OUR GREAT COMMISSION TO
THE ANGELS Three-part series
By John Aldworth
Published Jan27, 2015
Col. 2:15: And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (or in Himself, KJB margin note).
Eph. 3:8-11: Unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. And to make all … see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heaven places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Heb. 2:5: For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
In the Dec. 31, 2014 study, Spoiling Principalities and Powers, available for download from this website, it was found that when the Lord ‘spoiled principalities and powers’ He also brought to an end for believers the ‘disposition’, or dispensation – the two words are very close in meaning – of angels.
Lending support to this view, commentators Jamieson, Fausset, Brown (p. 1322) make this insightful comment on the meaning of Col. 2:15:
God put off from Himself the angels; that is their ministry, not employing them to be promulgators of the gospel in the way that He had given the law by their ‘disposition’ or ministry (Acts 7:53, Gal. 3:19, Heb. 2:2,5).
This is evidenced by the fact that instead of commissioning angels, the Lord sent forth his 12 apostles to preach his resurrection, then, later, commissioned the Apostle Paul to proclaim his grace to Gentiles. For while the law was ‘by the disposition of angels’ the dispensation of the grace of God and the mystery was revealed to the Apostle Paul for us Gentiles. It was not directly revealed to angels which is why they must now learn it from the Church which is His Body.
Interestingly, while principalities and powers (Eph. 6:12) and spiritual wickedness in high places continue to wreak havoc in the world, the grace-saved believer who is truly in Christ and believes the latest message of the mystery from God through Paul, has by grace immunity from their depravations.
This is because in ‘spoiling’, or ‘putting them off’ from Himself (Col. 2:15) our Lord also put them off from us, inasmuch as we are ‘members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones’ (Eph. 5: 30).
It is significant that in Eph. 3:9, quoted above, where the commission is to make ‘all’ see the fellowship of the mystery, the word ‘men’ is, as the King James Bible translators acknowledge by italicising it, an insertion not found in the received Greek text. That being so one must ask that if not just ‘men’ then what does the ‘all’ relate to? And the answer is found in very same verse where, we are told that ‘God … created all things by Jesus Christ. The ‘all’ then describes the ‘all things’, meaning that the Apostle Paul believed his commission was to enlighten ‘all things’ to see the fellowship of the mystery.
Should it surprise us that God wants every created thing to know the mystery? ‘All things’ would take in everything from the humblest amoeba through the mightiest elephant on earth and include man himself; it would also encompass everything from the lowliest spirit in heaven to the greatest cherub residing there.
A shocking thought
Now, if like the Apostle Paul, you had the greatest secret ever made known by God to share – and he did - wouldn’t you want every living creature to know about it?
And doesn’t Rom. 8:19-22, speaking of ‘the whole creation’ say, ‘… the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God’? So, if the thought that God wants every created thing from the minutest bacteria to the highest principality and power to know the mystery, comes as a shock to us, well, it shouldn’t.
Now while Rom. 8 appropriately focusses on the earthly manifestation of the ‘glory to be revealed’ in the sons of God, Eph. 3:9-10 rightly lays stress on the heavenly results of this manifestation. Accordingly, vs. 10 teaches us that the purpose of making all creation see the fellowship of the mystery is that it should be made known unto ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places by the church the manifold wisdom of God’.
Right here then we, as grace-saved believers and initiates into the mystery, find a commission set before us. It is to tell angels of the grace that saved us. How that by quickening us and making us one with Christ, God has reconciled us unto Himself. But why would mighty angels need grace and reconciliation, you ask? Answer: Because like man they too have fallen and been judged. Indeed their penalty has already been prescribed.
I believe it is set out, at least in part, in Heb. 2:5, which was cited in the Dec. 2014 study to show that the ‘world to come’ on earth will not be subject to angels. And for that matter, neither will the highest heavenly realms where, according to Eph. 1:21-23, God the Father has set Christ at his own right hand, ‘far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, not only in this world but also in that which is to come’.
But, I hear someone ask, to whom then will it be subject? The answer clearly is Christ Jesus Himself since ‘the Father hath put all things under his feet and given Him to be Head over all things to the church which is his body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all’. For without doubt the ‘all things’ includes all the angelic powers.
