Angel Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Angels in Scripture</span></strong></p><ul><li><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Genesis%201%3A26">Genesis 1:26</a>, in our image</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy-sm"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Job%2038%3A4-7">Job 38:4-7</a>, heavenly beings shout for joy</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy-sm"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Psalm%C2%A0%2029%3A1-2">Psalm&nbsp; 29:1-2</a>, &quot;Ascribe to the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>, O heavenly beings. . .&quot;</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Psalm%2091%3A11-12">Psalm 91:11-12</a>, God commands his angels to guard you</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Psalm%20103%3A21">Psalm 103:21</a>, the Lord&#39;s ministers do his will</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Isaiah%206%3A2-3">Isaiah 6:2-3</a>, seraphs in attendance about the Lord</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Matthew%204%3A11">Matthew 4:11</a>, &quot;then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Matthew%2028%3A2">Matthew 28:2</a>, an angel of the&nbsp;Lord rolled the stone of the tomb back and sat on it</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Luke%202%3A10-14">Luke 2:10-14</a>, angels bring good news of great joy</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Luke%2015%3A10">Luke 15:10</a>, there is joy in the &quot;presence of angels of God over one sinner who repents&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Ephesians%206%3A12">Ephesians 6:12</a>, struggle against the spiritual forces</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Colossians%201%3A15-16">Colossians 1:15-16</a>, image of the invisible God</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Hebrews%201%3A14">Hebrews 1:14</a>, spirits in the divine service</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/2%20Peter%202%3A4">2 Peter 2:4</a>, God didn&#39;t spare angels when they sinned</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Revelation%205%3A8-12">Revelation 5:8-12</a>, angels around the throne</span></li></ul><p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Reflections about Angels</span></strong></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">Historical</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Except for a flutter of their wings in Advent and on Easter Sunday, angels disappear from much of Christian worship for the rest of the year. This may be owed, at least in part, to liberal Christianity of the 19[th] and 20[th] centuries which, while not quite denying the existence of angels, didn&#39;t want to talk about them either. The great Swiss theologian Karl Barth cites example after example of liberal European theologians who had no room in their theology for angels. Then Barth writes: &quot;These modern theologians are not prepared to take angels seriously. It does not give them the slightest joy to think of them. . . . And if we are told in Hebrews 13:2 not to neglect hospitality, since some have entertained angels unawares, these theologians are almost anxiously concerned to refuse angels a lodging in their dogmatics . . .&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(Barth, <em>Church Dogmatics,</em> T. &amp; T. Clark, 1960, III/3, p. 415.)</span></span></span></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">Hollywood</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Just the opposite happened in Hollywood. Seemingly every Christmas season, there are reruns of Frank Capra&#39;s 1946 film It&#39;s a Wonderful Life, in which an angel named Clarence Odbody saves the life of a suicidal businessman played by Jimmy Stewart. The film is regularly ranked among the top 100 films ever made in America. In 1971, William Peter Blatty published The Exorcist, a book that reintroduced demons into North American culture and triggered a series of four films. In 1977, the film Star Wars offered a kindly Alec Guinness giving the benediction &quot;The Force be with you,&quot; and spines that had not known the contour of a church pew for years began to tingle. In the same year, the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind featured angels from outer space, moving and beckoning in an atmosphere of music, light, and wonder. But Hollywood was not done. Since the 1970s there have been a number of films and TV series that present angels, including the popular series &quot;Touched by an Angel&quot; (1994-2003), prompting people to note that when religion dropped wonder, Hollywood picked it up.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">All things in heaven; the invisible things Scripture treats angels as creatures: they are part of &quot;all things in heaven&quot; that Colossians 1 describes, in this case &quot;the invisible things.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;Angels are spirits, but they can appear to humans, as at Jesus&#39; resurrection, and speak to them. They are numinous spirits, evoking human dread to such an extent that when angels show up in Scripture the first thing they commonly say is &quot;Do not be afraid.&quot;</span> </span></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">Heavenly council</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">If the &quot;us&quot; in Genesis 1:26 refers to the members of the &quot;heavenly council,&quot; as many scholars suggest, then angels were in on the creation of the world. In any case, in Job 38 God reveals that when the cornerstone of the earth was laid, &quot;the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy.&quot; Morning stars singing and angels shouting for joy &mdash; all the sounds, all the brilliant light, everything is full of jubilation.</span> </span></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">Bad angels</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">There are also bad angels to battle against in Ephesians 6, and an apparent revelation in 2 Peter 4 that they had once been good. Which brings to mind an old tale: Lucifer (Satan) is roaming outer space and runs into the archangel Michael, once his colleague in the old days of heaven. &quot;What do you miss most about heaven?&quot; Michael asks. With a great wistfulness, Lucifer says, &quot;I miss the sound of the trumpets in the morning.&quot; Revelation 5 adds singing and harp-playing to music in heaven. No doubt we are to think of music as part of blessing God or praising God that the psalmists love to call for.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Angels are highly active around Jesus&#39; birth and at his resurrection &mdash; surely times for singing and shouting for joy.</span> </span></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">The Screwtape Letters</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">In C. S. Lewis&#39; The Screwtape Letters, the &quot;patient&quot; whom Screwtape and Wormwood (uncle and nephew in the demonic realm) have been trying to corrupt nonetheless dies before they can succeed. He is ushered into heaven by angels: &quot;when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realized what part each one of them had played at many an hour of his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not `Who are you?&#39; but `So it was you all the time!&#39;&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(C. S. Lewis, <em>The Screwtape Letters in The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics</em> (Harper Collins, 2002), p. 188)</span></span></span></p>