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Jack Graham - Heaven's Warriors

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    Jack Graham - Heaven's Warriors
TOPICS: Invisible: There's More to Life Than What You See, Unseen Realm, Angels

There are all kinds of ideas and perceptions about angels. But what does the Bible say? Psalm 103 is our starting place, and verse 20: "Bless the Lord, O you his angels". Now angels are worshipers, for sure. We often find them worshiping God. You're never to worship angels; angels always point us to the Lord Jesus Christ, God Almighty who is holy, holy, holy. Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up and surrounding the throne of God were the Seraphim, the Cherubim, the mighty angels of God's presence who are around the throne of God day and night. Always, always, always the angels advance people towards God and knowing Him. They are the worshipers of God; they glorify Him.

But not only are they worshipers, they are warriors for the Scripture says: "You mighty ones". The "mighty ones" describe powerful angelic armies, and these armies are filled with ranks and levels and serial numbers, if you will, of the angelic hosts. When you read the words of Scripture which say "hosts of God" or the heavenly host, this is a reference to angelic armies, powerful and mighty. So when you think of angels, do not think of warm little cuddly, fuzzy cupids, but instead, mighty and powerful warriors who advance the purposes of God in heaven and in earth, who interact between heaven and earth, temporal and eternal. They have existed before time began, created by God for God's purposes. And they are here to give glory to God and to guide and to guard God's people. "Bless the Lord, all His hosts, obeying the voice of His word"!

Obeying the voice of God! We cannot beacon angels to come. Angels do not come at their own prerogative, but they always do the will of God. You cannot conjure up an angel; you cannot insist that an angel come by your side. This is the will and the work of God. And that's what the Bible teaches. Angel most often appear when we least expect them. Hebrews 13:2 says that some have entertained angels unaware. Most likely you have had encounters with angels and you did not know it. It was unaware; you were not privileged to see the reality of the angel around you. The fact is supernatural beings do exist in the universe. They are very powerful. They travel at unprecedented speed through the air. From time to time these angels appear to us.

We know this happened in the Bible. Elisha was the great prophet of God. And one day Elisha and his service servant awakened and the Syrian army was about to attack them and the servant was so frightened he was trembling. And he said to Elisha, "What are we going to do"? And Elisha began to pray... Remember this? Elisha began to pray and he prayed, 2 Kings 6:17 "Lord, open this servant's eyes that he may see". And God opened the eyes of that servant and the servant saw the armies of God, the the heavenly hosts surrounding them there. They knew that there were more for then than against them, and God gave them a great victory. This was an invisible army.

Yes, there is more to life than what we see all around us. We understand that the mission of angels is to exert and execute God's sovereign control of the universe. We see because of angels more and more of who God is and what is like, that He is holy and holy and holy! That He is glorious and gracious, and He is a Savior and Redeemer, announced by the angels when Jesus arrived. We get insight into who He is and we are, therefore, never to be obsessed with angels, but the magnificent obsession of the angels always is the Lord God Almighty. And He is to be our magnificent obsession!

Yes, we believe in angels because the Word of God declares that angels exist. But having spoken for just a bit about the reality of these angels, let's talk about the identity of these angels. Who are they? We know some have names: Michael and Gabriel. They have names. They're created beings. There was a time when angels did not exist but in purposes of God He created these beings beautiful. They possess intelligence; they have personalities; they express emotion and will and purpose. They were there before time began, before creation of the heavens and the earth. Job 38:7 says, "The morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy". These angels are immortal. There was a time they did not exist but there will never be a time they do not exist. Though they do not reproduce, they do not die. Angels are not the same. They're not strange beings that all look the same. But again, they have personalities; they have personal identities, created beings. They also are millions and millions and millions and myriads and myriads and myriads in presence.

Luke 2:13, when Jesus was announced, His arrival was announced, the Bible says even at that night, that starry night when the angels declared the birth of Christ that there was Luke 2:13 "a multitude of the heavenly host". Again, heavenly host, the mighty warriors of God! A heavenly choir praising God and saying, Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will to men". Revelation 5:11 says that the heavenly host is innumerable. "Then I looked and heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands". For those of you who are adding that up that is 100 million. Hebrews 12:22: "But you have come to Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering".

