Understanding Angels! The Named Angels in the Bible! Part 3
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 3 of a series of lessons on understanding Angels in the Bible. If you have not read this series from the beginning I would recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1”. Today I want to discuss not something new, but a basic concept surrounding angels. This concept states that angels all have names and that these names mean something. Just as people on earth have names which are given to them when they are born, angels also have very specific names that I assume was given to them by God. Of course the Bible does not reveal the names of every angel and since there are an innumerable number of them, I’m glad that it does not. Throughout the Bible you discover that people did not normally just make up their children’s names. These names were given to their children for a reason and it often involved the circumstances surrounding their birth. So we discover that we can learn things about people from looking up the definitions of their names. I believe that this applies to angels also. I do not think that the angels got their names by accident or chance. We are not told but a few names of the angels, but we are told enough to help us to understand these concepts. The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun. I take this to mean that what God has designed in this world were patterns for things that already existed elsewhere or in past times. So what we see and observe in our world are not new things, new ideas or new concepts, but are things that have existed before. That is very hard thing for many people to accept and even Christians today because they have widely been taught that creation happened 6000 years ago and God created the angels and people, heaven and earth and everything else at this time. That would really be good, if that was what the Bible actually said, unfortunately for many Bible teachers it is not; so their teaching produces nothing but points of confusion. What I am going to do today is start in the book of Psalms and show you a verse that informs us that angels have names:
Psa 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
You may recall that angels were symbolically called “stars” in Revelation 1:20, 12:4 and several other places in the Bible. The stars seen in our heaven symbolically represent these created spiritual beings called angels. They are also according to this verse all “named”. God knows the names of every one of them and this is an amazing feat since there are so many of them. Scientist can only roughly estimate the number of the stars in our universe; there is absolutely no way that they could count them all, since none of our telescopes reach to the ends of the entire universe. So you cannot count what you cannot see. Plus the fact that they estimate the number of stars to be between 10 raised to the 22nd power and 10 raised to the 24th power. Both of those are huge numbers.
Let’s turn to Luke and start to study about a named angel that you have already heard of. This angel reveals some things that we have potentially already discussed as well as some new things to consider. For example, this angel has a name and this is the first time we have discovered that reality. In the first chapter of Luke is the story of Zacharias and his wife. They are older mature people in Israel and Zacharias is a priest for God in the temple. One day while he is in the temple suddenly something happens that he never experienced before:
Luk 1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
The angel of the Lord suddenly appears within the physical dimension of space and time and Zacharias sees him standing there. We have seen the angel’s ability in the Bible to appear or manifest physically in our world and this is another example of this. Since the context of this verse says that there are many people on the outside of the temple and none of them are said to have seen the angel enter the temple, we can only assume that this angel from God steps out of the spiritual dimension and into the temple at the appropriate exact place and time. So what would be the normal human reaction to something like this?
Luk 1:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
What would be your reaction if you were in a room alone and suddenly a man appears before you out of nowhere? You can certainly understand that this would be troubling to say the least. The natural human reaction would be the emotion of fear. As you study angels many times when they appear to humans, they would have to say to them “fear not”. In other words they were saying “we are not here to do you harm”. This is probably why angels are not sent more often by God. I just don’t think that people could handle the supernatural appearance of a spiritual being, even if they are sent from God.
Luk 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
This angel starts speaking to Zacharias and tells him God has heard his prayers. We can obviously see an example of another angel being sent to the earth in response to words/prayers of a man in this example. I do want to point out that I do not believe that Zacharias prayed for God to send him an angel. I have not found any verses in the Bible that anyone ever prayed for God to send angels to help them. When Jesus was about to be crucified He did say this:
Mat 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
So Jesus said He could have prayed to His Father and God could have sent 12 legions of angels to help Him from being crucified. A legion can vary in numbers but generally it would be anywhere from 3600 to 6000 men in a roman legion. So you multiply that by 12 and you get a lot of angels. As you have seen two angels were sent to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah so that many angels would be a very strong force. It is interesting that Jesus said He could have done this but yet He never did. I would still say from the Bible that God says “Those who are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”. Meaning we do not pray for guidance by angels. If God chooses to send you an angel, then it is probably for a bigger reason than you want to know right now.