A momentous change
And, if that is so, then since we are joined to the Head and truly members of his body, these dark spiritual forces are under our feet as well, inasmuch as we are ‘of his flesh and of his bones’ (Eph. 5:30). Indeed it cannot be otherwise since we are already seated together in heavenly places together with and in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6), ‘far above all principality and power’ (Eph. 1:21).
Also God has ‘made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light and hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son’ (Col. 1:12-13). What’s more He has done so with this clear purpose in mind: that if we suffer with Him here below we will rule with Him in the heavenlies at his appearing in the Day of Christ yet to come (2 Tim. 2:12, 4:1).
Furthermore ‘if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him’ (2 Tim. 2:12), which means that in Christ, and under Christ as our Head, we shall rule – and not the angels – when his heavenly kingdom is manifest at his appearing (2 Tim. 4:1, Col. 3:3, 4).
This much has been said to but barely outline the momentous change in how God runs heaven and earth that is imminent; that indeed for believers is already underway. It is, in short, a complete end to the rule of the angels in both heaven and earth and a new destiny both for them and for us. But we must look deeper into scripture to comprehend all that it entails.
For example, as briefly mentioned in the previous study, Spoiling Principalities and Powers, grace-saved believers who have been initiated into the mystery and are pressing heavenward in ‘the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 3:14) have been charged with a most challenging mission in this regard.
Not against flesh and blood
We read of it in Eph. 3:9-10 where we learn that, while the Apostle Paul was given grace ‘to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery’ – i.e. that is of being fully made one with Christ (as set out in the study series, The One New Man, available on this website) - we, the Church of the One New Man, ‘the church which is his body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all’ (Eph. 1:22-23), have been graced for a different task.
Simply put, it seems that our mission is to make known unto the very principalities and powers that are our erstwhile enemies, ‘the manifold wisdom of God’. And to think we’ve thought that it was our mission to ‘make all men see the fellowship of the mystery’, when actually, as my friend and able Bible teacher Tom Ballinger has shown, scripturally speaking that is the unique commission of the Apostle Paul (Eph. 3:8-9).
By contrast the real challenge of our commission is to proclaim the mystery to angels, not just to men – since the Apostle Paul has already done that - which is why in Eph. 6:12 we are told that ‘we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’.
This could explain why, in reaching out to men in general, and professing Christians in particular, with the truth of the Pauline dispensation of the grace of God and mystery and of being truly made one with Christ, our message very largely falls on deaf ears. All we can do for them is what the Philippians in Paul’s time were doing, that is ‘holding forth the word of life’.
The message of grace
So, could it be that the Lord encourages us to keep going in such endeavors, not because they will necessarily convert men, (for ‘only the Lord knoweth them that are his’, 2 Tim. 2:19), but because ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Eph. 3:8) and the reconciliation of peace with God made by ‘the blood of his cross’ need to be made known even to angels?
The flow of verses Eph. 3:8-11 certainly indicates so. Simplified it says that Paul was graced to preach the hidden riches of Christ to Gentiles and to make ‘all men’ see the dispensation and fellowship of the mystery in order that the church might make known to angels the manifold wisdom of God. And that, we are told in vs. 11, is ‘according to the eternal purpose which He (the Father) purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord’.
Now an eternal purpose lasts forever. Could it be that instead of sitting around in heaven ‘just praising the Lord’, as some think will be the case, that in the heavenly life to come we will be actively engaged instead, even then, in teaching angels some things they don’t know? I believe it is.
Now the words of scripture in this case are clear but the plain meaning cuts across much of what traditionally we have been taught to believe. Undeniably, this passage teaches that God intends us as believers in the church of the high calling to both now and in the future make known unto the principalities and powers truth previously hidden in God but now revealed to us through the ministry of the Apostle Paul.
In reality the only message we have that we can tell others about, and that only by portraying it in our everyday life, is the truth that by grace we are saved; that from being ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ we have been ‘quickened’, made alive in Christ by God the Father.
But it seems there is yet more to this commission. As those granted insight into the Apostle Paul’s prison epistle teachings we certainly know that a new dispensation of grace and the mystery has been brought in by God, offering a new way of salvation and opening the door to heaven for grace-saved believers. This dispensational change is so important that we should be telling the angels about it, or rather demonstrating it to them by our own belief and walk in life, right now.
