GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
ANGELS MINISTER TO BELIEVERS
By Keith L. Estes
Angels are termed "ministering spirits" in Hebrews 1:14. The Greek term for ministering "(leitourgika) does not convey the idea of slavery, but of official functioning. They have been duly commissioned and sent forth with the responsibility of aiding believers." The following six points demonstrate their ministry.
1. Physical protection. David experienced physical protection by the angel when he was forced to flee to the Philistines (Ps. 34:7). Angels may frustrate the plans of the enemies of God's people (Ps. 35:4-5). Angels protect from physical harm those that seek refuge in the Lord (Ps. 91: 11-13). They released the apostles from prison (Acts 5:19) and Peter from prison (Acts 12:7-11). They will protect the 144,000 in the Tribulation (Rev: 7:1-14).
2. Physical provision. An angel brought physical nourishment for Elijah when he was weakened from a lengthy journey (1 Kings 19: 5-7).
3. Encouragement. During the storm at sea an angel encouraged Paul, reminding him he would arrive safely at Rome to bear witness for Christ (Acts 27: 23-25).
4. Direction. An angel directed Philip to witness to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26); an angel arranged the meeting of Cornelius and Peter that brought the Gentiles into acceptance in the believing community (Acts 10:3,22).
5. Angels assist in answers to prayer. There seems to be a relationship between the prayer for Peter's release from prison and the angel's releasing him (Acts 12:1-11). Similarly, Daniel's prayer was explained by the angel (Dan. 9:20-27; 10:10-12:13).
6. Angels carry believers home. Luke 16:22 describes the death of Lazarus and the angels carrying him to Abraham's bosom. This may be the way God causes all His dying saints to be "absent from the body... at home with the Lord."
Angelís relationship to unbelievers. Angels have been and will be involved in meting out judgment on unbelievers. Angels announced the coming destruction of Sodom because of those people's sin (Gen. 12-13) prior to the climactic bowl (vial) judgments angels will announce the destruction of the world powers along with those that worshiped the beast (Rev. 14:4, 7, 8-9, 15:17-18).
Angels are seen judging the people of Jerusalem for their idolatry (Ezek. 9:1-11).
An Angel struck Herod Agrippa 1 for his blasphemy so that he died (Acts 12:23).
Angels will also be instrumental in judgment at the end of the world when they cast unbelievers into the furnace of fire (Matt. 13:39-42).
Angels will sound the trumpet judgments during the Tribulation (Rev. 8:2-12; 9:1, 13; 11:15);
Angels will pour out the bowl (vial) judgments upon the earth (Rev. 16: 2_17).
The scripture teaches that angels may appear in dazzling white and blazing glory (Matt. 28:2-4) or as occasion may demand they may appear so like men that they appear as men. How else could some "entertain angels unawares" (Heb. 13:2)?
Ref. Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns- Used by permission.
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