Our Testimony to the Angels
Ephesians #091 /Angelic Rebellion #01
November 15, 2020
“Father, we’re so thankful that we have this opportunity to study Your Word, to probe it, to take it apart, to analyze it, to see just exactly what You are saying to us, that we may rightly divide the word of truth and accurately understand it, then we can accurately apply it.
“Father, what this passage reveals to us is that there are dimensions to what You are doing in the church that we barely can comprehend and understand, but it elevates our significance beyond anything that we could hope or ask.
“Father, we pray that we might be humble enough to accept the challenge of this passage and that we might continue to grow and mature and press on to spiritual maturity. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to Ephesians 3. We have been in this passage for several weeks, but we’re going to stop towards the end of Ephesians 3:10 and start a topical study. That topical study comes directly out of this passage where in Ephesians 3:10 it talks about the principalities and powers, and that we as the church are to have a testimony. It specifically says the church manifests this testimony to the principalities and powers, and we have to understand what that means.
Some of you have no idea what that means, others of you have a fairly vague idea of what it means, others of you have a fairly well-informed idea of what that means. I’m hoping that in this series over the next three to four weeks that what we will do is make that comprehension a lot more robust than it is right now.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and studying on this for various reasons, and a number of key passages I’ve worked on, some that we’ve touched on, and I’ve realized that this material, all of these verses, it’s not that I’m changing the meaning of them, or something like that, but I’m connecting the dots that I never saw were dots that needed to be connected before.
This is going to be interesting. I’m going to say a few things that go a little bit different from what you’ve heard before. It’s not contradicting it. It is expanding it. So I don’t want anybody going out here saying, “Robby doesn’t believe that anymore.” No, you just have to understand what’s being said here. So it’s going to challenge your paradigm in a couple of places, but it’s refining it, it’s not changing it into something different. It’s just improving it.
What we’ve seen so far in this third chapter of Ephesians is that Paul has inserted a parenthetical diversion that started in Ephesians 3:2 and goes down to Ephesians 3:12 for the purpose of encouraging the believers in Ephesus, because they are discouraged because they know that Paul has been in prison. He has been imprisoned for five years, “God needs to let him go so that we can actually get about His plan and purpose.”
How many times, as I pointed out last week, we think we have an idea of how God’s plan ought to go, and it’s better than His? But over 98% of the time God knows more than you do. Remember, 100% is more than 98%—just trying to get you to think a little bit this morning.
So this is what they’re doing, and it’s remarkable what Paul says here. I’ve talked about the fact that he’s inserting what I called a mystery doctrine rationale—that God has given a body of truth to the apostles that’s never before been revealed. Never before. There are dimensions to this that go beyond anything we can even imagine. And it’s never before been revealed. Again and again he’s repeating this as he goes through here.
As I was reading the Scripture, I was reminded how back in Ephesians 3:3 he talks about how that by revelation, we talked about the biblical view of revelation, that God has revealed new information. How did He do that? He made it known to Paul. He gave him that information.
That’s important because when we get down to our passage and we look in Ephesians 3:9, we see Paul saying, “and to make all see.” Actually, I prefer to translate that to “enlighten.” Enlighten is the opposite of obscure. The word for revelation is APOKALUPSIS. It means to disclose or unveil. It’s a synonym for being enlightened.
So, Paul sees, as part of his mission as an apostle, to enlighten us, and we’re going to see why it’s a bad translation. It’s not fellowship. It’s administration or dispensation, but administration communicates the idea better, “to make all see what is the administration of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden.”
So, you see this contrast with “what is enlightened” versus “what is dark,” or “what is revealed” versus “what is hidden.” The emphasis on the mystery doctrine is what is now being revealed to the Church Age. And that it is for the purpose in Ephesians 3:10, that “now the manifold—or the multifaceted or the extremely complex—wisdom of God might be made known by the church.”
We are the ones who make this known. God doesn’t tell the angels about it. He’s not teaching the angels about it at all. God is letting us live it out, so that by watching us the angels know what God is doing. Now that’s pretty remarkable!
If I were a Baptist preacher, I’d probably say, “Now think about what you did yesterday. What did the angels learn about God’s plan yesterday?” Twist the guilt complex, okay?
