Evidence From The Angels
God has many attributes and among those attributes is His absolute sovereignty.
This attribute of Almighty God is one that His people seem to be afraid to admit to with commitment. To admit that God is sovereign is to realize that we must be in complete obedience to His will. It is to realize that He has the power of life and death over us just as the absolute monarchs of old had power over their people. God's power is greater.
This attribute is like an ocean that has no bank, no bottom, and one may not lightly launch out into it without a divine compass and an anchor in Christ, no matter how strong one feels.
The first landmark of the sovereignty of God is: Our God has an absolute power and right of dominion over His creatures, to dispose and determine for them that which seems good to Him. This first landmark is creation.
The second landmark of His absolute sovereignty is: Universal providence, or that which sustains His creation and by which all inferior causes are guided to their predestined conclusion, not withstanding all the possible accidents that could happen to obstruct or divert them.
The third landmark placed by God to show His absolute sovereignty is simply: The general acceptance of men, but particularly the acceptance and witness of those who knew Him best.
Now we come to the fourth landmark or witness to the sovereignty of God: It is the evidence from the angels who are "great in power;" who nevertheless, do perfectly own and submit to the absolute sovereignty of God. When one has subjects who are not only numerous but who are wise, powerful and magnanimous but more importantly are perfectly submissive to the will of their Lord it argues logically that their Lord is absolute Sovereign; and just such subjects as we have described are the angels.
The elect or good angels show this submissiveness by their readiness to do any service their Lord is pleased to give them.
The angels are His intelligence service in the world, not that He needs someone to collect knowledge about the people here since He knows all and sees all, but that is the job that He has assigned to His angels. In Zech. 6:5-7 the Lord says, "And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are there go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth into the south country. And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth."
In Job 2:1 we read, "And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
I am sure that these services have not discontinued but that even today both the elect angels and Satan and his angels are still going to and fro in all the earth keeping an eye on the dealings of mankind and where Satan and his angels are concerned they interfere when necessary to lead men astray. But when you stop to think about it there is very little that we can blame on Satan and his angels, it is our own sin nature that leads us, the saved and the unsaved, into our sin.
The word "angel" means messenger, they are messengers; they go on errands and negotiate His affairs here, and reveal His purposes where the world and His church is concerned.
We need to look at some passages in the Book of Daniel: Chapter 2 verse 19 first, "Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the god of heaven." Then in chapter 8 verses 13 and 16, "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot." "And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision." And then in Chapter 10 verse 21, "but I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince."
Again in Ezek. 1:4 we see them dealing with men as ordained by God, that is, bringing the night visions, bringing the voices, and in another Gabriel is given the task of making Daniel understand the vision that he has had. In the Ezekiel passage Ezekiel has his first recorded glimpse of God's messengers. He describes them fully these special angels, from verse 4 through verse 14, but here we will quote just verse 4, "And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire."
In this passage they bring the Lord God face to face with Ezekiel, they are the Cherubim who live around the throne of God. Where He is, there they are. Just as at the gateway to the Garden of Eden they guarded the way but that was also the place of worship. You might want to know if there are any angels in the meeting places of His church, and yes, there are. In First Peter the first chapter and the twelfth verse, Peter has been talking about our salvation and how the prophets inquired and concerning the sufferings of Christ and of the glory that would follow, he writes, "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."
What are some of the other things that God uses His elect angels for:
1.) In Psalm 68:17 we find that they are called the Lord's chariots, "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place."
2.) In the New Testament, Matt. 13:39 and 49 they are called His reapers, this is in the parable of the Sower, "The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world: and the reapers are the angels." "So shall it be at the end of the world the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just."
3.) Angels are also referred to as the executioners of His judgments, 2 Sam. 24:16, "And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough; stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing place of Araunah the Jebusite."
2 Kings 19:35 reads, "And it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousands: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."
4.) In Luke 2 we read how they accompanied Him at His birth, verses 9-14, "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 Savior, 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."
5.) Not only did they accompany Him at His birth but they will be His attendants at His return, Matt. 25:31, "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory."
6.) And, of course, we remember the men at the tomb that Luke wrote about in 24 verses 4-6, "And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold two men stood by them in shinning garments; And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen:..."
