Additional Material

October 23, 1999

I. Who are these angels doing God’s work?

A. Most angels are unnamed.
- There are a few notable exceptions:
1. Michael — The archangel, commander of the angelic army.
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.
2. Gabriel — the chief messenger angel
Dan 8:15-17 16 And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision." 17 So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end."
- Gabriel also appeared to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and Mary
3. Lucifer/Satan (multiple “names” and/or titles)
- We studied the origin and fall of Satan last week
- cf. Isa. 14; Eze. 28
B. Angels have various general names/descriptions
1. Sons of God (Elohim)
• Job 1:6 “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among “them.
2. Holy ones
• Psa. 89:5 And the heavens will praise Thy wonders, O LORD; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.

3. Watchers
• Dan. 4:13 'I was looking in the visions in my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold, an angelic watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven.
4. Council
• Psa 89:7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him?
5. The assembly
• Psa 89:5 And the heavens will praise Thy wonders, O LORD; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
6. Host or hosts
• Luke 2:13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
- “Lord of hosts” which means simply Lord of armies
7. Spirits
• Heb. 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
8. Principalities, powers, thrones, dominions, and authorities
• Col. 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him.

II. Who was the angel of the Lord?

- 69 times the Scripture refers to this angel, also called the angel of God.
- At times the Scripture seems to indicate this angel is the Lord Himself, at other times one of His messengers. Which is it?
- Three main views exist about this angel (Erickson):
A. An angel with a special commission
- Those who hold to this position point to the passages where the Lord and the angel of the Lord are distinguished.
• Gen 16:11: “The angel of the LORD said to her further, "Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.”
B. A theophany (appearance of God in human form)
- Far more biblical scholars hold to this view than to the view that this is merely an angel with a special commission.
- Several Scriptures indicate this angel was much more than a mere angel:
• Gen 31:11 "Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob,' and I said, 'Here I am.' 12 "And he said, 'Lift up, now, your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 'I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.' "
• Exo 3:2-6 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. 3 So Moses said, "I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up." 4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then He said, "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." 6 He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
cf. The three men coming to see Abraham in Gen. 18. One of them was the LORD.
- Some scholars have reconciled the distinction from the Lord and the identification as the Lord in this way. They believe that the angel of the Lord was really...
C. A Christophany (a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ)
- The rationale for this view is as follows:
1) The angel of the Lord is distinct from the Lord Himself as seen in Gen. 16:11 (Hagar).
2) Yet the angel of the Lord elsewhere is clearly God Himself.
3) Therefore, what you have is Person Who is God Who is distinct from God. This can only be explained, so the view goes, by equating the angel of the Lord with the Logos, the pre-incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.
“He [the angel of the Lord] introduced Himself as the Deity, and yet as distinct from God” (G.B. Funderburk, “Angel”, in ZPEB, vol. 1, p. 162).
- Others explain the apparent problem this way:
“Where there are apparent distinctions between God and the angel of the Lord, God is referring to himself in third-person fashion” (Erickson, p. 443).
- Whichever it is (and I’m not sure, though I lean toward the Christophany) . . . :
Point: Isn’t it wonderful that we have a God who was interested enough in His creation to appear as a man and communicate His will in a way that man could understand.
- God didn’t have to appear to Hagar or Jacob or Moses, BUT HE DID because He is intimately involved in the affairs of men and HE CARES.
- He cared about poor Hagar and Ishmael who were thrown into the wilderness by an irate Sarah.
- He cared enough to communicate and He’s still the same God.
- He still cares. He cared enough to send His Son to die for us on the cross to redeem us and give us life.
• Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.