Friday, November 20, 2015

Is God Still Using Angels Today?



Most people when taking in the books of the Bible might rate the Book of Revelation as the most confusing followed up by probably the Book of Isaiah. However if you dig a bit deeper you will find that the Book of Isaiah is much like a mini-Bible within itself. The first half deals with the judgment of God's wrath against the nations of Judah and Israel and the later part with God's grace and mercy for His people. There are 66 chapters within the Book of Isaiah, much like there is 66 books within the Bible. Like any good Bible study, you need to understand the context of what is happening, and thus the reason for all of us to own a really good study Bible. They will break up the paragraphs and break up the chapters and they really help you. It is a worthy investment and they are not cheap. Think of it this way, 10 visits to Starbucks, can buy you a world class Bible! It will really help you go through all the books of the Bible in a whole different way!

Today's study will touch on the fact of whether God is still using angels today. We know that is very true as the Book of Matthew and Hebrews tells us that angels are His ministering spirits that He has sent forth, the Bible says, to minister to the heirs of salvation. We might make light of the fact about guardian angels in light of movies like It's A Wonderful Life and Clarence the angel who helps George Baily. Yet the Bible tells us that as believers in Christ, we have a least one angel that has been dispatched to our care. The second point is that Jesus tells us according to the Scripture how we treat children for example, for their faces (the children's) are represented before heaven, by their angels. Peter reminds us how we treat strangers that come into our life, because unknowingly you could be ministering to an angel. That is so sobering. Imagine how many of us have met homeless people who could have been angels testing our benevolence or in a hospital?

According to the Book of Revelation, it is only going to increase and the angelic mission is clearly defined from the Bible. It's a though the veil between the physical realm and spiritual realm is pulled back and their impact one another like never before. So why then do some scholars confuse the mighty angel we see in Revelation 10 with that of Jesus Christ. It might be because the word here for angel is not the same as an angelic being with wings, it means a messenger sent from heaven to make an announcement. It is not necessarily an angel like Michael or Gabriel. Whoever he is, he is one dispatched from heaven, with an announcement to be given to earth. That is all we know about him at this moment.

We also know that the word for angel means a created being from heaven with wings but also from the Old Testament, we have the word theophany or a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ before Bethlehem's manger. Christ appeared before Abraham and Joshua for example, and He was announced as the angel of the Lord. In Revelation, in the opening chapters 2 and 3 it says, "to the angel at the church of Philadelphia..." We know that angel is none other than the pastor of the church of Philadelphia back then in the time of Christ. So the word has a broad application. So who is this? Let's keep studying.

We know that the message is by divine delivery no matter who it is. When we see the word "another mighty angel" is means another angel of a different kind. So he is somewhat of a great order other than your run of the mill angel. Not that any angel if we saw it today would be run of the mill. If we were able to see one, we might just pass out. When Daniel saw an angel he got sick to his stomach and had to lay in bed for many days. Lets just explain it this way, if we have another angel of a different kind providing a message by divine delivery, let's just call this one the L.A. Times. That is a messenger of a different order. But if someone comes to your door wearing a Federal Express uniform, that is still a message coming to you from a different order or from a different dispatch.

This angel is a different from the L.A. Times and the Federal Express as it is from the run of the mill angel. I think you understand this now. Notice his origin. He comes out of heaven. When God desires to provide a message to mankind, His origins are always from heaven. Always. God speaks to Abraham!

Genesis 22:11 ~ "But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham! 'Here I am', he replied."

God speaks to Moses from heaven. 

Exodus 3:2-5 ~ "There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight - why the bush does not burn up." When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." "Do not come any closer," God said, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."

What made that ground holy? The person that was in the burning bush which was the LORD. His title was the angel of the LORD. What is the title of the angel of the LORD in the Old Testament? It is none other than the LORD Almighty, Jesus Christ. A pre-incarnate appearance before Bethlehem. When God spoke to the prophets what did He say?

Hebrews 1:1-2 ~ "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through who he made the universe."

When God spoke to the apostles, what did He say?

Matthew 17:5 ~ "While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"

 When God speaks to mankind, He speaks from above.

Luke 3:21-22 ~ "When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven opened up and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, who I love; with you I am well pleased."

