Monday, September 9, 2013

Practical tips for beginning a study of the angelic realm

Psalm 148:5 Praise the LordPraise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light! Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens!Let them praise the name of the LordFor He commanded and they were created.

Yesterday we began considering the subject of the angelic realm.  Whenever we study this important subject, we divide it into three main branches: angelology, satanology and demonology.  Baptist Theologian Augustus Strong gives this insightful comment: "The doctrine of angels affords a barrier against the false conception of this world as including the whole spiritual universe.  Earth is only part of a larger organism.  As Christianity has united Jew and Gentile, so hereafter will it blend our own and other orders of creation."1 In yesterday's post we noted five reasons why it is important to study the Biblical doctrine of the angelic realm:

1. Massiveness of the subject in scripture
2. Major scale of spiritual warfare
3. Maintain a proper perspective on the subject
4. Mandate of scripture says its practical
5. Majesty of God

In today's post I want to offer some thoughts on beginning a study of the angelic realm in the Bible.  Where exactly does one begin? What are some major thoughts to consider when studying angels, Satan and demons?

1. Angels are created beings.
The first premise to consider is the fact that angels are created beings.  Psalm 148:5 notes that the angels were created by the command of God, just like the visible universe, stars, planets, life and humanity.(compare Colossians1:16-20).  From what we can discern from passages such as Job 38, the angels may had been created on either days 2 or 3 in the creative week.  According to Psalm 104:4, the nature of angels (or manner of their physical make up, their manner of expressing their existence) is that they are made of fire.  

2. There are Good and Bad Angels
Why is it that I mention the order of angelology, Satanology and demonology? Because when God originally created the angelic realm, they were all good. The angels were all created good, followed by the cosmic rebellion of Lucifer with the leading astray of the fallen angels.  Lucifer, who was originally the choir director of these angels, rebelled and fell and became Satan, the adversary. (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28) Then Revelation 12:4 tells us that Satan led 1/3 of the angelic host in rebellion against God and thus those angels who fell became the demonic realm. Some of those fallen angels are chained and some roam freely between here and the heavenly realms. (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Ephesians 6:10-11) Thankfully there are 2/3 of the heavenly angels faithfully serving God and His people. (1 Timothy 5:21; Hebrews 1:14)

3. The angelic realm has differing ranks or positions within each group
Whether good angels or demonic fallen angels, both sets have an internal command structure.  Among the good angels, Michael is deemed the head angel or archangel. (Jude 9) Other types of angels exist among the good angels, such as Seraphim (Isaiah 6); Cherubim (Ezekiel 1,10) and messenger angels such as Gabriel (Luke 1:26). On the demonic or fallen angel side we have of course Satan, the lead fallen angel along with his retinue of demonic angels. (Revelation 12:7)  Passages such as 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 and Ephesians 6:10-11 give insight into the various ranks and positions occupied by the fallen angelic realm.  More could be said but for now, this gives you a starting to place to begin on this particular aspect of angelology, Satanology and demonology.

4. The angelic realm is composed of powerful beings
Angels are dramatically powerful beings.  For example, one particular angel in 1 Chronicles 21:14 was instrumentally used by God to wipe out 70,000 men in judgment.  In 2 Kings 19:35 God answered the prayer of Godly King Hezekiah by having one angel destroy 185,000 of the mighty men of Sennacherib's Assyrian forces.  Then in Revelation 9:13-21 we see 4 angels unleashed to kill 1/3 of humanity in the judgment that will occur in the future great tribulation.  

5. Some purposes of the angels
The good angels are used by God to minister to Christians (Hebrews 1:14); to children (Matthew 18) and to worship the Lord (Isaiah 6; Revelation 4)

1. Augustus Hopkins Strong.  Systematic Theology. Volume 1.

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