The World Tomorrow

Hebrews 12 - Angels Part 1

by Herbert W Armstrong


My friends, what do you know about angels? Did you ever see an angel? You probably, never did. Did you ever hear a sermon on angels to explain what angels are? Who are angels? Are there any such things? Do they exist, or it is a superstition? What are angels? Why are angels? If there are any, what's their function? What do they do and how do we know? Now, I'm quite sure that no scientist every caught one in his laboratory and I don't think any astronomer ever saw one in a telescope. And I don't think you could see one under a microscope. If fact, I think science would probably smile at the idea of an angel. But we hear about angels and demons. Now certainly when you read the Bible; you read a lot about angels because there's a lot in the Bible about angels.

Now, is it silly? Is it a superstition? Is it just a figment of imagination? Or, are there such beings and what are they? And why are they and where did they come from? And why do we have them if we do? You know, you might say that a beginning point is to find out first of all whether you can prove that the Bible is inspired by an Almighty living God. Is it just a superstition, is the Bible just a religious writings of an ancient little despised race of Jews that were groping in the dark trying to find their concept of God, like a lot of other people have, only they were perhaps were backwards and didn't know very much and this is just their religious literature. Is that what you think? Well, that's what a lot of people think. Or, is the Bible the very word of the Creator that created not only us - that created the earth, the heavens, the galaxies, the Milky Way, our solar system. That created force and energy and every law that exists that controls every power, every law that exists today because He created them.

Is there such a God? Well, I have made communists that thought they were atheists at least admit that God exists. I can prove that by the laws of science. You can prove it too if you want to, if you know what they are. Can you prove whether the Bible then is inspired by such a God? Well, I think I can prove both that there is such a God and that the Bible is inspired by such a God just by the prophecies in the Bible. You go back to what is written in the Bible, hundreds of years before it happened - about Egypt, about Babylon, about Rome even before Rome had grown great, about the coming of the great Roman Empire, about its fall, about its various resurrections. Yes, and even what the Bible says about the United States of America because we're in there. And it tells all about us today. And exactly what has happened to us and how great we are and why and all about it. There are prophecies in the Bible that no human being could have written and made them stick and bring them to pass. But they have happened. And those very events and the very train of history since these words were written absolutely proves it.

The Bible And Prophecy (Play from 03:52)

You know, I remember one Sunday night up in Eugene, Oregon. That was way back in the days when I had to go on the air on Sunday morning in Eugene, and then drive all the way to Portland for Sunday afternoon broadcast. And then drive back to Eugene again for a night service in the church there and when I got down the church was packed we'd just barely had time to get there. And, I was speaking that night on the longest prophecy in all the Bible which is the eleventh chapter of Daniel. Actually the tenth, eleventh and twelfth chapters all go together but the tenth chapter is sort of an introduction and the twelfth is a, you might say a prologue or epilogue or something.

And, anyway, the main prophecy is the eleventh chapter. And it's the longest prophecy in the Bible. And I was expounding that. You know, it's absolutely marvelous, that prophecy there. How he starts out telling about the kings that existed at the time that Daniel lived and they were to, he said, there shall stand up three kings in Persia after that and were just three dominant kings. They were more but the others were scarcely noted and then a mighty king shall stand up. And then it begins to tell about what was going to happen. His kingdom will be divided to the four winds of heaven. Well, that happened, that was Alexander the Great. Then after that, it tells about his end and how he would come to his end and then the king of the south would do this. And then the king of the north would do that. And verse after verse.

Well, I took up the history of the time and right out of authentic histories, I would read first a verse of this prophecy. And then there it was in history - it happened hundreds of years after it was written. Then here's the next verse of something that would happen that says many days after that. Here it is in history fifty years later. This happened. Even a marriage between the daughter of the king of the south, who was the king of Egypt and the king of the north or the king of Syria, and that wedding and how it happened and about the train that accompanied her and what happened to them. All of the details prophesied down to the minutest detail; years and years and even in some cases here, hundreds of years in advance.

Coming on down to the time of 168 BC and then skipping on down to our time and something that was happening that very year, in the year of 1934 AD when I was preaching that sermon. You know, there was a young lady there, who was secretary of the Communist party in that city. I didn't know anything about it but she came to my wife. She had another atheist unbeliever with her, she wanted to know if she could have an appointment with me. She said, "I'm an atheist or at least I thought I was, when I came in here. And," she says "to tell you the truth, we came out here to have a lot of fun. We've been taught that religion is the opium of the people and is a lot of ridiculous nonsense." She said "I heard your husband on the air and I thought he would be a good one to come out and have a lot of sport with. We would laugh at what he said - at his ignorance. "But," she said, "he has said things here tonight that have me sort of floored, I don't know to account for it. "And," she said, "after all, I haven't been an atheist just because I wanted to be wrong or any thing of the kind but because it seemed like it was right. "But," she said, "now I'm bewildered and I don't know what to think, I'd like to have an appointment." Well, she dropped her atheism and the Communist party and a lot of other things. And so, my friends, if you go into the prophecies of the Bible you can prove whether the Bible is inspired and whether God inspired it.