But that’s the point, is that by the church God is teaching the angels things they apparently can’t learn any other way. And there are things about God’s grace and purpose, but it goes far beyond that.
Many of you think, “Well, I’ve read your book on spiritual warfare. I’ve heard you teach through the angelic conflict before,” but we’re going to sort of reshape it to give us a more robust sense and an enlightenment to what is going on. And maybe in the process we might answer some questions that kind of bother us all along, but we don’t talk about. We just figure God’s going to enlighten us when we get to Heaven. So, I think we’ll see some enlightenment there. That’s the idea.
As we’ve looked at these passages in Ephesians 3, we have seen that God has a plan for their life, the Ephesian believers. He has a plan for our life. He has a plan for the church, and we are members of the church. We have been identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. So at that instant that we trusted in Christ as Savior, we are in Christ, and what the writer is saying to us in Ephesians is that all of these blessings are part of a wealth package that God has given to us.
Even though Paul is in prison, this isn’t a speedbump on the way to God fulfilling His plan for his life. It is part of God’s plan for his life, and in fact, when he was in prison in Rome he wrote three of his most significant Epistles. They are Philippians, Ephesians, and Colossians. There are four Epistles that he wrote in Rome. They are called the Prison Epistles. The fourth one is the short one chapter of Philemon.
So when we get to Ephesians, which many theologians and expositors think is the finest piece of writing that came from the pen of Paul, it is like the apex. He’s already written Romans, he’s already written 1 Corinthians. The first book that he wrote was Galatians, and Ephesians comes before 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus, and so it’s pretty close to the end. So he ties so much together here and in Colossians, which is very close to it. He does that while he’s in prison, so he is fulfilling God’s plan. The speedbump was so that he could stay there, think through these things, and get them written down for the ages.
In this Epistle, what we have learned is that something new came into existence on that Day of Pentecost, something that no one expected. No angel expected it, no demon expected it. Satan did not expect it. No Old Testament believer ever even had a clue. It was completely hidden in God. That’s why it’s called a mystery, a previously unrevealed body of truth.
Now He has created, and it’s a masterpiece based on Ephesians 2:10, that He’s created this thing, this church that he calls a new man, a new body, and a new temple. Its purpose is for the indwelling of the Triune God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, on the earth, and that is in this body.
He is within each and every believer. The Triune God indwells each and every believer, but also this corporate entity, a concept we have a little trouble understanding, that it is this corporate entity, and that’s what Ephesians is all about, is the corporate entity of the church that is now composed of Jew and Gentile with the same inheritance. They are members of the same body, and they are fellow partakers of the same promise in Christ that is through the gospel.
That’s what we studied last time. This is theirs through the gospel, and as members of Christ, everyone of us has this wealth in Christ that we are in Him. And that is what we need to learn to exploit because that’s the basis, those of the assets that God has given us in this Church Age.
In Ephesians 3:8 he begins to describe this message that he has to the Gentiles, and this is where we pick up today.
But one point I want to reiterate, when I talk about this mystery doctrine, and we were first introduced to this back in Ephesians 2:14–18, where Paul is emphasizing the peace we have, that it’s first and primarily a peace between Jew and Gentile, that that dividing wall was broken down between Jew and Gentile, and then the sin barrier is eradicated at the Cross by what Christ did on the Cross, so that there can be this this one new man, this one new body.
When we get a little further along in this study of the angelic rebellion, I’m going to remind you of this because this is one of the things that’s going to be sort of illuminated a little more as we look at what’s happening in the Old Testament versus the New Testament in reference to Jew and Gentile, which is directly related to this angelic rebellion and probably just blew the mind of Satan and the demons.
So in Ephesians 3:8 we read, “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given,” and by that phrase “this grace was given,” we’ve studied it several times by now, that that refers to the gracious gift and calling of his apostleship and his apostolic mission by Christ, and that mission is what’s described next.
It’s actually two parts. Part A is in Ephesians 3:8 and Part B is in Ephesians 3:9. So as we look at those, Ephesians 3:9 gives a second part. It is first, Ephesians 3:8. “to proclaim the good news to the Gentiles the unsearchable wealth of Christ,” and second, Ephesians 3:9, “to reveal all that is the dispensation—or administration—of the mystery.” Those are the two aspects.
