Tim Burns Testimony
Angels are among us, but they are not what many think of. Many of you may know a lot of truths about angels and so today may only be review. Let’s test each other to find out where we are at. Anyone call out the answer to these questions.
- What do angels look like?
- Do we have guardian angels? Do angels play man to man or zone coverage?
- Do angels marry?
- Do angels have children?
- Are angels male or female?
- Are angels real?
Well, let’s get into this sermon and answer some of those questions and/or provide Biblical support for your answers.
My favorite preacher Charles R. Swindoll shares:
Many years ago one of my mentors told me a story I have never forgotten. A missionary was home on furlough, traveling by car from church to church. Late one rainy evening, facing a long and lonely all-night journey, he asked the Lord to help him stay awake and make it safely to the next place he would minister.
A few minutes later he came upon a man off to the side, thumbing a ride. Although he rarely picked up hitchhikers, he felt sorry for the man out in the rain and offered him a lift. As the two of them began to visit, the missionary was thrilled to discover that the stranger was a believer and that they also had many mutual friends engaged in the Lord’s work.
Time passed rapidly as the two of them laughed and shared stories. The fellowship was so rich that the missionary hated to see the early light of dawn and hear his new-found friend say, “Well, here’s where I get off.” Before saying good-bye, the missionary invited him to have a cup of coffee at a roadside cafe. As they parted, they promised to pray for each other.
The rain had stopped by now, and a bright sun-drenched sky warmed the missionary’s soul. Then, a couple of minutes down the road, he realized that he had failed to get the man’s address and phone number, so he quickly returned to the cafe. There was no sign of the man. When he asked the cook if he’d seen which way the other fella had gone, he was shocked to hear him respond, “What other fella? You came in here alone . . . I wondered why you ordered two cups of coffee.”
The missionary glanced at the table where the two had sat and noticed that the other cup was still full to the brim . . . and the coffee was cold.
As he returned to his car, another surprising realization came to his mind. He remembered that when he had picked up the hitchhiker in the rain the night before, the man had gotten in the car but he wasn’t wet!
Did this missionary find help from an angel?
My Theme today: Angels are among us.
My application: Don’t worship angels, but let everything point to the creator God who we worship.
- There is more than we can see.
- Let’s read 2 Kings 6:17-20: 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he brought them to Samaria. 20 When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
- I do not have time to give all the background to this passage, but I can share that Elisha’s servant was scared. He had a fear that Elisha and he were going to be captured by the Arameans. Yet, his eyes are opened and the truth is revealed. Further, the angels fight for them.
- Daniels 10:10-14: [an angels is talking with Daniel and he shares]Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.11 He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”
- In the passage we just read we find out more about angels. There appears to be some form of cosmic struggle between angels and demons. Daniel had prayed in the previous chapter, but his answer was slow in coming. In verse 12 the angel says that he heard the answer on the first day. But he was in a struggle with the prince of Persia and Michael one of the chief angels had to come and help him.
- Now, I do not plan to talk about demons and satan’s fall today except for this: In Revelation 12 we see satan fell with 1/3rd of the angels who are now demons. Still be encouraged. God still has 2/3rds of the angels and furthermore, even if He did not, God is still Lord. The devil and the demons are no threat.
- The meaning of the word angel: Angel. The Hebrew word malak simply means “messenger”; it may refer to a human messenger (1 Kings 19:2) or a divine messenger (Gen. 28:12). The basic meaning of the word is “one who is sent.” As a divine messenger an angel is a “heavenly being charged by God with some commission.”1 The word is found 103 times in the Old Testament. The Greek word angelos occurs 175 times in the New Testament; however, of men it is used only 6 times. The word angelos is similar to the Hebrew malak; it also means “messenger … who speaks and acts in the place of the one who has sent him.”
- Attributes of angels:
- There is so much to be said about angels, so let me skim the surface if I may.
- Angels are Spirit beings: Heb 1:14 is talking about angels: Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
- Angels do take the form of humans and we see this in Genesis 18:3.
- Something really important, angels do not have a gender. Mark 12:25: [Jesus speaking] For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
- They are warriors. We already read the passages where the angels do battle. You can read all throughout the book of Revelation and see the angels bringing about judgment. In certain cases when a person encounters an angel in the Bible the angels says, “Do not fear.” In Luke 2:9-10: And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people…
- There are myriads of angels (Heb 12:22; Rev. 5:11)
- They were created by the Lord (Col. 1:16).
- Colossians 1:16: For by Him all things were created, bothin the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
- We do not become angels when we die.
- Some of these Scriptures I will be referencing but you will have to look them up at home.
- They are higher than us for now, but we will judge the angels: Heb. 2:7 shows that we are lower than the angels but 1 Cor. 6:3 shows that we will judge the angels.
- They are incapable of death (Luke 20:36)
- Angels have greater wisdom than man (2 Sam. 14:20), yet it is limited (Matt. 24:36).
- Angels have greater power than man (Matt. 28:2; Acts 5:19; 2 Pet. 2:11), yet they are limited in power (Dan. 10:13)
- We are created in the image of God, not angels (Genesis 1-2).
