The Center for
Messianic Learning 

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Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”
 

It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith.
But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile. (Titus 3:9)

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Please Note: Nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah, pro-Truth, and pro-Grace. Sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. Why isn’t my theology consistent throughout this website?

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Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.”[GN]

[Explanations of rabbinic citations are HERE]


14 Biblical Facts About Angels

For centuries, artists have portrayed angels as beautiful humans with wings and glowing light, complete with halos, harps, and flowing white gowns (or perfectly sculpted bodies). But is that really what angels look like? Angels have inspired all sorts of imaginative stories and depictions, but what’s left when we separate fact from fiction? In order to know the truth, we have to ask, what does the Bible say about angels?

These facts will help us learn a lot about the angels in the Bible: what they are, why God created them, how their hierarchy works, and much more.

The Truth About Angels

The Value of a Systematic Theology

Much of what we see or hear about angels in culture is based on speculation, non-biblical sources, or just plain fantasy. The Bible has a lot to say about them — so much so, in fact, that it can be hard to say which of the things we hear about angels are rooted in Scripture. That’s where a systematic theology is necessary.

1. God created angels

Angels haven’t always existed. According to Scripture, they’re part of the universe that God created. In a passage that refers to angels (the “host” or “armies” of heaven), we read, “You are ADONAI, You alone; You made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their array … and the army of heaven worships You” (Neh 9:6). In the Apostolic Writings, Rav Sha'ul tells us that God created all things “visible and invisible,” and specifically includes the angelic world with the phrase “whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities” (Col 1:16).

While these Bible verses tell us that God created angels, the Bible also suggests that they don’t “exist” in the same way we do. The author of Hebrews suggests that all angels are “spirits” (Heb 1:13-14). When Yeshua appears to the disciples, He asserts that “spirits” don’t have bodies like He does (Luke 24:39). In the Bible, angels can’t usually be seen by humans unless God reveals them (see Num 22:31, 2Kings 6:17, Luke 2:13). However, from time to time angels took on a bodily form and appeared to various people in Scripture (e.g., Matt 28:5; Heb 13:2).

2. There are three types of angels in the Bible

Scripture names three categories of heavenly beings that appear to be types of angels: cherubim, seraphim, and “living creatures.”

Cherubim

Cherubim (כְּרֻבִ֗ים, kə·ru·ḇîm; sin. כְּרוּב ker-oob') are mentioned in several places throughout Scripture:

Seraphim

Another type of angel, the seraphim (שְׂרָפִ֨ים, śə·rā·p̄îm; sin. שָׂרָף, saw-rawf'), are only mentioned once in the Bible. They appear in Isaiah 6:2-7, where they continually worship ADONAI and say, “Holy, holy, holy is ADONAI-Tzva’ot [the LORD of hosts, or armies]; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

Living creatures

Ezekiel and Revelation speak of other kinds of heavenly beings known as “living creatures” (חַיּ֑וֹת, ḥay·yō·wṯ; ζῷα, zōa) around God’s throne (Ezek 1:5-14, Rev 4:6-8). They appeared like a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle, representing various parts of God’s creation (wild beasts, domesticated animals, human beings, and birds). They, too, worship God continually: “Day and night they never cease to sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev 4:8)

3. Angels have a hierarchy

Angels in the Bible appear to have a rank and order. The angel hierarchy is supported by Jude 1:9, when the angel Michael is called an “archangel” — a title that indicates rule or authority over other angels. He’s also called “one of the chief princes”[1] in Daniel 10:13, and appears to lead God’s angelic army “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated” (Rev 12:7-8). Rav Sha'ul also tells us that Messiah will return from heaven “with the archangel’s call” (1Thess 4:16). Scripture doesn’t tell us if this refers to Michael, or if there are other archangels as well.

4. Only two angels have names in the Bible

Only two holy angels are specifically named in Scripture. As mentioned above, the archangel Michael (מִֽיכָאֵ֗ל, mî·ḵā·’êl, “who is like God”), apparently the commanding officer of God’s angelic army, is mentioned in Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:7-8, Daniel 10:13, and Daniel 10:21.

