Angels: More exalted than we?


Here’s one from our own, Lee Pierce. Enjoy! -anita

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I’ve often felt like something—or rather, someone—was watching over & protecting me in certain circumstances. It’s not like I feel someone is watching me over my shoulder to see what I’ll do next (although the Bible makes it eminently clear that God’s eyes search the land and see all that happens & He protects His own). Rather, I’ve been in situations many times over the course of my life when I felt something disastrous was about to happen and, at the last moment, my death or injury was prevented in a way that is hard to explain in purely human terms. I have a couple of prominent events in my life in mind, but those are stories for another time.

The Bible talks in many passages about the work of angels (messengers) and their role in protecting us. A favorite story of mine in the Bible is the story of Elisha in 2Kings chapter 6. Here the Arameans surround the town of Dothan with a great army purposing to capture the prophet Elisha. Elisha’s servant is terrified when he awakes & sees the great army of Aram surrounding them. Elisha prays that his servant be enabled to see who else is present. God then opens the servant’s eyes to see that the mountain by Dothan is covered with horses and chariots of fire sent by God.

Many times in Scripture, the Bible cites a passage where the “angel of the Lord” appears and, instead of the angel admonishing the human participant from bowing & worshiping him, He allows the person to do so. In Numbers 22, the story of Balaam and his donkey which the Lord permits to talk, Balaam finally is allowed to see the “angel of the Lord” barring his path. Balaam then “bows all the way to the ground” (22:31) before this heavenly being and is not admonished for doing so. The angel—presumably the Lord Jesus Himself—informs Balaam that He has “come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to ME.” (emphasis added).

In Joshua 5:13-15, as Joshua is preparing to assault Jericho, he encounters a man standing before him with His sword drawn who informs Joshua He is “captain of the host of the Lord.” Not only is Joshua not admonished for bowing down to this “captain,” but is furthered ordered to remove his sandals “for the place where you are standing is holy.”

But in a poignant passage in Revelations (22:8-9), the apostle John has just received this great revelation of the new heaven and earth described in some detail. John’s reaction is to fall down and worship at the feet of the angel who has revealed these great things. John is immediately admonished by the angel who says “Do not do that (worship him); I am a FELLOW SERVANT of yours…worship God.” Paul is adamant in Rom 1:25 that we are in error to worship/serve a created being rather than the Creator who made that being.

Angels, of course, are created beings just as we are. And they have particular roles assigned to them by God. The Bible notes that in the new age, we (humans) will be exalted to positions even above the angels (Heb 2:7-8). At the present, angels are more powerful than we but, like us, are incapable of viewing God and surviving (see Isaiah 6:2 and the angels (seraphim) with wings covering their eyes). They are immortal and never marry (Mt 22:30) and are not the objects of godly concern that we are (Heb 2:16). “…[Jesus] does not give help to the angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.” We, like the angels, are immortal, too (not that we existed except in the mind of God since before time began but that our spirit –and resurrected bodies—will live forever with Him), and God has wonderful plans for us that exceed even what the angels currently experience.

By:  Lee Pierce

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