But is there also an essential message in the Pauline revelation that more directly concerns angels rather than ourselves? Could it be that it is about the end of their ‘dispensation’ and their probable future destiny? The scriptural grounds for believing that this is so will be set out in the next part of this study.
Published Feb. 12, 2015
Eph. 1:10: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ , both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him.
Eph. 3:8-11: Unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. And to make all men see, what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heaven places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Heb. 2:5: For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
Often in scripture God repeats certain words and phrases over and over again to draw our attention to truth and to underline matters that He deems of particular importance.
Such is the case concerning the church’s mission to explain to angels the mystery and its ‘gathering of all things together unto Christ’ - including the angels themselves. And it is, of course, angels and this ‘mission’ of the church to them, as set out in Eph. 3:9-10, that is the theme of this study series.
Divine word repetition is clearly seen in the Apostle Paul’s teaching about creation’s reconciliation to Christ, where he frequently uses the words, ‘all things’ and ‘fullness’ or ‘all fullness’. Here are some examples:
Eph. 1:11: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on the earth, even in Him.
Eph. 3:8: To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which hath been hid in God who created all things by Jesus Christ.
Eph. 4:10: He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens that He might fill all things.
Phil. 3:21: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.
Col. 1:16-18: For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the Head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence.
Col. 1:19-20: For it pleased the Father than in Him should all fullness dwell. And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven.
If, as Bible believers, we are consistent in accepting what scripture actually says, ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2 Tim. 2:15), and ‘comparing spiritual with spiritual’ (1 Cor. 2:13), then the meaning of the above verses is inescapable. It may be summarised as follows:
- Angelic powers that are thrones, dominions, principalities, powers and rule in the heavenlies were created by Christ and for Him. They are definitely included in the ‘all things’.
- It is God’s purpose in the dispensation of the fullness of times to gather these spiritual beings together with saved believers on earth into one in Christ.
- They with us will then comprise the ‘Father’s family’. Eph. 3:14-15: ‘For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named’.
- The Father, having already made peace between Himself and all rebels (whether angels or men) through the blood of Christ’s cross is now reconciling these all things unto Himself by Him (Christ) – and the Apostle stresses that such reconciliation is ‘by Him”, and underlines the reconciliation of angelic powers, by stating that all things are reconciled, ‘whether they be things in earth or in heaven’.
- Christ is the creator of all things and in Him all fullness dwells. Col. 1:19-20 clearly implies it is by this fullness, or filling of all things (Eph. 4:10), that such reconciliation is achieved.
- It should not stumble us in our understanding that it is the very principalities and powers who oppose Christ, the gospel of grace and with whom we wrestle, who will be so reconciled. Importantly, we are assured that they will be ‘subdued’, in that Christ has power to ‘subdue all things unto Himself’ (Phil. 3:21).
If all this be so, and scripture asserts that it is, then it raises some profound theological questions. For example, haven’t most of us believed that fallen angels are doomed; that they cannot be restored to God’s favour? But in the face of what has been set out above can we find a verse that would remove the prospect of reconciliation from them?
Did Christ die for angels?
Then again it has been asserted that since Christ died for men He did not die for angels and that therefore they cannot be saved. Which would mean that angels who sinned are doomed. But is that what the Bible teaches? Let us see.
Certainly it is true that Christ became a flesh and blood man in order to die for our human sins. This is made clear in Heb. 1:16, which states that ‘… verily He took not on Him the nature of angels …’ However, this does not necessarily mean sinning angels cannot be reconciled to God.
Admittedly, according to Rev. 20:10, the devil along with the false prophet and the beast (the antichrist) meet their doom in the lake of fire but then, scripturally and technically speaking, this trio of beings are not angels per se. Satan was/is by nature a ‘cherub’ (Ezek. 28: 14) and only deceptively or falsely ‘transforms’ himself into an ‘angel of light’ (2 Cor. 11:14). The false prophet and antichrist are lying spirits emanating from the devil that incarnate themselves into men; they are not Christ-created beings and ultimately they will be thrown into the lake of fire, which is not a spiritual ‘hell’ but a future place of physical destruction on earth. That they are false entities spawned by the devil is exactly how Christ Himself described them when He said of the devil in John 8:44: ‘When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.’
