November 17, 2020

Angels Are God's Agents For Your Good

INTERESTING FACTS : George Washington,   born February 22 [February 11, Old Style], 1732, Westmoreland county, Virginia [U.S.] died December 14, 1799, Mount Vernon, Virginia, U.S., By name  "Father of His Country;" American general and commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution (1775-83) and subsequently first president of the United States (1789-97).  JUDGE; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION;[1]
"You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."[2]
Daily Reading : Acts 11 - 12
TEXT : Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him.  12:6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.  12:7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.  12:8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.  12:9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.  12:10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.  12:11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.  12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.  12:13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.  12:14 And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.  12:15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.  12:16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.
Acts 11 
In this chapter we have,  I. Peter's necessary vindication of what he did in receiving Cornelius and his friends into the Church, from the censure he lay under for it among the brethren, and their acquiescence in it (v. 1-18).  II. The good success of the Gospel at Antioch, and the parts adjacent (Act_11:19-21).  III. The carrying on of the good work that was begun at Antioch, by the ministry of Barnabas first, and afterwards of Paul in conjunction with him, and the lasting name of Christian first given to the disciples there (Act_11:22-26).  IV. A prediction of an approaching famine, and the contribution that was made among the Gentile converts for the relief of the poor saints in Judea, upon that occasion (Act_11:27-30).  (Matthew Henry)[3]
Acts 12 
Herod persecutes the Christians, Act_12:1. Kills James, Act_12:2. And casts Peter into prison, Act_12:3, Act_12:4. The Church makes incessant prayer for his deliverance, Act_12:5. An angel of God opens the prison doors and leads him out, Act_12:6-10. Peter rejoices, and comes to the house of Mary, where many were praying, and declares how he was delivered, Act_12:11-17. The soldiers who kept the prison are examined by Herod, and he commands them to be put to death, Act_12:18, Act_12:19. Herod is enraged against the people of Tyre, but is appeased by their submission, Act_12:20. He makes an oration to the people, receives idolatrous praises, and an angel of the Lord smites him, and he dies a miserable death, Act_12:21-23. The word of God increases, Act_12:24. Barnabas and Saul, having fulfilled their ministry, return from Jerusalem accompanied by John Mark, Act_12:25.  (Adam Clarke)[4]
As persecution continues against the early Church, we once again see the ministry of prayer after Peter is arrested and put in prison.  Specifically, it says in Acts 12:5 "but prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him." This was the hallmark of the early Church.  That is, continual prayer and a complete dependency on Christ to meet all their needs.  Wonderfully simple, the early Church did not have the encumbrances we have today.  Christ was all and in all.  That was all they knew, and all they cared about.  Further, as you would expect, it worked.  It was a simple life (although obviously not easy).  Yet, there is something about simplicity that is desirable at this time in history when almost everything is complex or complicated.  Therefore, sincerity in your faith is needed.  Your faith in Christ must not be divided by the plethora of distractions in our postmodern world.
Some amazing events transpire during this season of prayer by the Church for Peter's sake.  Sleeping between two soldiers and bound  by two chains, Peter as a prisoner has no hope of escape.  The jail is secure, and he is shackled to two Roman guards.  Therefore, escape was impossible.  Yet, as mentioned, the Church prays for him continuously.  Oddly, the text does not say what they prayed for; it simply says they prayed without ceasing.  The exhortation to "pray without ceasing," is given by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament to you as well.
While the Church is praying in Acts 12:7 it states - "and, behold, the angel of the LORD came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, arise up quickly.  And his chains fell off from his hands." This angel sent by Christ frees Peter from a hopeless situation.  The words of the Lord Jesus Christ come to mind when he said in Luke 1:37 - "For with God nothing shall be impossible." This was the faith of the early Church. Further, in the unadorned simplicity of their faith they received miraculous results.  You should note that God has not changed; neither has his Holy Scriptures.  Therefore, you too can have the God of the impossible grant you results, if you pray in faith - believing.
The angel of God gives Peter further instructions in verse 12:8, and the Bible states that Peter did not know what was happening to him - whether it was reality or a vision.  The angel then leads Peter out of the prison, and out of the city, after Peter's chains supernaturally fall off of his wrists.  Such is the power and ability of God's agents - angels.  They are at the beckoning call and command of Almighty God.  In addition, angels serve man. 
