Angels From the Psalms
Text: Psalms 148; 104; 103; 8.
Proposition: God has made the angels to rightly reflect the glory of Who He is.
Introduction: Sometimes it’s just the kindness of strangers, sometimes it’s just a close call, sometimes it’s a last minute rescue and sometimes there is no way to explain it away. Sometimes it’s angels that have made the difference between being here or not. What I have noticed is that people have this intense attraction to hearing the accounts of angelic interventions, of even discussing the possibility of angels about them. Why this great fascination with angels? Is it just that they are spirit creatures, beings from the realm we cannot see or enter, yet? Is it that the possibility of angels is where we look for spirituality when we don’t want to look for the face of God? We’ve been reading various Psalms over these last weeks. This morning let’s consider the reality of angels as they are referred to in four different Psalms, the compilation of songs that people sung as they went to worship, while they worshipped and even when alone at home. They refer to the experiences of people with God, the good times and the hard times and they speak about angels in a way that seems to infer that everyone already knew about their existence and purpose. Turn with me to Psalm 148.
I. Immortal Angels Had a Beginning, God Created Them For a Purpose.
The reference here is brief, “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!” Then in verse five is added, “Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.” Colossians 1:16 tells us that it was Jesus who created the angels, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” So angels were all commanded or spoken into existence by Jesus Christ, in the same manner that world was created, ‘Ex-Nihlo’, out of nothing. Angels were all created at the same time, they don’t evolve or procreate, they simply are exactly as they were created, holy beings in a perfect holy spiritual realm. Job 38 says that they rejoiced at the creation of the world so they predate physical creation. These spirit beings which do not have blood nor body, don’t get tired, never experience death, cannot ever increase or decrease in number, the number of which is more than we would imagine, these angels all were created for a purpose. Though the Hebrew word in Psalms for ‘angel’ is ‘mal’ak’, meaning messenger or ambassador, their primary purpose is the same as our primary purpose…to glorify God. For the angels this is a perfect function, they are in His presence and they express limitless praise towards the wonder of what God does, will do, and for all of Who He is.
II. Angels Are Created Beings Underneath Christ’s Authority and Power. Psalm 104:4 says, “Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.” Some translations use the word ‘winds’ instead of ‘angels’ but it is again the Hebrew word ‘mal’ak’ being used here. The writer to Hebrews quotes this same verse as he makes the case that Christ is superior, higher than, incomparable to the angels in Hebrews 1:7. What we know about these spirit beings is that they too are made in the image of God, they possess personality, that is they have intellect, emotion and will and a moral awareness along with the ability to self determine and be self aware. C. F. Dickason in his book, ‘Angels, Elect and Evil’(pg 32) makes the observation that the image of God is essentially made up of two things, Personality and Holiness. Angels possess both of these which is perhaps why they are referred to a number of times in Scripture as ‘sons of God” (cf Job 1; 2; 38). That’s kind of confusing to us since we hear God using the same terminology to describe us. Humanity and angels are two different orders of beings yet we both are regarded as being made in the image of God, we both are under Christ’s authority, both under His power and both have the ability through personhood and holiness to have fellowship or close relationship to the Lord God Almighty. Angels like us are finite beings, in one place at a time, limited in understanding, power and presence. In other words they are not God and ought to never be worshipped as God. Angels are God’s ministers, as in a sense we are. Their function is to do His will, be His messengers as they move with the speed of fire or light, as they exist eternally in a great wisdom of God and towards the things that God values highly.
III. Angels Were Created For the Will or the Good Pleasure of Christ.
Have a look at Psalm 103: 20.21, “Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” Before the creation of the world Christ created the angels, in His image of personality and holiness. It was a personality that had intellect, emotion and will and all the other aspects of personhood we mentioned earlier. The express purpose was that they would willingly choose to obey Him, exalt Him, serve Him and glorify Him. What we know is that in the exercise of that will some chose not to do what they were created to do. Ezekiel 28 describes the fall of a chief angel, a cherubim, the highest rank of angels, an angel called Lucifer. Isaiah 14:12-14 details the five ‘I will’ statements that Lucifer chose… “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ ”
In the exercise of his will he sought to take that which belongs to God alone. He further influenced a great number of other angels to abandon their purpose and to try to make a new idol, Lucifer. The angels that followed Lucifer or Satan, are called fallen angels or demons. The angels that remained faithful are referred to as Elect angels. The line was drawn before the world was created, those that have rebelled neither can nor have will to repent and return. Those that are the Elect are also fixed in their position of being servants of Jesus Christ. The fallen or demonic angels will experience a judgment and be cast into Hell at the timing of the Father following the return of Christ to the earth. Elect angels excel in strength, hear clearly the commands of Jesus and move with perfect coordination to His will. They bless the LORD, they exalt Who He is, they reveal His will, they do His word.
IV. Know This…The Wonder of Angels Pales in the Wonder of Redemption.
In Psalm 8:4,5 David writes, “What is man that You are mindful of him and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels and You have crowned him with glory and honor.” In power, wisdom, holiness, and all our attributes we are greatly inferior to the angels yet it is mankind that Jesus Christ came to redeem. The Apostle Peter in speaking about the Old Testament prophets said, “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.” (1 Pt 1:12) Angels peered over the walls of heaven looking with amazement at Jesus the Christ. It was He whom they had seen and known since before the creation of the world. Now they see Him extending His kingdom to a sin saturated world of humanity. They see Him in a human body, the very thought was incredible! They see Him in poverty, thirst, struggle. They see Him, Oh they see Him handled roughly, beaten, spat upon. They see Him crucified! They are aghast at humanity and even more at the Father’s steady hand in giving the Son to death. Redemptions plan revealed, the stone rolled away, glory receiving glory. It’s like the writer of Hebrews (1:5,6) says, “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 they did, and they will. They wonder with intensity at this redemption plan that has brought to mankind eternal, fellowship and holiness. The great distinctive about man, who was made a little lower than the angels, is that man procreates, man is used of God to create life. Man has the capability to repent, man alone is able to be redeemed, to be called the co heir with Christ, to have the very righteousness of Christ imputed to him, to one day rise to the stature of the fullness of Christ in spiritual maturity that will be used to glorify God as never before in human history. God’s kingdom in heaven has come to earth and His will is about to done even as the angels in heaven carry it out to His glory.