Angels and Puritans

Section II: Theology Proper (Study of God)
Chapter 11 - Angels

The Puritans lived in a magical worldview, compared with our mechanical one.  Superstition abounded, and the Reformation sought to stamp much of it out, looking to scripture alone.  Our spirituality should be supplication, not manipulative.

Angels are spirits who serve God and His people (Heb 1:14).  There are myriads of them: 10,000 times 10,000.  Some are higher than others (1 Thess. 4:16), but we don't know more than that and shouldn't speculate. They are strong and overpowering in their presence.  But they are not immutable or divine, they are creatures.

A history of angels
God decreed their existence and glory.  They are not saved, but some are foreordained to damnation and others preserved in faithful glory with God.  Edwards thought this leads to union with Christ, like redeemed people have, but scripture does not specify they are in Christ as we are.
God created them with the heavens in Genesis 1:1, and they rejoiced in the creation of earth (Job 38:4-7).
God uses His angels to serve Him in the present age.  See below.
God will consummate this age with angels.  They come with Christ at His return.  They gather the harvest of men into God's barns.  They are judged themselves.

The work of angels
They rejoice at the conversion of sinners, bring messages to men from God (in the accounts Scripture gives us), work God's providence in the world and in people generally, and have charge to care for God's people.  The Bible describes them doing this last one in several different situations.

Communion with angels
We worship God together and they are fellow servants with us.  To what extent angels help us in sanctification, scripture speaks less than does tradition, paganism, and our own speculation.

My thoughts
Several thoughts are left out, here.  Jesus says the angels go up and down on Him, the ladder between heaven and earth.  Matthew 18:10 isn't even quoted: "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven."  I assume this is an overreaction to the speculation and extra biblical attention the subject of angels can bring.

Hebrews 1:1-4 is important: God spoke ultimately through His Son, who is far greater than angels.  At the same time, scripture speaks after that of the possibility of entertaining angels.  I doubt this refers to human messengers or pastors, as they are said to entertain them unaware.  And I don't dismiss as bogus all the claims of people in un-reached areas seeing visions, dreams or angels that point them to Jesus, His Word, or the church near them.  This is different than speculating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or who all the archangels are.

God wants us to be aware of angels, but not to focus on them instead of on our calling and communion with God.

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