Friday, January 31, 2020

Bird's-eye view of the Bible - the theme of creation

Image result for god created the heavens


       Today’s post will continue our bird’s eye view of the Bible by considering the theme of "creation". In our last post, we noted a number of themes we can string together to walk our way through the Bible. To remind readers of what our "bird's-eye view" of the Bible approach is all about, consider the overview picture that I included in the last post below:
As reader's will observe, the theme of "creation" is the first theme we encounter whenever doing any survey of the Bible. As we explore the theme of creation, other important ideas are revealed by God that aid in seeing the underlying unity of all scripture. I'll point out some key headings which should pull everything together under this first theme of "creation". 

1. In order to consider creation, we 
    must first realize there is the 

Image result for general revelation
     Sometimes skeptics will challenge the Christian with this question: “who made God?” The shortest way to answer this is by pointing out that God had no beginning. Christian thinker Norman Geisler expresses a fuller answer in the following way: 

“He was not made. He has always existed. Anything that had a beginning - like the world - needs a maker. God had no beginning, so God did not need to be made.”    
     The proper way to consider the creation is to begin with the Creator Himself. Genesis 1:1 tells us: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” We can draw conclusions about God by observing all the different effects we see in the world, as well as conclusions drawn from logic, the sciences and history. God has also disclosed truth about Himself in the Bible and through the revelation of Himself in Jesus of Nazareth. 
Image result for special revelation
     Properly speaking, whatever we conclude about God by way of effects, logic, the sciences and history is a project called "natural theology", made possible by God's general revelation of Himself through those media. As to the specific revelation of God we glean from scripture and the life of Jesus, we call such a project "Biblical theology" and find it is made possible by God's specific revelation of Himself through those avenues. As we pull together what we grasp about God through such resources, here is what we learn about our Creator... 

A. We understand that God is infinite in His attributes. 

     That is, God is all-powerful, everywhere present, all-knowing and exercises His will and wisdom in upholding all that he is made (Jeremiah 10:12; 51:5; Romans 11:36). 

B. God is eternal, that is, He operates outside the confines of time - and thus space. 

     The Bible reveals that God has always existed and no one made Him (Isaiah 44:6). 

C. God is One God, who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

    What else is there to note about our Creator? God is Perfect. When we say, “God is perfect”, we mean He cannot get any better, or worse, get stronger, nor get weaker, be added unto nor can anything subtract from Him. God was never alone. The Bible reveals that God has always existed and no one made Him (Isaiah 44:6; 1 Timothy 1:17). 

D. Creation communicates to us that God alone is uncreated, and everything else is created. 

    Such thoughts about God all serve to remind us of the meaning behind those first three words of Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God". Therefore, to begin considering this first theme of "creation", we need to first know somethings about the Creator. 

2. God created and made all things.

      As we noted, whenever we begin to study the Bible, we come across this first theme of  “creation”. What is the difference between “creating” and “making” something? To create something means to bring into existence out of nothing. Whenever someone makes anything, they construct an object out of previously existing material. 

      Let's suppose I gave you this assignment: create whatever comes to your mind out of "nothing". Could you do it? No. If I gave you a piece of paper or any materials, you could perhaps “make something”. Only God can create something out of nothing, give life to that which was dead and provide eternal salvation. We see God first creating the heavens, the earth and the necessary environments for all living creatures. God calls forth all life to live on the earth, in the oceans and in the sky. Human beings have the unique quality of literally having been “hand-made” by God as a special-act of His creative work.

3. God relates to all He has created and made by way of covenants.
Image result for shaking hands
     In addition to knowing what kind of Creator God is, as well as discerning between what it means to "create" and "make", we thirdly note that God is a highly relational God. God relates within Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
      Since God is relational by nature, it would make sense that He would provide a way to relate to His creation. How could an infinite God relate to our world and us? The Bible reveals that God interacts with everything He has made by way of “covenant”. A covenant is whenever anyone makes a pledge or "binding promise" to fulfill a promise to someone or something. As we will see in our “birds-eye” overview of the Bible, covenants are everywhere. We can note three covenants God established once He had completed the creation – with the second one being our primary focus in this study. 

