Monday, November 28, 2016

Heavenly Host: Attributes






For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Psalms 91:11-12






Unlike so many pictures that depict angels playing harps or dressed in all white floating amidst the clouds, they are an heavenly host with many attributes.  It is important that we understand they role in relation to God and to man.  God has given us angels to watch over us. 

Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.   Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.  Psalms 103:20-21

They work in concert with God in accordance with His will for mankind.  They are referenced throughout the word of God and through this, their various attributes are made known to us.

They are first and foremost, spirits:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?  Hebrews 1:14

They are immortal:

Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.  Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.   Matthew 22:28-30

They have both visible and invisible forms:

Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.  And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:  Numbers 22:31-32

They appear with the likeness of human form:

And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,  Genesis 18:2

They have emotions:

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.  Luke 15:10

They have appetites:

And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.  Genesis 18:8

They are glorified beings:

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:26

They are intelligent:

 To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.  II Samuel 14:20

They are meek:

Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.  Jude 1:9

They are powerful:

Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.  Psalms 103:20

Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.   II Peter 2:11

They have no need to rest:

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.  Revelation 4:8

Hey travel at an unrecorded speed:

And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!  Revelation 8:13

They speak languages:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  I Corinthians 13:1

They are Innumerable:
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  Luke 2:13

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,  Hebrews 12:22

They do not marry or have children:

And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:   But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:  Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.  Luke 20:34-36

They are obedient:

Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.  Psalms 103:20

They are holy:

The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:  Revelation 14:10

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.  Mark 8:38

They are reverent:   Their highest activity is the worship of God.

Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.  Nehemiah 9:6

Angels are active in both Heaven and earth. The source of their power is both granted and governed by God. They have access to the presence of God in Heaven:


...In Heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in Heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

(Biblical Studies)

Friday, November 25, 2016

God's Heavenly Host: Angels







Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?  Hebrews 1:14






Angels are defined as spiritual beings believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God, conventionally represented in human form with wings and a long robe.  However, we also define an angel as someone who is who is very good, kind, or beautiful in nature. That is alright, but let’s discuss Angels and their role as defined in the word of God.  Angels are ministering spirits sent by God to do His will:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. (Hebrews 1:14)

Angels were created by God:

Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts.

Let them praise the name of the Lord: For He commanded and they were created. (Psalms 148:2 and 5)

For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16.)

All the angels were righteous and holy when they were first created. They worshiped and served the one true God. Later, some angels rebelled against God and lost their position as angels.

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.  Jude 1:6

They became part of a force of evil called "demons."

There are now two kinds of angels: Good angels  and evil angels (demons).

The good Angels have been organized by God in a special order. The Bible does not reveal the details of that order, but it does indicate such organization:

For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)  

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  Ephesians 3:10)

The organization of the invisible world is described here in terms of thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers. We are not given details of this structure.  

There are literally multitudes of angels who are apparently classified according to the duties they perform.

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. (Luke 2:13-14)

These are the main classifications of angels:

Ö         Messengers:

This class of angels is most likely the largest in number. These are the angels composing the innumerable group, visualized by Daniel who carry out the will of God in Heaven and earth.

A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.   (Daniel 7:10)

This is the group that usually relates to the believer in terms of spiritual warfare. They interpret God's will, protect, provide guidance, bring answers to prayer, announce, warn, instruct, bring judgment, encourage, sustain, deliver, and intercede on behalf of believers.

Ö         Elect Angels:

Only one reference is made to these elect angels:

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. ( I Timothy 5:21)

There is no further information given about this group but it could be concluded that these are the angels that did not forsake their first estate.

Ö         Cherubim:

This classification of angels is first mentioned in Genesis

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.  (Genesis3:24)

They are also mentioned as part of the ark of the covenant. Ezekiel mentions these beings and describes them as having four appearances; the face of a lion, the face of an ox, the face of a man, and the face of an eagle.  They are also noted as the living creatures surrounding the throne of God. They appear to be the highest order of angels, the guardians of God.

Ö         Seraphim:

Their position is above the throne of God in contrast to the position of cherubims who surround His throne. The duty of these angels seems to be to lead Heaven in the worship of God.

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  Isaiah 6:1-2

Ö         Living Creatures:

This group of angels are mentioned in. This title presents these angels as manifesting the fullness of divine life, whose chief ministry appears to be worship of God.

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.  (Revelation 4:8)


In addition to the different classifications of angels, there are some individual angels mentioned by name in the Bible:

*         Michael:

Michael the archangel is mentioned by name in Daniel  and Revelation. He is the only angel who is called an archangel.

Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.  (Jude 1:9)

In addition to being the prince of the people of Israel, he is represented as having charge over an army of angels.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,  (Revelation 12:7)

*         Gabriel:

The meaning of his name is "mighty one." He is mentioned in Daniel and in Luke. He is always used to deliver an important message from God. It is Gabriel who interpreted the vision for Daniel and who announced the birth of John and Jesus.
And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.  (Luke 1:19)

SPECIAL GROUPS OF ANGELS:

The Bible also mentions special groups of angels which include:


Angels of the seven churches:                                                      Revelation 1:20
Four angels who control the winds:                                            Revelation 1:7
Seven angels who stand before God:                                           Revelation 8:2
Seven angels who administrate the seven last plagues:          Revelation 15:1, 7
Twenty-four elders (these may be angelic beings):                  Revelation 4 and 5

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Perfecting by the Holy Spirit

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine...  But speaking the truth in love may grow up into Him in all things which is the head even Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-15)

The Holy Spirit is a gift from God and the beauty of it is that it brings with it gifts for our betterment.  The gifts of the holy spirit which are listed primarily in 1 Corinthians 12 and the fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5 work in conjunction with the filling of the Holy Ghost as described in Acts 2.

GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Jesus left His followers with a responsibility to extend the Gospel message to the ends of the earth.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  Matthew 28:19-20

The power of the Holy Spirit would help them fulfill this task. Part of this "power" of the Holy Spirit was special gifts which the Holy Spirit gives believers to equip them to minister effectively.  These spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents such as the ability to sing or play musical instruments. Natural talents and abilities are given at the time of physical birth and/or developed by natural efforts during the course of a lifetime. They can be used to minister in the church, but are different than spiritual gifts.  Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. Their purpose is...

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine...  But speaking the truth in love may grow up into Him in all things which is the head even Christ. (Ephesian 4:12-15)

This passage reveals spiritual gifts are for:

      *        Perfecting of the saints.
      *        Promoting the work of the ministry.
      *        Edifying Christ and the church.

The end objectives of these gifts are that we will:

      *        Be united in the faith.
      *        Develop our knowledge of Christ.
      *        Develop in perfection, with Christ as our model.
      *        Become stable, not deceived by false doctrines.
      *        Mature spiritually in Christ.

Today, some people claim that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for modern believers.  They teach that some of the powerful gifts like miracles and speaking in other tongues were only for the early Church.

The answer to their objection is this: The Lord gave ministry gifts to accomplish certain purposes in the church. He will not withdraw any of these gifts without the purposes being accomplished.   Consider these questions:

Ö       Are all our churches in unity?
Ö       Do we have full knowledge of Christ?
Ö       Are we all walking in perfection, stable, and mature?
Ö       Have we stopped false doctrines from penetrating our churches? 

The answer to all of these questions is "no.” All the purposes of the ministry gifts have not been fulfilled. For this reason, all the gifts which God gave to accomplish these objectives are still operative today. The Bible also says that the "gifts and callings of God are not a mistake, God doesn’t regret His decisions:

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.   (Romans 11:29)

That means God will not change His mind and take back a gift or a calling He has given.  The Holy Spirit gives each believer at least one spiritual gift

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (I Peter 4:10)

 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of ChristEphesians 4:7

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (I Corinthians 12:7).

It is important for us to discover and use our spiritual gifts in the church. The main passages explaining the spiritual gifts available to believers through the Holy Spirit are found in Romans 12:1-8, I Corinthians 12:1-31, Ephesians 4:1-16 and I Peter 4:7-11.

FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit develops in the life of the believer qualities which the Bible calls "spiritual fruit.” The fruit of the Holy Spirit refers to the nature of the Holy Spirit being evident in the life of a believer. It is God’s will that, unlike the spiritual gifts that He makes available to us, all the fruit be evident in the life of each Christian:

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.  Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

The development of these qualities are another important function of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT

The following are Biblical guidelines for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

¨        Repent And Be Baptized:

This will put you in a position of spiritual receptivity:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

¨        Believe It Is For You:

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39)

¨        Desire It:

Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

¨        Realize It Is A Gift:

The Holy Spirit has already been given. It was given to the Church on the Day of Pentecost. Because it is a gift, you can do nothing to earn it:

. . . and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

This only would I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 

He therefore that ministereth to you in the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles; through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  (Galatians 3:2,5,14)

Begin to praise and thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

¨        Yield To God:

Do not be afraid to speak the language of the Spirit as you are praising and worshiping God. As you praise Him audibly you will first experience stammering lips. Yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit and He will speak through you words foreign to your understanding. This is the sign of Holy Spirit baptism:
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.  (Isaiah 28:11)

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)

¨        Request The Prayers Of Other Believers:

The Holy Spirit can be received through the laying on of hands (Acts 8, 9, 19) or without the laying on of hands (Acts 2, 4, 10).  These chapters show how Spirit-filled believers can help you experience baptism in the Holy Spirit.