We’re just looking at Ephesians 3:8. The word that is translated “to preach” is the verb EVANGELIZO, which is where we get our word “evangelism.” It is not just simply preaching. It is proclaiming the good news. So we have to translate it that way, “to preach—or to proclaim—the good news to the Gentiles,” that they’re no longer on the other side of this dividing wall, but now when they trust in Christ, they are on equal footing with the Jewish believer in Christ, and that they both receive equally this “unsearchable wealth of Christ.”
The word “to proclaim the good news” isn’t a narrow sense of simply what you need to know or believe to go to Heaven, to be justified, and to have eternal life. It’s a broader sense because contextually it includes understanding the unsearchable wealth of Christ. This is what I call the broad use of the word “gospel,” because for Paul the entire spiritual life is the good news. Not only that we have life eternal, but we have the abundant life, as Jesus talked about in John 10:10.
We are to proclaim this, and this takes us back to Ephesians 2:17, talking about Christ, “He came and preached—and the word there is EVANGELIZO again, proclaim the good news of—peace to you who were far off—that’s the Gentiles—and to those who were near”—that’s the Jew.
This good news is focused in Ephesians 3:8 on what is translated as “the unsearchable riches,” and actually, a better way of translating it would probably be “the unfathomable or incomprehensible wealth of Christ.”
It’s from the Greek word ANEXICHNIASTOS, which is as difficult to say in Greek as unfathomable is in English. This word that is translated “unsearchable” means indetectable—we only know it because the Bible tells us about it—uninvestigable, unsearchable, inscrutable, incomprehensible, fathomless, unfathomable rather than the idea of inexhaustible—one writer says.
So we’re talking about something that cannot be probed, investigated, discovered by our intellect alone or by our experience. We have to study the Word of God to learn what this wealth is composed of.
Then the second aspect, Ephesians 3:9, of the Pauline mission and content is “to make all see what is the fellowship—that’s the New King James version—of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ.”
Now we have to straighten out the translation on this a little bit because there are a couple of textual issues here that we have to look at, because if you’ve got a New American Standard or NIV or ESV or any number of the other translations other than the King James or New King James, there are parts of this verse that aren’t in those because of the textual issue. And then there’s also the word “fellowship” that’s in the King James or New King James that is not in any of the others, and we will look at that in just a minute.
He starts off by saying this responsibility is “to enlighten,” from the Greek word PHOTIZO. We get our word “photo” from PHOTIZO. It means to bring light upon something, and it is a purpose infinitive. To give light, to enlighten, to illumine, to bring to light, and it’s in contrast to that which is hidden or obscure.
And, of course, he’s going to go on to say in this passage that it was hidden in God. So now it is no longer hidden in God. It is being brought to light and for the first time in history people are learning of this, as well as the angels and the demons.
So it’s to make all see or to “enlighten—everyone—what is the fellowship.”
The word “fellowship” in Greek is KOINONIA, and KOINONIA is found in what is referred to as the Textus Receptus, the Latin phrase which means “the received text”. In 1611 when they translated the King James Bible, they didn’t have the thousands of manuscripts and other partial or incomplete writings that we have today to compare. They had what they considered to be the best collection of manuscripts, and it consisted of about, depending on the book, 8 to 11 or 12 manuscripts, and all of these were pretty late. They were eighth century, ninth century, twelfth century. Turns out, they weren’t the best. and they weren’t even the best representation of their general text type.
Now that’s getting a little more technical than most of you understand, but there are two basic views in textual criticism. One view is that the majority of manuscripts gives you the best reading. The other is that the oldest is best, and you can demonstrate the problem with that because just because it’s old doesn’t mean it was even good at the time. But the five basic manuscripts that they go with, that are the oldest, were found in Egypt.
The reason you don’t find manuscripts that old in places like Greece or Rome or Europe or other places is you don’t have that dry desert climate like you have in Egypt to preserve them. So when they got old, they would be recopied and an accurate copy of an older manuscript we no longer have is better than an old manuscript that has errors, and so that’s just a very simplified way of expressing it.
But in both the Critical Text and the Majority Text, the word is OIKONOMIA, which is translated in some versions “dispensation,” and in other versions “administration.”