For some reason, angels - although they appear hundreds of times throughout the entire Bible, are neglected entities in the mind of the Christian, and are rarely a topic spoken about from the pulpit.  One cannot be certain why this phenomenon exists - that is, angels are rarely thought about or spoken of.  Yet, angels play a significant role in history.
Angel or angels are mentioned over 200 times in the Bible.  From the Book of Genesis through the Book of the Revelation, the person and presence of angels are there.  God uses his angels in war, for deliverance from danger, to supply needs, to deliver messages (including appearing in dreams), and to surround and support God's people.  Again, angels play an important role in the lives of God's people.
Some believe, based on the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, that everyone has a "guardian angel." In Matthew 18:10, Jesus said - "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."
Adam Clarke remarks on this belief in his commentary saying - "Our Lord here not only alludes to, but, in my opinion, establishes the notion received by almost all nations, viz. That every person has a guardian angel; and that these have always access to God, to receive orders relative to the management of their charge. See Psa_34:8; Heb_1:14."[5]
As Clark states, the belief in a guardian angel assigned to each believer is an ancient understanding of the Biblical text of the words of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, there is no good reason why you should not believe this as well.  Namely, you have a specific angel assigned to you to guard you and keep you safe from all dangers. 
Further, at the end of the age it will be angels gathering God's "elect," from the four corners of the earth.  In the Gospel according to Mark 13:26-27 Jesus said - "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.  And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."
Matthew Henry comments on this verse from the Gospel of Mark chapter 13.
"The gathering together of all the elect to him (Mar_13:27); He shall send his angels, and gather together his elect to him, to meet him in the air, 1Th_4:17. They shall be fetched from one end of the world to the other, so that none shall be missing from that general assembly; they shall be fetched from the uttermost part of the earth, most remote from the places where Christ's tribunal shall be set, and shall be brought to the uttermost part of heaven; so sure, so swift, so easy, shall their conveyance be, that there shall none of them miscarry, though they were to be brought from the uttermost part of the earth one way, to the uttermost part of the heaven another way. A faithful Israelite shall be carried safely, though it were from the utmost border of the land of bondage to the utmost border of the land of promise."[3]
One interesting observation on the deliverance of Peter from prison, is when he appears at the house of Mary the mother of Mark (who also wrote the Gospel according to Mark), no one believes Peter is actually there.  Then again, it is curious that they mention "it is his angel." In any case, with so much prayer being offered on Peter's behalf one would think when he appears at the door knocking, everyone would immediately rejoice and understand and believe it was Peter.  Yet, they did not understand or believe the report of the woman Rhoda, or that the knocking at the door was in reality the Apostle Peter.  Still, they had enough faith to believe a physical, authentic knocking on the door was being performed by an angel.  This is curious for obvious reasons.  If these pious Christians had enough faith to believe an angel was knocking on the door, why then did they not believe it could have been (as it was in reality) - Peter?
In any case, today, think about the innumerable host of angels that surround the throne of God.  Jesus mentioned prior to his crucifixion, that if it were his will, he could summon 12 legions of angels; to deliver him from the cross if he had so desired.  The Encyclopedia Britannica states - "The term legion also denotes the military system by which imperial Rome conquered and ruled the ancient world."[1] The number of soldiers in the Roman legion according to the Oxford English dictionary was 3,000 - 6,000. "A Roman legion had between 3000 to 6000 soldiers." [8]
Thus, it appears by both virtue of definition and context of Jesus words, that the Father, your Father, uses angels to conquer and rule his world.  With this in mind, remember - you are a child of God (son or daughter).  Therefore, God has assigned his angel or angels, to do whatever is necessary to keep you safe both now and forever.  Angels are God's agents for your good.

  • [1] Encyclopedia Brittanica, Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopedia, 2011, 2011.
  • [2] 122. George Washington, The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XV, p. 55, from his speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779. ; Vol. XI, pp. 342-343, General Orders of May 2, 1778
  • [3] Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain, 1662 - 1714.
  • [4] Adam Clarke LL.D., F.S.A. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain, 1715 - 1832.
  • [5] Adam Clarke LL.D., F.S.A. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain, 1715 - 1832.If
  • [6] Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain, 1662 - 1714.
  • [7] Encyclopedia Brittanica, Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopedia, 2011, 2011.
  • [8] Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Eleventh Edition)
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