As to devils in the plural (Greek: daimonion) they also are, as their name implies, malevolent spirits sent forth by Satan, whose end may also well be destruction.
However, angels, as a class, are in a different category, one in which, it appears, they are able to be ‘reconciled’ unto God by Christ’s blood, as stated in Col. 1:20:
And having made peace by through the blood of his cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things on earth or things in heaven.
After all angels are created spirit beings, the ‘sons of God, who issue as a fiery stream from God Himself (Dan. 7:9-10). This is why in Heb. 1:7 it is said that God ‘... maketh his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire’. Indeed angels are said to be ‘… ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation’ (Heb. 1:14). There is every reason to believe that God loves angels as his created offspring as much as He loves mankind
Angel ministry redundant?
But, you might ask, what happens when the Hebrew elect actually becomes heirs of salvation by faith (Heb. 11:7, 10:35)? Answer: the ministry of angels is no longer necessary; it is at an end, and they are set aside. This, I submit, is the ‘judgement’ of angels that the prophetic scriptures speak of as ‘to come’. For example, Isaiah 24:21 says that ‘in that day the Lord will punish the hosts of high ones’, referring to the future day of Christ when our Lord will rule over earth from his throne in the heavenlies.
Of course, this setting aside of angels and their disposition of law has already happened as far as Gentile grace believers are concerned as proven by the clear injunction in Col. 2:15-19 against supposed communication from or with angels, still less any ‘voluntary humility or worshipping‘ of them. Far from consulting angels, or submitting to strictures of the law that were disposed, or imposed (on us) by them, we should be getting all the nourishment we need from the Head, Christ Himself.
Indeed the Apostle Paul clearly warns that trafficking with the principalities and powers (vs. 15), defined as angels in vs. 18, by heeding the legalistic preachers empowered by them (vs. 16) is a sure and certain way to be ‘robbed’ of our reward which is the ‘inheritance’ (Col. 3:24). Hence he urges believers to:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon or of the sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come: but the body is of Christ.
Now whenever one finds a ‘therefore’, it’s a good idea to find out what it’s there for. In this case the ‘therefore’ refers back to the ‘spoiling of principalities and powers’ in vs. 15, meaning that since Christ has ‘spoiled’ these dark powers be putting them off both from Himself and from us who are members of his body, then we should no longer accept any of their ministrations or assertions as to the strictures of the law which, the Apostle assures us in Col. 2:14 Christ ‘blotted out… took out of the way, nailing it to his cross’.
We conclude from this that Paul was the one chosen by God to make known to the Jews (in his epistle to the Hebrews) that there would be no angelic rule in the world to come and in the letter to the Colossians to tell Gentiles that for them the angelic dispensation of the law was ended at the cross.
Indeed careful reading of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Hebrews reveals that his main message to his ‘fellow countrymen’ is that now there is for them a much better ‘minister’ than an angel, the Anointed Messiah and Saviour Jesus, the God-man who paid for their sins with his blood. Paul describes Him as being ‘made so much better than the angels’ (Heb. 1:4). And in Heb. 2:5 he apostolically pronounces:
For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come.
Could there be a greater judgement than this? To be told that your services as ruling angels are no longer required; that in the world to come there will be no place for you as an angel to rule at all, that a major reason for your existence has been abolished?
And note this judgement comes upon all angels, good or bad. None will rule over sanctified men and women who bear the image of God in the new dispensation. To the contrary, I believe the grace-saved largely Gentile believers ‘translated into the kingdom of his dear Son’ (Col. 1:13) will rule over them.
To add insult to injury the angels, which include the principalities and powers, are now handed their notices of dismissal not by God, nor even by Hebrews to whom they ministered for some 1500 years, but by Gentiles, that law-condemned mass of mankind they must have looked down at for so long.
©John Aldworth,Feb. 12, 2015
Heb. 2:5: For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come.
2 Tim. 2:12: If we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him.
Col. 1:13: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son
Since, according to Heb. 2:5, angels are not to rule the ‘world to come’, as they now dictate the course of this ‘present evil world’ (Gal. 1:4), then the question arises who will then rule over the future new world?
The short answer to that is that the Lord Jesus Christ will, from his throne in heaven. His rule will be established in the Day of Christ, the very next great event marked out on God’s calendar. This is stated as infallible truth by the Apostle Paul in 2 Tim. 4:1:
I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.
