Dictionary Mode: easton:Angel
Angel @ a word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a "messenger," and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to execute his purposes. It is used of an ordinary messenger Job:1:14: 1Samuel:11:3; Luke:7:24 Luke:9:52), of prophets Isaiah:42:19; Haggai:1:13), of priests Malachi:2:7), and ministers of the New Testament Revelation:1:20). It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the pestilence ( 2Samuel:24:16-17; 2Kings:19:35), the wind Psalms:104:4). But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly intelligences whom God employs in carrying on his government of the world. The name does not denote their nature but their office as messengers. The appearances to Abraham at Mamre Genesis:18:2 Genesis:18:22. Comp. 19:1), to Jacob at Peniel Genesis:32:24 Genesis:32:30), to Joshua at Gilgal Joshua:5:13-15), of the Angel of the Lord, were doubtless manifestations of the Divine presence, "foreshadowings of the incarnation," revelations before the "fulness of the time" of the Son of God. (1.) The existence and orders of angelic beings can only be discovered from the Scriptures. Although the Bible does not treat of this subject specially, yet there are numerous incidental details that furnish us with ample information. Their personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Genesis:16:7 Genesis:16:10, 11; Judges:13:1-21; Matthew:28:2-5; Hebrews:1:4, etc. These superior beings are very numerous. "Thousand thousands," etc. Daniel:7:10; Matthew:26:53; Luke:2:13; Hebrews:12:22-23). They are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power Zechariah:1:9-11; Daniel:10:13 Daniel:12:1; 1Thessalonians:4:16; Jude:1:1:9; Ephesians:1:21; Colossians:1:16). (2.) As to their nature, they are spirits Hebrews:1:14), like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as "like the angels" Luke:20:36), and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form Genesis:18:2 Genesis:19:1 Genesis:19:10; Luke:24:4; Acts:1:10), and the titles that are applied to them ("sons of God," Job:1:6 Job:38:7; Daniel:3:25; comp. 28) and to men Luke:3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between them and the human race. Imperfection is ascribed to them as creatures Job:4:18; Matthew:24:36; 1Peter:1:12). As finite creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly we read of "fallen angels." Of the cause and manner of their "fall" we are wholly ignorant. We know only that "they left their first estate" Matthew:25:41; Revelation:12:7-9), and that they are "reserved unto judgement" ( 2Peter:2:4). When the manna is called "angels' food," this is merely to denote its excellence Psalms:78:25). Angels never die Luke:20:36). They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power Mark:13:32; 2Thessalonians:1:7; Psalms:103:20). They are called "holy" Luke:9:26), "elect" ( 1Timothy:5:21). The redeemed in glory are "like unto the angels" Luke:20:36). They are not to be worshipped Colossians:2:18; Revelation:19:10). (3.) Their functions are manifold. (a) In the widest sense they are agents of God's providence Exodus:12:23; Psalms:104:4; Hebrews:11:28; 1Corinthians:10:10; 2Samuel:24:16; 1Chronicles:21:16; 2Kings:19:35; Acts:12:23). (b) They are specially God's agents in carrying on his great work of redemption. There is no notice of angelic appearances to man till after the call of Abraham. From that time onward there are frequent references to their ministry on earth Genesis:18; 19; 24:7,40; 28:12; 32:1). They appear to rebuke idolatry Judges:2:1-4), to call Gideon Judges:6:11-12), and to consecrate Samson (13:3). In the days of the prophets, from Samuel downward, the angels appear only in their behalf (kjvKings:19:5; 2Kings:6:17; Zechariah:1-6; Daniel:4:13 Daniel:4:23 Daniel:10:10 Daniel:10:13, 20, 21). The Incarnation introduces a new era in the ministrations of angels. They come with their Lord to earth to do him service while here. They predict his advent Matthew:1:20; Luke:1:26-38), minister to him after his temptation and agony Matthew:4:11; Luke:22:43), and declare his resurrection and ascension Matthew:28:2-8; John:20:12-13; Acts:1:10-11). They are now ministering spirits to the people of God Hebrews:1:14; Psalms:34:7 Psalms:91:11; Matthew:18:10; Acts:5:19 Acts:8:26 Acts:10:3 ; 12:7; 27:23). They rejoice over a penitent sinner Luke:15:10). They bear the souls of the redeemed to paradise Luke:16:22); and they will be the ministers of judgement hereafter on the great day Matthew:13:39-41, 49; 16:27; 24:31). The passages Psalms:34:7, Matthew:18:10) usually referred to in support of the idea that every individual has a particular guardian angel have no such meaning. They merely indicate that God employs the ministry of angels to deliver his people from affliction and danger, and that the angels do not think it below their dignity to minister even to children and to the least among Christ's disciples. The "angel of his presence" Isaiah:63:9. Comp. Exodus:23:20-21 Exodus:32:34 Exodus:33:2 ; Numbers:20:16) is probably rightly interpreted of the Messiah as the guide of his people. Others have supposed the expression to refer to Gabriel Luke:1:19).
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