Spiritual Forces (part 2)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Flint’s first article appeared in the December, 2018 issue.
Another spiritual being described in the Bible is an archangel. Michael is the only being called an archangel who is called by a name. Having a proper name is very rare among angels with only two to four named depending which terms are to be taken as proper terms (Michael, Jude 9; Gabriel, Luke 1:26; Lucifer, Isaiah 14:12; Apollyon, Revelation 9:11). Despite the name archangel literally meaning “chief messenger,” Michael never appears in the Bible carrying a message. The archangel Michael is likely connected to the prince Michael in the book of Daniel. Michael contended with demonic powers to allow an angel to bring a message to Daniel (10:12-13). At the end of the book, Michael is depicted as the leader of God’s people through great trouble (12:1-2). In Jude 9, Michael is said to have contended with the Devil over the body of Moses. Michael was also apparently in conflict with the Devil during his fall (Revelation 12:7-9). Considering these things together, Michael is a mighty angel that is always in direct conflict, fighting against evil spiritual forces. Michael is also a leader given great authority. His angels contended with the Devil and it is he that has charge over God’s people. Finally, Christ’s return will be announced by the cry of command of an archangel and the trumpet of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Angels are ministering spirits and likely the spiritual beings that are most familiar. This is because they appear far more frequently in the text than any of the previous categories. Angels frequently are found giving a message from God and interpreting that message for men (Daniel 10:12-13, Luke 1:26, Zechariah 1:9, Hebrews 2:2). While angels carry the message of God, they are not the source of the information, and they are not omniscient. In 1 Peter, we are told that angels desire to look into the plan of salvation, which they themselves, at times, delivered.
In addition to carrying messages, angels are involved with various acts of might. Elisha opened the eyes of his servant in 1 Kings 6:17 and the servant saw an army of angels. After the resurrection of Jesus, an angel rolled away the stone in front of the grave (Matthew 28:2) and the angels waged war against the Devil and his angels under the leadership of Michael (Revelation 12:7-9). Angels also are involved with giving God praise (Revelation 7:11). Angels are spiritual beings that carry out a rather wide variety of tasks for the Lord.
The last category of spiritual beings to consider are the angels who sinned. Some of the more useful texts concerning the angels who sinned are found in Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4. The angels who sinned rebelled against God under the leadership of the Devil and are reserved for punishment. Although they are chained, they apparently play a similar role to their counter parts delivering a message. In the Old Testament, the demons played a role working through the false religion of idolatry (Deuteronomy 32:17, 1 Corinthians 10:20). During the ministry of Christ and the apostles, there are a few instances of these spirits inhabiting or possessing the bodies of humans. Apparently, the demons were loosed for a time while Christ was on earth, so he could show his superiority over the demons (Colossians 2:15). Having disarmed these spiritual beings, they again revert to generating confusion about God. In the first letter to Timothy, we are told that demons have a doctrine. That those who receive not the love of the truth will have itching ears and will accumulate for themselves teachers. Much of the religious confusion that we see in the world today has been amplified by the angels who sinned. One God delivered one message to establish one church. The great amount of doctrines and churches is not a result of the message of God, but rather a result of the message of the demons. To combat these spiritual perversions, we have the sword of the Spirit or God’s Word (Ephesians 6:12-17).
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).