Monday, February 15, 2010

More on Angels

I know I am about 12 hours late getting to my blog today.  I slept most of the day trying to fight off a cold.  I did drink a cup of French Roast decaf (I know decaf is not really coffee) while reading Calvin.

Calvin started off today with a discussion of the hierarchy and numbers of angels.  He referenced specifically the archangel Michael and references to him in Daniel and Jude.  He also named Gabriel from Scripture.  He named a third but seemed suspicious of the source.  Raphael is an angel that is written about in Tobit, one of the books of the apocrypha.  Calvin indicated that he was not so sure that he should be included.  After these, he quotes passages in the Scriptures which refer to "many legions," "many myriads," or a multitude of angels.  Obviously there are too many angels for us to count.  There were those who attempted to create a hierarchy among the angels and speculate wildly about other ideas related to angels.  Calvin said about this, "Whatever besides can be sought of both their number and order, let us hold it among those mysteries whose full revalation is delayed until the Last Day.  Therefore let us remember not to probe too curiously or talk to confidently."  You remember what he said about the curious just a few days ago.

In the days of Christ, there were the Sadduccees.  They did not believe in the afterlife nor did they believe in angels.  That made them sad, you see.  (If you don't get the pun, say it out loud.)  Calvin referenced the Sadduccees in the next section dealing with the actuality of angels.  They are not to be thought of as "impulses from God" as the Sadduccees thought.  They are actual created beings that God uses for His purposes.

Although they are created beings, they do reflect God's glory.  Because of this, we must be mindful that they are not gods.  We must not give them any honor due to God alone.  John admittedly fell down and worshiped an angel who told him to get up and worship God alone.  I think it would be an easy mistake for any of us to make.

God does not need angels to carry out His commands.  He is quite capable of doing it all himself.  He uses angels for our benefit.  Our feeble minds are comforted in knowing that there is a multitude of angels protecting us.  However, God too is protecting us at all times.  Calvin illustrated this in the story of Elisha trapping the blinded Arameans.  2 Kings 6:17 reads, "And Elisha prayed, 'O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.' Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."  God was perfectly capable of protecting Elisha and his servant, but it was comforting to the servant to see the angels protecting him in his time of need.

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