With All the Company of Heaven

by Rev. Christopher Hall

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Illustration: St. Michael disputing with the devil at the death of Moses (Jude 9) by Guido Reni: Wikimedia Commons

September 29 is a unique day in our Lutheran worship and practice. The Lutheran Service Book includes a list of commemorations and festivals honoring God for His work through various people in Scripture and in the history of the Church. But one is different than all the others: St. Michael and All Angels. All other festivals are for humans, but Michael is one of the angels, one of the innumerable numbers of invisible creatures in God’s creation.

The Scriptures are full of references to the angels of God, which are mentioned over 280 times in the text of the ESV Bible. What’s more, when you include the references to cherubim and seraphim, there are more than 350 references to angels.

Read Luke 1:11–20. What does this angel do? How does he identify himself in v. 19?

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Read Luke 1:26–33. What does the angel Gabriel do?

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The English word angel is derived from the Greek word angelos, which means “messenger,” especially a heavenly messenger. Throughout the Bible these creatures bring messages from God to men. Some other passages you may read are Gen. 16:7–12; 22:11–18; Matt. 28:2–6.

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The angels do more than speak, however. At times they do the work of God in the world. Read 2 Chron. 32:17–22, which describes what happens when Hezekiah called upon God to save Jerusalem from Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.

What does the angel do to the enemy army?

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Why does the angel do this?

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Read Rev. 8:1–11. What are some of the things angels are shown to do in this passage? How do they fulfill God’s will?

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At other times, God sends angels to protect His people from calamity. Read Dan. 6:16–23.

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How did an angel save Daniel? Why did the angel save Daniel from the lions’ den?

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Read Acts 5:18–23. How did the angel’s intervention save the apostles? What were they able to do since the angel helped them?

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The holy angels are remarkable creatures. While Scripture is replete with references to them, there is much we do not know and cannot know in this life. Yet we know that they, like us, are created by God to do His will. Even though they live an existence we cannot fathom, like us, they fear and love God above all things, trusting in Him. And we know that our loving God has given angels to serve His will, protect His people, and announce His Good News throughout history.

We may not see His angels among us, but we can be sure that His holy angels continue to serve God for the benefit of the Church and the proclamation of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

About the Author: Rev. Christopher Hall is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Enid, Okla., and third vice-president of the Oklahoma District.

September 2010

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