Thirty-four books in the Bible talk about angels.
Seventeen in the Old Testament, seventeen in the New Testament. If you were to add up all the times that angels are mentioned, you would have almost 300 specific places where angels are mentioned in the Bible. To many, angels are relegated to mythology or fantasy. But today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip gives you the rundown on angels and why they're significant to his plan and to you.
Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will encourage you to boldly live out your faith so you can make a difference for Christ. Some people find comfort in the status quo. Others just can't wait to challenge it. If this were a recovery meeting, I would begin by saying my name is Skip and I'm a non-conformist.
How about you? Do you go with the flow or swim against the current? The truth is going against the status quo can be difficult, but following Jesus requires it. The Bible's account of Daniel shows how God can transform lives by one person's willingness to defy what's normal.
I like to think of it this way. When the waves of life came crashing down, Daniel decided to go surfing. He thought, I'm going to ride these waves. If these waves are the will of God for my life, I'm going to learn how to master these things and I'm going to get propelled forward. Learn to soar above the status quo with Skip Heitzig's book, Defying Normal. It's our way of saying thanks for your gift of $35 or more to help connect more people to God's word. And when you give, we'll also include the booklet, What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren. These two resources will help you stand out from the crowd for God's glory.
Visit connectwithskip.com slash offer to give online securely today or call 800-922-1888. Now we're in Hebrews chapter one as we join Skip Heitzig for today's teaching. By way of introduction, I was reading this week a NASA expert who said it is highly unlikely that we are alone in the universe and that we may be close to finding alien life. He went on to say, in fact, it may happen within the next two decades.
Now people have been saying this for years. We're not alone in the universe. There's life out there, intelligent life.
Probably it became popularized in our generations all the way back with Star Trek and then Star Wars. Earlier this year, NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets in the constellation Aquarius that are warm enough to sustain life on them. And that got a lot of scientists in that community very, very excited. Well, here's the truth. We're not alone in this universe. There is highly intelligent life. His name is God.
And besides God, there are other beings that are intelligent, very, very powerful, can move at unprecedented speeds. We call them angels. The Bible refers to them a lot, as we will see. And while there's no shortage of documentaries on UFOs or people's personal experience with UFOs, they've been abducted by aliens, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, the real question to ask is how much of that has something to do with angelic beings and demonic beings?
Something we're going to look at this time and next time. According to a CBS poll, nearly eight out of 10 Americans, 77%, to be exact, believe in angels. The article said, but belief in angels is fairly widespread, even among the less religious. And a majority of non-Christians think that angels exist, as do more than four out of 10 of those who never attend religious services. Over the last several years, there's even been angel sightings a lot.
I think it was really, really popular about 10, 15 years ago. Seems like every week I heard of angel sightings. They became as popular as Elvis sightings back in the 1970s. People who would take a picture and then look at the picture later, look at it up close, and there'd be some kind of maybe angelic being perhaps behind that cloud, or it could just be a light streak, but it's an angel to them. Or I've heard people say, I was driving my car. I picked up a hitchhiker.
The hitchhiker was telling me about my life and then vanished, disappeared. So we have hitchhiking angels as well. Very popular are movies about angels. Some of the more famous ones, Angels in the Outfield. Another one, Angels in the End Zone. And another one, Angels in the Infield.
They seem to like major league sports for some reason. There was a movie called The Prophecy. There was a movie in 2007 called Gabriel and one in 2010 called Legion.
On and on and on the list goes. But the most famous, the classic movie about angels that comes out every time this time of year, goes all the way back to 1947, starring Jimmy Stewart called It's a Wonderful Life. And Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey in the film.
He's very depressed, loses his job, is suicidal on Christmas Eve, until Clarence shows up, his guardian angel, and convinces him that his life is worth living, that he's done great things. And the story is, it's an emotional, fun little story. Fun little story to go on.
Fun little ride. Unfortunately though, like many things, a lot of people believe in things and they take their cues not from the scripture, but from popular media or popular books. And so it is with angels. That's why I want to look at the Bible with you to see what the Bible has to say about these very powerful and interesting beings. So we're in Hebrews chapter 1, and I want to show you a list of several traits about angels, things they do, things they are, and we'll get a good running start on it.
It's a short chapter, so we can read it all together. Hebrews 1 says, God, who at various times and in various ways, spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, you are My Son, today I have begotten you? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son. But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, let all the angels of God worship Him. And of the angels, He says, who makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. But to the Son, He says, your throne, O God, is forever and ever. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness, therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions. And you, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain.