The longer answer to the question is that in a wonderful reversal of the current ‘them and us’ status, believers who have become one with Christ through the mystery will rule over angels.
Accordingly, in Part Two of this study series it was suggested that far from being lorded over by principalities and powers, believers ‘translated into the kingdom of his dear Son’ (Col. 1:13) will instead exert heavenly rule over them. Importantly, these saints, initiated into the mystery of God’s eternal purpose to ‘gather all things unto Himself’ will be largely Gentiles, since the dispensation of the grace of God and the mystery (Eph. 3:1-4) is for Gentiles. As the Apostle Paul clearly states it is ‘for you Gentiles’ (Eph. 3:1).
However, such saints will rule over the new world from heaven only in this sense: that they are members of the body of Christ, having been made one in body and spirit with Him. Thus when He rules we will rule with Him.
Remember that the most wonderful truth of the mystery is that we as sinners have been made one with Christ when He was ‘made sin for us’. Accordingly Eph. 2:15-16 tells us that while on the cross Christ made in Himself of ‘twain’ – that is two parties; the first being ourselves as sinners and Christ Himself as the One made sin for us – ‘one new man, thus making peace’.
Importantly, then the ‘peace’ Christ made on the cross was between us as sinners and Himself as made sin for us on the one hand and a holy God who cannot even look upon sin on the other. It was not primarily between Gentiles and Israelites, although that is a by-product of the process.
Having been made one with Christ in his death, as other scriptures attest, we sinners were then ‘quickened together with Christ’ (Eph. 2:5) and it is this ‘quickening’ that the Apostle Paul describes as the very act of being saved by grace. And, if saved, we are made one with Him, and if one with Him, then we are quickened with Him. We have also been raised with Him and ‘made to sit together in heavenly places with Christ’ (Eph. 2:6).
For those who believe the promises of God proclaimed to us by the Apostle Paul this transition, or translation, to the heavenly realm is, by faith, an already accomplished fact. Consequently we, with Christ and in Christ, already are set at God’s ‘own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come’ (Eph. 1:20:21). Following on from that verse 22 is especially precious:
And (God) hath put all things under his feet and given Him to be the Head over all things to the Church which is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
All things, visible and invisible are put under our Lord’s feet, and if we truly are members of his body, ‘of his flesh and of his bones’ (Eph. 5:30) then they are put under feet as well. Angels may ‘this present evil world’ (Gal. 1:4) but they can’t rule over believers found in Christ. Believers graced into the Beloved (Eph. 1:6) have been ‘made accepted’, and thus are an exception to the angelic rule.
Our better destiny
But, you ask, why are angels being set down from their lofty position in holding sway over mankind? Answer: Because in God’s eternal purpose they were never intended to hold such a position in the first place, and that in grace God has something far better than being under the thumb of angels ‘for them that love Him and are the called according to his purpose’ (Rom. 8:28).
And that’s tremendous good news for we who believe. For it means that in Christ man will be restored to his rightful position of having ‘dominion’ over all of creation.
You see, originally angels were neither created to bring in the law (Gal. 3:19), nor to rule, nor to be ‘watchers’, over mankind (Dan. 4:13, 17, Heb. 1:2). They were created to minister to God and to rejoice with Him in creation and to worship Him (Job 38:7, Heb. 1:6). The law and angelic rule over mankind was only ‘added’ temporarily because of man’s transgressions (Gal. 3:19). But man was created to have dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26:27).
Fact is that angels have hugely overstepped the mark in their ministrations over mankind. Instead of guiding mankind into righteousness some actually ‘left their own habitation’ to cohabit with women and procreate a race of evil giants. Indeed a third of them became co-conspirators with Satan and rebelled against God.
Furthermore in ruling, as principalities and powers, even the ‘good’ ones imposed their own way of living, namely regimentation, upon mankind. It is not for nothing that our Lord said he could ‘… pray to my Father and He shall presently (i.e. straightway) give me more than twelve legions of angels’ (Matt. 26:53).
Like the law and the Old Testament that was ordained in their hands angels as a whole have been found wanting. That is, just as God ‘found fault’ with the Old Covenant, in that it could not save men, so He also considers that the angelic administration of the world failed, in that men could not obey it and that it has led them to worship angels and not God (Col. 2:18-19).
