Angels

Q. God created angels first before humans (we know because Satan was already fallen as the serpent). But do we know why He created them? And when?

A. The word “angel” translates the Hebrew word “mal’ak” and the Greek word “aggelos“. The former means “messenger, representative, or ambassador”; the latter also means “messenger, envoy, one who is sent”. As such, we know one primary purpose God created them was to be His messenger, to communicate His will e.g.
Dan 8:16 And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and He called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.”
• Mt 2:13 Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”
• Lk 1:28 And coming in, he (an angel) said to her (Mary), “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
• Acts 5:20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”
An angel spoke to Peter and the apostles.

Another reason God created angels was to execute His purposes, including His judgments e.g.
Ps 103:21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will.
• 2 Sam 24:16 When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now relax your hand!” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
• Mt 13:41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,
• Jn 5:4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.
• Acts 12:23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

What’s more, they were charged to watch over and serve God’s children e.g.
Ps 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.
• Ps 91:11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.
• Mt 18:10 See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
• Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

As to when, the Bible did not state explicitly, but there are hints:
Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. The hosts refer to heavenly hosts, or angels.
• Ex 20:11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. “All that is in them” would include angels.
• Job 38:6-7 On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
When God laid the cornerstone of the earth, the morning stars and the sons of God, both referring to angels, were there already to sing and praise.
So the clues point to early in the creation week, but we just can’t be sure.

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Host of Heaven

host-of-heaven-1

Q. Isa 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. Why all the host instead of all the hosts?

A. “Host of heaven” translate the Hebrew words tasba’ (the host) shamayim (of heaven). The primary meaning of tsaba’ is army or host, which includes:
• host of organized army,
• host of angels,
• the sun, moon & stars, &
• the whole creation.

The term “host of heaven” occurs in 18 verses in the NASB. The meaning in each verse depends on the context e.g.

Sun, moon & stars:
Deut 4:19 And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
• 2 Kgs 23:5 He did away with the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the surrounding area of Jerusalem, also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations and to all the host of heaven.
• Jer 8:2 They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground.
• Isa 34:4 And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree.

Angels (including fallen):
1 Kgs 22:19 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left.
• 2 Chr 18:18 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left.
• Dan 8:10 It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.

A related term is “heavenly host”, which appears 4 times in the NASB. Again context determines the meaning:

Sun, moon & stars
Deut 17:3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded,
• Jer 19:13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled like the place Topheth, because of all the houses on whose rooftops they burned sacrifices to all the heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods.

Angels
Neh 9:6 “You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.
• Lk 2:13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

Why “host” instead of “hosts”? Because “host” is already a collective term, just as sheep can refer to one or more sheep. Having said that, one title of God is LORD of hosts, not LORD of host. That’s because God is LORD of all creation, not just angelic armies, or stars & constellations, but everything. He is the One & only LORD over all. There is none other like Him.

What do Angels Look Like? (2 of 2)

Cherub

Cherub

(Continued from yesterday)

Third, notwithstanding their normally manifesting as men, some ranks have a very unusual appearance e.g. cherubim and seraphim. Cherubim do not look like chubby infants with little wings in Renaissance art. Ezekiel 1 gives a description of four strange-looking living beings, which Ezk 10:15, 20 identified as cherubim.

Ezk 1:5-11 Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. Each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight and their feet were like a calf’s hoof, and they gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies.

Wheel intersecting a wheel

Wheel intersecting a wheel

• Ezk 10:12 Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them.

How big or tall or they? I don’t know whether the statues were life-size, but the cherubim inside the inner sanctuary of the temple were 10 cubits tall, with a wingspan of 10 cubits:
1 Kings 6:23-24 Also in the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. Five cubits was the one wing of the cherub and five cubits the other wing of the cherub; from the end of one wing to the end of the other wing were ten cubits. (See also 6:25-26; 2 Chron 3:11-13)
A cubit is 18 inches, so they were 15 ft (4.6 m) tall and 15 ft. wide with outstretched wings. That’s huge!

Seraph

Seraph

Isaiah saw seraphim in a vision who looked as follows:
Isa 6:2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

As such their appearance must be frightening or terrifying if they appear all of a sudden. Hope this helps.

What do Angels Look Like? (1 of 2)

Chariots of fire appearing to Elisha's servant

Chariots of fire appearing to Elisha’s servant

Q. What do angels look like?

A. First of all, angels are spirits who do not have physical bodies. So normally they are invisible to our human eyes.
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
• Lk 24:39 See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

For example, when the Arameans wanted to capture Elisha, his servant was very afraid when he saw the Aramean army circling the city. Not until Elisha prayed for the LORD to open the servant’s eyes could he see the angels with them were more than the Aramean army:
• 2 Kings 6:16-17 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 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.

The Angel of the LORD and 2 angels visit Abraham

The Angel of the LORD and 2 angels visit Abraham

Secondly, when angels do appear to men, usually they took the form of ordinary men e.g.
• To Abraham – Gen 18:2 When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; …
• To Lot – Gen 19:1 ff Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.
• To Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome – Mk 16:5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.
• To the apostles – Acts 1:10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.
• To Cornelius – Acts 10:30 Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments,

Angels at Jesus' resurrection

Angels at Jesus’ resurrection

Furthermore, they must have looked like any other men, for how else can you entertain them without realizing they are angels?
Heb 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Interestingly, even though angels are spirits and neither marry nor are given in marriage (Mt 20:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:35), they always appear as men, not women.

(To be continued)