The Bible Is Inspired (Play from 08:05)

Now, I would say that that's the first thing before you can know anything about angels, because you have no evidence. I don't think you know anyone that has literally seen an angel and I don't think any scientist can give you any definite information about it. The scientist can tell you something about gravity but he can't see it and you can't hear it and you can't smell it and you can't taste it but we do see what it does and we know it exists. And there are some things that we have to accept that we cannot explain. And so, the only authority that you have on anything about angels, is you either accept what the Bible says about it or you must throw up your hands and say, "I'm ignorant." And you can prove that the Bible is inspired by One who was able to foretell the future of city-states, of nations, of empires and bring it to pass. No man could do that, no combination of men could do it.

Now, I can tell you what the Bible says about angels. It's up to you whether you believe the Bible but you can even prove that. But I will say this: You either accept what the Bible says or throw up your hands and say, "well I'm ignorant." You can't refute it. You can't prove that there are no angels so let's let it go at that. Well, it might seem a little ridiculous to some because a lot of people believe only what they see. Now we had been coming here in the chapter in your Bible that tells you where Jesus Christ is now, what He's been doing these 1,900 years, and what He is doing now.

We had come up to the place where He's talking about the fact that in ancient Israel they were a material nation, they came to the material mountain, Mount Sinai. God dealt with them in a material and a physical manner. He manifested Himself with flashes of lightning with peals of thunder that they could hear, they heard His voice. They didn't see God Himself but they saw great manifestations. And He made physical manifestations that the people could see. He dealt with them in a physical manner because they were a physical people. Well, we're a physical people too. But we are a people who can receive the Spirit of God. And God is letting the rest of the world just go by.

God has assigned a 6,000 year period during which He is permitting people to make their own decisions. And He permits them to cut themselves off from God, and to cut themselves off from all spiritual knowledge. Spirit, my friends, is something that you can know nothing about normally or naturally. The only way that you receive any knowledge in your mind naturally, is through the five senses, just the five channels, the five sense that transmit knowledge into your mind. Spiritual knowledge cannot come that way. Because you can't see anything spiritual and you can't hear it and you can't taste it, you can't smell it and you can't put your hands on it or feel it. And so, the only way you can know anything about spiritual things is to let God reveal it. And you have to accept it on faith or you're not even going to know.

Now here He said that we, if we're Christians, and the world is not included, "...are come unto the mount Sion [which means always the Church, the spiritual mount, not the physical mount like Mount Sinai] and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels" (Hebrews 12:22). In other words, if you are a Christian, you have come to an innumerable company of angels. And God has set angels with a certain function and duty to guard Christians. And if you are a Christian, you have come to an innumerable company of angels and yet you can't see them. How are you going to know about them, and I think it's about time that we do know something about them. So, listen.

They're revealed in the Bible. The Bible speaks about angels a great deal, what does it say about them? Now, in the first place, remember the Bible was written in different languages. There was no English language at that time. The Old Testament was written almost altogether in the Hebrew language and the New Testament in the Greek language. The Hebrew word for angels, and I don't speak either Hebrew or Greek, so I don't know how to pronounce them, but the Hebrew word M-A-L-A-K - I presume: 'Malak'. {1} And it means a messenger or agent. And the Greek word, 'aggellos', 'aggellos', {2} how ever you pronounce it, it means messenger or agent. Same meaning precisely in the English language.

What Are Angels? (Play from 12:54)

Alright, now what are angels? In the one hundred and fourth Psalm, and the fourth verse, you read this:

Speaking of God; "who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain, who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot [and so on]: who maketh his angels spirits" (Psalm 104:2-4).

He has made His angels spirits. Now, in the first place, no place in your Bible can you find any statement that says "who made men spirits." God did not make you a spirit. He did not make me a spirit. We are not spirits, we are mortals. We are made of the dust of the ground. God says you'll return to the dust too. God says you are mortal and eternal life or immortality is the gift of God. And a lot of people don't believe that today, either. "Who maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire, who laid the foundations of the earth" (Psalm 104:4-5) and so on, showing the Creator.

Now, He made His angels spirits. You find that same thing exactly the same words quoted in the New Testament - if you want the New. Some of you people don't believe in the Old Testament. Well, here it is in the New. And of the angels, he saith, [this is Hebrews the first chapter, in the seventh verse,] "Who maketh his angels spirits" (Hebrews 1:7). You know, the Apostle Paul seemed to believe in the Old Testament because he quoted it there and some people think it's wrong to do that today. "Who maketh His angels spirits."