We have not talked about Daniel yet, but God sends him an angel for his prayer also. We can very easily assume God has heard this man Zacharias’ prayers and has sent His messenger with the Words of God for him to hear. The angel continues to tell Zacharias what will happen in the next 3 or 4 verses. He is told that he will have a son and that he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. He will not eat or drink unclean things and he will lead many people to God. After hearing all of this Zacharias should have been very happy, however he starts to question the angel and basically asks “How do I know this is true?” That was the wrong question to ask the representative of God. Here is the angel’s response:
Luk 1:19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
The angel in effect says “Who do you think you are talking to?” He then tells us and him his name and his normal daily duties. This is the angel “Gabriel” and he normally stands in heaven in the presence of the Most High God. In other words God the Most High sent one of the highest angels to bring him a personal message concerning his prayers and he wants to question and doubt us? The angel implies “How do you think I knew about your prayers, what are stupid?” Ok, I added some of my thoughts and interpretations to that response, but you can certainly understand why. Zacharias was a priest of God was intimately familiar with the story of Abraham and Sarah and how old they were when they had their promised son Isaac. So why would this old man doubt God’s ability to do what he has already proved that he could do? Sarah was 90 years old when she had Isaac. Age is not a determining factor for God’s ability to answer your prayer. I believe this is what upset the angel more than anything; it was clearly Zacharias unbelief and total lack of faith in God that displeased God.
Luk 1:20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
So the angel gives Zacharias a sign that he was not expecting to happen. Here we have another example of the supernatural power of angels. In Genesis we saw how the angels blinded all of the men that wanted to have sex with them and here the angel tells Zacharias that he would not be able to speak until what was told him came to pass. What was the difference in this story and the story of Abraham? In Genesis God changed Abram’s name to Abraham which meant “Father of Nations”. So God got Abraham to believe what was said to him, but Zacharias did not believe so his mouth was shut. Abraham went around saying to everyone “My name is Abraham”, “I am the father of nations” which was what God said and then he had a son and it happened. Zacharias could have done the same thing if he would have just believed the angel. It is difficult not to talk about words even when you are studying angels because every subject in the Bible overlaps every other subject. Your words and your beliefs have a determining factor to what occurs in your life. Also note that the angel said that the words that he spoke would be fulfilled in the earth. God spoke what was going to happen through an angel in the earth and then it happened. Do you know this is how God works in our world? God sends His words first into the world and only then do they come to pass. We live within a Word Based World system. This is why Gabriel shuts the mouth of Zacharias so that he could not counter the words that were spoken to him with his unbelief. I could say a lot more on this subject, but I’m already off of the main subject of angels so I’ll leave it at that.
So the angel of God was named Gabriel and he had a problem and solved it by making Zacharias dumb. So again we see supernatural powers being exhibited by an angelic being. It is very interesting to note that the name “Gabriel” means “Man of God”. It also has root words meaning a “warrior” and “strength”. We can see from this information that again angels are not trivial beings to be ignored. It is also interesting that they are called “men”. If an angel appears to you and tells you that God has said something, I would suggest that you do not treat it with the same level of unbelief that Zacharias did. If you question the words make sure you ask the right questions. You might recall that when the angel appeared to Mary, she also questioned the words, but said it differently. She asked “how will this be since I know not a man”. That was a valid question and not one of unbelief. She just wanted to know how God was going to do what he said to her. Then after the angel told her how God was going to overshadow her with the Holy Ghost and she would conceive, then Mary said “Be it unto me as you have spoken”. In other words she said “I believe it”! Believing God is one of the most important things that you can ever do in life and this might have been the most important thing that I said in this whole lesson. Let’s talk about Daniel’s experience now:
Dan 10:11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
The angel Gabriel is sent to another man on the earth named Daniel. While it does not name Gabriel directly in this chapter you can see this is who it is by reading Daniel 8:16 and 9:21. Again Gabriel is being sent in answer to a man’s words/prayer. God directs the angel Gabriel to bring Daniel an answer and this story reveals to us that sometimes answers from God take “time”. We like to think that God lives outside of time and that God is omnipotent so He can do anything instantly, but this story proves God can’t do just anything in our world instantly like we would like to think.
Dan 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
As you can read and see when Daniel prayed the angel was sent by God on the very first day. However, we can learn in this chapter that Daniel has been fasting for 21 days before the angel actually shows up. That is the problem with many religious minded people’s theology. There is a 3 week delay from the time that Daniel prayed, God answered and the answer arrives. Why is that? That is the million dollar question of the day. You see this chapter tells us that the “prince of Persia” withstood the angel Gabriel from coming to Daniel. Persia of course is where modern day Iran is located. But, this is not a human being and it has to be a powerful spiritual being with a spiritual army of resistance to keep another powerful spiritual being from coming from heaven.
Here is the second most important thing that you should learn from today’s lesson. Did you notice what the angel said? The angel said I was sent for your “words”. Uh oh? We’re back to words again. Did you know that angels get assignments based upon your words? If you didn’t know this you just learned something new that is very important. We’ll definitely talk more about this later so let’s keep looking at the name of the new angel in this story.
