with Jeremy Westcott
All the miracles Jesus performed, He did as a man, a forerunner of the church that was to come. There was an open heaven over Jesus’ life. He lived in both realms, connecting earth and heaven, and angels were part of that connection. They were actively involved in all that He did, from the announcement of his birth to the empty tomb. This is a whole dimension of the supernatural which Jesus interacted with, and if we are to do ‘greater works than these’ (John 14:12), then surely we will need to interact with it in the same way Jesus did.
On earth as it is in heaven
Jesus died so that we could inherit. That inheritance is both earthly and heavenly, both natural and supernatural, in line with God’s eternal intention: for man to bring the rulership of God to the whole of creation:
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Throughout most of church history the enemy has blinded our eyes and convinced us that we are weak, powerless and of no effect. If we will start believing the truth of who we are, of our identity as sons of God, as joint heirs with Christ who have authority in the heavens and on the earth, then our lives will become a gateway for heaven to manifest on earth just as Jesus’ life was.
We saw in the last post that as a Joshua generation we are called to operate with the angels and the heavenly realms. The ‘promised land’ we are entering is the fullness of our inheritance, physical and spiritual, which God has set aside for us. Joshua met with an angel (the captain of the host of the Lord) who came and gave him revelation from heaven, and with an open heaven over our lives we should expect the same kind of thing to happen for us.
If ‘angels are ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation’ (Heb 1:14), then they must be bored silly, because most of us don’t have any connection with them. We are ‘those who will inherit salvation’, but how many of us actively enlist the help of angels on a daily basis?
What service do we want them to render to us? Do we want them to bring blessing, favour, finance, healing – for our benefit, or for others? Do we want them to minister to our families, our children, our friends and work colleagues? They are messengers, worshippers, warriors and more. We need to open up our perspective on this, and broaden it, because there is so much that they are available to do for us. God wants us to expand our understanding – and experience – of the angelic, so that we can do the things Jesus did.
When our baby grandson was seriously ill, we prayed for the angels to surround that room, that the spirit of death would have no place there. There was a sense of the angelic presence when we went in there, because we sent them. And his recovery amazed everyone at the hospital.
Personal attributes of God
Angels are often at work where a personal attribute of God is mentioned such as the arm, hand or eyes of God. God is spirit, and He does not have a physical body like that. When He does show up in person, He comes in a dark cloud for our protection. But the angels are the executors of God’s actions and the means of the revelation of His personal being to man.
The activity of the Holy Spirit is often confused with the activity of angels. A common argument you will hear from people who don’t believe we should engage with angels goes like this: ‘we don’t need angels, because God sends the Holy Spirit’.
The Holy Spirit is God. He was only ‘sent’ once, on the day of Pentecost, to come and fill the church. We come into that experience for ourselves when we get born again and baptised in the Holy Spirit. He is our internal Guide, Comforter, and Counsellor, bringing a sense of love, joy and peace. We know that we are dearly loved children – that is the Holy Spirit at work. And it is He who brings the power and the anointing for our mission. I am not seeking to minimise the importance of the Holy Spirit.
But God uses angels to do His business. So I believe the trembling, heat, electricity, fragrance and so on that we may experience in worship are actually angelic presence. ‘But that’s God!’ you may say. I agree, it is God. It is God using the angels to manifest these things so that we can experience them.
The angel of the Lord
The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush… When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exod 3:2,4).
How much of this was the angel and how much of it was God? I believe all of it was the angel – and all of it was God, using the angel to speak to Moses.
The angel of His presence
In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old (Isa 63:9).
We can feel the presence of God in the presence of the angelic. Angels communicate His presence to us. The angel of His presence can bring love, and mercy – and, according to this scripture, redemption and salvation.
The hand of the Lord
Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling (Dan 10:10-11).
When we tremble and shake, are we being touched by an angel?
The eyes of the Lord
For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His (2 Chron 16:9).
The fear of the Lord
“For My angel will go before you and bring you in to the land… I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you” (Exod 23:23,27).
God sent the angels ahead of His people as they entered the Promised Land. As we seek to enter into our inheritance, we can expect angels to go before us and prepare the way.
Word of the Lord
The word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet. I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses behind him. Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are”. And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth” (Zech 1:7-10).
It is time for us to see the angels commissioned and released. There is nothing wrong in our asking God to do these things for us, especially when we are spiritual babies. But as we mature, we begin to understand that we have the authority to send the angels out for ourselves.
How many angels are there?
Jesus said He could instantly call on more than twelve legions – or more than 72,000 (Matt 26:53). If we are joint heirs with Him, how many can we call on? But the enemy wants to keep us ineffective, so we have never been taught to think that way.
Hebrews speaks of countless thousands (Heb 12:22). And there are 10,000 x 10,000 = 100 million angels surrounding the throne in heaven (Rev 5:11).
If angels are as numerous as the stars of heaven (see Rev 12:4), then there are around a billion stars in our own Milky Way galaxy, and between 1022 and 1024 stars in the Universe (that is, the number 1 with between 22 and 24 zeroes after it). That is a lot of angels.
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Heb 1:14, my emphasis).
God made the angels, and He made them for us.
Other articles in this series
Related articles from Freedom ARC
Other resources from Freedom ARC
- Inheritance 17-part audio series with slides
(this post is based on Mike’s teaching in session 13)
- Angels (a Freedom ARC Pinterest board)
- Exercises: How To Enter The Spiritual Realm and Interact with God (YouTube video)
- Freedom Apostolic Resources website and Freedom ARC Facebook page
- Arc Angel – on earth as it is in heaven, our curated online newspaper from paper.li
- The Engaging God programme (see below)
Resources from others:
- Kris Vallotton – Your Identity as Sons of God (via YouTube)
- Angels: God’s Servants, My Friends – Charity Kayembe (CWG Ministries – Mark Virkler)
- Encountering Angels – Lindy Strong and Bonita Curtis (Podomatic audio podcast from Marketplace Ministries)
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Image attribution: the image at the head of this article is “Paradiso Canto 31” by Gustave Doré – Alighieri, Dante; Cary, Henry Francis (ed) (1892) “Canto XXXI” in The Divine Comedy by Dante, Illustrated, Complete, London, Paris & Melbourne: Cassell & Company Retrieved on 13 July 2009.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – http://bit.ly/1ON8PY3