A. The first of these covenants is called: “the covenant of creation”. 

     Whenever God chose to create our universe, and all that is in it, He as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit made a pledge to preserve it. God’s act of continuing to hold-together all He has made God is at the heart of this first covenant. In other words: God is a God that finishes what He begins. Jeremiah 33:20 mentions this first covenant:

“Thus says the Lord, ‘If you can break My covenant for the day and My covenant for the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time." 

      Other places in the Bible tell us that God keeps His promise to hold together all He is made by "the word of His power" (Jeremiah 10:12; 51:5; Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2). 

B. The second covenant (which is our focus in this study) is what Bible teachers call: “the covenant of works”. 

     God made this “covenant of works” with Adam and his wife. When God made Adam and then his wife, God placed them in the garden of Eden to relate to Him, and He with them (Genesis 2:15-25; Hosea 6:7). Furthermore, they had “work” to do in Eden, as well as obey the instructions God gave them. God gave the newly married couple everything they needed to fulfill the covenant he gave them (Genesis 2). If they met God's conditions, they would enjoy an eternity with him, ruling the earth and populating the world with other people just like them. 

C. The third covenant is that of marriage. 

      God had made a covenant with the man and his wife in the covenant of works, however, He also designed the covenant of marriage to be between Adam, the woman and God (Genesis 2:23-25). The covenant of marriage establishes the cornerstone for the family. God designed marriage as a life-long relationship between one man, one woman in relationship with Himself (Matthew 19:1-7). Jesus and the Apostles emphasized that marriage was meant to picture how God relates to His people in general and the Gospel in particular (Matthew 19:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-33). 

4. God desired the man and woman 
     He made to respond in faith and 
     obedience in their time of 

God already began to relate to all He created and made by way of covenant. However, He had made Adam and his wife to have a relationship with Him. As you explore the history recorded in the Bible, you find God prompting people to respond to Him in faith, followed by obedience. Each period may look different, but this desire of God for us is the same throughout any given period-of-time. God originally made Adam and his wife without sin. If they trusted Him and obeyed what He commanded in the covenant of works, their innocence would had remained. We could refer to this timeframe recorded in Genesis 1:1-3:6 as the “time of innocence”. 

5. Everything originally created            was good, without sin and death.

       Finally, as we get ready to move on from this theme of creation, we can review what we have already discovered. We saw the three above covenants (creation, works and marriage) describing God’s relationship with His creation. We also saw that everything was in a state of “innocence” or “sinlessness”. What else we can note about this theme of "creation"? 

      In addition to Genesis 1-2, there are roughly 60 passages in the Bible that testify to God's creative work. We understand that there was no sin when God created the heavens and the earth. How do we know there was no sin? In Genesis 1, God declares on seven occasions that all He created was, “good”. The goodness of creation refers to its completeness and perfection. Genesis 1, when read in a straight-forward way, communicates God’s creative work as occurring in six, 24-hour periods. The goodness of the creation suggests that there was no sin, no death and no decay at the beginning. In the next theme, we will discover what went wrong after God completed His creation.

Closing thoughts:

We considered today the theme of "creation" in our "bird's-eye view of the Bible" approach to surveying the Bible. In all, we pointed out five key ideas as we unpacked this theme:

1. In order to consider creation, we 
    must first realize there is the 

2. God created and made all things.

3. God relates to all He has created            and made by way of covenants.

4. God desired the man and woman 
     He made to respond in faith and 
     obedience in their time of 

5. Everything originally created                was good, without sin and death.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Introducing a bird's-eye view of the Bible


In our last post we asked the question: "what is the Bible all about?" We could say that today's post is beginning to consider: "how does one go about studying the Bible?" What I will lay out below is an approach to Bible study that takes into consideration major Biblical themes. I call this approach a "bird's-eye view of the Bible". 

God's progressive revelation of Himself through the Bible
Image result for Springtime trees
      Journeying through the big collection of books that we find in the Bible exposes us to God’s process of revelation. Have you ever noticed how flowers or trees will slowly bud and show their colors in the Spring? The processes of Spring-time gradually unfold over a period of days and weeks. God did not reveal all that He had to say about Himself all at once. Instead, God delivered His truth to various people by relating to them by way of “covenants” (covenant means “a binding promises”) (Hebrews 1:1-2). God also desired and still desires people to respond to Him. 