Alright, the fact it says that God made them means they were made, therefore, angels are a creation of God. Notice, it says who - meaning God - maketh . The fact that He made or maketh means He did make; means they were created. So angels, then, are a creation of God and God is the one who created them. Now, what were they created or out of what? It says spirits! That what they are then. They are spirits, therefore angels are not mortal. Angels are not matter. Angels are not made of the sixteen or any other number of elements of the ground - of the elements of the earth. Now, spirit is not material. It has nothing to do with matter.

Just what is matter? Actually, the scientists don't even know what matter is. Oh, we have the old definition matter is anything that occupies space, and has weight but that's a rather old definition. You know, scientists aren't even sure about that today. They aren't sure actually whether matter is some form of electricity and rapid vibration or whether electricity is some form of matter, or what! They're just a little bit mixed up on it. They have a lot of theories about matter. And they got down to the atom as the smallest particle of matter and then after the discovery of radium and radioactivity, they discovered there are electrons. Now I've seen these little particles flicking off of radium under a magnifying glass in a dark room. It looks just like you looking up into a great sky with thousands or millions or something of the sort, of stars, falling stars, flitting off and falling down all around you. But, I couldn't count them. And I don't know any scientists that ever counted them.

Nevertheless, spirit is not matter and it has nothing to do with the elements of matter. Therefore, it is clear beyond the range of material science. So, no scientist knows anything about it. Now the Old Testament in the Bible says nothing whatsoever about the origin of the angels further than the scripture that I read to you that God made them or created them. The Old Testament assumes the existence of angels. And I think that most people today do, they just assume. Well the Bible talks about it. But they never looked into it, they never looked in to see whether it's true, or to see what God says about angels or are there angels? Listen, do you suppose there could be an angel right there in the room with you this very second? Would you know it? There might be an angel there and you wouldn't know it. You wouldn't know anything about it.

Creation Of Angels (Play from 17:22)

Now, there is the Book of Jubilees and there's Slovonic Enoch -which are not inspired or part of the Bible - which describe the creation of angels. However, probably, they were written by men who had received some of that knowledge even though their books were not inspired. They seemed to know that and wrote of them as being created and creations of God. Now, I think we find that they are created. When you turn over here in Colossians, the first chapter. Well we begin, oh, there's a long sentence here and a good many verses, all one long sentence - breaking in the middle of it up here in the twelfth verse,

"Giving thanks unto the Father [and the thirteen verse] Who hath delivered us... and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [now, we're speaking of Christ], In whom [that's Christ or the son, in whom] we have redemption through his blood, Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For by him [verse 16, now here it is, get it, by Him - speaking of Christ - by Him] were all things created." (Colossians 1:12-16)

Well then, since angels are created beings, they were created by God through Christ, in other words, God created all things by Jesus Christ. He is the Word, He spoke; it was done, they were created by God then. "By him were all things created, that are in heaven, that are in earth, visible and invisible [well the angels are generally invisible, and so He created them] whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he [Christ] is before all things... He's the head of the body of the church... the firstborn [of] the dead" (Colossians 1:16-18).

The first to be born of God. In other words, when it comes to what you call a real born again experience, Jesus Christ is the first one to have had that experience. And a lot you need to study your Bibles, a lot more, you've got a lot of surprises coming when you get your eyes opened.

Now then, the angels are revealed in the Bible as a part of the government of God. And there's something, my friends, it's mighty important. This is something that needs looking into. You know, we are down here on this mundane, cold earth; this material earth, conscious generally only of material things not realizing that the earth and all that's on it and all the forces and energies and powers were created by the great spirit being, God Almighty. Not realizing that God is the Supreme Governor of all the universe. Not realizing anything about the government of God and that God is governing the universe. And the way He's governing this world is a part of the universe is that He made man a free moral agent. And He said to man, "You choose - whether you will come under my government or whether you want to rebel and set up your own." And so, God allowed man to choose and commanded him to do it, and by that very process, God has allowed man to choose the wrong way. By which he cuts himself off from God.

God can intervene though in the government that man has set up on this earth, whenever He pleases and there are times when He has done it and there are times when He's going to do it again, very soon, and you're going to see the effect of it because most of you are certainly going to live into that day - it's not very many years from now. Now, this government of God - the headquarters are in the heaven of God's throne. The heaven of God's throne, that's where Christ went. And you have no conception of the kind of government that God has there and the organization that functions around that throne and around that headquarters, from which He rules the entire universe. We speculate and wonder - is there any life on any of the other planets? Well, I don't know, I don't know anymore than your astronomer does. He doesn't know either. He's never been able to find it out or see. But God knows. It certainly seems there must be something more than just this earth, doesn't it? But, I don't know, God hasn't revealed it. No scientist can determine it and I have no source of knowing except that God would reveal and He hasn't. But I know this, there must be a great deal for God to govern. And He has a tremendous organization that you don't even dream of - of spirit beings, not human beings but spirit beings at His throne in His high heaven. My friends, we certainly have been in ignorance. There's so little that we know. We know a little bit in our little tiny sphere on this mundane earth. We don't know very much though. I tell you, all space, the whole universe is a mighty big place. We don't know much about it.

