“I have to go to work” is a common phrase we hear in our homes. Most people have or have had jobs that require work of some sort. Angels are no different. The Hebrew word for angel includes work or business. Surprised? Yes, they are God’s messengers but that’s only a small part of an angel’s business. Angels represent God in word and action, however, their assignment is exclusively at God’s direction.
Let’s begin at the beginning. God created the heavens to inhabit His forms of light; angels, the sun, moon, and stars were all considered the host of heaven (Gen. 2:1). Job 38:7 tells us that the morning stars were singing and the sons of God were shouting for joy! God was creating something out of nothing and worship broke out.
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.” Nehemiah 9:6 ESV
Scripture describes angels using word pictures to help us imagine their appearance. They may have human and animal characteristics: faces, hands, bodies, legs of a calf, or wings of a bird. Their appearance may display brilliant light or flames of fire and scripture tells us that they have food (Ps. 78:25) and their own language (1 Cor. 13:1). Angels can be called living beings or creatures, morning stars, heavens armies, sons of God, cherubim, seraphim, and two of them had names: Gabriel and Michael. They are seen driving chariots (2 Kings 2:12), sitting or standing, guarding (Gen. 3:24) or executing judgment (Ex. 12:23, 2 Sam. 24:16-17) on God’s orders. In fact, they are seen in Job 1 and 2 appearing before the Creator along with Satan. Were they giving report or simply fellowshipping with Him; we don’t know.
As with mankind we know they were created holy and yet given the ability to fall (Is. 14:12-17 and Ez. 28:12-19). That’s an important difference between angels and God’s elect. Since Adam’s fall we are born with a sin nature and given the opportunity to repent and be redeemed: angels are not. Once the anointed, guardian cherub (Satan) filled his heart with pride and was banished from heaven, there was no return.
I suspect that angels wonder:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4 ESV
Redemption, justification, holiness, adoption, and election describe aspects of our position with God and angels desire to understand (1 Peter 1:12) this unique relationship we share (Ps. 144:3). Next week we’ll delve into this topic of angels in greater detail to discover their diverse purposes.