There are two basic ideas that we have seen in our study of Ephesians for the way this word is used. It’s used back in Ephesians 1:10 to refer to the activity of the administrator, “that in the dispensation of the fullness of time.” So, in the stewardship of the fullness of times, that refers to the Millennial Kingdom and the operation of the Administrator, who is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then you get to Ephesians 3:2, which we’ve studied already. It talks about really the execution of the plan or the execution of the plan or administration, or a simple way of putting that is the strategy now in this dispensation. And that strategy is to make clear the mystery, the previously unrevealed information that Jew and Gentile are together in one body in Christ and that we together are part of this new man, new body, new temple, and as such we are a witness, a testimony to the angels, and so that message continues all through the Church Age.
What Paul is saying, “and enlighten what is administration/strategy of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages”—when “ages” is in the plural like this, it’s really from eternity, just an idiom for eternity.
I want to translate it—“which from eternity past has been hidden in God.”
The verb there is APOKRYPTO. You’ve heard the English word “cryptic,” something that is hidden, or you go to a Roman Catholic Church and they’ll show you where the crypt is. Most people think the crypt has something to do with the grave. A crypt is the hidden area underneath the pulpit area, underneath the altar. So, the crypt has that idea of hidden.
APOKRYPTO is an adjective for mystery, and it has been hidden in God. No one keeps a secret like God keeps a secret, and no one knows. Satan doesn’t know, the demons don’t know, the angels don’t know, no human being knows, no one knew the content of this.
So when this happened, and this new entity came to life on the Day of Pentecost in AD 33, it blew the minds of the angels, the demons, and Satan because all through history, there had been this distinction. God was just working through one people, so they had a simple target, as it were, just the Jewish people. But now God has temporarily set them aside. He’s created this new people composed of Jew and Gentile from all over the world, and now you have a massive number of targets. This was something that was never anticipated and never expected.
So he enlightens us concerning the administration or strategy of the mystery—that is, teaching and enlightening us on the mystery doctrine, “which from eternity past has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.”
Now this is the second textual variant because in the older manuscripts, those five Egyptian manuscripts that go back to the third or fourth century, they don’t have this phrase, “who created all things through Jesus Christ.” But that phrase is present in the Majority Text, and it’s also reflected in other verses. So, I think that is a superior reading and should remain in the text.
He refers to God to make it clear who he’s speaking about, that it’s the Creator-God who created all things in the heavens, the earth, and the seas, and all that is in them, and He did it through Jesus Christ.
We have three key passages. Always remember these. If you can remember “one,” remember John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1. As Dr. Ryrie used to say, “If you can just get to the right chapter, you can get to the right verse. He always just had us remember the book and remember the chapter.
John 1:3 in the prologue to the Gospel of John, “All things were made through Him—that is, the LOGOS, the Word of God—All things were made through Him, and without Him—that is, apart from Jesus—nothing—not one thing—was made that was made.”
We see that God the Father is presented as the Architect of the plan of Creation, Jesus Christ is the One who is like the building contractor who’s overseeing the project, and then we also see God the Holy Spirit working as we see in Genesis 1:2, hovering over the face of the deep.
Colossians 1:16, “For by Him—that is, by Christ—all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible ...”
This is a verse we’re going to come back to as we study through the angels because it talks about the fact that God created all things visible—that’s what we see—and invisible—that includes the angels which we do not see and the demons and Satan.
He created all things visible and invisible, and then He structures the authority. We’re going to see this as a parallel passage to Ephesians 3:10.
“… whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers—these are different authority structures within the angelic hierarchy or the angelic chain of command—All things were created through Him and for Him.”
Hebrews 1:2 echoes the same thought, that God “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He—that is, God the Father—made the worlds.”
That brings us to Ephesians 3:10, the second purpose, “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers—we just saw that in Colossians 1:16, so we know this is talking about the hierarchy of the invisible angels—that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”
Just to summarize what we got from Ephesians 3:8–9 is that there are two purposes: To proclaim the good news among the Gentiles about the unfathomable wealth we have in Christ, and second, to enlighten us to this mystery.
Now what we see is that this enlightenment to the purpose and this proclaiming the gospel has a further purpose and that is that the manifold or the multifaceted wisdom of God will be made known by the church. It will be revealed by the church. God’s not going to tell them. It will be made known by the church to the angels and the fallen angels, to the invisible principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
This is our ultimate purpose, the final purpose here. It is expressed in that phrase “to the intent that.” It is a specific type of construction in the grammar of the Greek that’s called “the final purpose.” There are secondary purposes that lead to this ultimate intent here.