God's messengers deliver a message from heaven. When God speaks, it comes from above. When God sends His messengers to mankind, it is also a messenger of divine description. This is what causes scholars to think that this messenger is someone other than just another angel.

Revelation 10:1 ~ "Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars."

This is truly an awesome description of this divine messenger. "Clothed with a cloud," that connects us immediately with whoever this person is, he is in great association with the Lord, himself. When God spoke to Moses, Mt Sinai was covered with a cloud. Not only that but when God watched over and protected the children of Israel in the wilderness, He manifested Himself as a cloud by day. On the Mount of Transfiguration, when they saw Jesus transfigured, what descended from heaven and covered them all? A cloud of glory. At Jesus' ascension when He went back up into heaven, what received Him into heaven? A cloud. At the Rapture of the church, what is going to happen when Christ comes? We are going to be caught up into the Lord's presence in the cloud. At the Second Coming, how it that going to look? The Bible says that Christ will come with the church and His angels with Him in the Second Coming in a cloud. The Lord is always in association with clouds.

Matthew 26:64 ~ "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ~ "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Daniel 7:13 ~ "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence."

Matthew 24:30 ~ "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

Then it says that he has a rainbow around his head. When we get to heaven we will be given eyes to see spiritual things. God is revealing this for John to see right now. God promises to never judge the world again without mercy as we see in Genesis.

Genesis 9:13-14 ~ "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow appears in the clouds,"

Revelation 4:2-3 ~ "At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald encircled the throne."

The cloud in association with the Lord, and the rainbow in association with the Lord. We see the connection. We can also understand why there would be some confusion between this being a run of the mill angel or the Lord, Himself. "His face was like the sun,"

Revelation 1:13-16 ~ "and among the lampstands was someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his moth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."

We remember the seven lampstands is the manifestation of God's presence among His people from the first being in the tabernacle and then here in Revelation where we find that Jesus walks among them being His church.

Matthew 17:2 ~ "There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light."

We remember before in Revelation 1:15 that "His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace," He sends His messengers to mankind, a message for divine duty.

Revelation 10:2-3 ~ "He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke."

What is with the little book or scroll. This is a bit technical. You shouldn't be so focused on the placement of his feet or even the little scroll or book, is that it is open. Did you catch that? You might want to circle that in your Bible. The word implies that the book in heaven, this angel who has this book is not open. It is a book that is secret, that is held by God, it is a book that when it is opened has things in it that we are not allowed to know. God won't answer these questions we have about the book even though the Bible has all the answers. No matter what footnotes you might have in your Bible, no one knows about the little book. Nobody. Someone once said that only Seventh Day Adventists know what the book says, but they are not allowed to tell anybody what it says. Don't believe it. Read the Bible. It says that no one knows what is in the book.

Now we come to a bit of history. Whenever a general conquered another empire in a battle, they would take the general of the empire they defeated and lay him down and stand on his neck and declare victory. John would have understood this term that he is seeing an angel stand on the sea and on the land, what is he declaring? Absolute victory and John would have known this. He is announcing absolute victory of the rule and reign of the dominion by God. Even Jews who know their history who read this would understand what this means.

God gives us this break because as we have been marching through our study into Revelation, it has been pretty heavy. It might have even scared some people to unlike my Facebook page or unfriend me because they don't like what the Bible has to say about these events of the end times. He gives us a break in the story at this point to infuse hope, grace and mercy into those that are reading this. That is the very reason why some churches don't teach on the Book of Revelation, it isn't exactly a church growth builder but remember it is the only book of the Bible that offers a blessing to those that read and hear its words. This portion of the Bible is all about hope because our God is a God of hope, grace and mercy.

For those of you reading this today, that might feel hopeless, let me pray for you.

Father,

Whoever this person is that is reading this today, and they feel like they are at the end of their rope. Maybe it's their marriage, their kids, the sacrifice of their jobs, or another issue that only You know that they are dealing with. We pray that you would bring healing to their situation, healing to their relationships, health to their body, and God, peace and comfort to their soul. God, we are trusting right now that You will take this and You will touch the person who is reading this right now, who is crying out to You right now, saying "Dear God please intervene in my life, please help me now." And Lord, I have no doubt that You will speak to them, because that is the kind of God You are! In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!