As I mentioned, these angels are organized into ranks and offices and they are this massive army who march at God's command. They are an incredible, beautiful and wonderful choir that praise God day and night. The angels function as messengers for God at God's own beaconing. For example, angels were at the creation of the heavens and the earth. Angels were present at the fall of man, ushering Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. As noted angels were surrounding the birth of Christ and announcing first, Gabriel to Mary, that she would be delivering the Christ-child. Speaking to Joseph in a dream, an angel appears. Speaking to Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, angels appeared. Angels glorified God when Christ was born, angels were at the cross, angels were at the tomb for the angel said, Matthew 28:6, "He is not here; He is risen".

Angels have been present at the giving of the divine revelation of God, Acts 7:38 and Acts 7:53, that they are present when God's revelation of Himself was given. The Bible, the Word of God. Now this is a good spot to stop and give a warning. Angels do not give revelation from God. God reveals Himself. Angels may attend the process, but 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, breathed out by the Holy Spirit profitable for doctrine, truth, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness". This is the Word of God! False cults and religions have risen out of the so-called announcements and revelation of angels, and therefore, I warn you, do not listen to the revelation of so-called angels because angels never reveal God. They only speak of what He has chosen to reveal of Himself!

Angels play an important part in the Last Days, when we are raptured into the presence of the Lord and raised with the dead in Christ, translated into the presence of Christ. At the trump of God the shout and the voice of the archangel of God. When we are out of here, we will be attended by angels. We will hear the call of God spoken through the trump of God through the angel of God. In the book of Revelation, during that period when hell explodes on earth, angels are ascending and angels are arriving, for in chapter 7 of Revelation: "Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun". This is in the beginning stages actually of the Tribulation. Revelation 7:2-3, "Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun with the seal of the living God, who called out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the earth, saying, 'Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of God on their foreheads.'"

Angels have responsibility for the environment and the elements in the time of Great Tribulation. During this same Tribulation period we're told that angels weave their way through the entire experience of the Tribulation, announcing the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ! And then one day when Christ returns in glory to the Mount of Olives, an angel tells us in Acts chapter 1, verse 11 that: "This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will so come in the same way that you have seen Him go". And angels will accompany Him, along with the saints of the ages when Jesus comes again. Angels are working behind the scenes in the drama of life, in the drama of history as messengers of God to execute His will and His purpose. We see them as worshippers; we see them as warriors; we see them as preachers, as lion tamers, as birth attendants, as recruiters, rescuers, executors, explorers, comforters and communicators, the angels of God.

I believe in these last days, just as we're seeing a rush of demonic activity, that this is one of the reasons that there is more interest and, I believe, involvement of angels in our times. Psalm 91, verses 11 and 12, this is well-known one and it was repeated when Jesus was tempted by the devil himself. "For He will command His angels concerning You to guard You in all Your ways. On their hands they will bear You up lest you strike your foot against a stone". So these powerful beings are working in our behalf. Now remember Psalm 91 speaks of the shadow of the Almighty! And when we are abiding in the shadow of the Almighty, when we are living in the strength and the security that is ours and our God, as believers and followers of Christ because we are sheltered in the promises of God, then therefore, at God's own time and in God's own way, He may choose to send angels to comfort us, to strengthen us, to bless us or sustain us. So that brings us then to what do angels do? What is the ministry of angels?

Hebrews 1:14 says: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who inherit salvation"? Those who are saved? Angels have little or nothing to do with those who are not saved except in the purposes of God to execute judgment. But to the believer angels have a ministry. The first ministry is the ministry of watching. First Corinthians 4:9, we are called a spectacle in the eyes of the angels. It appears that angels are watching over us, viewing our actions, observing our very lives. Ephesians 3 tells us that they watch us when we worship.

And, of course, the great old Gospel song tells us that when we worship the angels must fold their wings in amazement because angels, having never experienced grace as we have experienced grace and forgiveness, have never experienced the power of the cross and the resurrection in their life, who have never enjoyed as we have enjoyed a personal relationship and friendship with God Almighty in Christ, because angels see us saved and worshipping the Lord God, they fold their wings. "The angels stand and listen for they cannot join that song/ Like the sound of many waters by the happy blood-washed throng,/ Holy, holy, holy is what the angels sing".

They're watching. And as we reflect angels, angels reflect upon the tender heart of God and the love of God and the joy of salvation that we find in Him. Angels also have a ministry of guiding us. Angels lead us from time to time. They intersect with our lives. This happened in the Bible on numerous occasions. One of the most obvious is Acts chapter 12 when Peter is in prison, chained to soldiers. He'd already been in once for preaching the Gospel and delivered by angels. He and his buddy and cohort in the Gospel, John, they were delivered. So this time Herod said, "We're going to keep him there". He puts a Roman guard on him, about fourteen men. And yet in the middle of the night, it's one of the most wonderful passages of Scripture, Peter is asleep on the scaffold. He's sound asleep in the middle of the night though he was to be executed the next day. An angel awakens him and leads him out of the prison and to the church of God, where the people were praying for his deliverance.

