Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jesus and Ministering Angels

James W. GollThe Most Amazing History Lesson
A. Thoughts from Colossians 1:16 (NASB)
Paul, the beloved apostle, gave us great insight in Colossians 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 through Him and for Him."

Jesus created all things, all spheres, and all powers. All things created both in Heaven and in earth have the same ultimate purpose – to serve God's purposes and to give Him glory!

B. 1 Timothy 3:14-16 (NASB)
Paul also gave us the following short, but unique, rendition of the Gospel message:

"I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory"
(1 Timothy 3:14-16, NASB).

Worshipping the Pre-Incarnate Christ
Some 700 years before the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem, in approximately 740 B.C., we find the prophet Isaiah in worship in the Temple (Isaiah 6:1-5). He was possibly mourning the death of King Uzziah. While there, Isaiah received angelic encounters, but ultimately his total attention was given to the One who was "high and lifted up" and whose glory filled the house.

As the veil between the temporal and eternal was parted, Isaiah was shown the worship of Heaven, including the burning seraphs who cried, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty." These angels covered their faces with their wings as an act of humility and worship. But, perhaps there is more here. The New Testament tells us (1 Timothy 6:16) that God dwells in "unapproachable light." Despite the incredible brightness that emanated from these angels themselves, they had to hide themselves in part from the radiant, piercing presence of light of God who is altogether holy!

This is but one of many pictures given to us of the angels in Heaven worshipping the pre-incarnate Christ. Indeed, it is awesome!

A. Declaring the Birth to Mary (Luke 1:26-38):
Gabriel makes a pronouncement to Mary that she has found favor with God, she will be with child, and that His name would be called Jesus – meaning "the Lord saves" or "the Lord is our salvation."
Mary then responds by asking how this will be since I am a virgin (verse 34). Verses 35 through 37 then record the most amazing conversation between this messenger angel and Mary, the one chosen. Mary believes and cries out, "Be it done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38, NASB).

B. Announcing the Birth to Joseph:
Matthew 1:19-21, 24-25 (NIV) Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins."

...When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.

C. Addressing the Arrival 2 the Shepherds:
Luke 2:8-14 (KJV) And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Ministering 2 Jesus While on Earth
A. His Early Infancy of Christ (Read Matthew 2:13-20)
B. His Wilderness Experience:
Matthew 4:11 (NASB) Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him
C. His Gethsemane Experience:
Luke 22:43 (Amplified) And there appeared to Him an angel from Heaven, strengthening Him in spirit.
D. His Crucifixion Experience:

Matthew 26:52-54 (Amplified) Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you suppose that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will immediately provide Me with more than twelve legions [more than 80,000] of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must come about this way?"

Serving at the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus
A. Serving at His Resurrection:
Matthew 28:1-9 (Amplified) Now after the Sabbath, near dawn of the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to take a look at the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake,4 an angel of the Lord descended from Heaven and came and rolled the boulder back and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his garments as white as snow. And those keeping guard were so frightened at the sight of him that they were agitated and they trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be alarmed and frightened, 4 I know that u are looking 4 Jesus, Who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, as He said [He would do]. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, 'He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there u will see Him.' Behold, I have told u.

So they left the tomb hastily with fear and great joy and ran to tell the disciples. And as they went, behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail (greetings)!" And they went up to Him and clasped His feet and worshiped Him.

B. Serving at His Ascension:
Acts 1:8-11 (NASB) "But u will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon u; and u shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into Heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into Heaven."

Descending at the Second Coming
The Scriptures declare that when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth visibly and physically, He will be accompanied by a host of angels. Consider:

A. Matthew 16:27 (NASB) For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels...
B. Matthew 25:31 (NASB) But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
C. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 (NASB) For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Exalting Christ Forever
One of the greatest ministries of angels is that of worship. They begin there, they do throughout the ages, and they end up doing this one magnificent thing throughout all eternity. They worship God! Angels exalt the Lamb.

Revelation 5:11-14 (NASB) Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in Heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Let us call out to God – that He would open our eyes to gaze upon what the angels see and worship the Lamb who is most worthy!

This outline lesson comes from the Angelic Encounters Study Guide, which has chapters that correspond to the book as well. There are also CD and DVD sets that accompany this class. I trust this will be inspiring and informative for you.

Blessings to You!

James W. Goll
Encounters Network • PrayerStorm • Compassion Acts


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