Tag Archives: Angels

Gabriel…

Why do people writing Hollywood movies tend to pick on Gabriel?  Have you noticed this?  Take, for example, Constantine or The Prophecy; in both, he is portrayed as a kind of turncoat…often portrayed as an angel who doesn’t get along well with humans.  I’ve actually seen people ask, “Did Gabriel really betray God?”

What we know for a fact about Gabriel is based in the Bible, there are other legends about him, including his inclusion in the apocryphal book of Enoch, but we’ll stick with the Bible.  His name means, “warrior of God” or “man of God” (sometimes alternatively phrased “God is my Master).”  His first appearance in scripture is in the book of Daniel.

Daniel 8:15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. 17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. 18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. 19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. 20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. 22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. 23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. 26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.

Also in Daniel:

Daniel 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

He doesn’t show up by name again ’til the book of Luke.

Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19 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. 20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

So, Gabriel aided Daniel in understanding and interpreting his vision.  Also notice that Gabriel, as other angels, sets men on their feet when they tend to fall down in front of them; God alone is to be reverenced and worshiped.  In Luke we see that Gabriel was given the honor of two very important announcements; one to Zacharias about John’s conception, and the other to Mary about Jesus’.

Gabriel appears to be connected with prophecy surrounding Jesus; the prophecies are connected to the coming Messiah in Daniel, and in Luke.  He seems to deal with humans just fine, as long as they trust his word, which seems important to him, not because of who he is, but because he stands in the presence of God.

We always need to watch out for modern tales that may influence how we see certain Biblical concepts and characters.  I’ve already touched upon Angels in general, and Satan as well.  Gabriel seems to be chosen for plot lines because he is one of a very few angels mentioned by name…something tells me he would not like his name to be used in such a manner, look at what he did to Zacharias for not believing his words…

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Angels (pt. 2); Satan…

In part 1 I focused mainly on the holy Angels; those that serve God, and did not follow Satan.  According to scripture 1/3 of all angels sided with Satan.  Revelation 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth…

As with angels in general, one in particular is misconstrued in popular media, and that is Satan himself.  A red mustachioed figure lugging around a pitchfork.  The king or ruler of Hell.  An omniscient being with direct power over the saints.  These are just a few of the skewed ideas about Satan.

First, his real appearance would not be a disgusting visage, or a cartoonish fire-engine red.  He was chief of the angels and there is an interesting set of verses in Ezekiel Chapter 20, overtly about the king of Tyre, though most scholars agree that the message is about the king of Tyre through a comparison between the king and how Satan fell as well, and it is also probable that Satan was the true power behind the king:

Ezekiel 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

There seems to be a part of us that desires evil to seem overtly evil…to look evil to the naked eye.  But, part of his power is that he can indeed appear as an angel of light, something beautiful to behold.  If evil appeared evil, we wouldn’t have been instructed to test the spirits, we’d just be able to tell by looking.  1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

We can actually turn to another major religion to see, perhaps, were this fits in.  Within Islam, it is believed that an angel calling himself/claiming to be Gabriel appeared to Mohammed and dictated the Koran to him.  Islam denies two key aspects of the fact that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh; they deny He is the very Word/Wisdom/Logos of God made flesh, and they deny that He was resurrected bodily (they deny the crucifixion of Christ too).  I don’t think it was Gabriel appearing to Mohammed, but perhaps it was the father of lies himself; Satan.  Of course he would look like an angel; he is one.  Another interesting aspect that possibly ties this in with Satan is that, if you read the description of Satan in Ezekiel, you see that tabrets and pipes are part of his being; music is a part of who or what he is.  The Koran is claimed to have rhyme and rhythm just as music does…

As for an example in recent literature; I love Frank Peretti’s angel novels (This Present Darkness, and Piercing the Darkness), and think he portrayed the holy Angels really well…but, I have to point out that those beings on the other side, the evil beings in the novel are portrayed as evil, ugly, hideous creatures, which does set the mood and give us the creeps, but we have to realize that they won’t always appear that way.

Anywho, onto Hell.  Hell, and/or the lake of fire is a prison, not a party with Satan in charge; he isn’t ruling Hell.  At the time of Job, we see that he still had access to the Throne.  Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 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. Hell isn’t his “playground,” this earth is.  Adam was given dominion over the earth, and gave up that dominion when he fell.

Notice, when Satan is tempting Christ, one of the thing he offers is: Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. The Devil offers Christ the world; Jesus doesn’t say that it isn’t Satan’s to give.

Nowhere does scripture indicate that Satan is omniscient, omnipresent, and it definitely does not say he is omnipotent.  And, while we should not be flippant about the Devil and the rest of the fallen angels (Jude 1:9 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.)  we have not been given the spirit of fear, and Christ has indeed taken the keys to Hell, death, and the grave (Rev. 1:18).

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Again, always turn to scripture for facts, not to popular media and fanciful ideas…

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Angels (pt. 1)…

God’s messengers, harbingers, and sometimes mode of destruction.  One thing is for sure, humankind hasn’t done them any favors in the accurate representation department.

I do realize that the naked baby with wings depiction stemmed from an art form, a style…but really.  they see us, and hear us if they are around…what must they think?  In scripture, they often announce themselves with, “fear not,” having to physically pick people up off the ground as the humans hit the dirt in shock and/or misplaced worship, they slew thousands of men, and were responsible for warding certain people and places, and for bringing news and callings to mankind…one being elected to bring a bit of important information to Mary herself.

2 Kings 19:35 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 thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. (To those keeping score, that’s 185,000 humans killed in one evening.) 2 Chronicles 32:21 And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria… etc…

The Cherubim are first introduced as set guardians to the entrance of Eden.  Seraphim are introduced in Isaiah: Isaiah 6:2 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. We know there are archangels as well, and we see them sent to battle; for example, Michael watches over Israel (Daniel 12:1).

We humans have a tendency to either elevate them to “gods” or make them infants.  Often they are portrayed as actual females with long flowing hair and dresses, despite the fact that we don’t have a reference in scripture to actual female angels.  It is important for us as believers to search scripture for accurate understanding on many issues, Angels included.

They are creations of God, as we are…they are also split into factions.  Out of all the angels created, 1/3 fell with Satan, 2/3 stayed loyal to God.  When we die, we don’t become angels as is sometimes portrayed; we are human, they are not, though we become like them in the absence of marriage in Heaven.  It isn’t clear from scripture if we each have a guardian angel of our own, or if it is limited to the peoples of God in a general way.  We do know that they are watching, and there is a certain level of threat hinted at in this: Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

They can also be sent to ward us, and are joyful when we humans turn to God…when each one of us submitted to Him: Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. They are God’s to command, and if we desire their protection, as always, we should go before the Father in prayer to make the request, we are to pray to Him and Him alone.  All of this can seem a trifling matter since we are surrounded by these placid images of Angels…but they do exist and there is a spiritual realm around us that we cannot see.

2 Kings 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

There have been some representations of Angels in modern media that have shown angels as warriors; I enjoyed the first installment of the movie series: The Prophecy very much.  (Just so my readers know, they are very violent, and aren’t based off of scripture.)  They portray them as powerful players in a war amongst themselves…of course a lot of it isn’t accurate (including the smear on Gabriel’s good name, and adding to scripture), but it is a refreshing switch from naked babies floating on clouds.  In my next post about Angels I’ll take a look at Satan, and misconceptions about him as well.  I’ll mention Frank Peretti’s Angel novels more in depth then too.

Just keep in mind that Angels are powerful servants of God Most High, they are warriors and messengers answering to the Throne itself…not chubby little kids with harps.

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