They will all grow old like a garment, like a cloak you will fold them up, and they will be changed, but you are the same, for your years will not fail. But to which of the angels has He ever said, sit at My right hand till I make your enemies your footstool? Are they not, that is angels, are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Now Hebrews chapter 1 is about Jesus, but the author compares Jesus Christ, the Son of God, with other beings, and angels are mentioned several times in this chapter as he compares them to that. So kind of taking our cues from here, let me list several traits about angels. First of all, angels are significant.
They are significant in God's plan. Six times in those 14 verses he mentions angels. He talks about God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and he speaks about angels, all of them, as very, very real. 34 books in the Bible talk about angels.
17 in the Old Testament, 17 in the New Testament. If you were to add up all the times that angels are mentioned, you would have almost 300 specific places where angels are mentioned in the Bible. The word angel singular shows up 199 times.
The plural form angel shows up 93 times, so almost 300. When we get to the New Testament, it uses a very specific word translated into English, angel. It's the word angelos, which literally means one who is dispatched or a messenger. An angel is a messenger, as we're going to see, a messenger of God.
Now that's a word that can refer to any messenger, a human messenger, but it most often refers to these spiritual beings, a certain class of spiritual beings. There are other names that are mentioned in the Bible for these creatures. For example, in Job chapter 1 and chapter 2, these angels are called sons of God, and they're given that title because angels don't procreate. I'm going to touch on this again, but they are direct special creations of God and therefore can go by the term sons of God.
That's Job chapter 1 and 2. They're called in Psalm 89 holy ones. They're called spirits here, a couple of places. Verse 14 calls them ministering spirits. Daniel chapter 4 refers to angels as watchers, and Ephesians and Colossians call them dominions, principalities, powers, or authorities. Then there are special kinds of angels. The Bible talks about cherubim, and cherubim were sort of like special agent angels. Their task was to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis chapter 3.
Think of centuries at Buckingham Palace or the Swiss Guard in front of the Vatican or the Secret Service guarding the president. On the Ark of the Covenant there were two cherubim that were carved out with their wings touching in the middle, and God said, that is the place that I will meet you. That is the place from where I will speak to you. God was seen and called one who dwells between the cherubim, that special class of angelic beings. There's another being of angels called seraphim, and the seraphim seem to provide the background music to heaven. They're the ones crying out holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.
The whole earth is filled with His glory. So we have cherubim, we have seraphim, and then we have in the book of Revelation something called living creatures, four living creatures. Now they may be related, they may be one of the cherubim or seraphim, we're not sure, but these four living creatures are singled out as unique. They come to us in Revelation chapter 5 and Ezekiel chapter 1. What makes them really weird is that they have very unique faces.
Four faces, the face of a lion, the face of an ox, the face of a man, the face of an eagle. Time forbids going into all the exegesis of that, but enough to say that there's a lot of different types of angels. Question is where'd they come from? Answer, God made them.
God created them. They didn't always exist, so they're not eternal, but they are immortal. That is, God created them and they will never die.
They will live forever. So in Genesis chapter 2 verse 1, we are told, thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. So God created the heavens and the earth and the angelic beings called the host of heaven. Now we don't know exactly when they were made. Some speculate they were made before the heavens and the earth were made before the universe. Others figure that they were created between day 1 in Genesis chapter 1 and 2 and day 6, but certainly they were created before the seventh day of creation when God created human beings on the earth.
And that is because of the text that I just read. God finished the heavens and the earth and all the host of them. So it could be they were made before he made anything else or they were there and got to witness part of the creation having newly been made. In the book of Job, when God interrogates Job at the end of the book, it's one of the best sections of the book, God says, where were you when I created the heavens and the earth and I formed the universe? And he said concerning that, when the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.
It seems to indicate that whenever God made them, they shouted for joy and got all happy when God made an inhabitable planet and put mankind on it. So let's say they were just created either way before he created anything else or while he was making the heavens and the earth somewhere between day one and day six. Something else, according to Jesus, they don't reproduce, they don't procreate. It's not like you have a daddy angel and a mama angel and they have all sorts of little angels, cherubs, you know, like in the paintings, fat little babies with wings.
Not at all. Again, a special creation by God, each one individual, I might even say like snowflakes. Snowflakes are unique one from another, you never see two alike. I think God instantly created the angels and they were all very, very unique. But Jesus said this when he was having an argument with the religious leaders of his day and they were talking about the future resurrection and they were trying to trap Jesus with an argument. And Jesus answered the little argument about the future resurrection by just saying this, you're ignorant, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God, but concerning the resurrection, in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, that's human beings, but are like the angels of God.
So God specially made them, they are immortal but not eternal, they will live forever. Now let me throw something else at you. Do you know that you may have actually met an angel? You say, no, no, no, I would have recognized an angel by the wings, certainly I've never met an angel. Well, you wouldn't have recognized it as an angel.