“… to the intent that now—now in this Church Age. Now in this new dispensation that began on the Day of Pentecost and will end with the Rapture of the church—now the manifold wisdom of God.”
The word for “manifold” is a compound word in the Greek: POLU, which means many, and POIKILOS. POIKILOS is a Greek word from which we got our word “polka dot,” the P-O-L-K. Polka dots are variegated colors, and that’s what the meaning of POIKILOS is. It’s variegated colors.
You find this also in James 1:2 where we are to count it all joy, my brothers, when we encounter various multifaceted, polka-dotted tests. Multicolored, everyone looks different. My tests are different from your tests, so we have these variegated tests.
That’s the same word here, that God’s wisdom is multifaceted, and God’s infinite, so it has infinite facets to it. We can never probe it all with our minds. So this is His wisdom, this skill that He presented as He created the heavens and the earth and the seas and all that is in them, as He is working out and overseeing His plan in human history.
He has a plan that included His original creation of intelligent beings called the angels, and that it also involves the humans that He created. What’s important is understanding the connection between the two. This is something that is often overlooked by theologians, is that there is this intricate connection that we must understand between the unseen forces of the angels, the holy angels or elect angels on the one hand, and the fallen angels or the demons on the other hand, and that they are involved.
One of the aspects of that involvement is that they’re watching us, as it were, all of human history and all of the Church Age believers are down playing on the field in a huge cosmic stadium and they’re watching us and they’re learning from us. They’re learning things about the grace of God and the love of God and the wisdom of God that they could learn in no other way. They’re learning from and through our experience. So that’s the purpose of this.
Ephesians 3:10, “… that the manifold wisdom of God—part of His omniscience—might be made known,” and there we have the verb we saw earlier in the chapter, GNORISTHE, which means to reveal something or to make something known. It is a synonym for APOKALUPTO, which means to disclose or reveal something. It is to make it known. It addresses the intellect, not the emotions. It’s not to make you feel God’s Word. It’s to make you know God’s Word, to understand it, to be able to analyze it on the basis of the grammar and the background and the history, so that God’s wisdom might be made known, might be revealed.
So, the church, you and I and all believers in Christ, are the means by which God is revealing this to the angels, elect and fallen. We are the tool that He uses. It’s by means or through the church. Literally, it’s construction we see many times, and the church is the means by which this is done, and it focuses on the principalities and the powers.
Now that first word “principalities” is from the Greek word ARCHE. We get “arch-something” before word, like in archdeacon or archbishop, something like that. It refers to a higher category of authority than just a deacon or a bishop. So this refers to a position of authority. “Principality” is how it’s translated, but some modern translations, I think, accurately translate it better as “a ruler.” It can describe the realm, a rule, or power.
Then the word “powers” is literally authorities, EXOUSIA, and it has to do with the exercise of one’s position of authority. The root idea was the freedom to choose. Only those in authority have the freedom to choose and to carry out their plan, and so it came to be applied to those who are in authority.
They operate in the heavenlies, “in the heavenly places.” There are numerous times, as we look through Ephesians, where we have this phrase “in the heavenlies,” and it refers to the heavenly realms where those who are invisible have their area of operations.
In Ephesians 1:3 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing—where?—in the heavenlies.” It’s our heavenly eternal inheritance.
Ephesians 1:20, “which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies.”
This is what we call “the third Heaven.” The Bible talks about three heavens. The atmosphere around the earth is the first heaven, the second heaven is everything that’s between the atmosphere around the earth and the boundary of the universe. You must realize the universe is not infinite, as human viewpoint science suggests. It has a boundary, and beyond that, somewhere in another dimension probably, you have the throne room of God, and that’s where this is located.
He is seated at the right hand of God in the heavenlies. Not on His throne, not on the throne of David, He is at the right hand of the throne of His Father, waiting to be given the kingdom.
Ephesians 2:5–6 says that we as believers are made alive together in Christ, and we are raised up together and seated together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ.
Then in Ephesians 3:10, the verse we are studying. This is a fantastic doctrine that is in this chapter. It is “For the purpose that the multifaceted wisdom of God might be made known now to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.”
