A Third of the Stars in Heaven
a third of the stars of heaven
Understanding Angels in the Bible
Are angels real?
Ever since God put a man and a woman in a garden in Eden, the devil has been trying his best to undermine scripture and turn the word of God into a fairy tale. If he can do that, he can convince the world of anything. Get rid of the Bible, no devil to worry about. Get rid of the Bible, no God to be judge and authority over morality. No Bible=no heaven and no hell. No consequences for our actions.
But how does Satan go about this task? The same way he always has: He frames questions over the validity of scripture, and that small question mark at the end of a sentence plants the seed of doubt that can then be nurtured by more questions, arguments of so-called science, and emotional appeals.
Don’t believe me? Look at the pattern in Genesis three:
The serpent re-frames what God commanded them and turns it into a question: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).
The woman corrects the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (Genesis 3:2-3).
The serpent counters with some false truth, telling Eve that she won’t die but will become like the gods (interesting that she didn’t say there was no such thing as other gods).
The woman listens to these “facts” and then gives in to her desires.
That’s the pattern, folks. But the devil can’t stop there; he has to bring every bit of scripture into question. So, naturally, the only people who claim to have seen angels are ridiculed, and their intelligence and sanity are called into question. Am I saying that the people claiming to have seen angels really did? No. Maybe, maybe not. But the fact is that angels are real, according to the Bible. Satan just perfected steering people away from Biblical arguments. Someone says angels to you, and your mind goes to some Hollywood version, romanticized and ridiculous. Someone says they’ve seen angels, and you get nervous and think they’re nuts. None of that changes what the Bible says.
What does the Bible say about angels?
It’s not really possible (or profitable to you) to list what the Bible “says” about angels. The truth is, just like many doctrines of the Bible, once you start looking through scripture, the references are everywhere. Let’s try to categorize these and make sense of angels.
Angels are stars
I know that sounds crazy, but remember how we prefaced this whole thing: Satan wants to convince you that the Bible is a joke. He wants you to use your own reasoning (engineered by the seeds he has planted in Hollywood and books) instead of sound, Biblical truth.
Let’s look at a few places in the Bible to see if my claim holds water:
The Morning Stars
The book of Job has some very interesting moments, but one of THE most interesting is when God appears to Job and begins to describe how powerful he really is. He asks Job if he was there during the creation of the world, and something very revealing is said:
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7).
God said there were morning stars, and they were singing. Jesus is called THE Morning Star, Revelation 22:16.
The angels of the seven churches
When the Lord appears to John in the book of Revelation, someone appears to him “like unto the Son of man.” That man is holding seven stars in his right hand. The bible doesn’t make you guess as to what they are; it tells you that they are the “angels of the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20).
The star that guided the wise men
When the wise men from the east came looking for the king of the Jews, they follow a star to the house (side note: this proves that the wise men didn’t appear on the night that Jesus was born, but that’s for another post). They follow the star, which moves and then STANDS over the house where Jesus is. The Bible says it stood, not me. Also, moving star, just saying. Not shooting, not falling. Moving on purpose, guiding these men to Jesus.
Not all angels are on the Lord’s side
There are “fallen” angels
This can get a little tricky, but if we simply allow the Bible to interpret itself, there will be no confusion. As we’ve established, angels are sometimes referred to as stars. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every star you see in the sky is an angel. It just means that sometimes, when the Bible refers to stars, it is actually speaking about angels. One such instance is of great significance to prophecy and our present world.
“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:4).
Revelation is difficult but not impossible to interpret. The above verse takes place in the midst of a vision John sees. The vision begins with a woman “travailing in birth.” There is a dragon, and that dragon’s tail draws stars from heaven, and they fall to earth. The woman gives birth, and the dragon is poised to devour the child. The woman represents the nation of Israel. The child is Jesus, and the dragon is Satan, ready to destroy the “seed of the woman.” The child is caught up to heaven (after his death, burial, and resurrection), and then there is war in heaven. You can learn more about these warring factions of angels, here.
The “third of the stars” here are the same as the dragon’s angels who fight against Michael and the angels with him. When Satan fell from grace (Ezekiel 28), he took others with him. You might think a third is not so bad. After all, there are still two-thirds on God’s side. Well, that’s true, but you have to consider the fact that the angels are an innumerable company, Hebrews 12:22. How many is a third of a number so high that it can’t be listed in scripture?
What’s significant about these fallen angels?
The fact that they’re fallen is one thing. We could probably live with that, right? Unfortunately, that’s not all the Bible has to say about them. We know that they will join with Satan to fight against the archangel, Michael, and have a war in heaven one day. But what about now? What are they doing on earth, presently?
I can’t tell you, for sure. I can only give you what the Bible says. Fortunately, it has quite a few things to say. In my post on Satan’s Mighty Men, I discuss some of these things, which you may find interesting, if you’d like to learn more about the war going on behind the scenes. Let’s look at some of the activity of these fallen angels.
Reserved in chains of darkness
Further proof that angels actually followed Satan, rather than being accidentally knocked out of heaven by his tail, is what the Bible has to say about their future. The Bible says they are kept in chains, in darkness, and are waiting for the coming judgment:
“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6).
To eliminate confusion and prevent us from thinking that these angels are condemned to this fate for taking a vacation, 2 Peter 2:4 tells us that they sinned and were cast down to hell. In fact, this is who hell was created for, according to Jesus in Matthew 25:41.
OK, great. All safe, then, right? Those angels sinned, and they’re in hell awaiting judgment. Well, true...for some of them.
Ministers of Satan
In Second Corinthians, Paul warns of false apostles, saying they are “transformed into the apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13). The next verse says that Satan can transform into an angel of light, and the following verse warns that his “ministers” can do the same thing. You can spiritualize that verse, if you want, but the fact is that the Bible just told you Satan and his angels can appear as angels of light. This wouldn’t seem like such a problem, if Paul hadn’t warned about an angel from heaven preaching a false gospel in Galatians 1:8.