John speaks of a time just a little later after Peter and John have been to the tomb and inside and who leave believing that the Romans or the Jews have removed the body of Jesus. Mary Magdalene is still there and looks inside the tomb, chapter 20 and verses 11 and 12, "But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain." The passage tells how they questioned Mary as to her tears and then as she turns away she meets the Lord Himself.
Angels were with Him around His throne in heaven, they were present at His birth, they guarded His way, for we read in Matt. 4:11, that after the temptation in the desert "Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him." They were with Him in His suffering and death, at the tomb and at the resurrection and finally, when He ascended into heaven, "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel: Which also said, "Ye men of Galilee why stand ye gazing up into heaven? his same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:10 and 11. And so we know that angels will come with Him when He comes back to receive His own unto Himself so that as He has promised, we will be where He will be.
Now we must look at the apostate angels who, though they do not give a testimony of love and good will, they do give a testimony that is as clear as that of the elect angels where the sovereignty of God is concerned.
When you consider that they are the enemies of God, that they are proud (and that is why they fell, they followed the proud Lucifer) yet in all they are forced to submit. They know who God is for they have been in His presence and His presence still filled them with awe.
The very first view we have of the submission of Satan to the sovereignty of God is at the Fall itself. When God proceeded to pronounce the sentence upon him for seducing Eve to eat of the fruit of Good and Evil and so contributed to Adam's fall, he did not dare to answer back. Look at Gen. 3:15, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." It may sound as though God was simply speaking to the serpent but He was speaking to Satan. It, the serpent, the instrument of Satan and so representing Satan would try to kill the seed of the woman, Christ, but Christ, the seed of the woman, would bruise his, Satan's, head. A head wound is considered to be a death wound. And though Christ was crucified yet He rose again, Satan will be judged and confined to the Lake of Fire, the living death that never ends.
But note in the passage quoted that not once does Satan speak out or talk back or argue with God. He submitted to the sentence that had been pronounced on him. Satan knew who it was who had judged and pronounced judgment on him and so held his silence, he submitted.
There was also the time when he presented himself before the Lord to give an account of his actions and the conversation turned to Job and God gave him permission to try and seduce Job. He was given instructions that he could not ignore, he was not to touch Job, or anything he had, he dared not do any of these things without direct permission from God. Job 1:6-12, "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power: only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord."
And so the story goes, Satan took all of Job's children and all his goods and animals still Job would not curse God. Satan came again before God and accused God of not really letting him get close to Job for he had to follow the rules set down by God. God listened and then allowed him to touch the very body and bones of Job but again gave limitations, Satan could not take the life of Job. Job 2:6, "And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold he is in thine hand; but save his life."
Job had to endure great physical pain but his life was safe for Satan could do only as the Lord allowed. He recognized the absolute sovereignty of God. It's still true today, Satan can only do to God's people what God permits. There is still that hedge about the people of God and Satan can only penetrate as far as the Lord God allows.
In the New Testament there were several instances where Jesus commanded spirits to come out of those whom they inhabited. In Luke 8 verse 30 and 33 we find that in one person there was a whole legion of spirits, "And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him." "Then went the devils out of the man and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked."
In Mark we learn a very important thing about this incident, that the devils could not enter into the swine without the explicit permission of Jesus, Mark 5:12, "And the devils besought him, saying send us into the swine, that we may enter into them."
Then to make matters worse, or to lower their standing even more, they were made subject to the seventy disciples that the Lord Jesus sent out to carry His gospel to the people of Israel. He gave them the power to heal and cast out devils and we know this from Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
Not only were they subject to the seventy but to Paul. They knew to whom the Lord's authority had been given and to whom it had not. They knew who wielded that sovereign authority and who did not for we read in Acts 19:15 where the sons of Sceva had attempted to cast out demons in the names of Jesus and Paul, this, "And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?"
God's authority, His sovereignty is universal. What He created He has power over. As we have read in Daniel "...he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"
Man's power is only such as He gives. The angels of heaven serve Him according to His will and those wicked, fallen angels also obey Him according to His will. They cannot overstep the bounds that He has set for them. Just as man they are His created beings and He does as He will with them and with their lives and no one may question His will. How can the thing created question the Creator. The Potter uses the clay as He sees fit. The vessel does not determine its use, the Potter does.