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    §9. THE ANGELS ARE MINISTERING SPIRITS TO THE CHILDREN OF GOD

    “Angel” signifies messenger. The Union Bible Dictionary, under the word “angel,” says: “The original word, both in the Hebrew and Greek, means messenger, and is so translated. Matthew 11:10.” We learn from the Scriptures that it is the office of the angels to oversee the works of God, especially the cause of God in this earth; to watch over His children, minister to their wants, and defend them from their adversary, the devil. As there is “an innumerable company of angels,” some of them are always before the throne of God, to go at His command.ATNM 26.1

    Says John: “I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne.” Revelation 5:11. David says: “The Lord hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth overall. Bless the Lord, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His, that do His pleasure. Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion.” Psalm 103:19-22. Here it is declared that God hath His throne in the heavens; the angels are represented as waiting before Him, ready to go at His pleasure as messengers to all parts of his dominions.ATNM 27.1

    We have here a scene presented similar to that which we would behold in the court of an earthly monarch. The king sits upon his throne, with his officers and servants around him. Messengers are constantly being received by him from the different parts of his dominions. When he determines what is needful to be done, he dispatches a trusty messenger to perform it in his name. He also has officers in different parts of his kingdom, who faithfully report to him the state of things in their several districts. Thus the king is able to attend to the wants of his subjects, and to oversee their actions, in all parts of the dominion, however large it may be. And thus it is that the Lord employs His servants, the angels. He always works by means, or agents. The angels are His officers, or messengers, whom He has appointed to have charge of this earth. They watch over His people, and minister to their wants. They bear the prayers of the saints up before the Lord, and come again to answer them, according to His directions.ATNM 27.2

    The proof of this is abundant. Thus Paul says: “To which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Hebrews 1:13, 14.ATNM 28.1

    This is a direct confirmation of the position above taken. Upon this subject David says, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7. This grand truth is beautifully illustrated in Jacob’s dream. As he was traveling alone in the wilderness, he lay down upon the ground at night to sleep. “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” Genesis 28:12. This dream was given to teach Jacob that the angels are constantly passing between heaven and earth. And this is just as true now as it was then.ATNM 28.2

    We have another illustration of this truth in the history of Daniel. He was mourning over the sad state of the people who were captives under the king of Persia. For three whole weeks he fasted, and prayed to God to open the way for his people to return to their own land. At the end of this time an angel came to him and said: “Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes [the first of the chief princes, Hebrew], came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:12, 13. As soon as Daniel began to pray, God sent an angel to perform his request. The angel went to the Persian court, and sought to influence the king to further the work which had already been commenced in behalf of his people and city. The king seems to have been opposed to this, and the angel was not able to prevail with him. At last the chief of the angels united with him, and they were successful. No man in the Persian court saw those angels. The king himself was not aware of their presence, or of their influence upon him; yet they brought him to do just what he had not been inclined to do.ATNM 28.3

    This is the way in which the angels co-operate with God’s children in their efforts for the conversion of souls. Our hearts are moved to pray for a son, a companion, or a friend. God sends an angel to impress the heart and trouble the mind of the subject of our prayers. Or we are in distress; we cry to God, and He sends an angel to deliver us; nor are they slow in coming. See an instance in Daniel 9:21-23: “Whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee.”ATNM 29.1

    When the prophet began his prayer, Gabriel was in heaven; but before he ceased he was at his side. Ezekiel, describing the rapidity of their movements, says they “ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.” Ezekiel 1:14.ATNM 30.1

    So when God hears the cries of His children, He immediately sends an angel from His throne, to answer their prayers and to relieve their wants. This is very comforting to the child of God. We find a very remarkable instance of this recorded in Acts 12: “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quarternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison; but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 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. 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. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did, and he said unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 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. When they were past the first and 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. 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.” Acts 12:1-11.ATNM 30.2

    Here all the power of the king was arrayed against a few helpless Christians. James he had already killed. Peter was strictly guarded in prison, awaiting his execution. To make escape or rescue impossible, he was bound with chains, between two soldiers, several others being placed to assist them. He was put into an inner prison, from which it was impossible to escape, except by passing these guards and breaking an iron gate. What did Peter’s friends do? bribe the guard? overpower the soldiers? or break into the prison?-No; they went to God in earnest prayer. “But prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” God heard their prayers, granted their request, and sent an angel to deliver Peter. Simply by his touch the chains fell from Peter’s hands. The guards became senseless, the iron gate swung open, and the child of God was saved. Cannot Christians trust in such a God as this? Are not his angels ready and able to deliver them from all their foes? It is truly as the Psalmist says, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7.ATNM 31.1

    Many other instances are recorded in the Bible where God has sent His angels to minister to His children. They are so numerous that we can barely refer the reader to a few of the most interesting of them. Does Abraham send his servant on an important mission? He says to him, “The Lord ... shall send His angel before thee.” Genesis 24:7. Does Jacob bless his children at his death? He says, “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.” Genesis 48:16. Does the Lord direct the Israelites to go into the land of Canaan? He says to them, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20. Is Elijah about to perish in the wilderness? “Then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head.” 1 Kings 19:5, 6. Is Daniel to be delivered out of the lions’ den? He says, “My God has sent His angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me.” Daniel 6:22. Is the gospel to be opened to the Gentiles? An angel is sent to Cornelius, and also to Peter, to accomplish the work. Acts 10. Is Paul’s life in danger? An angel of God stands by his side to assure him of safety. Acts 27:23.ATNM 32.1

    What more shall we say? Time would fail us to mention a tithe of such instances where the angels of God are directly mentioned as having acted an important part in the affairs of men. If this was so in the times when the Bible was written, is it not so now? If not, why?ATNM 33.1

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