- Created on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 22:59
On Tuesday19th June our Church will celebrate the Feast of Archangel Michael and on Wednesday 20th June the Feast of Archangel Gabriel.
Angels are living spirits who reverently and uninterruptedly serve God. The Word Angel (malaak) means messenger, and from the dawn of creation we are acquainted with them. God placed the Cherubim with a flaming sword to guard the tree of life (Genesis 3:24); Jacob saw angels in his vision and the prophet Isaiah saw the Seraphim surrounding the Throne of God (Isaiah 6:1-2). Angels appeared at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:9-10) and at His resurrection (Luke 24:5-6) and comforted the Apostles at the Lord’s ascension to heaven (Acts 1:10-11). We seek their intercessions at the conclusion of our prayers saying, “Surround us with Your Holy Angels that we may be guided and guarded by them.”
What are the functions and responsibilities of Angels?
1. Angels …………… Worship the Living God
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!’
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’ Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen! And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.’” (Revelation 5:11-14).
“You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.” (Nehemiah 9:6).
“But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’ And of the angels He says: ‘Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.’” (Hebrew 1:6).
“All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’” (Revelation 7:11-12).
2. Angels …………… Perform the Will of God
“Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” (Psalm 103:20-21). And “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.’” (Revelation 16:1).
In the Liturgy of St. Gregory we say: “You are praised by the angels, and worshipped by the archangels. You are blessed by the principalities, and unto You the lordships cry out. Of Your glory the authorities speak. To You the thrones offer up honour. Thousands upon thousands stand before You, and myriads upon myriads offer You service. You are blessed by the invisible; You are worshipped by the manifest creatures. They all perform Your word, O our Master.”
3. Angels …………… Convey God’s Messages
“Then the angel said to her, “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.’” (Luke 1:30-31).
“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’” (Luke 1:13).
“But the angel answered and said to the woman, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said. Come and see the place where the Lord lay.’” (Matthew 28: 5-6).
4. Angels ………….. Protect God’s Children from Harm
Saving Jacob, “The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Genesis 48:16).
Archangel Raphael with Tobit, “And Raphael was sent to heal the two of them: to scale away the white films from Tobit’s eyes; to give Sarah the daughter of Raguel in marriage to Tobias the son of Tobit, and to bind Asmodeus the evil demon, because Tobias was entitled to posses her.” (Tobit 3:17)
Saving Daniel, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” (Daniel 6:22).
Getting the apostles out of prison “But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out.” (Acts 5:19).
Saving Peter, “And when Peter had come to himself, he said, ‘Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.’” (Acts 12:11).
Declaring to Paul his safety from drowning and those with him in the ship, “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’” (Acts 27:23-24).
5. Angels …………… Convey our Prayers and Supplications to God
“Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?’ And the Lord answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words. So the angel who spoke with me said to me, Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am zealou for Jerusalem And for Zion with great zeal. I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped--but with evil intent. Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it, says the Lord of hosts, And a surveyor's line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.’” (Zechariah 1:12-16).
When Jacob saw the ladder connecting between heaven and earth, he saw on it Angels ascending and descending. Some of the Fathers, in their contemplations, say that the Angels ascending to Heaven carry our prayers and the Angels descending carry the answers to our prayers from heaven.
6. Angels ………….. Carry the Righteous Souls of the Departed
“So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.” (Luke 16:22).
“So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just” (Mathew 13:49).
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31).
“The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:41-42).
7. Angels ………….. Delivers Us from Satan and his Armies
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13).
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought” (Revelation 12:7).
8. Angels …………… Raise the Praises of the Faithful to God
, “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” (Revelation 8:3).
9. Angels ………….. Assist Humans in Heavenly Visions
Like the angel who led Saint John the apostle and clarified everything to him in the revelation, “So I went to the angel and said to him, ‘Give me the little book.’ And he said to me, ‘Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.’ Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.’” (Revelation 10:9, 11:1).
10. Angels ………….. Sent by God in Response to our Prayers
Daniel prayed for Israel’s restoration to the land and an angel came to instruct him and answer his prayer. “Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision’” (Daniel 9:20-23).
Daniel prayed and fasted, so God sent an angel to give him the detailed history of the next 300 years. “Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’ While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.’” (Daniel 10:10-12).
When Herod imprisoned St. Peter, the Church prayed for his release, and God sent an angel to deliver him. “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. Then the angel said to him, ‘Gird yourself and tie on your sandals;’ and so he did. And he said to him, ‘Put on your garment and follow me.’ And when Peter had come to himself, he said, ‘Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.’”(Acts 12:5,8,11).