So far in this series about angels, we have looked at the angels who announced the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus, and the angels who attended Jesus after his temptation in the wilderness. We also looked broadly at the power, purposes, and roles angels play across the Bible’s narratives and prophecies.
In the second installment, we zoomed in on the roles prescribed for angels in this present Church age until the return of Christ. We saw that angels are powerful and can break down prison doors. They provide necessary guidance, instruction, warning, and encouragement to believers as we advance the cause of Christ and his kingdom. They observe us, assist us, worship Jesus with us, and wait for the Father to send Jesus back to gather us.
In Part 3, we look to that day, when Jesus returns to bring an end to what is our current earthly reality and establishes a new heaven and earth where he gloriously and eternally reigns. He will bring many angels with him.
This aspect of angelology is more complicated and somewhat troubling. The reason is that before the dawn of creation, the archangel Lucifer pridefully rebelled against God. He was fired from his ministry as a worship leader and was cast down to earth from his heavenly home. He took a third of the angels with him.
Since the third chapter of Genesis, this fallen angel we now call Satan, and his many minions, have been busy causing trouble for humanity. They are cunning, malicious, and deceptive.
But no angel, even a fallen one, is smarter or more powerful than God, his Son, the Holy Spirit, and the angels that serve on their behalf. Starting with Genesis 3:15, God has been foretelling a day when this enemy will be dealt with in a very final way. The evil one and his followers will be cast into the lake of fire, never to practice their mischief again.
Paul stated this as a promise to encourage the church in Thessalonica:
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. (1 Thess. 1:6-7)
God’s judgment against these iniquitous angels will be harsh. Though they appear to have a wide ability to hinder the citizens of God’s Kingdom, Jude 6 in the Message translation assures us again.
And you know the story of the angels who didn’t stick to their post, abandoning it for other, darker missions. But they are now chained and jailed in a black hole until the great Judgment Day.
Jesus will return when he gets the “go” sign from the Father, and the saints, dead and alive, will be raised to live forever with the Lord. Unfortunately, it is also true that those humans who stubbornly refuse the gospel will face judgment with the fallen angels. These truths come directly from the mouth of Jesus as he taught with parables. For example,
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Matt. 13:41-43).
The angels will be given delegated authority to sort the sheep from the goats, the weeds from the wheat, and the good fish from the trash. These metaphors all convey the same truth. Jesus, with his angels, will administer justice and judgment. Those who love and serve God will find great and glorious reward, while those who reject and despise God will perish in a miserable way.
If you are not a believer and happen to be reading this, I’m sorry. You’ll have to take it up with Jesus himself. But hopefully, these repeated metaphors drive home the point. If Jesus is speaking the truth here, it is time to draw near to God and come into the company of the sheep, the wheat stalks, and the good fish. The time is coming when it will be too late.
The book of Revelation is replete with angels who are very busy administering, announcing, and sharing with Jesus Christ in the great drama of the end of the ages. It would take a book, not a blog, to outline all of the angelic characters in this elaborate apocalyptic story.
I encourage you to search your Bible app and see for yourself. Angels are mentioned 77 times! In the meantime, I’ll speak in generalities.
Angels deliver many messages. They speak to John, the human instrument used to pass the revelations to the rest of humankind. They prophesy to end-time churches. Angels tell the “eternal gospel” to the souls of people still on the earth suffering great tribulation. They announce and introduce the unfolding events, almost like masters of ceremonies working for their exalted host.
Angels are worship leaders. Some of them sing and some play trumpets. Some bow low before the throne of God and cry “Holy, holy, holy!”
Angels are warriors who fearlessly battle Satan and his legions. They confront every evil spirit, king, nation, and principality that has defied God. They destroy everything that is ungodly. They emerge victorious, of course, because they carry out the directives of God Almighty.
Angels are witnesses and participants of the wedding banquet of Christ and his bride and in the establishment of Christ’s glorious new heaven and earth. After releasing war and judgment on the earth, the angels are present to see the glory of God’s redemption. They introduce the bride. They stand upon the gem-encrusted gates of the New Jerusalem.
Angels appeared to some shepherds on a hillside outside of Bethlehem to announce that the Messiah had been born. Angels came to the barren wilderness to comfort and feed Jesus after he overcame the taunting of Satan. Angels were at the tomb when the stone was rolled away and Jesus arose.
Angels have watched the saints of God throughout the ages, intervening to provide, guide and rescue. They broke open prison doors so that the apostles could return to their mission. Angels led believers to places and situations where they could preach the gospel to the unsaved.
Angels will be active agents of God during all of the end-time events prophesied in the Gospels and Revelation. They will fight many battles and administer God’s justice. They will help those on earth to gain courage and saving faith. Angels will be part of the new, spotless, glorious kingdom of the Lion and the Lamb. We will bow with the angels to worship forever our King.
I don’t worship angels, but I am grateful for these strong, courageous, holy helpers!