Angels: Our Liturgical Apostles
Hebrews 1:14 (ESV) Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
In many ways, human beings are “bestial” creatures of the earth, no different from other creatures in the animal kingdom. But even though we share many qualities with the rest of the creatures of this earth, we have 2 outstanding factors that make us unique: 1. Our ability to reason. 2. Our need to worship. These two distinguishing factors are due to God’s own spirit in mankind, which gives him divine qualities. (Job 32:8)
Genesis 1:24-31 teaches us that God created the land animals and humans on the same day. God commanded the earth to “bring forth” the land animals of every kind, but in verse 26, He begins the creation of mankind with an invitation.
“Let us make man…”
Christians and Jews have traditionally differed in the interpretation of this passage. Christians have historically interpreted this passage as the inner conversation within the divine; the Father inviting the Son and the Holy Spirit to create mankind. But Jews, have historically interpreted this passage as the act of the divine Creator, inviting the heavenly angels to create mankind with Him. Although the Christian understanding of this passage is correct, the Scriptures seem to confirm the latter interpretation elsewhere, especially in Job 38:4-7.
Genesis teaches us that one of the reasons why God created mankind, was so that they would be his representatives in the physical world. Human beings are both physical and spiritual, while angels are pure spirits. The word “spirit,” in both Hebrew and Greek, literally means “wind.” (Heb. ruach; Gk. pneuma)
Hebrews 1:14 clearly call Angels “spirits,” but with that designation, it also attributes to Angels a purpose- which is to “serve.” In Heb. 1:14, the word translated as “ministering” is literally the Greek word: “leiturgika,” from which we get the word LITURGY. Strong’s Concordance #3010 translates leiturgika as: “ministering, engaged in holy service.” The same word is used for when Zechariah was serving God on behalf of the people in the Temple (Luke 1:21-23) and of Jesus’ service in the heavenly Temple as our High Priest (Hebrews 8:5).
The word “Angel” means “messenger.” Some have proposed that Angels are simply manifestations of God, but this is incorrect because Angels demonstrate three characteristics that designate them as unique, rational creatures; these being:
Intellect (1Peter 1:12)
Emotion (Luke 2:13)
Will (Jude 6)
Another interesting phrase in Hebrews 1:14 is: “sent out” This is a phrase that is translated from the plural Greek word “aposteillomena.” Strong’s Concordance #649 defines the root word for aposteillomena as “to send, send out, send away, especially used of the official sending out of the disciples.” In many ways, it would be correct to refer to Angels as “Apostles of God.”
Angels are “liturgical” spirits that are “sent out” to serve God through their service of redeemed, human beings. Just as we serve God by serving one another because we are the image and likeness of God, Angels serve God by serving us, who are not only created in the image and likeness of God, but also sit with Christ at the right hand of God’s authority over all things, including Angels. (Colossians 1:15-18; 27; 3:1-4)
Angels learn about the Gospel by studying God’s relationship with human beings: 1 Peter 1:12
Some of the ways that Angels serve God through us:
1. Involved in answering prayer (Acts 12:7)
2. Observe Christians’ experiences (1 Cor. 4:9; 1 Tim. 5:21)
3. Encourage in times of danger (Acts 27:23-24)
4. Interested in Evangelism (Lk. 15:10; Acts 8:26)
5. Care for righteous at death (Lk. 16:22; Jude 9