Angels Are Part Of The Government Of God (Play from 22:36)

But these angels are a part of the Government of God. And they are untold millions of them. Millions upon millions upon millions of angels, so God says. So your Bible says, the same Bible that told you what is going to happen to these governments and states and nations. And it tells you what is going to happen to the United States and you're going to see it happening in your lifetime. It even foretold our being here now and the prosperity we have and the fact that we would be winning the wars that we've won in everything about it, it's all in your Bible and you never saw it. Listen! You need to write in for our booklet 'The United States in Prophecy'. Because you probably don't even know where the United States is mentioned in the prophecies of the Bible and it's mentioned - listen now - it's mentioned hundreds of times. Yes, hundreds of times, more often than any other people in the whole Bible. And you have never known it, have you? You've got a lot to learn, haven't you? Well, so have I, only I've learned that much, already. We all have a lot to learn, let's confess it, then. No, we don't any of us know it all.

Now, these angels are a part of the government of God, they are messengers, they are spirits, not flesh or mortal, they are servants and they are superhuman, they are not human; they are superhuman. They are spirit but they are subordinate beings, that is they are subordinate to God. They are not as high as God but they are superhuman. Angels are ministers of God. And as I said, they are part of the government of God. They are His messengers, the Hebrew and the Greek words both mean the same that are used in the original writing of the Bible: a messenger or agent. And they are God's messengers or agents used in the divine government by which God rules the entire universe. Not only this world, but the entire universe. They're superhuman; spirit, subordinate beings. Subordinate to God. But they're higher than men. And angels, because they are obedient to the laws of God, because they are not in rebellion against God, they are always pictured as being happy. And joyful! They radiate joy and enthusiasm and happiness and peace and all that sort of thing.

Now, there were some angels - apparently angels have had free moral agency - because there were angels that sinned. And in one scripture they are called angels, the angels that; "God spared not the angels that sinned" (II Peter 2:4). Well, if He didn't, take heed that He spare not thee is the admonition there. But, they are not angels now, they were angels up till the time they sinned. A sinning angel, however, technically in Bible language is called a demon! Now demons are fallen or sinning angels that are rebellious to the government of God. And I have seen the working of demons. I wonder if you every have? You probably have seen it and didn't recognize it. After all, this material realm has nothing compared to the spiritual.

Alright, now let's look into more of it in the Bible. When were the angels created? The Bible doesn't tell you when but it does give one little inkling, it was before this earth was created. And there is every evidence not only geological but in the Bible also that this earth was created a lot more than 6,000 years ago. Now, we can actually figure that the creation of Adam and the start of human life on this earth that you read of in the first and second chapters of Genesis was approximately 6,000 years ago. There is Biblical evidence and also geological evidence that the earth has been here a lot longer than that. And, I think you can find plenty of geologists that think it's been here for millions of years. Now, I don't know about that and frankly I don't think they do either. Because I've learned that scientific gentlemen, while they're very cautious in their test tubes and their actual observations and measurements they are generally - a good many of them at least - very careless and very extravagant when it comes to flinging around a million years here and there in the past in accounting for things.

Nevertheless, we know that angels were created before the earth was created, because you read here in the thirty-eight chapter of Job, where God is speaking and bringing Job down, He's whittling Job down to his own size here.

"The Eternal spoke and answered Job out of a whirlwind and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge, [and so on. He said to Job;] Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Who has laid the measures thereof if you know [speaking of His creating the earth now]? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Who laid the corner stone thereof [apparently, Job had just completed the building of a great building. And so, God is comparing that to His creating of the earth and He using an earthy building as a symbol here for the creation of the earth.] Where upon are the foundations thereof fastened? Who laid the corner stone thereof? When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:2-7 paraphrased)

He's speaking there of the angels. Now stars are symbolically use there and in the first chapter of the book of Revelation, you'll find that stars are plainly identified in plain language as meaning the angels (Revelation 1:20). And so the angels then were created before the earth was created. Now they're called sons of God - in the sense of creation of God they are. And yet, they are not begotten sons of God, as you read in the first chapter of Hebrews, and I'll have to come to that tomorrow. So, be listening.

{1}Footnote: Refers to Strongs No. 4397

{2}Footnote: Refers to Strongs No. 32