Dan 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
So God dispatches Michael another chief angel from heaven to help Gabriel to get to Daniel. So Michael and Gabriel are two chief named angels from God found in the Bible. The name “Michael” has the following meaning in the Hebrew “Who is Like God”. To me that tells me something new about angels. Angels are made in the image and likeness of God like men were. You can of course take this definition two ways I know, you could say it like a question or you can say it like a statement of fact. However we have one angel Gabriel that means “Man of God” and another angel named Michael that means “Who is Like God” and both of these have implications of our descendant Adam described to us in Genesis 1 and 2. So you do not have to believe it like I believe it but, based upon what we have learned I have to conclude that angels were created being before men and that they were made in God’s image first. They are also called a “prince” of God. You will see this is a term of authority and power. They are rulers of some dominion or domain that I have already alluded to in the first lesson. Since they came from heaven we can assume at least that this rule use to be the kingdom of heaven. But, God told us in Gen 1:16 that the Moon and the Stars will rule the night on the fourth day of creation. The Stars definitely symbolize angels. So the fourth day was a symbolic time of when Jesus came to the earth. However at this time of Daniel was before Jesus came to the earth and this prophecy of Genesis had not been fulfilled. I do not know if you understand that statement and I don’t have time to explain it. You are welcome to read my other blogs to see if you can grasp these concepts.
What we have seen is the names of two of God’s angels from heaven mentioned to us in the Bible directly. These are actually the only two angels of God that are directly named that I know of. The other angels mentioned in the Bible were angels of God, but have fallen so they are not God’s anymore and we will look at them briefly:
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
I believe that Lucifer is the name for Satan before he fell from heaven. I will do a more in-depth study of this spiritual being in a separate lesson. What I do want to point out in this verse is something I find very interesting. Lucifer is again called a son of God in this verse, but it is not a direct named instance. It is more a symbolic name based upon information from other verses in the Bible and it reveals something to us in it that we would not have fully known otherwise. What you surely realize is that God hides information in words using techniques that I describe in other blogs. In 1 John 1:5 we see a verse that says “God is Light”. Then what we learn from this verse in Isaiah is very important if you can accept it. The word “morning” means “early light”. This is a symbolic revelation of God and Satan. We know that God has neither beginning nor any ending and the Bible calls Him the “Ancient of Days”. All of this tells us that God has been around a very, very long time. But, if you think symbolically about a day cycle, when the sun comes up and then sun goes down; God is describing the timeframe of Satan’s creation using these terms of a symbolic day. God is saying Lucifer was a “son of the very early light”. This informs us that Lucifer has been around not as long as God has but so much longer than Adam or the rest of us could ever have imagined. Scientists tell us that the age of our universe is estimated to be in the billions of years. I imagine that Lucifer has been around at the very least that long and probably longer just based upon this simple information. It is important to note that Lucifer is called a son of God like we saw the other angels called in Genesis and Job. It is also important to note the meaning of the name “Lucifer”. The word “Lucifer” means to brightly shine as the morning star. Wow, that is an amazing statement that almost boggles my mind. You see in Revelation 22:16 Jesus says “I am the Bright and Morning Star”. How can both Lucifer and Jesus have the same names? That is of course a very difficult question to answer especially in a blog like this about angels so I will not even attempt to give you an answer to that. What I do want you to do is see the hidden complexity within the Bible and to show you that we have only scratched the surface to what is written there in and what it all means. So far we have seen angels named Gabriel, Michael and Lucifer so let’s continue quickly and look at the other name found in the Bible of angels:
Rev 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
Here in Revelation 9 it speaks of too many things to go through them all. The book of Revelation is a heavily symbolic book of references. Most of this information found here is widely controversial since hardly anyone has been able to agree on what anything means. However, this error is mostly attributable to man’s private interpretations of God’s Word. What I see in this verse is the fact that God is speaking of an angel. This angel has a name and is called “Abaddon” in the Hebrew and “Apollyon” in the Greek. This name means “destroyer” or “destruction”. I am fairly convinced that this is just another name for Satan personally. I believe that Satan is the one that has destroyed kingdoms and laid waste to the earth making it null and void in Genesis 1:2. When I talk about Satan in the next lesson I will try to show you scriptures that seem to indicate Satan is responsible for these things.
So we have seen potentially 4 angels directly named in the Bible. Two Gabriel and Michael are on God’s side and the other two Lucifer and Abaddon are definitely not good angels.
We have learned a few new things in this lesson so let’s review them.
- Have Names (Luke 1:19, Rev 9:11)
- Names mean something
- Gabriel means “Man of God”
- Michael means “Who is Like God”
- Are called Princes (those who rule under the King) (Daniel 10:13)
- Stand in the Presence of God (Luke 1:19)
- Can make people dumb (Luke 1:20)
- Lucifer was called a son of the early light (Isa 14:12)
- Lucifer means “Bright Morning Star”
- Abaddon means “Destroyer” (Rev 9:11)
- Are sent by God because of the Words of Men on the earth (Daniel 10:12, Luke 1:13)
- Bring messages from God and it matters if you believe them (Luke 1:18-19)
If you would like to continue reading this series you can go to “Part 4“.
Posted on October 4, 2010, in Angels, Bible Study, Understanding and tagged angels, Bible, Christianity, Church, creation, Genesis, God, Interpretation, Jesus, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Satan, Symbolism, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.