Among the different categories of theology I think people (in America at least) have more unbiblical beliefs about angels than any other doctrine. In this post I will give you a clear picture of what the characteristics of angels are according to Scripture. Next week we will look at the practice and ministry of angels.[ref]Much of this blog post is based on the notes I received from J. Scott Horrell while a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. I have simplified his notes, added some things, and provided my own thoughts. The the original content and outline are his.[/ref]
Photo Credit: Waiting for the Word
The Characteristics of Angels
I. CREATED FINITE AND PERFECT
The enemy of God, Satan, was once an angel of God. Ezekiel 28[ref]While the original description refers to the ruler of Tyre, it certainly applies to the god of this age, Satan, the enemy of the LORD” (Wiersbe, Be Reverent, p. 151)[/ref] describes Satan and his status in heaven before he fell from God’s grace.[ref]Some reasons I believe Ezek 28:12-15 is talking about Satan. First, “Cherub” in v. 14 and v. 16 suggests that we are dealing with an angelic creature. Second, the description seems lofty and more like we are describing some more than merely human being. Third, Satan wants control of the nations based on 1 Chron 21; Dan 9; Matt 4:8-10. Fourth, he had acceess to the “holy mountain of God” (v. 14).[/ref]
You [Satan] were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone— red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone, blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper, blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald— all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. (Ezekiel 28:12–15, NLT, emphasis added)[ref]”More than one student has identified . . . the king of Tyrie as Satan, the enemy of God and of the Jewish people, who energized the prince and used him to accomplish his own evil purposes.” (Wiersbe, Be Reverent, p. 150)[/ref]
There are a few of important points that need to be made about angels from this passage. First, angels are “created” beings (vv. 13, 15). Unlike God, they have not existed forever. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he further clarified that God “created everything in the heavenly realms” (Col 1:16). Second, angels are limited and finite. This means that angels are “full of wisdom” (v. 12) but they are not “all-wise” like God is because God is the only oen who possess that characteristic. Third, angels are perfect.[ref]”If Ezek. 28:15 refers to Satan, as many suggest, then Satan is definately said to have been created perfect.” (Henry Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 135)[/ref] God says that Satan was the “model of perfection” (v. 12) and “blameless” (v. 15) in all that he did until that day when Satan disobeyed God and left God’s presence in rebellion. While angels have a choice to rebel against God, they are perfect until they choose to disobey.