This article is part of the Key Bible Verses series.
All commentary notes adapted from the ESV Study Bible.
1. Hebrews 1:13–14
And to which of the angels has he ever said,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Read More
ministering spirits. Angels are called “ministers” in Heb.1:7. Their particular role is to serve those who are to inherit salvation, that is, Christian believers (on inheritance see Heb.6:12, 17; 9:15). Salvation (see Heb.2:3; 6:9) is possible only through Jesus’ work (Heb.2:10; 5:9; 9:28). The angels’ important role still pales in comparison to Jesus’ authority as Son of God exalted at the “right hand of the Majesty” (Heb.1:3, 13).
2. Isaiah 6:1–3
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” Read More
the seraphim. Fiery angelic beings (the Hb. word serapim means “flames”). Six wings suggest remarkable powers. The references to face and feet, with their capacity for speech in vv. Isa.6:3 and 7, and “his hand” in Isa.6:6, imply composite creatures, such as are represented in ancient Near Eastern art. he covered. Even a perfect, superhuman creature humbles himself before the all-holy God.
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3. Revelation 12:7–9
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Read More
In Daniel, Michael is the spiritual prince and guardian of God’s people (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1). Jude 9 identifies Michael as the archangel, attributing to him words that echo the angel of the Lord’s answer to Satan the accuser (Zech. 3:2). Many futurists think Michael’s battle with the dragon marks the beginning of the “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), which is also the great tribulation.
The victory of Michael and the holy angels over the dragon and its coconspirators may symbolize the triumphant power of Jesus’ cross (cf. Col. 2:15), or a subsequent defeat of demonic forces flowing from Christ’s victory at the cross, or the original casting of Satan and his demons out of heaven (see note on Rev. 12:4). The devil (Gk.) and Satan (Hb.) describe a legal opponent, an accuser at law. Many futurists think he was thrown down to the earth indicates intensified demonic activity on earth during the great tribulation.
4. Psalm 148:1–6
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. Read More
This hymn of praise calls on all of God’s creatures to join in praising him: from the heavenly hosts, to the heavenly bodies, to the inhabitants of sea and land, to all mankind. The concluding note, regarding God’s special people Israel, may refer to some particular event such as the return from exile, or it may be a more general reference to the protection God has given his people; in either case, God’s favor for Israel is put into the larger context of his plan to bring light to all mankind through Israel.
Praise to the Lord from the Heavens. The heavens and everything found in them—whether angels or light-bearers (sun, moon, stars; Gen. 1:14–19), or waters above the heavens (Gen. 1:7)—should praise the LORD, who commanded with the result that they were created. By his decree they are established, standing firm and reliable.
5. Revelation 22:8–9
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” Read More
Human beings must not worship even the angels who inflict the last plagues (Rev. 15:1; 21:9), for they are fellow servants. God alone must be worshiped. Since the Lamb is rightly worshiped (Rev.5:8–14), he is God.
6. Matt 24:29–31
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Read More
A trumpet call is associated in Jewish end-time thought (Isa. 18:3; 27:13) and also in Christian writings (1 Cor. 15:51–52; 1 Thess. 4:16) with the appearance of the Messiah. his angels … will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. The involvement of angels probably indicates that, when Jesus returns, he will not only gather to himself all believers alive on the earth but will also bring with him all the redeemed who are in heaven (cf. 1 Thess. 4:14; Rev. 19:11–16).
7. Jude 5–6
Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day . . . Read More
The Analogy of the Rebellious Angels. The heart of Jude’s next comparison is the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority but apparently rebelled against God’s authority and sought to be equal to him. God has kept these beings in eternal chains ever since. Some scholars think this refers to the original fall of angels from heaven. Others think Jude is referring to the sin of angels in Gen. 6:1–4. This view is strengthened by Jude’s citation of 1 Enoch 1.9 (Jude 14–15), which contains much discussion on the fall of these angels.
8. Matthew 18:10–11
*“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. Read More
The heavenly Father uses angels to care for his childlike disciples (cf. Heb. 1:14), but their angels does not imply that each disciple has one assigned “guardian angel.” always see the face of my Father. These angels do, however, have continuous and open communication with God.
The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” Read More
The angel of the LORD. The Hebrew word for “angel” may also be translated “messenger.” There is an element of mystery about this figure. In 19:1 the “two angels” who arrive at Sodom resemble human beings (in 18:2 they are called “men”). When “the angel of the LORD” speaks, his words are perceived as being God’s words. Therefore, the impression is given that the angel is identical with God. On this basis some Christians believe that “the angel of the LORD” is the preincarnate Christ. Others, however, hold that the reference here is to an angel who has been commissioned to speak as God’s representative, and so the angel’s words are God’s words. the spring on the way to Shur. Hagar’s flight takes her in the direction of Egypt, her homeland. The location of the spring/well is clarified in 16:14, when it is named “Beer-lahai-roi.” It “lies between Kadesh and Bered.”
By way of encouragement, the angel of the Lord promises Hagar that she will have numerous descendants; cf. Gen.17:20; 25:12–18.
10. Revelation 5:11–12
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” Read More
The choir expands to include myriads of myriads (hundreds of millions) and thousands of thousands of angels, who acclaim the Lamb worthy of sevenfold tribute (power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, blessing). The worship of the Lamb in this chapter testifies to his deity.
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