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The Invisible Society

• Greg Boyd

Greg spoke this week on “The Invisible Society: The Truth about Angels.” The word “angel” is a transliteration and means “messenger” in Greek. We see in Scripture that God sometimes sends an angel as a messenger to God’s children. Greg offered these four teaching points during the sermon:Angels are real, there are LOTS of angels, angels are under God’s direction, not ours, and some are good, but some are evil.

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Greg spoke this week on “The Invisible Society: The Truth about Angels.” In Luke 1:11-14 an angel appeared to Zechariah, who was overwhelmed with fear. The message was that Elizabeth (Zechariah’s wife) would bear a son whose name was to be John. The word “angel” is a transliteration and means “messenger” in Greek. We see in Scripture that God sometimes sends an angel as a messenger to God’s children. Greg offered these four teaching points during the sermon:

I. Angels are real. Of course, the pictures of angels that we are used to (naked babies with wings, etc.) are mythological, but angels are clearly understood to be real beings in Scripture. Greg pointed out that human beings “see” only a fraction of the “real world.” Most cultures other than our own have all assumed that angels—or something like them—exist. These beings have various names in the Bible: “gods” (occurs 450+ times), “angels” (occurs 300+ times), “heavenly hosts” (187 times in NIV), “Sons of God”, “mighty ones”, “holy ones”, etc. They are created beings, different from God, different from humans and “higher up” the “chain of being” than humans.

II. There are LOTS of angels. See Rev. 5:11; Heb. 12:22, and recall Jesus’ words about having 12 legions of angels at his disposal.

III. Angels are under God’s direction, not ours. (See Ps. 103:20.) There seems to be a lot of talk about contacting or even commanding angels. This is not modeled in Scripture. It is an act of disregard for the order of things that God has put in place so it is at best arrogant and at worst very dangerous. The various duties that God charges angels with include: protecting humans (Ps. 91:11; Heb. 1:14; children in particular Matt. 18:10), protecting and guiding congregations (Rev. 2:1; 1 Cor. 11:10), having authority over nations (Deut. 32:8). And like humans, some angels don’t seem to do their job very well (Ps. 82:1-7).

IV. Some are good, but some are evil. Before there was a fall with human beings, there was a fall with the angels. It was a rebellion led by Satan. Earth has become a war zone where casualties and terrible things happen which we’d expect of any war torn context. Part of Jesus’ mission was to end this war by destroying the stronghold that Satan and the fallen angels have over human beings. Though the death blow was delivered on the cross, the fall out will continue until Christ returns. We have been set free but now our struggle is with these spirits who desire to bring us back into bondage.

As Christians we need to remember, that no human being is truly our enemy, all human beings are what we are fighting for—not against! (Eph. 6:12-13.)

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Topics: Spiritual Warfare


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 1:11-14

    Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth."

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