you can jot down as a cross reference Hebrews 1:3 where the son (Jesus Christ) is sustaining all things. [Hebrews 1:3, “
Who is it that allowed your heart to continue to beat this morning so you could wake up and come to church (a lot of people didn’t wake up this morning). That was the sustaining work of Jesus Christ. Who is it that keeps the planets in our solar system moving in a way where the planets don’t collide with each other? It’s Jesus Christ. So, is Jesus creating today? No, He’s not, unless He does a miracle, which is an abnormality. Is He redeeming today? Absolutely, that’s His primary work. Is He sustaining today? Absolutely. But since the angels were part of creation and God is not creating today you don’t have a scenario where there’s a million angels and God says okay, let’s make the million and first angel. So whatever number you have of the angels their number is what we call constant because they don’t die, they don’t reproduce, and God’s work in creation is complete.
And one more thing, and with this we’ll stop. How many angels are there exactly? Well, two passages tell us you can’t even count them they’re so many. Daniel 7:10 says, “Myriads upon myriads, ten thousand times ten thousand” and you’ll find the exact same thing in Revelation 5:11. And this is why I find it very interesting that angels are called what? Stars. Angels are called stars in Revelation 12:3-9; Job 38:7, we saw that earlier. How many stars are there?
You know, it’s kind of interesting as you go down through human history man always thought he could number the stars and now with the advent of the Hubble telescope and things like this you realize that this solar system and this galaxy and this universe that we’re in is so big you couldn’t number the stars if you wanted to. In fact, God at the beginning told man he couldn’t number the stars but man didn’t listen, because in Genesis it’s amazing how up to date or ahead of the curve the Bible is scientifically… Genesis 15:5 “He took him” Abram, “outside and said now look to the heavens and count the stars” ha, ha, ha,” if you are able to count them.” So, the stars are innumerable, angels are called stars, and so if that analogy holds true, just as the stars are so many you can’t even number them, what the Bible reveals is that the angels are so many of them they’re basically innumerable. Creations of God for sure, constant for sure, but don’t even try to count them because it’s outside human mathematics–just like trying to number the stars is outside of human mathematics.
So anyway, I hope you find this interesting and we’ll keep marching through this material. Shall we pray? Father, we’re grateful for Your truth, Your Word, we’re grateful for how it comments on every major area of life, including this invisible spiritual realm that we would know nothing about had it not been for Your Word. So help us to be good stewards of this area of systematic theology. Help us to apply these things to our lives. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said…. Amen! And I say happy intermission.