So angels, indeed, guide us, especially when it comes time to pass from this life to the life to come. Jesus told about a poor beggar who was lonely and empty, but this beggar believed and he was carried into the presence of God and the glory of heaven. The believer should not see death as the finally and ultimate tragedy, not a tragedy at all, but a triumph. Because not only are we promised that He will carry us home, John 14:3 "I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there you may be also", but we're told that angels attend us there and usher us into the glorious presence of God. And when our time comes, when your number is up, there's no need to fear death because we are promised His divine safety and security and the experience of being carried into the presence of God and glory by the holy angels. We know that happens because it happened in the Bible and the Bible gives us these examples: Stephen was a godly young deacon, he preached the Gospel. He ultimately was stoned, martyred for his faith. But as he was dying and his life's blood was pouring out, as he was weakened in his dying moments, he looked up and the Bible says his face shone radiant like an angel's face. He was looking into the presence of glory.

The angelic beings and the glories and the promise of the light of His presence was filling his life and it showed up on his face. Ultimately when Stephen died, he said, "Look, I see the Son of Man standing at the right hand of the Father". When we see Jesus in the Bible He's most often seen seated at the right hand of the Father, signifying the power of God, the execution of God's power and authority, His right hand. But in this case when this godly hero of the faith is dying, he looks up into heaven, he sees the glory of the angels, the glory of God shining all about him, and the Son of God stands as if to welcome this hero home! So there's no need to fear death! No wonder the Scripture says, Psalm 116:15, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints". Philippians 1:21, "To live is Christ and to die is gain".

And when your moment comes, according to the Scripture, you will be comforted and strengthened and helped into the very presence of God. And there will be a glorious entrance as we are transformed into the likeness, not of angels, we do not become angels when we die and are translated into heaven, we are immortal and eternal sons and daughters of God, the children of God. The Bible indicates that there are angels who do guard us as well as guide us.

When I was three years of age... I've told you this before but for those of you who haven't heard it, I'll recount the situation. You know, when you're three I guess you think you know everything, or at least I did. And one of things I knew is I did like to eat the crust on bread. So one day we picked my brother up at high school, my older brother and I'm in the back seat of our big old Dodge car and... in those days you didn't push a button and let the window go down; you rolled the window down. And so I had this bright idea that I would peel the crust off my sandwich that I'd been eating in the back seat, and wad it up and throw it out the window before my mother saw me. Bad idea! Because as the car's rumbling down the road, about 40-50 miles an hour, I decide to open the window and throw it out. I get a hold of the car door (see, I wasn't as smart as I thought I was) opened the door, and I can still remember fighting against the wind, trying to pull that door to. I knew I was caught now for sure. The door is opened; I'm trying to shut the door. It seemed like time stood still.

And I remember it like it was yesterday. Time was standing still and I'm fighting against that door, and then almost as in slow motion I begin tumbling out the door. I remember thinking to myself, "Ah-oh! This is it"! And I landed on my head on the concrete. I still bear some scars. I can't explain it, landing on my head at that rate of speed and surviving with just a few scratches is not normal. I remember a soft landing as if something just or someone just laid me down. Did an angel protect me? I don't know. But I know that God's hand of protection has always been upon His children, including me. And so perhaps I'm standing here today because an angel saved my life. I wonder how many times, think about this, how many times our lives have been preserved because an angel acted in our behalf. Did something stop something to preserve our lives? I know that God has put a hedge of protection around His children according to Job 1:10, and that God has often encircled our lives with His holy presence, at times choosing angels to do so.

What are we to do, what are we to say? Remember our one magnificent obsession is Jesus. Marvel at the grace of God, marvel at the goodness of God, thank God for His presence, His protection, His power, and safety. And like the angels, we should desire to worship God, let's take our cue from the heavenly chorus and the heavenly choirs to worship our God, having experienced grace we are inspired by those worshippers. We can certainly be encouraged, knowing that we will be strengthened in the hour of death when angels attend us there. And one other thing: Angels announce the good news! It's one of their primary functions and has been through the years, certainly in biblical times, to tell the good news! To this day God could bring angels to announce the Gospel! But rather He has chosen you and me, just simple human beings, not majestic powerful angels, but people like you and me to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us be motivated because the Bible tells us there is joy in the presence of the angels when one person comes to faith in Jesus Christ.
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