The World Tomorrow

Angels - Part 5

by Herbert W Armstrong


And greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.

But there’s a little bit of good news today. We’ve been talking about angels, and I’ve mentioned, I’ve asked you, "Have you ever heard a message about angels; have you ever read an article about angels?" Let’s proceed along, then, with what we’ve been studying about angels.

Now we find that angels are spirit beings that normally are invisible. And yet they have often appeared, according to the Bible, they’ve appeared in some kind of a process that isn’t described; the process is not revealed. But when they appear what do they look like? They appear in human form and they look like men. And as a matter of fact, angels are called, 'men,' in the Bible, in a number of places, yet where it’s speaking of angels.

Now let’s go right through a lot of these scriptures. I hope you have a Bible. And if you do, open your Bible and turn to these things and see it with your own eyes. And if you don’t, at least jot down these passages, these texts that I will give you. And then study it yourself later.

Now I think you will find it quite interesting, because I think this is a subject that you know very little about. I’ve said, you know, so many times before, you ask a scientist whether there is any such thing as angels, and he probably will smile. He doesn’t know anything about angels. He never saw them in any of his instruments, one way or the other, because a scientist is a materialist; he’s a material scientist. And he knows only that which he can see, or hear, or feel, or smell, or taste, or something. He has only that knowledge which can be transmitted to the mind through the five senses.

Well you can’t see an angel; and you can’t hear one, or anything else, unless they are, as I say, at times manifested. It seems that they were manifested before certain of the prophets and certain people that God was dealing with way back in Old Testament times especially and, to some extent, even in New Testament times. But I don’t know of any examples in modern time where people have actually seen angels.

I have seen what they’ve done. I have actually had an experience or two, but no angel appeared; I didn’t see anything. It was just something that I couldn’t explain any other way. Now scientists give you their hypotheses and their various postulates of things they can’t explain any other way. They don’t always consider that ridiculous, now do they?

So as I say, we can only know what we find revealed in the Bible about angels. And either it’s true, or it’s not true; and if it isn’t, you have nothing to believe, at all. You’re ignorant.

But you can prove whether the Bible is the authentic revelation from God Almighty. Prophecy proves that. There are a number of proofs, but we haven’t time to go into that now. So I’m just going to show you what the Bible does say.

Angels Appear as Men (PLAY FROM 03:36)

Now here in the eighteenth chapter of Genesis – do you have your Bible? Turn to it – Genesis 18, the first two verses.

"And the [Eternal] appeared unto him [it’s speaking of Abraham here... the Eternal appeared unto him] in the plains of Mamre: and he sat at the door in the heat of the day: and he [Abraham] lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him." (Genesis 18:1-2)

Now God appeared unto Abraham in the form, or person, rather, of these three angels. Now I told you at the outset, when we began this study on angels several broadcasts back, that the word, 'malak,' for angels, means in English, 'messenger,' or 'agent.'

Angels are, as I have explained to you before, a part of the government of God. God created force and energy and all power, as well as matter. And God rules the universe. He sits at the controls in His high heaven. And He has forces and powers. He has His Spirit. But then He has spirit beings, too, that He has created – millions upon millions of angels who are messengers. They are His servants. They’re superhuman; they are spirit; they’re composed of spirit, not out of matter. They’re not visible to human eyes, unless revealed. But they are subordinate to God and they serve Him.

And here God wanted to appear to Abraham so, this time, He sent angels – three of His messengers, three of His agents.

So Abraham "lifted his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men [now they appeared in the form of men... three men] stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and [then he] said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant." (Genesis 18:2-3)

You see, Abraham regarded them as superior to himself. Man is made a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7). Angels are a higher species of being than man. They have much greater knowledge than man; they have greater powers than man. They are spirit beings. I’m going to have something more to say on that later, though, because man was put on this earth, potentially, to be elevated to a plane much higher than angels.

Alright now let’s continue. Just notice next verse 16 where they’re referred to again. "And the men [speaking of these same angels... and the men] rose up from thence, and looked towards Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. " (Genesis 18:16)

And so on; now in verse 22 you see them mentioned again; "And the men turned their faces from there, and they went towards Sodom, and Abraham stood yet before the [Eternal]." (Genesis 18:22)

Now they finally arrive over in Sodom where Lot was, you know, and now turn to verse 33 – the last verse in this eighteenth chapter of Genesis; "And the [Eternal] went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place." (Genesis 18: 33) Now actually, you see, he had been communing with these three men, or these angels.