Considering major themes of the Bible

Image result for running a home
      As we explore the great themes of the Bible, we will see that God used different “ages” of history to prompt human beings to respond to Him in faith.  Some Bible teachers have pointed out how God runs His world like we do a house. There are "rules of the house" that govern relationships, how the house is maintained and settings that enable the formation of relationships. Such an organized system of running our world is God's providential exercise of His will through what we call an "economy" or "dispensational arrangement". Although mankind would rather ignore God, God is ever making Himself generally known by way of creation and the conscience and specifically revealed through Christ and the scriptures. God is by nature a relational God. If we keep in mind that God relates to us by “binding promises” (covenants) and uses different periods of time or "dispensational arrangements" to prompt us to respond in faith, we will have a clearer idea of the God of the Bible.

Image result for big bibles
      For anyone who has never read through the Bible or explored it from cover-to-cover, the size of the Bible can overwhelm first-time readers. On average, the English text of the Old and New Testaments contain over 774,000 words throughout the 66 books. In all, the 66 books comprising our Bibles contain 1189 chapters and would require over 72 hours to read in one sitting.  To more realistically approach an overview of the Bible, we are opting for tracing it's message by way of themes. To keep things as simple as possible, we will look at ten themes in the Old Testament and ten in the New Testament. The themes I'm thinking of are listed below:

Major Old Testament themes:

1. Creation
2. Catastrophe
3. Patriarchs
4. Moses
5. Victory
6. Judges
7. God’s Kingdom
8. Divided kingdoms
9. Exile
10. Hope

Major New Testament themes:

1. Incarnation
2. Humiliation
3. Gospel
4. Exaltation
5. Pentecost
6. Missions
7. Christian
8. New Covenant
9. Second coming
10. Eternity

The anchoring theme of the Bible is the cross and resurrection of Jesus

Image result for continental divide colorado
    As I’ll explain more below, the cross of Jesus will function as the “anchoring theme” of any study of the Bible.  The central anchor to all the themes will be the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. If we were to view the central theme of scripture as centered about "the cross and resurrection of Jesus", anything prior to the crucifixion would have the label: "pre-cross". Anything that would follow would have the label: "post-cross".
      We can think of this central theme like the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains of the United States. Geologists call this feature by another name, "The Great Divide", due to how much it influences the flow of water on the continent to either the Pacific Ocean or towards the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. The Lord Jesus Christ and His accomplished work is that "Great Divide" of our Old and New Testament scriptures. 

        When Jesus arrived, He fulfilled over 100 scriptures in the Old Testament. The whole point of the Gospels, Acts, New Testament letters and the book of Revelation is to unpack the Lord Jesus Christ, His finished work on the cross, His resurrection and what He is doing currently in Heaven. This is the reason why "the cross" is considered the "theme-of-themes" in this "bird's-eye overview of the Bible". 

Closing thoughts:

     Today's post aimed to lay out a method of studying the Bible by way of themes. The goal of such a study would be to embrace the entirety of scripture across all its major themes as revealed in the 66 books. We saw that Jesus' cross and resurrection is the central, anchoring theme, hooking together ten Old Testament themes and ten New Testament themes we identified today. In short: 

1. The cross represents the central 
    character of the Bible - Jesus Christ.

2. The message of the Bible is about 
    God's plan of salvation. 

3. The goal of Biblical revelation is to 
    reveal the glory of God.

In the next post, we will consider that first major theme of our "bird's-eye view of the Bible": "Creation".   

Saturday, January 18, 2020

What is the Bible all about?

Image result for bible

2 Timothy 3:15-17 "and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."


    In nearly thirty years of preaching ministry, I've had a burden to draw people's attention to the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ. What follows is an attempt to get people re-engaged with the greatest book ever written - and I may add, the only one which has demonstrated its claims as God's Divine revelation - the Bible. In April 2019, Barna Research Group released a poll entitled: "State of the Bible 2019 - trends in engagement". Readers can access this eye-opening poll by clicking here:

     The poll suggests that although there is a slight increase in surface-level engagement with the Bible, the overall trend is drifting toward further disuse. The Bible, God's Word, is the chief instrument through which sinners are brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17). Furthermore, the Bible is the chief instrument for Christian growth and the church empowerment (see Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). 
What is the Bible about?

