St. Michael and all Angels 29 September 2019 A.D.

St. Michael and all Angels                         29 September 2019 A.D.     Morning Prayer

Psalm 8, 91     First lesson. Job 38:1-7                 Second lesson. Hebrews 1:13-2:10

                                             O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained
                                             and constituted the services of Angels and men 
                                             in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant that,
                                             as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven,
                                             so, by thy appointment, they may succour and
                                             defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
                                                                                                                     Amen.


                                                     “Angels and their mission”

 If we undertake a study of God’s angels we must always take care to not attribute more to their being than what we find in Scripture.  We should not elevate angels to a place of possible worship or veneration such as was done in the early middle ages. The now bent church based in Rome began to ascribe to the angels an “extra-biblical” nature. Much of the material for “angelology”{the study of angels} was passed down from other cultures such as the Hindu, Chaldean, Egyptian, Babylonian, Zoroastrian among the most notable. At a later time, even the Muslim culture contributed to this long list of angels and anti-angels {jinn}. The jinn or genie could be good or bad, usually on the side of bad. Western culture will be introduced to the jinn though the Arabian Nights among other tales and folkloric tradition.  Angels became objects of veneration and even worship.  Eventually there would be several hundred named angels and messengers, all seeping into “extra” biblical tradition. Unfortunately the Western church would embrace some of these named angels and incorporate them into church tradition . We can only find four named angels in the scripture. Gabriel, Michael, Lucifer/Satan, and Abaddon/Apollyon, mentioned in the book of Revelation. The Apocryphal books, Tobit and 2 Esdras mention Raphael and Uriel, but since these are not canonical books of the Bible, but historic/traditional books, we should not take these names as biblical.  Some traditions ascribe a canonical authority to the Apocrypha, but no orthodox doctrine has ever been drawn from these books.  
     The long path of error that the Roman church eventually became ensnared in started with adding “extra” material from contemporary culture and tradition. This did not go well. Saints became go-between in place of Jesus Christ, miracles were attributed to these saints, patronage or extra blessings were sought from these saints, a whole mess of extra-biblical tradition came into being. This extra-biblical tradition complicated the simple message of Christ’s Gospel message.  John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.   1 Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;   John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 
  In just these three passages of scripture we find the simple Gospel.  Jesus is the Way, the ONLY Way to salvation. He is the ONLY mediator, not an angel, not a saint, not his earthly mother, nor any other creature {For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39}. 
How simple is that ?    Instead we have layer upon layer of tradition, including adding angels into the mix, to what is a simple straight-forward message in the beginning.  
  This was the reason a dozen or more reformers lost their lives. They wanted to go back to the basics. There was no additional work needed for salvation, no saints, angels, relicts, magic beads, prayers to the dead or anything else needed to secure your salvation.

       So what was the mission of the four named angels in the Bible?

1. Bring good news.
 Gabriel tells Zacharias of the coming birth of a son, his wife has never had any children, she is very old now. Good news.  Gabriel visits Mary and tells her of the miraculous birth of her first born, whom she will name Jesus.
But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?  Notice that the angel are ministering to humans, who are heirs of salvation. Angels don’t have to be saved, they work for God.

2. Bring a warning or alert to danger.
 After the visit of the Magi, Joseph is warned by “the angel of God” we can assume it was Gabriel, to flee to Egypt to escape the coming wrath of Herod to the Bethlehem area.

3. Keep one from harm.
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
   Satan will use this verse to tempt Jesus in the Wilderness. He is quoting David from the 91st Psalm.  And as in the case of each temptation of Satan, Christ answers him with Scripture. The Word, sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing to the bone and marrow. Christ Jesus knows that Satan cannot dispute Truth as it is presented in the Word.  Satan will try to distort and muddy the Truth, he will do anything to get us to take our eyes off the Savior. He will do anything to distract us with the cares and travails of this world...ie. “..life happens..”; anything to take our eyes off our Lord.
  But notice the two previous verses, “...there shall no evil befall thee...for he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”   The Lord’s will be done.  
  Yes, we do have guardian angels, ones who watch over us, not to be worshiped, but there by God’s design to keep us from harm.  I believe on that day in glory when we find out what our guardian angels did, we will be astounded by how many times we came close to harms way, and yet we never got harmed.  Yes we do get hurt, some are maimed for life, some lose their lives, but in the over all scheme of things, God is in control. He has assigned his angels to keep us safe, in His time and space, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

4. Or fight against God the Creator.
 This fight has been on-going since the Garden. When Satan rebelled against God, he took a third of the angels with him. They were cast out of heaven. They are here in this realm. He, Satan, is the prince of the power of the air. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. This is the account of Michael fighting Satan, the accuser, the deceiver, the Evil one, and notice even Michael defers to his creator, the Lord.
 He (Satan) has limited dominion here on earth and in this time on earth. But make one thing perfectly clear; Satan knows his time is limited. When Christ uttered those last words on the Cross... “it is finished.”; he was referring to the finished work of Salvation and in a side effect, Satan’s time was finished. Death, introduced by Satan in the Garden, was also finished. The day will come when all will be fulfilled, Satan and Death will be completely vanquished.  Satan, being created an angel, has limited knowledge of the future. He knows that eventually, in God’s time, he will be bound up in chains and thrown into the fiery pit for eternity, never to harm or harass God’s creation again.  This is why Satan is fighting so hard to take as many souls with him to perdition. He knows his time is up.


  In conclusion of our brief study of angels let us reflect on Psalm 8 and see what David saw in the nature created by God the Father: O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 
   
 Let us pray:

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being; We, thy needy creatures, render thee our humble praises, for thy preservation of us from the beginning of our lives to this day, and especially for having delivered us from the dangers of the past night. For these thy mercies, we bless and magnify thy glorious Name; humbly beseeching thee to accept this our morning sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; for his sake who lay down in the grave, and rose again for us, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

O HEAVENLY Father, thou understandest all thy children; through thy gift of faith we bring our perplexities to the light of thy wisdom, and receive the blessed encouragement of thy sympathy, and a clearer knowledge of thy will. Glory be to thee for all thy gracious gifts. Amen.

 

O HEAVENLY Father, who hast filled the world with beauty; Open, we beseech thee, our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works; that rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve thee with gladness; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 
  

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