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Revelation 5:11 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:53 mins 54 secs

Angels - The conflict of ages; Rev. 5:11

 

Revelation 5:11 NASB "Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands."

Angels were to function as servants and messengers for God. They are clearly established as existing in the Scriptures. Jesus Christ referred to angels frequently in His ministry. He understood them to be real creatures. He wasn't just accommodating Himself to the superstitions and the mythology of the people of His day, which is what liberal theologians will tell you. He described the role of angels in the final judgment, that they would gather the elect from the four corners of the earth. He talked of the relationship of angels to children in Matthew 18:10 NASB "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven." This is one of the verses used to substantiate the doctrine of guardian angels. Jesus frequently referred to angels as real creatures and they were involved in different aspects of His ministry, including His resurrection. In Matthew 28:2-6 we are told that the resurrection was first announced by an angel. NASB "And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. [3] And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. [4] The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. [5] The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. [6] He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying'." Angels also will accompany Him and serve Him at the second coming. Matthew 13:39-41; 16:27; 24:30, 31; 25:31. Angels have an important role.

Just as Jesus Christ referred to angels as real and existing creatures, we must believe that they exist and that they are real. To deny the existence of angels implies that Jesus Christ was ignorant or superstitious, and that the Bible is wrong and perhaps mythological. So for the believer the only source of truth about angels, about demons, about Satan is the Word of God.

What does the Bible tells us about the origin of angels, their purpose and their destiny? First of all, we know that angels are creatures, they are not divine, they are not to be worshipped as divine. They are finite, they live on into eternity as human beings do but they had an origination point. Psalm 148:5 NASB "Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they [angels] were created." They are not self-existing or eternal, they are creatures. Angels we are told in Scripture were created individually by God. For this reason they are called in the Old Testament, "sons of God." Angels do not marry, they do not procreate. This means there is not a unifying factor among the angels, they are all different. Each angels is its own species, as it were. All angels are called sons of God and all human beings are called sons of men, according to Ecclesiastes 1:13; 2:3, 8; Daniel 5:21. Another thing we know about angels is that they are immaterial spirit creatures. They are referred to sometimes by the word pneuma [pneuma] or spirit, and this indicates the immaterial aspect of their makeup. They do not, therefore, have to conform to the physical laws of the universe as we do. This has some important implications in terms of their ability to travel, their ability to appear, their ability to manifest their appearance in different ways and forms. When Paul writes in Ephesians 6:12 when dealing with spiritual warfare he says: NASB "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual {forces} of wickedness in the heavenly {places.}" One of the applications of this is that when we recognize that we are at war against radical Islam and against terrorists the ultimate enemy, the enemy behind the enemy, are these spiritual forces of darkness. This is what lies behind the conflict. Human history, that which happens in the material realm, is indeed impacted by a broader conflict, that which happens in the spiritual realm. What the apostle Paul is getting at is that ultimately our enemy—that is not diminishing the fact that there is a physical enemy but that is but a secondary reality—is the greater reality of the spiritual conflict.

Angels, being immaterial, appear to have the ability to take on physical form. In Genesis chapter nineteen there were three men who came to visit Abraham when he was living on the plains of Mamre. One of these we learn later in the narrative is the second person of the Trinity. He is addressed as Lord, He is the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. When the two other men later go to Sodom we find out that they are angels. The bodies that they took on had all of the appearance and function of a regular human being. Abraham treats them as such. Whenever angels appear in the Scriptures they appear as male. Furthermore, angels don't die, they don't have a physical death aspect to their nature because they are not physical. They are invisible to us. One last observation is that angels do not normally have wings. In Scripture there is a description of one classification of angels that has six wings and another has four and this is just a minor group of angels. What we do learn from the Scripture is that angels are rational creatures, they have personality and emotions. Job 38:4-7 NASB "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 sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?" They were happy.

We also learn from Scripture that angels have incredible power and ability, far beyond the powers and ability that human beings have. Psalm 103:20 NASB "Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!" Angels are associated in Scripture with meteorology, with the wind, with earthquakes, with a number of different physical phenomena that are far beyond the ability of human beings. The caused men to become blind in Genesis 19:10. They shut the mouths of the lions in Daniel chapter six. They caused Zecharias the soon-to-be father of John the Baptist to be unable to speak until the birth of John the Baptist. They caused the chains to fall off the apostles in Acts chapter five and the prison doors to open without using physical force. They caused Herod Agrippa I to die when he claimed to be God in Acts 12, and in the book of Revelation they will inflict numerous punishments upon mankind.

Angels are numerous, the Scripture says: Revelation 5:11. Daniel 7:9 NASB "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took {His} seat; His vesture {was} like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne {was} ablaze with flames, Its wheels {were} a burning fire. [10] A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened."

The next question is when were angels created? This is a crucial question to understand. Job 38:4-7 gives us an understanding of this. What that tells us is that when God initially laid the foundation of the earth, i.e. the starting point, the initial part of the building process, at the very beginning when it says in Genesis 1 that God created the heavens and the earth, at that starting point all of the angels shouted for joy. So this tells us that when God initially created the universe He created all of the sons of God, the angels, without division (there was no fall yet among the angels), shouted for joy. They were in unison. Then when we come to Genesis 1:2 we find that there is darkness on the face of the deep. The earth is in a state of chaos—tohu waw bohu—and that initial state of creation is now marred as a result of angelic rebellion. Then God begins to restore the earth. The best explanation is that Satan fell long before man did and there is the implication in Scripture that human history has something to do with this angelic fall, and we derive that from a lot of different things in the Scripture. Part of it is that when God finally resolves the issues of sin in human history He resolves the issue of evil in the angelic realm at the same time. It all comes together and it all resolves in the period of the Tribulation.

Illustrations