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The Doctrine of Angelology

by Christopher Warrington

I BELIEVE in the existence of angelic beings who, like humans, are intelligent (Ge 3:1-5; Ep 3:10), created beings (Ps 148:2-5; Co 1:16), morally perfect at their creation (Ezk 28:15), with emotions (Job 38:7; Lk 15:10) and a will (Is 14:12-15; 2 Ti 2:26). Unlike humans, they have no form (Mt 28:3-4), existing as spiritual beings (Lk 8:30, Co 1:16) and can change form to appear as human (Ge 18:2, Mk 16:5) or to have wings (Is 6:2, Ezk 11:22). They do not marry (Mt 22:28-30), they live forever (Lk 20:36) and have great power (Ps 103:20, 2 Pt 2:11). They number in enormous multitudes (Da 7:10; Re 5:11) and they create fear and awe when they appear to humans (Da 8:17, Lk 1:11-12, Re 22:8).

I BELIEVE there are three types of angelic beings: Seraphim (Is 6:2); Cherubim, who both proclaim and protect God’s presence and character (Ge 3:24, Heb 9:5); and the demonic (Ezk 28:15). The first two types are considered Holy Angels elected by God (1 Ti 5:21) and remain morally good and holy (Mk 8:38). They have great diversity based on function; organized by rank and power (Jud 9, Re 19:14), to which some have power greater than that of Satan (Re 20:1-3). They were created to worship God (Ps 148:2, Re 4:6-11) and to serve God (Ps 103:20) delivering his messages (Ge 16:9; Lk 2:9-10). They assist God with His judgment by being messengers of divine judgment (Ge 19:13; Re 8:1-11:15), executers of that judgment on the wicked (Ge 19:1; 2 Ki 19:35), and in the future will assist with the final judgments of God (Re 7:1; 16:1-21) .

I BELIEVE they observe the human race (1 Co 4:9) and are interested in our salvation (1 Pt 1:12). They serve human believers by being messengers of divine revelation (Acts 7:53; Ga 3:19), giving guidance (Mt 2:13-14), protecting and delivering believers from evil (Ps 91:11; Acts 12:5-10), providing for their needs (Ge 21:17-20), encouraging them (Da 10:12; Lk 22:43) answering their prayers (Da 10:12; Ac 12:1-17) and finally ministering to them upon their death (Lk 16:22).

I BELIEVE that demons are fallen angelic beings who were found to have evil within them (Jud 6; Lk 8:2, 11:24). They interfere with the human race by promoting false religions (1 Ti 4:1) and possessing unbelievers (Ac 16:16-18, Mk 5:1-13). I BELIEVE that believers are in a spiritual war with these fallen angels (Ep 6:10-11), but we should have no fear of being possessed by them for greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world (1 Jn 4:4).

I BELIEVE in a great adversary who goes by many names some of which are the devil (Jn 8:44), Belial (2 Co 6:15) and Satan (Mt 4:10). He once was an angelic being created by God to be holy and perfect (Ezk 28:12-15). He fell due to his pride and desire to be exalted higher than his created position (Is 14:13) and is now inherently and completely evil (Jn 17:15, 2 Th 3:3). He rules over and controls demons (Mt 12:24, Re 9:10-11) and has temporary and limited power over this world (Jn 12:31) and the air above it (Ep 2:2).

I BELIEVE Satan works to oppose (Mt 4:10), slander (Jn 8:44), accuse (Re 12:10), deceive (Ge 3:1-6; Re 12:9) and create destruction among humans (Re 9:11). To blind unbelievers to the gospel and cause them to oppose it (2 Co 4:3-4, Mt 13:19) and lead them to carry out his evil will and plans (2 Ti 2:26; 1 Jn 3:8). And he desires to afflict believers by promoting dissension among them (2 Co 2:10-11), tempting them to sin (1 Ti 3:7), persecuting them (Re 2:10), distorting their devotion to God (2 Co 11:3), opposing their ministry (1 Th 2:18) and finally to accuse them before God (Job 1-2; Re 12:10). The final work of Satan will be to miraculously empower the antichrist and the false prophet during the time of the tribulation (Re 13:2), to unleash his demons to torment the human race (Re 9:10-11) and pour out his wrath on Israel (Re 12:17).

But, we can have hope because his ultimate and guaranteed destruction has already started with Christ’s work on the Cross (Co 1:20). He will be permanently cast out of heaven (Re 12:7-10), will gather his legions together for battle (Re 16:14-16) but will be bound and cast into the abyss for a thousand years (Re 20:1-3). After that time he will try a last rebellion against God (Re 20:7-9) to which he will have his final defeat and, along with all his forces, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire for all eternity (Re 20:8-10).

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