That brings out so much, and if we’re not well informed on how the Bible deals with the angels and the angelic revolt, then we miss all the implications that are here.
Now on Thursday night in 2 Peter this week, we’re getting to 2 Peter 2:4, which talks about the angels that are in prison, a much-debated topic and issue. So we have to understand a lot about angelology and demonology in order to understand that.
Since we were hitting these at approximately the same time, and then I finished Psalm 30 last week, and there’s another psalm that I wanted to go to, but it is not a Davidic psalm, it’s a psalm of Asaph. Asaph was a choir leader that David appointed, so it is from the time of David, and as one writer comments, this is one of the most misinterpreted passages in all of Scripture. And that’s saying something because there are so many passages in Scripture that are misinterpreted. But it is. So, we will have to drill down on that.
We will get into a little introduction this morning on what the Bible teaches about the Angelic Rebellion—Part 1; Angels: Their Identity and Organization. Just a flyover, basic information, just a summary of foundational information about the angels, and then we will pause talking about their organization, and then we will come back and look at two passages, one of which we have looked at within the past few years—Psalm 89, which is a meditation and prayer to God based on the Davidic Covenant. We will look at that and connect that to Psalm 82 and some other passages before we come back and begin to look at the much-misunderstood topic of the Nephilim.
You don’t go to the Internet to find out about the Nephilim, because there are such crazy ideas out there because nobody wants to stick to the Bible. There’s enough fascinating information in the Bible that I haven’t taught you. I’ve taught you aspects of it, but not connected the dots, so we will get there.
So what does the Bible teach? This is just a basic introduction. There is a lot of speculation about angels. Some of you may remember that back in the 1980s when the New Age Movement was really getting some traction and popularity, that angels were a big thing. You could go to any gift shop and pick up some kind of little angel for many different reasons and decorations, and people got them in all kinds of collectible sets. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about what the Bible says about angels.
To know anything about the angels, you must start with the Bible. You can’t know about the angels otherwise. If all you had was reason, we’d never reason our way to the existence of angels. And if all you had was experience, you’d have all kinds of ideas. Just think of the hodgepodge of ideas that come out related to angels and demons. People have dreams and visions and feelings and all kinds of stuff. For certainty, you’d have to start with the Bible.
So how do we know angels exist? We know angels exist simply because the Bible tells us so. The Bible clearly gives us information about the angels and teaches us about them.
For example, 34 of the 66 books of the Bible mentions angels. More than half of the Old Testament books refer to angels, either in the singular or the plural, and they refer to them in ways that state that they are in existence. There are 17 in the Old Testament and 17 in the New Testament, and they are listed in the earliest books, Genesis and Job, all the way to the last book, which is the Book of Revelation. S
Second, we learned that the Old Testament speaks about angels a little more than 100 times, depending on how you’re counting. In the New Testament angels are mentioned about 165 times.
I think if you add them all up and look at some of the others that are actually referring to angels without using the term, it probably goes over 300.
When you look at our Lord’s teaching that is included in the Gospels, our Lord spoke about angels on a number of occasions. He talked about the relationship of children to angels in Matthew 18:10. He declared that He could have 12 legions of angels at His disposal just by calling for them in Matthew 26:53. And He states that the angels will attend and serve Him in the Second Coming and in the Kingdom. All of these are part of His testimony to the existence of angels. So if our Lord says they exist, they exist. He describes a lot about them.
There are various terms related to the angels. There are different categories of angels.
There are cherubs and seraphs, and each has a slightly different role, but they seem to be the ones that are most closely associated with God and related to His righteousness and justice.
There is one archangel. That is Michael.
Angels are referred to as princes.
They are called “sons of God.” They are related to the air in some passages—that’s how you know them. The phrase “Son of God” relates to Jesus. Believers are called sons of God in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament that phrase is clearly a reference to angels, fallen and elect.
You have phrases like “principalities” and “powers,” “rulers of the darkness of this world,” “spiritual wickedness in high places,” “thrones” and “dominions,” all of which describe a hierarchy chain of command. We’re not sure exactly how they work out, but they all describe that there is this structure of authority within both the angels and the demons.
The number of angels is not ever given. You don’t have some place where there’s 340 trillion angels. They are listed and described in a couple of passages almost as if there are innumerable.