Now chapter 19 – men had just put this chapter in here, but the way Moses wrote this, it just went right along from here; "And there came two angels to Sodom at even." (Genesis 19:1) Only two of them went on to see Lot, but they are, then, very plainly called, 'angels,' although they had been called, 'men,' prior to that.

Now next I would like to have you, if you will, turn over to Daniel – Daniel’s prophecy, the third chapter and the twenty-fifth verse – Daniel 3:25

This is where Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego had been thrown into that burning, fiery furnace – the three of them. The flames were so hot that they leaped out and just consumed, and burned to a crisp, the guards that threw them in. But King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished. He looked inside and he saw them walking around in there, so he said:

"He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, and walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."(Daniel 3:25) Or 'a son of the gods,' it is in the margin.

But, 'God,' there, is the word, 'Elohim,' the Hebrew word, 'Elohim.' I’ve explained it to you so many times. It’s a uni-plural. God is more than one person. And this would be, then, a creation, a son by creation, of the God Family, because God is a Kingdom – the Kingdom of God – the God Kingdom.

And, in other words, this other one, then, was an angel. And God sent an angel, one of His messengers, one of His agents, to save those three men that had trusted in Him, because later here, in verse 28, you read that: "Nebuchadnezzar [the king] spoke, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel [he has sent his angel], and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word [and so on]." (Daniel 3:28)

So it was an angel, but it was spoken of as a man. He saw four men loose. And the form of the fourth was like a son of the elohim, or the God Kingdom. In other words it was an angel, but appearing in the form of a man.

Righteous Angels (PLAY FROM 09:30)

Now next I’d like to have you turn over to Daniel 9:21. I’ve two or three more first I want you to see here – Daniel 9:21. Now here is an archangel spoken of.

Daniel says, "Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, [and he calls him, 'a man,' there... the man Gabriel] whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation." (Daniel 9:21)

Now it does say that Gabriel flew, but it doesn’t say he had wings. It doesn’t say how he flew. I have flown, too. I fly once in a while; and I don’t have wings, but I fly in an airplane. Of course the plane may have wings of a kind.

Next I would like to have you notice Luke 1:26. Luke 1:26 – speaking of the birth of Jesus, you know.

"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto the city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph and the virgin’s name was Mary." (Luke 1:26-27)

Now, 'the angel Gabriel,' and then in verse 30;"... the angel said unto her..."(Luke 1:30), and so on.

The angel was a messenger of God – sent with a message as an agent of God to Mary to explain one of the greatest miracles that we have any record of anywhere in the Bible that was really happening, there, to her.

And now next I want you to turn over into the New Testament, and notice Acts the first chapter, the tenth and eleventh verses. Here are a couple of angels, but they’re referred to as men. This is when Jesus was standing on the Mount of Olives with His disciples. After forty days, after His resurrection, and just as He was ascending up to heaven – now He spoke these things to them that He’d been speaking.

"And when he had spoken these things [verse 9, the first chapter of the book of Acts... when he had spoken these things], while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel." (Acts 1:9-10)

Now white apparel, especially in connection with angels, is a symbolic expression. And it is described in the scriptures, and is interpreted in the scriptures themselves, to mean the righteousness of God – that they are righteous. They are holy angels and they are righteous. So they were clothed, in other words, in this righteousness. And the very fact of white apparel, the way it is used here, would indicate that these are angels. But they’re called men, these two men stood by them.

"Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:10-11)

And He’s going to come the same way. He’ll come in clouds; He’ll descend from the clouds right down, and come down out of the clouds, and stand on the Mount of Olives – exactly as He went. And you’ll find that in Zechariah 14 and in the first four verses. Just read those first four verses there in Zechariah 14. And there it describes His Second Coming right down on the Mount of Olives precisely from the same place that He went – and in the same manner. Many, many passages in the Bible describe His Second Coming as coming in clouds. And they’ll see Him coming just like angels are so often manifested.

Now you do read in Isaiah the sixth chapter and the second verse about seraphim. And seraphim have wings.

And you do read in Exodus 25:20, about the cherubim, and they had wings. But here they are made in symbol of the real cherubim. And they’re made of beaten gold over the ark – the ark of the testament back in the days of Moses that they carried with them. And their wings overspread over the seat of the ark, or the top of the ark, which represented the mercy seat. It was a type of the very throne of God in heaven.