- There are rankings within the angels: Angels who are highest ranking. Michael is called the archangel in Jude 9 and the great prince in Daniel 12:1. Michael is the only angel designated archangel, and may possibly be the only one of this rank.
- Gabriel is another angel mentioned (Dan. 9:21; Luke 1:26).
- Lucifer (Isa. 14:12) means “shining one” or “star of the morning.” He may have been the wisest and most beautiful of all God’s created beings who was originally placed in a position of authority over the cherubim surrounding the throne of God.10 Yet, he rebelled and we know him as the devil or satan. See also, Ezekiel 28:11-19)
- Cherubim are of the highest order or class, created with indescribable powers and beauty (Gen. 3:24).
- Seraphim, meaning “burning ones,” are pictured surrounding the throne of God in Isaiah 6:2. They are described as each having six wings. In their threefold proclamation, “holy, holy, holy” (Isa. 6:3).
The following gives a lot of detail but important detail. It comes from the Moody Bible Handbook by Paul Enns:
- Angels minister to God, to Christ, to believers (Heb. 1:14)
- The cherubim have a ministry to God in defending the holiness of God; Seraphim have a ministry to God in surrounding the throne of God as they attend to His holiness.
- Angels predicted His birth (Luke 1:26–38)
- Angels protected Him in infancy (Matt. 2:13). An angel warned Joseph of Herod’s intention and told Joseph to flee to Egypt until the death of Herod. An angel also instructed Joseph when it was safe to return to the land of Israel (Matt. 2:20).
- Angels ministered to Him after the temptation (Matt. 4:11)
- Angels strengthened Him at Gethsemane (Luke 22:43).
- Angels announced His resurrection (Matt. 28:5–7; Mark 16:6–7; Luke 24:4–7; John 20:12–13
- 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).
- There are many other places in Scripture where angels ministered such as: (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).
- Physical provision. An angel brought physical nourishment for Elijah when he was weakened from a lengthy journey (1 Kings 19:5–7).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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; cf. 10:10–12:13).
- 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.”
- Angels will also be instrumental in judgment at the end of the age 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 pour out the bowl judgments upon the earth (Rev. 16:2–17).
- Angels in Heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents, wow! We see this in Luke 15:10.
- Don’t worship angels, but let everything point to the creator God who we worship.
- We must only worship the Lord, He created the angels.
- Angels show the greatness of God’s love and plan for us.
- Angels remind us that the unseen world is real.
- Angels are examples for us. This is true in their obedience and worship.
- Angels carry out some of God’s plan.
- Angels directly glorify God.
- We must understand that God uses angels to carry out His purposes.
- As we study angels we must be amazed more by God.
- We must make sure that we have a correct understanding of angels.
- We must be aware of angels in our daily life (Heb. 13:2).
- We must be aware of false doctrine from angels (Gal. 1:8).
- We must understand that even satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
One last thing, do we have guardian angels? Acts 12 references this, but not in a way as a teaching. I do not think we do, but we may have myriads of angels around us. We may have more than one angel watching over us. In the end, the Christian is always with Jesus and Jesus is always with the Christian. We are safe.
I have another story from Charles R. Swindoll
Have you counted your blessings lately? Let me suggest one you might have overlooked. Let’s be thankful for angels—those unseen guardians who work overtime, who never slumber or sleep.
Angels exist as supernatural creatures in and about heaven, and they are frequently dispatched to earth in human form to bring encouragement and assistance. If you have ever encountered the sudden appearance and/or departure of an angel after receiving one’s help, you are never quite the same.
Several years ago some high school fellas from the church I pastored in Southern California went on a mountain-climbing excursion, along with their youth leader. While taking in the breathtaking sights, however, the leader realized he had lost the trail. A heavy snowfall had completely covered the path, and he didn’t have a clue where they were or how they could get back to the main camp. Sundown was not far away, and they were not equipped to spend the night on the craggy, windblown slopes where the temperature would soon drop even lower.
While trudging through the snow, entertaining thoughts just this side of panic, they suddenly heard someone on the slopes above them yell down: “Hey—the trail is up here!” They glanced up and to their relief saw another climber in the distance. Without hesitation, they began to make their way up to the large boulder where the man was sitting. The climb was exhausting, but their relief in finding the way gave their adrenaline a rush.
Finally, they arrived . . . but to their surprise the man who had yelled at them was nowhere to be found. Furthermore, there were no traces in the snow that anyone had been sitting on the boulder, nor were there footprints around the rock. The trail, however, stretched out before them, leading them to safety. The boys not only learned a valuable lesson about the wilderness but also firmed up their belief in encountering “angels without knowing it.”
God’s special messengers are often invisible but never impotent. As the psalmist has written: “He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone” (Ps. 91:11-12).
Can you think of occasions in your own life when you had what you would consider “a close call”? How about one of your kids or friends? Can you remember a time or two when, through some incredible manner, they were shielded from harm or delivered from danger?
Do you know Christ?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
1 Gerhard von Rad, “Mal’āk in the Old Testament,” in Gerhard Kittel, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 1:76–77.
10 J. Dwight Pentecost, Your Adversary the Devil (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969), p. 20.