The issue of this magazine for last month contained the first part of this examination Into the existence and service of angels. In it our attention was called to The Characteristics of Their Creation, and The Classification of Their Ranks. Mr. McClurkin also dealt with the only two angels who are individually named in the Bible/ Gabriel and Michael. This second article completes our brother’s doctrinal statement on this sublect.—Ed.
Concepts of Their Ministry
There Are Two chief functions in the ministry of angels, the one a ministry of worship before God, the other a ministry of service among men (Psa. 148:1-3; 91:11-12).
It appears that the administration of material things needed by God’s people, their food, their strength, and their protection, has been entrusted to these channels of good. At the very same time the Holy Spirit of God is engaged within them to impart spiritual truths and spiritual character.
They are called “Watchers” (Dan. 4:17) because they are the heavenly spectators of the affairs of earth and they serve in the protection of the saints, in the influencing of the nations, and in the execution of God’s providential judgments in the world. It will be remembered that they viewed with holy wonder the advent of Christ to earth. It will also be recalled that they sang at His birth, that they ministered to Him in His temptation, strengthened Him in His agony in the garden, guarded His tomb, announced His resurrection, watched His ascension, and from a comparison of Scriptures we know that they will accompany Christ on His return.
They are sharers of the joy in heaven over a sinner who repents and turns to God (Luke 15). Moreover, they are spectators of the saints’ courageous witness for Christ in a hostile world (Luke 12:8-9), and of the Church met in local assembly capacity (1 Cor. 11:10; 1 Tim. 5:21). Why do we read, “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels” if it is not a suggestion that the modesty of these holy watchers, who veil themselves in the presence of God, is a rebuke to all immodesty in the Christian congregation? Is not their very presence a guard against all insubordination to God’s holy order? If not, why are the saints charged to faithfulness before God and His elect angels?
In their ministry they have been known to bring a Christian worker and an anxious soul together, for we read, “The Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius.” The background to this word of guidance was the preparation of the heart of Peter by angelic ministry: “He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius … Send men to Joppa and call for one Simon” (Acts 10:19-21 compared with Acts 10:3-4). Angels cheer, protect, and encourage God’s people in the midst of Satanic opposition (1 Kings 19:5-8. Matt. 4:11. Acts 5:19; 12:7; 27:3. Moreover they are ministers of God’s judgments both now and in the future (2 Kings 19:35. 1 Chron. 21:16. 2 Thess. 1:7).
As servants of the saints (Heb. 1:14) they are agents of God’s keeping power, lest we stumble along the way (Psa. 91:11-12). They are God’s umbrella of protection against all enemies. Two hosts of angels overshadowed Jacob, one to guard him from Laban and another to guard him from Esau (Gen. 32:1-2). To walk in the fear of God is to ensure ourselves of this protection and thus to be impregnable against the forces of evil men and friends. We read, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them” (Psa. 34:7).
Angels are associated with answers to prayer (Dan. 10. Rev. 8:3). Little do we know the obstructions that the evil forces in the heavenlies exert against our entering into the holiest. What conflicts of faith are experienced by saints upon their knees! Our safety lies in walking in the fear of God. It is our sins, failures, and neglects which these evil beings use as weapons in their hands to accomplish our defeat.
When our prayers reach God and He gives answers in peace, what unknown conflicts result between these evil forces and the unfallen hosts of heaven before these, the servants to the saints, can deliver the answer. Daniel waited three weeks for an answer to prayer because of such a conflict (Dan. 10).
Our Lord warned against offending a little one who believes in Him, stating that his angel beholds the face of the Father in heaven (Matt. 18:10). Whatever the interpretation of this passage may be, we cannot be dogmatic, but we submit for consideration that it means his angel has ready access before God to lay a charge against anyone who offends the child-like saint of God. Every believer is precious to the heart of Christ (V. 11); let there be nothing in our hand, our foot, or our eye that would do them injury (Vv. 8-10).
The Scriptures also teach that when our day here is finally closed, and our pilgrimage takes us to the side of the River of Death, angels will attend us. As the human spirit of the saint departs for the Better-land, the angels of God conduct that spirit through enemy territory to its heavenly abode (Luke 16:22).
From the dawn of regeneration in their souls till they reach their rest in heaven, the children of God are enriched by the services of these ministering spirits, the agents of God’s protection, the vessels of His care, and the chariots of His love by which they are carried to glory.