And so angels are the servants of God; they are part of the very government of God from God’s throne. They are spirit beings that God can send from there to the earth. And undoubtedly, if He can send them to the earth, He can send them a good many other places.

Now in God’s government, we get a lot of pictures. For instance, we see something of the way the government of this whole world is going to be run in the happy World Tomorrow, when Christ comes and sets up His government! Christ Jesus will be the King of kings ruling over all the nations of this earth!

Angels Are Part of the Government of God (PLAY FROM 14:49)

Alright, now then I’d like to go on with this: angels seem to be the purest of created beings. They’re called 'holy.' When Christ comes, all the holy angels of heaven are coming with Him when He comes at His Second Coming.

And yet, angels are spoken of as being imperfect. Now Job spoke of that back here in the book of Job in the fourth chapter and the eighteenth verse – well, I want to begin with the seventeenth.

"Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker [God is our Maker]? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels He charged with folly [God, showing how high God is above all that He has created]. How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay [like we mortals here], whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?" (Job 4:17-19)

So He charges His angels with folly. They are not perfect, then.

Now we read about the number of angels – an innumerable host of angels – the second chapter of Luke it is mentioned. I’m not going to have time for all these scriptures now; there’s so much on this – the second chapter of Luke and verses 9 and 13.

"Lo, the angel of the [Eternal] came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid [and so on]. And [now] suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men." (Luke 2:9, 13-14)

Always you find angels are shouting for joy; they are always pictured as being in heavenly splendor, as being joyful, as being happy, as rejoicing, shouting for joy. Do you know why? It’s because, as I told you, the angels are the agents, or the servants, of God. Never once do you read anywhere in the Bible of an angel being unhappy, worried, doubting, fearing – anything like we mortal humans. They have faith; they’re happy. Why? Because, my friends, they are in the very service of God; they’re in the work of God – they are full time in the work of God! They’re His servants. They’re obedient to His laws; and God’s laws make you happy.

And when we learn God’s laws that He has set in motion it’s just automatic when we learn it, when we obey those laws, well, we’re happy. You have peace; you have peace of mind. And you’ll have ample prosperity; you’ll have everything you need when you really learn the laws of God and learn how to live them.

So these angels are in God’s service; they’re in His work. They’re ruled by God; they’re a part of His government and, therefore, they are happy.

Now in God’s government there are a good many different offices. God sets government in His Church. And first Christ is the Head of the Church. Then under that He has apostles; and then prophets – who have no actual governing authority. But under that next come evangelists, and then pastors, and then teachers – or local elders that are preachers, but not actually pastoring or in charge of a church – and then even non-preaching elders. And there are various ranks just like in an army.

And God’s government comes right down from the top. It’s not democracy from the bottom up, but is from God on down: God the Father, Jesus Christ under Him taking orders from Him, and then the apostle, and then the evangelist, and then the pastor, and then the other elders, and so on.

Now then you take the government as it is to be on the earth after Christ comes at His Second Coming: He’s going to rule the whole world and bring us peace! That’s when we’re going to have this utopia!

And there we find, as I mentioned previously, that the apostles will be over the twelve tribes of Israel – and the nation of Israel – one over each of the tribes. But David will be over all of them as the king over all of Israel. But Christ will be here as the King, even over David and all the other kings, as the King of kings over the whole world.

Now apparently here are archangels over nations, just like David will be over one nation; and others will be over other nations. That will be resurrected saints; the saints are to rule the world – under Christ, of course – and to be given power to rule the world.

Angels of the Church Eras (PLAY FROM 19:49)

Alright, so much for that. Now then also there are angels, or archangels, over the various churches – although they’re not mentioned as being archangels. They’re merely mentioned as angels.

You turn over to Revelation, beginning the second chapter, and here are these seven churches. Now we might even notice it first here in the first chapter, because he sees the picture of Christ here. And He had these seven stars in His hand.

"John to the seven churches [let’s begin here with verse 4] which are in Asia: Grace and peace be unto you from him which is, and which was, and is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne." (Revelation 1:4)

Now there you find something: seven spirits before the throne of God. And then there are the twenty-four elders, and there are the four living creatures, wrongly translated, 'beasts,' but they’re just living creatures. Of course those are symbols. They’re symbols of spirit beings at the very throne of God and they’re part of the government of God.

