When I was in seminary, I had to take a course on angels and demons; and to have a biblical understanding of their ministry. To be sure, demons are fallen angels – those angels who chose to follow Satan and stand against God. But the purpose of tonight’s post is to speak to the mission of good angels – those angels who do the bidding of God and have been uniquely created to look after us as God’s ambassadors in this life – but who then are given the mission to serve us in heaven.
I know that this sounds complicated but what has driven my decision to write on this topic tonight is the fact that earlier this week, once again, I heard a commentator on television tell the public that heaven had another angel as she was announcing the death of a celebrity. I don’t mean to pick on this announcer specifically, as I have heard many people refer to their dearly departed as angels. But, the fact of the matter is that people don’t become angels… there, I said it, PEOPLE DO NOT BECOME ANGELS!
It’s true that angels have very important ministries – both here on earth and in heaven. In fact, they were the first beings that God, defined as the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, created. So they weren’t born in the way that we think of human birth. They exist at the command of God and they are eternal – they never die. By the way, there is no evidence that they marry or reproduce.
They exist to worship God and to serve God in many capacities. Among those many responsibilities, they help protect us as “guardian” angels and while the Scripture is silent on the number of angels, it is presumed that there are as many angels as there are believers; and that includes past, present and future believers. While Mankind was created a “little lower than the angels” in this world, angels also exist to serve Mankind in heaven. In other words, Man is elevated above the angels in heaven. I hope that is a comforting thought – God has the angels serving us eternally.
Angels also deliver news from God. And while there are many other things that angels are assigned by God to do, one of their most important ministries is to escort believers to heaven! That’s right – angels are charged with making sure that we are not alone when we are transported from this life to heaven. As a child, I was always concerned that I would be alone when I died. But that’s just not what we are told in the Bible. God must have anticipated our apprehension about the crossing over from this physical life to our souls being in the presence of God Himself. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (KJV)
When we die as believers, our souls go to be with the Lord while we are separated from our physical bodies. By the way, we are told by Paul, in Philippians 3:20-22, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (NIV)
Isn’t that wonderful news? We will be present with the Lord in heaven, and we will get new bodies! But notice one thing – nowhere does it say that we will be angels! God would never demote us to the level of angels. We are co-heirs with Christ – we are adopted sons and daughters of God Himself. The angels can’t say that!
Our verse for tonight, aside from the bonus verses I used to help explain the Scripture on the topic of heaven, tells us about a beggar who was actually carried to heaven by angels. The good doctor Luke tells us in his Gospel, in Luke 16:22-24, “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ The rich man was in hell but could see the other side.
My encouragement tonight is that God can’t wait to share eternity with us. And He has created angels to help us in this world and in the next. My prayer is that you will always remember that we are more important to God than the angels. For He created Mankind in His image and, like the angels, once we believe in Christ as Lord and Savior we will live eternally with Him. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…