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Study Notes: 17th June 2015

Hebrews 1. 14

14 Are they not all divinely authorized spirits being sent out to serve the ones about to inherit salvation?

The last time we met together our study revolved around the two mentions of Michael.

One from Jude verse 8, which refers to Michael’s dispute with satan about the body of Moses.

In that Michael did not bring any slanderous accusation against satan.

Therefore, neither should we.

The other reference to Michael is from Revelation 12.7-9, where we read of Michael doing battle with the dragon, satan.

The end result was that satan was thrown out of heaven.

 

Tonight we concentrate on the divinely authorized spirits and their role in serving the inheritors of salvation.

The NIV and NLT translates ‘divinely authorized spirits’ as ‘angels’.

However, the Greek word is not aggelos – aggelov.

Instead it is the word leitourgikos – leitourgikov

This word means: a sacred service or ministry for God.

It is the word from which we derive the word ‘liturgy’.

We may not be familiar with this word, since it is a word particularly associated with the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

Liturgy is the set form of words used in a public worship service.

The meaning of liturgical is something that is authorized for the service of God.

I imagine that the Book of Common Prayer contains liturgies of various kinds that have been authorized for the service of God.

We are not familiar with set forms, or read prayers.

It is true that we have an order, such as:

praise and worship, notices, and preaching/teaching.

However, we do not have a set form of words within that order.

The nearest we come to that is the words of Jesus that we often use during the breaking of bread:

Mark 14.22-24

[22] While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

[23] Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

[24] “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. [25] “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”

It has been said that these are the only liturgical form of words that Jesus left for us.

They are simple and point us to the foundations of our salvation.

They are the divinely authorized words of Jesus, available for us to use whenever we break bread.

It is true to say that these words of Jesus were given in the middle of a liturgical order, which was the Passover meal.

Paul gives us the following words:

1 Corinthians 11.23-26

[23] On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread,

[24] and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

[25] In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.”

[26] For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.

The word leitourgikos is an adjective, describing the word that follows.

That word is ‘spirits’.

How can we understand these ‘spirits’ as angels?

The answer is to be found in verse seven, which is a quote from the Old Testament:

In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.”

The word ‘winds’ is the same word that is translated as ‘spirits’ in verse 14.

The context of verse 7 is that of angels.

Therefore, as we look at verse fourteen the context is the same, that of angels.

They are spirits appointed and authorized by God to serve Him by serving those who are about to inherit salvation.

It is the word ‘authorized’ that is translated from the word ‘leitourgikos’

There is so much that we do not know in regards to angels.

Yet this we do know and it is that God has authorized them to do the work of service that they do.

Angels do not take it upon themselves to do what they want.

In Revelation 7.1f we read of some of the work of five angels:

[7:1] After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

[2] Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:

[3] “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

Four of the angels had been given power to bring harm to the land and sea.

W Barclay informs us that it was the Jewish belief that these four angels were amongst the lowest of the angelic beings, who were continually on duty in the service of God.

There were those very religious Jews who believed that pious Jews ranked higher than these angels, because the angels were not able to rest from their work on the Sabbath.

W Barclay tells us that the Jews believed that the four winds, which blew across the earth from North, South, East and West were beneficial, but the winds that blew diagonally across the earth from the four corners were destructive.

The angels were standing at the four corners of the earth and not at the four points of the compass.

This leads us to understand that the angels were holding back the harmful and destructive diagonal winds.

No doubt there have been times when God has restrained things and events for our benefit, and there will continue to be those times, because He is a God of love.

It is because He loves us and that He desires that no one should perish, but that all should come to repentance that these destructive winds are restrained by the angels.

The angels restrain the winds of judgement, the winds of disaster, the winds of death, sickness.

This gives us all the time to repent, and to turn away from ungodly ways, and turn to living in the power of His Holy Spirit.

Angels minister to us by restraining incidents that might be catastrophic for us.

There is the fifth angels who comes with the message to the other four angels to restrain the winds.

The angels are divinely ordered and authorized beings.

They were under orders to restrain the winds.

 

We often talk about guardian angels, and rightly so.

In our talking about them it is good for us to remember that their work is under the direction of our Heavenly Father.

They are divinely authorized by our Father to guard and protect us.

Most of the time we may be completely unaware of their presence.

However, it is clear from verse 14 that God has authorized angels to serve His people.

The previous verse have been given over to the superiority of Jesus over the angels, and also something of His work.

This last verse gives us a little glimpse of the work of the angels.

They are all employed by God for the work of serving the inheritors of salvation.

In this there is a copy of the work of Jesus.

He came into the world not to be served, but to serve – Mark 10.45.

His work of service was to save sinners.

The Divine work of the angels is to aid the sinners that Jesus has saved.

Here is a tremendous fact:

the inheritors of salvation, those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour have with them:

  1. and angelic aid.

We are not alone.

God has not abandoned us.

There is much more than we can see.

The following incident from the life of Elisha shows us that God is in no danger of being defeated.

2 Kings 6.15-23:

[15] When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

[16] “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

[17] And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

[18] As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

[19] Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

[20] After they entered the city, Elisha said, “LORD, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

[21] When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

[22] “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.”

[23] So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

Finally Jesus told His disciples that He could call on legions of angels if He so desired.

Matthew 26.52-54:

[52] “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

[53] Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

[54] But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

May the Lord Jesus open our eyes to see angelic activity on our behalf.

 

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