Saturday, January 10, 2015

Busy angels

"The Dream of St. Joseph"
by Rembrandt - 1645

"The Dream of St. Joseph" - Rembrandt

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 2:13-23

TO CHEW ON: "Now when they had departed behold an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, 'Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.'" Matthew 2:13

The angels were busy during the time of Christ's birth. That busyness started with an appearance to Zacharias to tell of John the Baptist's birth. Six or so months later the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her that she was the chosen mother of God's Son.

When Mary's pregnancy became obvious, an angel appeared to Joseph reassuring him that the conceived child was of the Holy Spirit and he could go ahead and marry her.

At Jesus' birth angels announced the news to shepherds.

After the wise men visit we have the incidents we read of today where an angel warned Joseph to flee with his family to Egypt (Matthew 2:13). He got another angel visit when it was time to return home after the danger was past (Matthew 2:20). A divine visit even confirmed his fearful feelings about settling in Judea (Matthew 2:22).

Angels make a fascinating study. They get whole chapters in theology textbooks and rightly so, for they populate the Bible from cover to cover. My systematic theology book has a section called "The Work of Good Angels in General." Their duties and responsibilities:

1. They stand before God and worship Him (Matthew 18:10; Revelation 5:11).

2. They protect and deliver God's people (Genesis 19:1, 10-11; Acts 5:19).

3. They guide and encourage God's servants (Matthew 28:5-7; Acts 27:23-24).

4. They interpret God's will to men (Job 33:23; Daniel 7:16).

5. They execute judgment toward individuals and nations (Acts 12:23; Genesis 19:12-13).

6. They carry the saved home when they fall asleep in Jesus (Luke 16:22). H. C. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 205-207.

Have you ever seen or been helped by an angel? I have been surprised when the topic of angels comes up, how many people tell of angelic visitations. (More O.F. devos about angels, with an angel story or two, HERE)

How comforting it is to know that God has an army of helpers at the ready to inspire, aid, shield, and guide us, to interpret God's will to us, and to help bring it to pass.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for all the ways You minister Your providence, including assigning angels to work on my behalf. Amen.

MORE: Angelology

In the introduction to the section on angels, Thiessen writes:

"The doctrine of angels follows logically the doctrine of God, for the angels are primarily the ministers of God's providence. Although the Scriptures have much to say about angels, there is today a very general disregard, often amounting to a rejection of the doctrine. Various things have contributed to this attitude. There is first the Gnostic worship of angels (Colossians 2:18); then there are the often foolish speculations of the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages; and then, finally, there is the exaggerated belief in witchcraft in more recent times. Yet there are many reasons for believing in angels (his points abbreviated):

1. Taught in Scripture.
2. Evident in the demon possession and demon worship in heathen lands.
3. Practice of Spiritualism.
4. The work of Satan and the evil spirits in hindering the progress of grace in our own hearts and the work of God in the world (Ephesians 6:12).

H. C. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, page 190.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...