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Learning From the Angels

We know of many references to angels singing in the heavenly choir, but what else do they do that we may be involved in during the coming age?
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We often wonder what life in the Kingdom will be like as an immortal. Sometimes we speculate and dream about it, but what does the Bible say? It says very little directly. Jesus told the disciples they would “sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt 19:28 ESV). But what about us?

Maybe we can discover some ideas by examining what the angels do now in the family of God. Jesus said:

Those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God. (Luke 20:35-36).1

We know of many references to angels singing in the heavenly choir, but what else do they do that we may be involved in during the coming age?

In Psalm 103:20-21, we learn that angels do His word, obeying the voice of His word. They are His ministers who do His will! So angels have all learned to obey God in everything, doing His will, not their own. We know the angels are “all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.” (Heb 1:14).

God seems to like expanding His family, so the angels may be a compilation of beings He has saved over many, many years. Paul refers to the “whole family in heaven and earth” (Eph 3:15 KJV), and we hope to join the angels to assist in their work.

They serve in God’s family to train His mortal children to develop His character while they guide and protect them daily. This hints at what many immortal saints will do in the Kingdom—ministering for those who will inherit salvation during the 1000 years. Beyond that, the Bible doesn’t give us many hints.

Remember when Ahab got Jehoshaphat to join him in attacking Syria? Micaiah, a true prophet of God, was called in and described how God’s divine counsel works. God decided Ahab would die that day, but He asked some of the angels how they would cause it to happen. They suggested some ideas, and then one angel said, “I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And the LORD said, “You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.” (1 Kgs 22:22-23).

Even though the angel carried out the plan, Micaiah told Ahab, “The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets.” This gives us a hint as to how some of the events of the Kingdom will develop. God or Jesus will lay out the plan, ask for suggestions about how to accomplish it, and then give one or more saints the authority to carry out the plan. Sound exciting?

we hope to join the angels to assist in their work

Three angels appeared to Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18 to tell them Sarah would have a child the next spring. These angels left Abraham and headed down to Sodom to find out if it was as bad as they had heard. That surely indicates angels are not omnipresent. They must be present to know what is happening and act upon it.

On the way to Sodom, the three angels stopped to discuss whether or not they should tell Abraham what they might have to do to Sodom. After discussing the issue and declaring that Abraham was their intimate friend (“for I have known him”—see Rotherham’s), they decided that the two of them should continue to Sodom. One angel would return to talk to Abraham and explain what they were about to do.

This is an excellent example of how God does not constantly micromanage. God gave these angels a job to do but left it up to them to figure out the best way to carry out His plan. This gives us another exciting glimpse into the work we might do in the Kingdom. God may give us a job to accomplish, but let us figure out how we will get the job done. It will be challenging and fun, and we will have a team of immortals to help us!

In Daniel 10, Gabriel had to wait about twenty-one days to talk to Daniel. When Michael came to help him with the King of Persia, Gabriel was freed up to go to Daniel. Gabriel was not all-powerful, nor could he be in two places simultaneously. In Mark 13:32, Jesus explained, “Concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven.” Peter mentions how the prophets “predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories… things into which angels long to look.” (I Pet 1:10-12). So angels are not omniscient or omnipotent, and neither will we be in the coming age. God will provide us with what we need to accomplish His will.

Jesus spoke the Parable of the Lost Sheep and ended it by saying, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7). Isn’t it wonderful that the immortal angels, like God, can experience joy when sinners turn back to God? They don’t focus on all the terrible mistakes and sins that wayward believers committed but rejoice that these children of God have returned. We need to practice these behaviors now so God will welcome us into His family, and we can respond like angels to “lost” mortal believers during the Kingdom!

While explaining a Parable, Jesus said,

“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 13:41-42). 

Remember, angels were involved in destroying almost all life on earth with a flood, killing all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, destroying 185,000 of the Assyrian army, and turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. So there will be times when some immortal saints will probably have to carry out God’s destructive commands during the Kingdom or at its end. 

Paul appeals to believers to not go to the legal authorities but instead take matters to the ecclesia and let them be responsible for making decisions. He says: 

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? (1 Cor 6:2-3 NKJV). 

God expects us to be involved in our ecclesias and learning in this life, so we can make responsible decisions in the Kingdom when the saints are incorporated into God’s family. Some will be elevated above angels and must make decisions involving them. God has great plans for the saints in the future. Some will rule over current angels and decide what they do!

When Jesus was resurrected, and the two angels talked with some perplexed believers, the angels reminded them about what Jesus had told these believers: 

Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise. (Luke 24:6-7). 

Jesus had told them months earlier, but they had forgotten, and once the angels reminded them, they remembered his words. One of the blessings of being made equal to the angels is that our memories will be restored and improved! 

Jude had to deal with false believers who secretly joined the community of true believers and tried to mislead the faithful into sinful ways of life. He said these people were “relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.” (Jude 8).

But then Jude reminds us that “When the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’” (Jude 9). Jude takes us back to Zechariah 3 when the adversaries contended with the Israelites (represented by Joshua) about rebuilding the temple. Even though Michael the archangel was far more powerful than any of the adversaries, he simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.” (v. 2).

Isn’t it fascinating that Jude would refer to the behavior of an angel to exhort us, not to blaspheme or scream or hurl reviling accusations against others today because that’s not the way God’s immortal children behave!

Yes, the angels surely indicate what we can hope to do in the Kingdom Age when we are made “equal to the angels.” But they also remind us today to practice behaving like angels if we hope to join them in their ministering work in God’s family in the age to come and beyond!

Sue and Jim Styles,
Simi Hills Ecclesia, CA


  1. All Scriptural citations are taken from the English Standard Version, unless specifically noted.
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