In words immortalised in the Authorised Version, the angels who appeared to the shepherds at the time of the birth of Jesus praised God, and said:
Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men.
It’s a lovely thought, and captures so much of what we all long for. What’s not to like about ‘peace on earth’ and ‘good will toward men’? It’s ‘the true meaning of Christmas’, isn’t it? If only we could do ‘peace’ and ‘good will’ all year round, the world would be a much better place.…
It was the joy of the angels of heaven to be subject and serviceable unto Jesus Christ.
(i.) Before the incarnation of Christ, an angel instructed Daniel concerning the Messiah, and how long it should be before his coming. (Dan. 9:24, 25.)
(ii.) When the fulness of time was come, an angel comes to the blessed virgin, and said, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.”…
Gen 6:1 .When humankind began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 6:2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humankind were beautiful. Thus they took wives for themselves from any they chose.
Who were these ‘sons of God’?
The view of many interpreters, ancient (e.g. Josephus) and modern (e.g. Wenham,) is that these are (fallen) angels, cf. 1 Pet 3:19-20; 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6.…
A. ttendants of Christ (2 Thess. 1:7), their exalted Head (Eph. 1:21; 22; Col. 2:10) B. ringers of good tidings concerning our salvation (see on Luke 2:14; 24:4; Acts 1:11; 1 Tim. 3:16) C. horisters of heaven (Luke 15:10; 1 Cor. 13:1; Rev. 5:11, 12) D. efenders of God’s children (Ps. 34:8; 91:11; Dan. 6:22; 10:10, 13, 20; Matt. 18:10; Acts 5:19; 2 Thess. 1:7–10; Rev. 12:7), though the latter outrank them and will judge them (1 Cor.…
Referring to the glorious angels, Trapp remarks that they do the will of God,
Cheerfully; whence they are said to have wings, six wings a-piece, Isa 6:2.
Humbly; therefore with two they cover their faces.
Faithfully, without partiality; with two they covered or harnessed their feet.
Speedily and zealously; with two they fly abroad the world upon God’s errand, and for the good of them that shall be saved, Heb 1:14, burning and being all on a light fire, with infinite love to God and his saints, their fellow servants, Rev 22:9, whence they are called seraphims or burning creatures.
Bible commentator William Hendriksen, while expressing some sympathy for artistic representations of biblical scenes, rightly asks if some images of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20) give the correct impression.
Take, as an example, ‘Good Tidings’ by the artist William Plockhurst.
‘The sheep are huddled together in some kind of pen. Right near them are a few shepherds. Leaning against one of these sturdy men is the faithful shepherd’s dog.…
According to William Ames (1576–1633), the work of angels is “to celebrate the glory of God and execute his commandments (Ps. 103:20), especially for the heirs of eternal life” (Heb. 1:14; Pss. 91:11; 34:7). (A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, p185)
Regarding angels’ specific function, there are at least four:
1) Angels continuously worship and praise the God they serve (Job 38:7; Psalm 103:20; Isaiah 6:1–3; Revelation 4:8; 5:9–12).
Charles Wesley’s famous hymn ‘And can it be?‘ is still sung from time to time today, even though many of the other hymns that were still popular when I was a Methodist teenager have fallen into neglect. It is a shame, although I think that the vigorous tune Sagina prompts us to sing it more lustily than the awe-struck words suggest. At any rate, we would reflect the words better if we didn’t crank the volume up until we reached the bit about ‘my chains fell off’.…
Since God created everything, Gen 1:1, Jn 1:3, Col 1:16, and everything he created was good, Gen 1:3, Ps 104:24, 1 Tim 4:4, it is reasonable to suppose that Satan was originally part of that good creation, but ‘fell’ into evil.
Scripture says little about this.
Isa 14:12-16 – Many interpreters have seen in this prophecy a cosmic dimension, although its primary reference is clearly to a man – the king of Babylon, Isa 14:4. The prophecy does draw on pagan mythology to depict the king’s fall from power: in one Canaanite myth a god named Athtar (meaning ‘son of Dawn’ or ‘morning star’) aspired to rule on Baal’s throne.…
In his preface to The Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis famously wrote that there are two equal and opposite errors in relation to thinking about demons: disbelieving in their existence altogether, and taking an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. Either way, Satan is delighted – scepticism and fanaticism both serve his purposes very nicely.
The sceptical approach is well represented by the New Testament scholar Rudolph Bultmann: ‘It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and scientific discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New Testament world of daemons and spirits.’…