"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first-begotten of the dead [that’s speaking there from human beings; He’s the first born of many brethren] and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever [now He’s coming with clouds, and so on. He says]. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I John, who am also your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom of patience of Jesus Christ, was in the Isle of Patmos [or 'Isle that is called Patmos'] for the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day." (Revelation 1:5-10)

Now here he 'in spirit' means, 'in vision.' He doesn’t mean that it was on a Sunday – or on a Saturday either – that he had this vision. He is speaking here of being carried 'in the vision' forward to the Day of the Lord - 'The Lord’s Day.' This is the only place that occurs in the Greek language in exactly this form, but it’s the same as, 'The Day of the Lord,' and is so translated by many of the translators.

"Saying, I am Alpha and Omega [and so on]. And now I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like the Son of man [now these candlesticks are the seven churches. And He had these seven stars in His right hand here. Now in the twentieth verse:]. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks [He was among these candlesticks]. The seven stars are the angels of the the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:11-13, 16, 20. paraphrased)

Here He’s picturing the Church of God in its seven different stages – the seven churches, or the seven stages of the Church if you want to call it that way – as it has come on down from the time of the apostles even to the present time.

"Now unto the angel of the church at Ephesus write;" (Revelation 2:1) So that church had an angel. And then later in verse 8 he says; "...unto the angel of the church of Smyrna write;"(Revelation 2:8) And tells him what to write. And that church had an angel – and then Pergamos, and then Thyatira, and then Sardis, and then Philadelphia, and finally Laodicea – each church had and angel.

So these are, apparently, more than just ordinary angels. So there seem to be angels of different rank – all part of the government of God.

Man's Potential (PLAY FROM 23:50)

You know you might ask, "What has all this got to do with me, all this about angels, and am I concerned about angels?" You certainly ought to be; you certainly ought to be!

Now turn with me real quickly back here to Hebrews the first chapter and notice in the fourteenth verse - well in the thirteenth.

"But to which of his angels said he at any time, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool?"(Hebrews 1:13) Like He did to Christ.

And they are individually created spirit beings. Whereas Christ is born of God, and is very God, by a birth from God through a resurrection from the dead, as you read in the first chapter, and I think it’s verse four {1} in Romans.

And now speaking of these angels, in the fourteenth verse: "Are they not all ministering spirits [they are spirits – and they’re ministering spirits] sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)

Jesus Christ is the firstborn of many brethren. He is born God by a resurrection from the dead. He is worthy of the worship of the angels, because it says so here, let me see, let me just catch that for a moment - the sixth verse:

"But again, when he bringeth the first begotten into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him." (Hebrews 1:6) That’s Christ.

And yet Christ is the firstborn of many brethren. And we can be born again even as He was. Until this vile body shall be changed and made like unto His glorious, or glorified, body.(Philippians 3:21) I read you a description of that body just a very short time ago – a few minutes ago.

Now we read that Christ "...was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death [here in verse 9 of the second chapter]. We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, of whom are all things, by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory [we’re to be brought unto glory if we are converted, and if we grow in grace and in knowledge as we should and if we overcome] It became him to make [Christ] the captain [or the forerunner, or the pioneer] of our salvation perfect..." (Hebrews 2:9-10)

Now it says: "...What is man that thou art mindful of him? [up here in verse 6] ...Thou madest him a little lower than the angels...Thou [didst] put all things into subjection under his feet [but then he says] ...But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus..." (Hebrews 2:6-10)...who is made perfect, and then we are to be made perfect; we are to be made holy and higher than angels.

But now why are angels serving us now? We’re made lower than angels. I’ll tell you why, my friends, it’s because we are the very heirs of God, and we’re to be made like God and like Christ – higher than angels!

Now let me see, you read here in I Corinthians 6 and verse 3 – I don’t have time for all I wanted to give you, but let’s just see this here.

"Know ye not [said the apostle Paul] that we shall judge angels?" (I Corinthians 6: 3)

We’re going to judge angels; we’re going to be elevated higher than angels! And so the duty of angels now is to be a guardian and a minister to every real converted Christian.

I’ll have to take up a little more about that tomorrow. I have had a few personal experiences in which I feel certain, because I can’t account for it any other way, and I feel certain that God did send an angel to save my life more than once – or to guide me.

Footnote {1}Mr. Armstrong thought it might be verse verse 5 but it is verse 4, Romans 1:4