Angelology - Chafer

Angelology is the branch of theology dealing with angels. In Lewis Sperry Chafers Systematic Theology, he notes that Colossians 1:16 says that creation included things invisible as well as things visible, and angels are among the things that are invisible. Many angels were created, and although they are mentioned numerous times in the Bible, we still know very little about them. Angels are mentioned 108 times in the Old Testament. The word "angel" simply means messenger, and sometimes it is used for men who acted as messengers. (Luke 7:24, James 2:25, Revelation 1:20). Jesus used this word when referring to departed human spirits (Matthew 18:10). The position angels hold by creation is above men (Hebrews 1:2-7, 2 Peter 2:11). Psalm 148:2-5 and Colossians 1:16 give us the account of the origin of the angels in creation.

Angels are classified in the Bible as follows:

1) The Angel of Jehovah - This is the pre-incarnate appearing of Jesus Christ, so this is not classified as a reference to an angel. However, in the sense that Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father to reveal Himself to man, he is indeed a messenger (Exodus 23:20, 32:34, 33:2).

2) Gabriel - The word "Gabriel" means the might one (Daniel 8:6, Luke 1:19-38).

3) Michael - He is an archangel and he is the head of the armies of heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16, Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:7).

4) Cherubim - These are the defenders of God's holiness (Genesis 3:22-24, Exodus 25:17-22, Isaiah 37:16, Ezekiel 1:5, 28:14).

5) Seraphim - Isaiah 6:2.

6) Principalities and powers - This phrase is sometimes used of good angels, and sometimes it is used of evil angels (Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:1110, 6:12, Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 15, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 3:22, Luke 21:26).

7) Elect angels - 1 Timothy 5:21.

8) Angels known by their ministries - These include: angels of the waters (Revelation 16:5); the angel of the abyss (Revelation 9:1); the angel with power over fire (Revelation 14:18); seven angels with trumpets (Revelation 8:2); and, the watchers (Daniel 4:13, 17, 23).

9) Satan and the demons.

10 Jeremiel, Uriel, Raphael - These are mentioned only in the Apocryphal writings.

Angels are legion (Matthew 26:53); i.e., they are many. They form the hosts of the heavens (Luke 2:13). They neither increase nor decrease in number. It is unclear from the Scriptures whether or not angels have any kind of bodies, but they can appear as men (Matthew 28:3). Angels are able to fly (Isaiah 6:2), and it seems as though their home is in heaven. Although this may be the second heaven, the stellar spaces (Matthew 24:29). Christ passed through the angelic sphere when going to and coming from the earth (Ephesians 1:21, Hebrews 2:7, 4:14).

Angels have various ministries (Psalm 34:7, Revelation 22:8-9), and they do behold the things of earth (Luke 12:8-9, 15:10). They were present at creation (Job 38:7); at the giving of the law (Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19, Hebrews 2:2, and Revelation 22:16); at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:13); at the scene of Christ's temptation (Matthew 4:11, Luke 22:43); at the resurrection of Christ (Matthew 28:2); at Christ's ascension (Acts 1:10; and, they will be present at the second coming of Christ (Matthew 13:37-39), 24:31, 25:31, 2 Thessalonians 1:7).

Angels are usually classified as either unfallen (holy) angels (Mark 8:38) or fallen angels (Matthew 25:41). In the end times there will be war between these two classes of angels (Revelation 12:7-10). The fallen angels are either free (demons) or bound (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 1:6).

Owen Weber 2012