17 July 2014 By Dr Yeo Teck Thiam –
In the second half of Dr Yeo’s article on angels, he explores the guardian duties of angels, the relationship between God and the Angels, and how they might look like.
Cherubim have ‘guardian’ duties as well, and we are given to know from Scripture about several of these tasks they perform. I shall like to consider these in some orderly format.
This guardian role is a responsible charge given by the LORD. They were the angels that guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:24. They were the forms also that were prescribed for the ends of the atonement cover for the Ark in Exodus 37:7.
The Temple that Solomon built had a pair of cherubim also in its inner sanctuary, and the walls around the temple had cherubim carved on them. 1 Kings 6:23, 2 Chronicles 3:10.
Angels also minister to us in our lives in various ways. We receive this help as we see Jesus was given when our Lord was on earth. The guardian angelic duties for us can be discussed at a later time.
For the time being, here, I mention in passing, certain work also commissioned to angels by God in the New Testament. They are not specified as cherubim, but they have guardian aspects and duties, besides those called to be our guardians and helpers. They have ministry and charge over this creation and the churches, against the devil and his worldly kingdoms.
Perhaps guardian is not the best word to describe the work angels do in other functions. These “guardian” tasks are different from the role that angels minister to us as children of God. So, I think it is well that we consider angelic charge and ministries in a wider context.
Hence, in his visions concerning the churches, John was commanded:
Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
These angels have charge of various affairs of this creation, as shown by this charge of the churches. Likewise God sets angels over other matters, as seen in the visions of the bowls of wrath. So John heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
“You are just in these judgments,
you who are and who were, the Holy One,
because you have so judged…”
From instances such as above, we can see words are used differently, in different languages. It highlights the need to see what God said in His word to us, rather than depend on our worldly concepts. So we ask the Lord to help us see the picture more completely.
In other instances, angels in the Old Testament were indirectly referred to as sons of God. This is ‘bene elohim’ in Hebrew. It described the spiritual beings when they were called into God’s Presence, such as we read in the book of Job.
This is a general description, for all beings are created by God, and are sons of God. It refers to mankind and angels. Unfortunately, however, fallen angels have disowned their status as sons of God.
One day, when we leave this world, and come into the Heavenly Father’s Presence, we shall be sons of God also. Our Lord Jesus said we shall be like the angels in heaven. Matthew 22:20.
What we rejoice, however, is the fact the heavenly angels are on the Lord’s side and they serve God. They are also sent to help us, and we thank God for our helpers.
Elohim and Ye are gods
Likewise, ‘Elohim’ is also used in some passages, but not meaning the LORD God. Thus we consider one instance where Jesus had something to say to the Jews in this regard.
In the Gospels, the chief priests and the teachers of the law opposed Jesus. One of their vehement objections was that Jesus said, “I and the Father are One”.
But Jesus’ reply stunned them. Jesus said, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came — and the Scripture cannot be broken — what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?” John 10:35
This quote is from Psalm 82:6
“I said, ‘You are “gods”;
you are sons of the Most High.’
But you will die like mere men;
you will fall like every ruler.”
Jesus’ words have importance to us. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent tempted Eve, “You shall not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4,5.
Man would be a god of sorts like the LORD — and so they ate the fruit. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil…” Genesis 3:22
What about Archangels
The New Testament describes Gabriel and Michael as archangels. This title in Luke and Jude convey the idea that these are chief angels who are in lead positions in various ministries. However, this title of archangel is not used in the Old Testament, though Gabriel and Michael are named in the book of Daniel. I leave this topic for a later time.
To sum up the thoughts here, I think that we must consider what Scripture means for the word translated as angel, rather than assume we all have an identical picture or meaning. God must explain to us, if we are to understand God’s message from His word in Scripture.
This means that we are careful to search Scripture carefully, and seek God to reveal. Our human eye cannot see things in the spirit.
How do Angels Look Like?
Thus I have deliberately skipped mentioning how angels look like, just as I have not make mention of how seraphim look like. So I did not speak of Ezekiel seeing the “wheels” and different “faces” of cherubim.
How angels look are not of ‘material’ interest, because they are spiritual beings. They were seen in visions by Isaiah, Ezekiel, John, and others. The descriptions in this are ‘material’ form with earthly ideas. We can only know this reality in the spirit.
In 1 John 3:2, the Apostle said, “What we will be has not yet been made known.”
So I think if we have not yet seen our heavenly tent and spiritual body, we can have greater patience to seek to know how angels look like. So then, whether angels have four wings, or six wings, one face, or many eyes — we leave behind until we meet Jesus!
Then, ‘we shall know even as we are known’ when we get to heaven.
NOTE: Mr Yeo Teck Thiam is a retireer who used to work as a chemical engineer, specializing in food and perfume chemistry for an international food company and perfumer. His other main interest is astronomy and other mathematical matters, relating to the Biblical passages.
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