Sadly the apostle’s warning to believers to ‘Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility’ – that is bowing to and obeying popes, priests, self-appointed prophets and pastors who would be masters - is widely ignored.
But why was Paul so concerned? Answer: because such man worship leads to ‘worshipping of angels’; the one is a necessary consequence of the other. And it is easy to see why. The great religious leaders owe their wealth, power and position to dark angels described collectively in Eph. 6:12 as ‘spiritual wickedness in high places’.
These spirits empower those in high and successful church offices, enabling them to masquerade as ministers of righteousness. They also draw millions of so-called Christians who should know better to grovel at their feet.
An inherent failure
Angel ministry has perverted organised Christianity at every turn. What’s more it can be argued that such failure was inevitable in the nature of the case. Granted, angel rule was imposed as a punishment on men because of their sin of unbelief, but it was a disaster waiting to happen because of the very different nature of men and angels and, just as importantly, their different purposes under God. Let me explain.
True, both men and angels were created ‘by Him and for Him’ and ‘for thy pleasure they are created” (Col. 1:16, Rev. 4:11). But there the similarity ends. For while men were made to love God and know Him as Father, angels, to put it bluntly, were created simply to do what they are told.
Family life and close inter-personal relations formed by love are the very lifeblood of mankind, and marriage, by picturing Christ and the church, shows by example the right way to relate to God. However, angels live rather by the protocols of regimented organisation. They come in ‘legions’ under military command. And, since they are organised in heaven, while ruling over us here on earth they have set up a vast array of similar organisations among mankind.
Your city and your world is full of them. So is your school, university or church. Such entities all have hierarchies, committees, rules and regulations which, oddly, rarely achieve the result for which they were set up.
Usually they are incapable of adaptation to meet individual and particular needs and routinely lack compassion and mercy. If you don’t believe me, just try pleading your case with city hall officials for a special exemption from rates or with a church charity for a special handout to ease your hardship.
What’s more many political, religious and economic organisations adhere largely to agendas that favour the rich, beggar the poor and create conflicts. The World Bank, the CIA and Islam come to mind as examples.
The overall effect of angelic rule then has been to bring about evil. No wonder the Bible calls it ‘this present evil world’ (Gal. 1:4). And all this is so because of the organised nature of angels. You see, unlike us they have no mother, no children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or cousins. Highly intelligent, immensely powerful, they are nevertheless unrelated by close personal ties because they are all individual creations.
A hard lesson to learn
Socially they are structured under ranks of authority and never by relationship. It is arguable that while it took Jesus’s coming in the flesh to teach mankind that God is our heavenly Father, this most important truth is that much harder for angels to learn in that they have no natural father or mother to see as an example. Which is yet another reason why we, as the Church which is His Body, are called to make known unto them ‘the manifold wisdom of God’ (Eph. 3:10).
Again let me say, it is not just that there are some bad angels while others are good; the whole class of angels has let God and us down. The terrible state of the world is very largely their doing and the many organisations they have made man set up are powerless to fix it. The Apostle Paul wastes not a second in scripture discussing any such prospect of putting the world right, as several religious organisations in Christendom do, but proclaims instead in Gal. 1:4 the vital truth that the Lord Jesus Christ:
… gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.
Scripture would suggest that God’s decision to bar angels from future rule over the world is an important step in this process of putting the world right by bringing in the ‘world to come’.
However, deliverance from the world, and from the angelic powers that control it, must first become a spiritual reality in the lives of believers to whom God has revealed it before it can be revealed to the world in the Day of Christ to come.
Right now then, each believer who personally experiences such deliverance from the dark forces of angelic power, becomes a stark object lesson for the heavenly powers that be. It teaches them that step by step, believer by believer, their power is being stripped from them, even as we speak.
Being saved from the power of spiritual darkness and being translated into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col. 1:13) are just two of the many glories of our position in Christ in the heavenlies that the Lord wants us to realise by faith in the here and now.
For it is here in our hearts while we are still bodily on earth that the principalities and powers must be first put down, that is, put under the feet of Christ and under our feet also as we learn by faith to truly dwell in Him.
©john aldworth Jan 8, 2015