     What is the Bible? This question is important to answer so that we can understand what the Bible is about. We can give four answers to this all-important question.

First, the Bible is the foundation of faith and life. 

     The Bible is not just a book, it is the "Book of books". Why? The Bible, by its very title, means: "The Book". The 19th century Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon produced a systematic question and answer book to take his congregants through major doctrines of scripture and systematic theology entitled: "A Puritan Catechism", which readers can access here: Spurgeon had observed in his day the rapid decline of Biblical Christianity.  He wanted to ensure that the tremendous Christian heritage he had inherited would not go extinct. The opening questions Spurgeon raises demonstrate this first point of why the Bible is fundamental to faith and life. Spurgeon notes:

Q1: What is the chief end of man?

A1: Man's chief end is to glorify God, ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 ) and to enjoy him for ever. ( Psalms 73:25 Psalms 73:26 )

Q2: What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify him?

A2: The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments ( Ephesians 2:20 ; 2 Timothy 3:16 ) is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy him. ( 1 John 1:3 )

Q3: What do the Scriptures principally teach?

A3: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man. ( 2 Timothy 1:13 ; Ecclesiastes 12:13 )

Secondly, the Bible is God’s final revelation of Himself to mankind. 
Image result for gifts unwrapped
     Whenever you open birthday presents, you are ripping off wrapping paper to uncover the hidden gift inside the box. Revelation is when God takes away the “wrapping paper” of His hidden purposes to uncover to us His plan for our lives (see 2 Peter 1:20-21). The only book in the world that can rightly claim itself as God’s written revelation is the Bible. In as much as we've noted the fundamental place of the Bible as occupying final authority for faith and practice of daily living, we must point out that it only has this function due to God's revelation of Himself through its words. So what else is the Bible about? 

The third thing about the Bible is that it has full authority. 
Related image
      In addition to the Bible occupying a fundamental role in faith and life, as well as uniquely functioning as God's final revelation, we can understand why these first two thoughts lead us to see the full authority of the Bible. God revealed each book of the Bible by words through a process called: “inspiration” – which means “God’s out-breathing” (see 2 Timothy 3:16). The authority it carries as God's inspired collection of totally accurate, true and faithful words (and thus books) makes it unique. 

      The Bible contains 66 individual books, written by 40 authors, over 1500 years, on three continents, in three original languages. The Bible is God’s truth, no matter what place, time or language. Let's note one more important answer to our overall question: "what is the Bible about?". 
As a final thought on what the Bible is about, we can note....

The Bible’s focus – God revealed in Jesus Christ, to make know salvation and to point to God's glory.  
Image result for focus
      We could say that the Bible is: “the book of books, revealing the King of Kings”.  As the Bible focuses our attention on the Lord Jesus Christ, a focused message and goal emerges from its pages. The central message of the Bible is the Gospel. The Gospel is "good news" due to its life-changing contents. First, there is the Savior and Lord who is God and man - the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived, died, was buried and raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-6). Secondly, salvation is rooted in God's grace (that is, salvation unearned by good behavior, granted as a result of God's willing bestowal to redeem the sinner that He calls through the Gospel). Thirdly, salvation is received by a responsive trust in Jesus Christ as prompted by grace (otherwise known as, "faith, see Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is the Bible's central message, however, the overall goal of the the Bible is to make known God’s glory (God’s glory is when we can see all His goodness by what He reveals about Himself). These ideas tell us what the Bible “is all about”. 

Closing thoughts:

      Today's post aimed to introduce readers to answers to the big question: "what is the Bible all about?". We gave four responses:

1. The Bible is the foundation of faith 
    and life.

2. The Bible is God's final revelation of      Himself to mankind.

3. The Bible, as God's revelation, has 
    final authority.

4. The Bible’s focus – God revealed in        Jesus Christ, to make known          
    salvation and to point to His glory.  

