6. The Habitation of Angels
“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). That angels have their own “habitation,” is clearly taught in this verse. “The word “habitation” (oiketerion) is used in Jude of the heavenly region appointed by God as the dwelling place of angels” (W. E. Vine; Dictionary of New Testament Words). Mr. Kenneth Wuest points out that the words “first estate” are from the Greek word Arche which means, the first in order of importance, honor or position. The word speaks here of the exalted position of angels in Heaven, in contradistinction to the lower place occupied by the earth dwellers. This high position and condition, these angels left, which means that they descended to a lower position and condition. In doing this they sinned.
Is not this what happened to Lucifer? Did he not leave his principality or dominion (arche), his throne, if you like, and sought to “ascend into Heaven … above the stars of God … upon the mount of the congregation … above the heights of the clouds … be like the most high”? (Isa. 14:13, 14).
Although these beings were created as sinless angels of God, they, like Lucifer, the brilliant and magnificent angel, bartered their realms of bliss for selfish ends. Keeping not the glorious estate which had been given them in creation, they abandoned their holy habitation, and are now in eternal chains under darkness awaiting the great day of judgment.
7. The Ministration of Angels
Angelic ministry occupies a large field of activity in the Word of God. Perhaps the greatest service that angels perform to God is that of adoration (Ps. 148:1-2). But this is not all. Scripture also teaches that theirs is a function of communication (Math. 1:20), consolation (Gen. 21:17), and of condemnation (Math. 13:41).
a. They were witnesses at the creation of the world (Job 38:4-10). What beautiful words these are in which God speaks to Job concerning the beauty of His wondrous creation when these heavenly beings, the principalities and powers in the heaven-lies, shouted in exultant joy as the marvelous panorama of nature opened out before them.
b. They were witnesses at the ordination of the law (Gal. 3:19). According to Acts 7:53, the law was given “by the disposition of angels;” it was “ordained by angels” (Gal. 3:19), and “the word spoken by angels” (Heb. 2:2). That angelic beings were prominent at Sinai, Scripture is clear (Ps. 68:17).
c. They are frequently seen in ministration on behalf of the people of God, servants of God, “to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:1, Matt. 18:10). This is true not only of Old Testament believers, but also of us in this present age.
Such ministry should serve as an encouragement to believers today, as we are assured that the angels who so acted for the encouragement and care and protection of the saints have not ceased in such ministry (Acts 5:19, 12:7). Perhaps we little realize how often we have been the objects of this angelic ministry during our pilgrim pathway. Many Christians can remember remarkable deliverances and a sense of care and protection over them in very difficult circumstances.
The writer remembers one such event which happened in his experience, when, as a young man, he was confronted with a masked mounted highway robber who demanded at the point of a revolver the bag containing the wages of a considerable number of employees. When the demand to hand over the bag was refused, the robber immediately commenced to shoot. Though he fired five or six bullets at very close quarters, I was miraculously preserved from harm. This is the text for that day sent me by a friend: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”
The Apostle Peter tells us that angels are also interested in our salvation (1 Pet. 1:12), and Paul tells of their interest in our conversation, even the details of our attire (1 Cor. 11:10).
Without enlarging any further upon their service to God’s children, we sum up by stating that angels are manifested:
1. Pointing out the way we should go (Ex. 23:20; 32:34).
2. Preparing us for coming conflict (Judges 6:11-22).
3. Providing our necessities when discouraged (1 Kings 19:5).
4. Protecting us when in danger (2 Kings 6:17).
5. Preventing us from being harmed (Dan. 3:28; 6:22).
6. Pulling us out of difficulties (Gen. 19:16; Acts 12:7-11).
7. Preserving us in all our journeyings (Gen. 24:7, 40).
8. Portering us to glory at death (Luke 16:22).
We cannot enumerate or enter into all of the activities of these angelic beings, but we do know that they are ceaselessly active in the life of the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ. They were also ceaselessly active in the life of our Saviour and Lord.
We shall now consider our last point.
d. They are seen in relation to our Lord Jesus Christ in connection with His sojourn down here. It is in ministration to the Lord Jesus Christ that the service of angels fulfils its high end. Although Matthew says, “even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (20:28), the Gospel narrative shows that angels ministered unto Him as their Sovereign Lord, though He was found in fashion as a man. They were present at the:
1. Annunication of Mary of His immaculate conception (Lk. 1:26-38); to Joseph concerning His appointed name, Jesus (Math. 1:21).
2. Proclamation to the shepherds (Lk. 2:8-12) “fear not.”
3. Incarnation of Christ (Lk. 2:13) in a chorus of praise.
4. Temptation by Satan, to serve him (Math. 4:11).
5. In the garden of Gethsemane, strengthening Him (Lk. 22:43).
6. Resurrection (Math. 28:2) proclaiming, “He is not here” (v. 6).
7. Ascension (Acts 1:10) assuring His disciples of His coming again.
8. At the descension to rapture us home, it will be “with the voice of the archangel” (1 Thess. 4:16).
9. When He appears in glorification, He “shall be revealed from Heaven with the angels of His might” (2 Thess. 1:7, Margin).
10. They were seen at the coronation day when the Lord Jesus returned home, His work finished, to receive the place of honor and glory. What a Hallelujah chorus swept through the heavens as He took the highest station (1 Pet. 3:22)! Yes, in Heaven itself, many angels will be about His throne, celebrating in holy song His victorious rule and Divine Majesty. All the angels of God worship Him.
Consider, then, the greatness of this Person before whom the heavenly powers in all their lofty ranks prostrate themselves, covering their faces and crying with loud voice night and day: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of hosts: The whole earth is full of His glory” … and the climax of His exaltation is expressed by Peter, “Jesus Christ: who is gone into Heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” (1 Pet. 3:22).