In Revelation 5:11.John says, “I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures—that’s one category of angel—the living creatures, and the elders—those are not angels—and the number of them—referring to the angels—was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.”
Daniel 7:9 states, “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire.”
Daniel 7:10, “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him—those are angels—Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated—now that is an important phrase to remember, especially for Tuesday night—the court was seated—What court is this? Who is involved in this court?—the court was seated, and the books were opened.” We will be coming back to that in our study.
Fourth, the term “angel” comes from the Greek word ANGELOS, which just means messenger, but there are many other terms to describe them.
Fifth, angels are not material, physical beings as in our realm, but are described as spirit beings, not of flesh and blood.
In Luke 24:39 Jesus in His resurrection body says here, “… handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood—talking about the demons—but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”—describing different ranks and categories of demons.
Sixth thing we learn is that angels are not normally visible to us today.
I think that before the Flood of Noah, they could become visible, and they were probably visible and seen. Remember, the Garden of Eden is surrounded by an army of cherubs, and they clearly would have been seen.
In the second half of the Tribulation angels fly through the heavens proclaiming the gospel. They are seen and heard. Demons will be cast to the earth in the second half of the Tribulation, and they will be seen and their presence felt. We studied all of that in our study of Revelation.
Seventh, we see that angels are described in terms of their organization.
Colossians 1:16, which I mentioned earlier, “whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.”
Then we have principalities and powers in Ephesians 3:10.
Eighth, angels are a distinct order of intelligent beings created by God. Humans do not become angels when they die.
And just to say everything there is to say about this, and little babies do not become angels when they’re born.
Angels are a distinct order of creature, and they don’t necessarily have wings. Cherubs have wings and seraphs have wings, but we do not necessarily see wings with all of the other angels.
Then we have the ninth point, there are many other descriptions of angels in the Scripture and their organizations.
They are called a “host,” which is an archaic word for an army. So they’re organized like the military with various ranks and authority structures.
We have cherubs, seraphs, and an archangel. There are those who are called watchers in Daniel.
They are divided into holy and elect angels. The holy angels are the ones who are elect angels. They are the ones who remained obedient to God in the rebellion, and then the fallen angels, which may or may not include demons. Let me say that another way; they may or may not be synonymous. There’s debate over that. Are all of the fallen angels also demons, or are only some of the fallen angels demons? We will look at that issue.
Also, the angels are described as beings of light and as stars, and we’re warned in 2 Corinthians 12 that Satan appears as an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness. So he is deceptive, and he is the great counterfeiter.
Now that gives us our introduction, because what happens in the angelic realm is related to what happens in human history. What happens in the church is a testimony to teach and educate the angels about the grace of God and the love of God and what He has done uniquely in this dispensation to the church. These are topics that are rarely taught or understood or tied together as many of us have heard them tied together by me and a few other pastors over the years.
So will come back on Tuesday night and begin to investigate this court that was mentioned in Daniel and this group of angels referred to in Psalm 89 and Psalm 82.
“Father, we’re thankful for this opportunity to study these things, to be made aware that our life is not as narrow and restricted as we tend to think of it, that we need to really broaden our horizons a lot. That we are watched, that we are a piece of evidence, as it were, in this courtroom for the angels. And that they are learning things about us, and our testimony is in a legal courtroom. They are learning things about us that they can learn no other way.
“Father, we are trophies, as we’ve learned in our study of Ephesians, trophies of grace that will be on display for all of eternity.
“Father, we thank You for Your grace, and we love You for the fact that You’ve given us so much and that You’ve saved us and not given us that which we deserve, but treated us in Your goodness and kindness because of what Christ did on the Cross.
“Father, we pray that if there is anyone listening to this lesson that they might come to understand that the only way that we can have a relationship, have eternal life with You is to have righteousness as You have righteousness. And when we trust in Christ we’re given His righteousness, and so we are declared just before You simply by trusting, believing in Him as our Savior who died for our sins. At that same moment we are given Your life, life eternal, so that we can have an eternal relationship with You. The only way to have eternal life and to have our sins forgiven is to trust in Christ as Savior, and the instant that we do, all sins are forgiven, we are positionally cleansed, and in Christ, and we are Yours forever, and we thank You for this.
“We pray that we might be challenged by what we’re studying today. In Christ’s name, amen.”