Honestly, ask yourself: Have you ever heard of any religions, after the New Testament was written, that were formed after an angel appeared to someone and gave them “another gospel?” That is exactly how Mormonism started. According to Islam, an angel appeared to Muhammed and gave him revelation, as well. So, if you think these were not literal warnings from the Apostle Paul, I wonder how you justify that? There are two religions that literally base their beliefs on an angel appearing and preaching another gospel. And, if you just want to count these men as crazy and say that angels didn’t appear to them, I wonder how you justify that, as well.
Listen: If the Bible says that Satan has angels, and those angels can appear, why not just believe that they can appear?
There is a story about Martin Luther, and I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I don’t doubt the possibility that it could have happened. When he was translating the Bible into German, Martin Luther famously began to understand its truth and to live according to the word of God. On one of those nights, there is a story that he was visited by someone who simply appeared in his room, claiming to be Jesus Christ. Luther, allegedly, threw his ink well at it and told it to be gone. He had been reading the Bible, and knew two things:
Jesus is seated at the right hand of the throne of God and won’t return until his actual second coming.
Paul had warned about the appearance of angels preaching another gospel.
What about the angels who are on God’s side?
It can’t all be doom and gloom, can it? I mean, no matter how dark it gets, the Bible still tells the story of God’s greatness! Part of that greatness is countless victories, many of which are yet to come. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the angels that are are still faithful to the Lord.
Angels are warriors for God
We’ve already looked at this, but the Bible makes it clear that there will be a war in heaven, and it will be fought between angels. We don’t have full battle descriptions in major detail, but there are plenty of occurrences in the Bible that tell us about angels fighting battles. Daniel chapter ten and Revelation chapter twelve are examples of angels warring. 2 Thessalonians 1:7 tells us that, when the Lord returns, Jesus will come with “his mighty angels.” And, of course, no one wanted to tangle with that flaming sword wielding angel God used to seal the way to the garden in Eden.
In the book of 2 Kings, chapter six, the King of Syria has sent an army to get Elisha because the prophet has been warning the King of Israel of Syria’s plans. One morning, the servant of Elisha wakes up and sees that they are surrounded by the horses and chariots of an army, and he is afraid. When he calls out to Elisha, the prophet prays that God will open his servants eyes. God does, and his servant sees that the army of the Syrians is surrounded by horses and chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:17). Few are allowed to see these things, but God uses this moment to show his people that he is fighting on their side. Let us not forget that Elisha was taken up into heaven by a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11).
Angels are God’s messengers
You almost have to ask yourself: If we were to remove from the Bible all the places where an angel delivered a message to God’s people, how much would we actually know? I won’t discuss every time an angel appeared as a messenger. Instead, I’ll just provide a few examples.
When God was about to deliver the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt, he sent the angel of the Lord in a burning bush to tell Moses he would be their deliverer. The angel of the Lord also appeared prior to this to Hagar, the handmaid of Abraham, and Abraham when he was about to slay his son, Isaac. The angel of the Lord appeared many more times as the messenger of deliverance. The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, first telling him to take Mary to be his wife and, second, to warn Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt.
There are many more verses that tell of times either “the” or “an” angel of the Lord appeared. This is only meant to show that angels have been used by God as messengers. Coincidentally, there is an argument that at least some of these appearances of The Angel of the Lord are actually God speaking through an image or similitude of God. Some could be what is often called a Christophany, an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ. But, these are things to be discussed in a more extensive post.
Angels are ministers
Several times in the Bible, an angel appears to someone, strengthening that individual. The Bible makes it clear in the book of Hebrews, chapter one, that angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Here are just a few examples:
When Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, he ended up on the run from Jezebel. Alone in the wilderness, he asks God to end his life, but God sends an angel of the Lord to give him food, instead.
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were cast into the fire, an angel appeared and had the appearance of the Son of God.
When Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness, he was tempted by Satan. After Satan left him, angels came and strengthened him. Before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he was under such distress that the Bible says and angel appeared, strengthening him.
Angels are among us
It may be uncomfortable for some people to acknowledge this truth, but there are angels among us. To deny the fact that there are angels throughout the earth is to deny the Bible as truth. However, it should not be a fearful thought that angels are among us. In fact, we should be comforted by this. If Satan’s angels are among us, isn’t it a glorious thing that God’s angels are also among us? Moreover, God’s angels far outnumber the fallen ones.
It would have been difficult for an angel to disturb the waters at the Pool of Siloam if there was no angel.
When Jesus was resurrected, that fact was made known when an angel appeared to Mary and the other women at the tomb.
The Apostle Paul said that the apostles were made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men, (1 Corinthians 4:9).
Paul said that the church would judge the angels, (1 Corinthians 6:3).
The writer of Hebrews said that we should entertain strangers because we have entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).
I’m glad I won’t be here to see most of the events in the book of Revelation, but there are some parts that would be amazing to witness, like the loosing of the four angels that, apparently, are bound in the river Euphrates and will come forth when the sixth angel sounds his trumpet.
We’ve covered a lot of material here and learned quite a bit about angels. First, they are real. They are referred to in many ways, including stars, and this helps us to understand more about them. There are, likely, millions of angels, and not all of them are on the Lord’s side. Many of them fell from heaven when Satan led a rebellion. Satan and his angels are at war with God and his angels. The angels on God’s side are ministering spirits, sent to strengthen and deliver God’s people. They are among us, and this should be a comforting thought.
This post has barely scratched the surface of all the Bible has to say about angels, but it is my hope that you will provoked to do as the Bereans did and search the scriptures!