The book of Hebrews chapter 13 says, don't forget to show hospitality to strangers for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. I think that one of the reasons we tend to dismiss the idea of angels, most people do by the way, they don't give angels a thought as being real or being in their world, is because of all of the Hollywood movies, all of the sightings people have had, all of the lame caricatures that people have come up with. You know, angels always have long robes, they always sit on clouds, they always play harps, they're always fair-skinned and often feminine, right?
They're always female, that's how they're portrayed. One man said that his wife reminded him of an angel because she was always up in the air harping about something. Well, in the Bible, these creatures are very, very strong. Michael, for example, in the book of Daniel is a warrior angel. And the Talmud, the Jewish writings from the past, always describe angels as fiery beings. In one little passage of the Talmud said, the essence of angels is fire.
And the Talmud is fire. So one thing we know is they are very, very powerful. So they're significant in God's plan. That's the first trait.
The second trait, they are several in number. In verse 4, 5, 6 of Hebrews chapter 1, verse 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, and 14, it uses the plural, angels, angels. How many angels are there? Answer, we don't know. A lot would be a good answer, a whole lot.
We don't exactly know how many, but let me give you my take on this. There are only three that are identified in the Scripture by name. Number one is Michael. Michael is called, interestingly, an archangel, archangelos, some kind of super power being in rank, an archangel. He's called that in Jude, verse 9. But when Michael shows up in the Old Testament and in the book of Revelation, he is seen as a protector, a warrior protector of a nation, the nation of Israel. He is associated specifically with guarding and protecting God's people, the Israelites. That's in Daniel chapter 10 and in the book of Revelation chapter 12. Another one by name after Daniel is Gabriel. Gabriel shows up in Daniel chapter 8 and Daniel chapter 9, and in the New Testament, Luke chapter 2. He seems to be one who's involved in the coming of Jesus Christ. He's the one that gives the announcement to Mary and Joseph that they're going to have a baby and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sin. That is Gabriel.
The third one mentioned is, anybody know? Lucifer. This is before he fell. Isaiah chapter 14 is called Lucifer. Lucifer means son of the morning or light bearer or day star or shining star.
Lucifer, son of the morning, how are you fallen from heaven, oh Lucifer? So those three are mentioned. Now back to the number of angels. We don't exactly know how many there are, but do you know that people have guessed how many there are?
In fact, I read about one guy in the Middle Ages named Albertus Magnus or Albert the Great. He was a philosopher, he was a theologian, and he also taught science at the time, and he said he knew the precise number. I know you want to know exactly how many angels there are. So according to Albertus Magnus, there are 399,920,004.
Have no idea how he calculated that or came up with it. But we know there must be a lot because, for example, when God gives the law on Mount Sinai, we're told in Deuteronomy that the Lord came with myriads of his holy ones or angelic beings. At the birth of Jesus Christ, there was a multitude of the angelic hosts or company of angels. In Hebrews chapter 12 verse 22, it says that when we worship, we worship with an innumerable company of angels. Innumerable.
Can't number them. Doesn't mean that you can't have an exact number eventually, but when he saw that, it's just an innumerable crowd. Probably closer to the number is Revelation chapter 5, when John sees the vision of the heavenly system and setup. It says, then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, the elders, and the number of them was 10,000 times 10,000 and thousands of thousands. So at least there are a hundred million angels.
That's the math there. Plus thousands of others. So let's just safely guess there are probably billions of angels. They're innumerable. So they're significant in God's plan.
There's several a number. A third trait of angels. They are seen only rarely. Notice that they are called spirits here. Verse 14 of Hebrews 1, are they the angels not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation. So they are spirit beings. They are non-corporeal beings. That is, they don't have a physical body, ordinarily. I want to qualify that. Ordinarily.
You say, ordinarily, what does that mean? Sometimes they do. For whatever purpose, God's purpose, He allows angels from time to time to have some kind of a human visage. After all, even in Hebrews, is that some have entertained angels without knowing it. So they have some kind of a physical manifestation or God gives a person the ability to see into the spiritual realm, which is very, very real.
We don't see it, but from time to time, God allows that to happen. That's Skip Heitzig with a message from the series 2020. Now here's Skip with an important message for you. Did you know that you make a worldwide impact as a partner in this ministry? Listen to this letter one listener sent in. I praise God for your ministry and reaching out to Christians and non-Christians alike. I came back home to the Philippines to be with my family, and your program is a part of my daily routine. I am truly blessed to inform you that it has greatly helped me grow in my Christian walk.
Well, you need to know it's your support that makes stories like this even possible. More people around the world are connecting to God's Word thanks to the generosity of friends like you, and we want to invite you to help reach even more listeners like this one. Here's how you can do that. Visit connectwithskip.com visit connectwithskip.com to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com or call 800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares how the angels of God work in your life. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-25 22:04:22 / 2023-04-25 22:13:22 / 9