Gabriel (גַּבְרִיאֵ֕ל, gav·rî·’êl, “warrior of God” or “man of God”) is the only other holy angel named in the Bible, and appears to be God’s chief messenger (though others are named in extra-biblical sources). He’s mentioned in Daniel 8:16 and Daniel 9:21 as a messenger who comes from God to speak to Daniel. He’s also identified as God’s messenger in Luke 1. He tells Zechariah, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God” (Luke 1:19). Then we read, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin … and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26-27).

Heylel, הֵילֵל (literally, “Shining One,” also as Light Bringer or Light Bearer), the “Adversary” (שָׂטָ֖ן, śā·ṭān) and chief of the fallen angels, is also know as Morning Star and Lucifer (in KJV).

5. Angels are not omnipresent

Angels frequently appear as messengers in the Bible, traveling from one place to another (see the verse above, where Gabriel “was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth”).

The fact that angels are not omnipresent is made explicit when an angel comes to Daniel and says:

“I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, so I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia and came to make you understand what is to befall your people in the latter days.” (Dan 10:12-14)

If angels were omnipresent, Michael wouldn’t have “came to help” because he would’ve already been there, and this angel (Probably Gabriel, the chief messenger) wouldn’t need to leave Michael to bring this message. Unlike God, who is omnipresent, angels are finite creatures, limited to one place at one time.

6. We don’t know how many angels exist

The Bible doesn’t tell us how many angels God created. But apparently, there are a lot of them. Here are a few of the ways the Bible tells us how many angels there are:

Every biblical reference to the total number of angels suggests that they’re beyond counting.

7. We can’t prove that guardian angels exist

The Bible clearly tells us that God sends angels to protect people: “He will give His angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12).

But are these what we think of as “guardian angels”? Yeshua’s words in Matthew 18:10 seem to support the idea that individual people (or at least children) have guardian angels, “in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” But Yeshua may only mean that angels are assigned to protect little children in general. (In sports terms, the angels may be playing “zone” rather than “man-on-man” defense.)

When the disciples in Acts 12:15 say that Kefa’s “angel” must be knocking at the door, this doesn’t necessarily imply that they believe in individual guardian angels. It’s possible that they believed an angel was simply guarding Peter at that time. Or it may mean that the disciples were referring to Kefa’s “spirit” or “ghost,” assuming him to be dead.

While arguments can be made, there seems to be no definitive biblical proof for the existence of “guardian angels.”

8. Angels do not marry

Yeshua taught that in the resurrection people “neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matt 22:30, see also Luke 20:34-36). This clearly suggests that angels don’t marry.

No other passages address relationships between angels, so anything beyond this is simply speculation.

9. Angels are very powerful

Angels are called “mighty ones who do his word” (Psalm 103:20), “powers” (Eph 1:21), and “dominions” and “authorities” (Col 1:16). They are certainly “greater in might and power” than humans (2Pet 2:11, see also Matt 28:2). Angels use their power to battle against Satan’s demonic forces (Dan 10:13, Rev 12:7-8, 20:1-3).

During our earthly lives, we’re “lower than the angels” (Heb 2:7). But as powerful as angels are, when Yeshua returns, His followers will be raised higher than them (1Cor 6:3).

10. We don’t know when angels were created

Genesis 2:1 seems to tell us that the angels were made at some point before the seventh day of creation: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (“host” here may refer to the heavenly beings, or it may possibly refer to all the celestial bodies in the cosmos).

Exodus 20:11 is even more explicit: “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.” We can at least confirm that all the angels were created by the sixth day of creation.

But can we be any more specific? There may be a hint at the creation of angelic beings on the first day of creation, when we read that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1), immediately followed by, “the earth was without form and void” (Gen 1:2). There’s no mention of the heavens in this second verse. This may be intended to contrast the emptiness of the earth with the heavens, where God already created angelic beings. This idea could be supported by Job, where we read that “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” when God laid the “cornerstone” of the earth and sunk its “bases” (Job 38:6-7). If the angels (“the sons of God”) shouted for joy when God was forming the earth, this could imply that God created the angelic beings early on the first day. However, this is only speculation.