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The good and bad angelic realms - a summary

Image result for Angels

The Psalmist notes in Psalm 148:1-5

“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! 2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! 3 Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light! 4 Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens! 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.” 

The late Baptist theologian Augustus Hopkins Strong notes about the importance of studying angels: 

“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."

Whenever anyone explores the various creatures in the Bible’s presentation of the supernatural realm such a study is called: “angelology”. Broadly speaking, the "good guys" in angelology represent varying orders of spiritual creatures, ranging from the highest level called, "the Divine Council (see Psalm 82, "sons of God") to that of a middle tier of beings known as, "Cherubim", "Seraphim" and "the watchers", to the third tier of every other spiritual being known simply as: "angels". This assortment of "good" spiritual beings populate God's invisible kingdom. 

       On the bad-side we have two other subheadings known as: “Satanology”, or the examination of Satan (his being, rebellion and work) and “demonology” (that is, the various ranks of spiritual beings). Satan and all the various sort of malevolent spiritual beings  populate the parasitic "kingdom of darkness". Below we have a chart that depicts the Biblical supernatural realm. Notice that in the diagram, angels occupy the third or lowest tier of the spiritual creatures in God’s invisible kingdom. 
     In what remains, I want to offer a brief account of the angels as they are portrayed in the Bible. I hope this summary edifies and equips readers with a better working understanding of the Biblical doctrine of angels (known, as noted above, by the term: "angeology").

1. Angels are created beings.

       We can note first, that like the other spiritual beings in the Biblical supernatural realm, 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. Hebrews 1:7, quoting Psalm 104:4, states: “And of the angels He says,

“Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” From what we can discern from Job 38:1-7, the entire supernatural realm was created by God on either days 2 or 3 in the creative week. 

2. There are Good and Bad Angels

     When God originally created the angelic realm, they were all good. The creation of the supernatural realm was followed by the cosmic rebellion of Lucifer, which in turn influenced other spiritual beings to become the fallen angels (Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:13-19; Revelation 12:4). Some of those fallen angels are chained and some roam freely between here and the heavenly realms (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; 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. Angels are powerful beings

     Angels are dramatically powerful beings.  In 2 Kings 19:35 we read: “Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead.”  Revelation 9:13-21 records a future time when God will release four angels to kill 1/3 of humanity in the judgment of The Great Tribulation.

4. Good Angels aid God’s people

     Is it scriptural to say that angels are deployed by God to aid Christians in their walk of faith? Absolutely! Consider Psalm 91:11 "For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways." Old Testament saints had angels assist them (Genesis 18; Psalm 37:4; Daniel 10:11). We see angelic aid of Jesus and other believers in the New Testament (Matthew 4:11; Matthew 26:53; Luke 22:43; Acts 12:6-8; Acts 27:23-24). Without a doubt, Christians today can still experience angelic assistance when they least expect it (Hebrews 1:14; 13:2). 

     Scripture reveals how angels can protect believers (2 Kings 6; Psalm 34:7; 91:11 Hebrews 1:14); help in grasping God’s truth (Psalm 68:7; Matthew 28:5-7; Acts 1:9-11; Luke 2:14) and point to Christ’s deity (Psalm 68:17; Daniel 7:10-13; Matthew 28). The Book of Revelation illustrates how angels aid believers. It contains roughly 25% of the 300 times we find mention of the good angels in the Bible. Often, the Book of Revelation describes angels announcing something or explaining to John the meaning of the various visions. 

Final thought of application:

    Today's post was intended to offer a brief treatment of the subject of angels. We noted the following:

1. Angels are created beings.
2. There are good and bad angels.
3. Angels are powerful beings.
4. Good angels aid God's people.

     The eighteenth-century preacher John Wesley once wrote the following about angels: 

"They may assist us in our search after truth, remove many doubts and difficulties, throw light on what was before dark and obscure, and confirm us in the truth that is after godliness. They may warn us of evil in disguise; and place what is good, in a clear, strong light. They may gently move our will to embrace what is good, and fly from that which is evil. They may, many times, quicken our dull affections, increase our holy hope or filial fear, and assist us more ardently to love Him who has first loved us."

