What Angels Do

By David E. Thompson


Although angelic action manifests itself in many ways, we should always remember that the primary purpose of an angel is to serve God. The main task of an unfallen angel is to carry out specific assignments and to accomplish various purposes for God. Just as there are different classifications and identifications of the angels, so there are different functions, responsibilities and ministries for the angels. This section is designed to explore these various areas of ministry.

Angelic Responsibility Area #1 – Unfallen angels have a ministry to God. There are at least nine ministries we may determine:

Angels praise God for His creation (Psalm 148:1-2; Job 38:6-7 ).
Angels praise God for His holiness (Isaiah 6:3).
Angels worship God for His holiness (Revelation 4:8).
Angels worship God for His majesty (Revelation 5:13-14).
Angels worship God for His Son (Revelation 5:11-12; Hebrews 1:6) .
Angels serve God by obeying God’s Word (Psalm 103:20).
Angels serve God by promoting God’s worship (Revelation 22:9).
Angels serve God by carrying out God’s judgments (Genesis 3:22-23; Revelation 8:2).
Angels serve God by being personally accountable (Job 1:6; 2:1).

Angelic Responsibility Area #2 – Unfallen angels have a ministry connected to God’s program . Since angels were created very early by God, logically speaking they would have an active interest and role to play in any program of God. It certainly appears that whenever God moves His program in a new direction, angels become very active. We may observe six:

Angels were very active concerning God’s creation (Job 38:6-7 2).
Angels were very active concerning God’s Word (Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2; Revelation 1:1; 22:8-9; 16:3).
Angels were very active concerning God’s nation, Israel (Revelation 7:1-8).

God’s unfallen angels have always had a profound and important ministry to Israel. They were involved in blessing Abraham (Genesis 18:1-2, 16, 22; 19:1). They were involved in protecting Abraham’s family (Genesis 19:1, 15). Angels protected Elisha and were used to deliver Israel from the Arameans (2 Kings 6:15-20). Angels have had and undoubtedly still have a profound connection and association with the nation Israel.

Angels were very active concerning God’s Son. Angels were very active concerning Christ’s first coming (Matthew 1:20; 4:11) and they will be very active at His Second Coming (Matthew 25:31).
Angels are very active concerning God’s church.
They were active at the beginning of it (Acts 8:26; 10:3, 7; 12:11).
They were active during the development of it (Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14).
They will be active at the end of it. (1 Thessalonians 4:16
Angels are very active concerning Tribulation wrath (Rev. 7:1; 8:2; 10:1; 12:7-8; 16:1; 17:1; 18:1). We may certainly see that during every one of God’s new programs or epoch times, angels are very active. From the beginning of creation to the calling of Israel, to the development of the Church right to the end, angels are involved in the whole program of God. We may assume from this that when God’s program changes, so in some way do the ministry assignments of angels.

Angelic Responsibility Area #3 – Unfallen angels have a ministry connected to Jesus Christ . Since Jesus Christ is God, we may assume that the same basic purpose of angels pertaining to God the Father, which is to serve Him, also pertains to God the Son (Colossians 1:16). Scripture certainly supports the fact that angels have an intense relationship to God the Son:

Angels announced His coming (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:26).
Angels announced His birth (Luke 2:8-15).
Angels protected His life (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-21).
Angels strengthened Him after His temptations:
They strengthened Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1, 11).
They strengthened Him in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43).
Angels would defend Him at any moment that He requested (Matthew 26:53).
Angels testified of His resurrection. Matthew 28:1-7; Luke 24:1-9 7.

Angels announce His future returns:

An angel will announce the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16 b).

An angel will announce Christ’s Second Coming (Revelation 19:17).

Angels will participate in future worship (Revelation 5:11-12).

Unfallen angels are closely associated with Jesus Christ at all times. They love Him and serve Him and worship Him. Chafer quoted Dr. Cooke concerning the connection angels have to Jesus Christ and it is worthy to consider (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, pp. 20-21):

How constant their attendance on the Incarnate Savior during his mysterious life among men! At his birth they are his heralds, and with songs exultant announce glad tidings to mankind. In his temptation they minister to him; in his agonies they succor him; on his resurrection they are the first to proclaim his triumph; on his ascension they come to escort him to the mediatorial throne; in his glorified state they render him supreme homage as their Lord; and when he returns to judge the world they will form his retinue!

What sublime thoughts would be suggested, what emotions of wonder and joy would be excited, by the scenes they witnessed on earth and still witness in heaven, in reference to Christ, his two-fold nature, and his great redeeming work. God incarnate! This was new to them. They had seen the Son in his Deity; but never till now enshrined in humanity. What amazing condescension!

Obeying his own law as if he were a mere creature, and in the attitude of a servant!

This was new. They had seen him as the governor of the universe; but never till now as a subject! Encountering Satan in conflict and prolonged temptation! This was new. They had seen him frown the arch-rebel from his presence and hurl him to perdition; but never till now submitting to be tempted by him whose subtlety and power had seduced myriads to eternal ruin.

Suffering the scorn and reproach of sinful men! This was new. They had seen myriads of happy spirits worship, adore, and love him; but never till now had they seen him personally insulted, reproached, and maltreated by his creatures. Groaning in Gethsemane, and crucified between two thieves, and dying as a sacrificial victim! was new.

They had seen him supremely happy and glorious; but to see him agonize, to hear that dying wail, and to behold him a bloody corpse, and all this to save the world which had revolted from him! What mysterious love! To see him, after all this, enthroned and glorified in human nature. This was a new fact in the moral history of the universe. The whole scenes were full of interest, wonder, and mystery; a gradation of wonders rising in succession, until they culminated in the permanent presence of the God-man, resplendent with a glory that fills the heaven of heavens.

Here were chapters of instruction for angelic minds to ponder; here were developments of hidden truths; here were discoveries of the Divine perfections, never known before; and still unfolding in brighter effulgence as ages roll on!

Angelic Responsibility Area #4 – Unfallen angels have a ministry to believers.

There is no question that God’s unfallen angels are actively involved in the life of a believer in many ways. One of the main differences concerning the ministry of angels, in this Church Age as opposed to other ages, is their visible appearance. Angels have ministries connected to every believer, but probably would never be physically seen by the believer.

In other dispensations when angels were present, they were, for the most part, visibly seen. However, their ministries for the most part in this dispensation will remain unseen. Dr. Chafer thought one reason for this is that every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and are subject to the leading of an actual member of the Trinity, which is more “constant, vital and exalting than angelic visitations could possibly be.”

 

 

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