The angels, as beings worthy to stand in the proximity to the Throne of Glory, necessarily were more perfect creatures than man. Nevertheless, they too were created and could never attain the perfection of God. ‘When were the angels created? R. Jochanan said, On the second day, since it is written, “Who layest the beams of Thine upper chambers in the waters1 … Who makest winds Thy messengers, the flaming fire Thy ministers” (Ps 104:3-4). T. Channina said, On the fifth day, since it is written “winged things flying above the earth” (Gen 1:20), and “witn two wings he (the seraph) flew” (Isa 6:2). All agree they were not created on the first day, so that people should not say that Michael stretched the south end of the firmament and Gabriel the north end’ (Gen R. I. 3). [Cohen, Abraham. Everyman’s Talmud, p. 48]]

  1. Since the separation of the waters occurred on the second day (Gen 1:6 ff) and the Psalmist associates the ‘upper chambers’ with the angels, no doubt as their habitation, these latter must have also been created on the second day.

Also, in some Hebrew thought (in which the doctrine of the “Trinity” is rejected), God was speaking to the angels when He said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” though I do not agree with this view. (Others believe that He was using the “Royal We.”)

11. Angels are examples for us

Angels show us what perfect obedience looks like. Yeshua teaches us to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10-11), and in heaven God’s will is done by angels, immediately, joyfully, and without question. Their delight is to be God’s humble servants, faithfully performing their assigned tasks, great or small. Our desire and prayer should be that we will do the same.

Angels also model worship. John sees around God’s throne a great angelic army, “numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Rev 5:11-12). If the angels find it their highest joy to praise God continuously, shouldn’t we, too?

12. Angels carry out some of God’s plans

There are numerous ways in which angels carry out God’s plans on earth:

13. Angels directly glorify God

Humans aren’t the only intelligent, moral creatures who glorify God. The Psalmist declares:

“Angels glorify God for who He is in Himself, for his excellence.
                Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
                you mighty ones who do his word,
                hearkening to the voice of his word!” (Psalm 103:20, see also Psalm 148:2)

The seraphim continually praise God for His holiness (Isa 6:2-3), and so do the four living creatures (Rev 4:8).

Angels also glorify God as they witness his plan unfold. When Yeshua was born in Bethlehem, a multitude of angels praised God and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2:14, see also Heb 1:6). Yeshua tells us, “There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10), indicating that angels rejoice when someone turns from sin and trusts in Messiah.

Kefa tells us that “angels long to look” (1Pet 1:12) into the glories of the plan of salvation as it works out in the lives of Believers each day. To emphasize the seriousness of particular commands, Rav Sha'ul reminds us that our actions are carried out in the presence of angelic witnesses: “In the presence of God and of Mashiach Yeshua and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without favor, doing nothing from partiality” (1Tim 5:21, see also 1Cor 4:9). If Timothy follows Rav Sha'ul’s instructions, angels will witness his obedience and glorify God. If he neglects to obey, angels will also see and be grieved.

14. Angels are not to be worshipped

“Worship of angels” was one of the false doctrines being taught at Colossae (Col 2:18). In the book of Revelation, an angel warns John not to worship him: “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God” (Rev 19:10).

We shouldn’t pray to angels, either. God is able to answer prayer, and we are to pray diectly to Him (Matt 6:9; Luke 11:2). Rav Sha'ul warns us against thinking that any other “mediator” can come between us and God, “For God is one; and there is but one Mediator between God and humanity, Yeshua the Messiah,…” (1Tim 2:5). If we were to pray to angels, it would implicitly give them a status equal to God. There are no examples in Scripture of anyone praying to an angel or asking angels for help. This prohibition also applies to praying to “saints.”

Moreover, Scripture gives us no warrant to seek appearances of angels. They manifest themselves unsought. To seek such appearances would seem to indicate an unhealthy curiosity or a desire for some kind of spectacular event rather than a love for God and devotion to him and his work. Though angels did appear to people at various times in Scripture, the people apparently never sought those appearances. Our role is rather to talk to the Father. However, it would not seem improper to ask God to fulfill his promise in Psalm 91:11 to send angels to protect us in times of need.

_______________

  1. Prince: Hebrew שַׂר (sar), chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince. [RETURN]

  2. Ten thousand was the largest number in ancient Hebrew, so it may as well represent an infinite number. [RETURN]

 3. Hebrew מֵרִבְבֹ֣ת (mê·riḇ·ḇōṯ ) and Greek μυριάδες (myriades) both translate as “myriad”: a group of ten thousand, a ten thousand; by extension, an indefinite number. [RETURN]

Page originally posted on Sunday, 28 November 2021

Page last updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 06:40 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!

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