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The heavenly spiritual beings that point us to God

Image result for stained glass windows
Isaiah 6:1-3 "In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Ezekiel 10:20-21 "These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; so I knew that they were cherubim. 21 Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and beneath their wings was the form of human hands."


The late theologian J. Hampton Keathley, III wrote an article on the purpose of studying the supernatural beings we find in the Bible (the article is found online at: In that article we read:

“The fact that God has created a realm of personal beings other than mankind is a fitting topic for systematic theological studies for it naturally broadens our understanding of God, of what He is doing, and how He works in the universe.”

      Today we want to dive further into identifying what the Bible teaches about various orders of spiritual beings that populate the supernatural realm of Heaven, God’s throne room and which affect activities here on earth.

1. Cherubim. 

      We find Cherubim roughly sixty places in 13 books of the Bible. As noted in our last session, we could liken Cherubim as a sort of “secret service” to God. A brief summary of what the Cherubim do follows below.

a. Cherubim first appear in Genesis 3:24“So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” Cherubim as an order of spiritual beings defend the honor of God. Consequently, their presence, more-often-than-not, signified God’s holiness in judgment. 

b. The revelation of Cherubim extends into God’s design of the first Jewish worship center – the Tabernacle. Moses writes in Exodus 25:18, “You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat.” Almost ten other passages in Exodus speak of Cherubim occurring in the metal work and fabric embroidery of the tabernacle’s design. God was communicating through the design of the tabernacle that He wanted to meet with His people, and they with Him (see Exodus 25:22).  

c. By the days of King David, Cherubim were closely identified with the throne of God – a short-handed way of describing God’s Divine presence and authority. In 2 Samuel 6:2 we read: “And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim.” 

d. The prophet Ezekiel affords us the most detail description of Cherubim in Ezekiel 10:20-21, “These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; so I knew that they were cherubim. 21 Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and beneath their wings was the form of human hands.” As a final thought about Cherubim, we find them mentioned in the descriptions of the ark of the covenant in Hebrews 9:5 and the heavenly worship scene of Revelation 4-5. 

2. Seraphim. 

     Theologian Lewis Sperry Chafer describes the Seraphim from his series on “Angelogy” (that is, “the study of angels”): “The Seraphim title speaks of unceasing worship, their ministry of purification, and their humility.” These spiritual beings are defined by the Hebrew noun “seraph”, which literally means, “burning one”. Isaiah 6:2-3 is the key Bible passage that mentions these specific creatures: “Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” The only other passage that we may find Seraphim (some would classify them as similar to the “Cherubim”, opinions vary) is in Revelation 4:8.  Seraphim function like stained-glass windows in a mighty cathedral – pointing our attention to the source of their existence – God Himself!

3. Archangels. 

     There is only one archangel mentioned in the Biblical text, namely, “Michael” (see Daniel 10,12; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7). Michael’s power and abilities exceed that of regular angels. In Revelation 12:7-9a we get an idea of Michael’s power: “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down….”. 

4. Watchers.

For the sake of completeness, the Book of Daniel mentions what are called: “The Watchers”. We only find these beings in three verses of the entire Bible (Daniel 4:13,17,23).  The execution of God’s decree came through what Daniel 4:17 describes as: “the decree of the watchers” -  “This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers and the decision is a command of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men.” These “watchers” are perhaps among the most mysterious and least known of all the spiritual beings we encounter in the Bible. Most English translations will either translate the underlying Aramaic term as “watchers” or insert the term “angelic” alongside “watchers”. I won’t go into all the details of the wider background of Daniel that we can use as clues to their identity – only to say that “the watchers” are associated somehow with God’s throne and the announcing of his decrees. 

Closing thoughts:

We’ve considered four different classifications of spiritual beings that occupy various rankings in the Bible's portrayal of the supernatural realm. Time nor space does not permit comment on the remaining beings that the Bible collectively refers to as: "angels". The angels are another order of spiritual beings that, like their higher-order spiritual counterparts, function to point us to God. I will close with the following note of application from theologian Wayne Grudem: 

“As angels find it their highest joy to praise God continuously, should we not also delight each day to sing God’s praise, counting this as the highest and most worthy use of our time and our greatest joy?”