Angelology Part 1 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 098:392 (Oct 1941)
Article: Angelology Part 1
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Part 1

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s note: Beginning with this issue of Bibliotheca Sacra and continuing throughout the year 1942, a series of articles are proposed in this department of Systematic Theology on Angelology, Satanology, and Demonology. The theme is as important as are the issues of Christian life and conduct.]

General Facts about the Angels.

The truth that there is an order of celestial beings quite distinct from humanity and from the Godhead who occupy an exalted estate above the present position of fallen man, is the teaching of much Scripture. These celestial beings are mentioned at least 180 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament, and out of this extended body of Scripture the student may construct his doctrine of the angels.

The designation angel-whether מלאך of the Old Testament Hebrew or ἄγγελος of the New Testament Greek-means messenger. These beings execute the purpose of the One whom they serve. The holy angels are the messengers of their Creator, while the fallen angels are the messengers of Satan-“The god of this world”-, whom they elect to serve. Men, too, are sometimes styled messengers, as they seem to be addressed in Revelation 1:20; though certain expositors, as well represented by Alford, contend that spirit beings are the messengers of the seven churches of Asia. The term angel is not only generic, in that it is applied to all orders of created spirits, but it is expressive, also, of their office or service.

When considering the angels, as in other doctrines, there is some field for the exercise of reason. Since God is spirit (John 4:24) partaking in no way of material elements, it

is natural to assume that there are created beings who more closely resemble God than do the mundane creatures who combine both the material and the immaterial. There is a material kingdom, an animal kingdom, and a human kingdom; so, it may be assumed, there is an angelic or spirit kingdom. However, Angelology rests not upon reason or supposition, but upon revelation.

As the universe has been ordered, it has not pleased God to give to man any intercourse with the angels, or any consciousness of their presence; yet the Bible states that angels not only observe the affairs of men, but that good angels minister to man’s well being (Heb 1:14) and evil angels wage a warfare against that in man which is wroug...

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