Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today we remember St. Michael and All Angels. The Bible speaks of angels as our defenders and protectors. But let us also talk about some misconceptions about angels.
Who is St. Michael? What is an angel? We confess in the Nicene Creed that God the Father Almighty is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. We humans are the primary among visible creatures. Angels are primary among invisible creatures. That is, they are spiritual beings without fixed physical form, created in the beginning to serve and worship God. In the liturgy, we say, "With innumerable angels and archangels who stand before you to serve you night and day, we contemplate the glory of your presence, we offer praise without end. Together with them and with all the heavenly choir, we laud and magnify your glorious name, always singing:
"Holy, holy, holy God of the universe; the heavens and the earth are full of thy glory. "
Angels are more intelligent and more powerful than humans, but they are not all-powerful as is God. They are immortal, but they have not existed from eternity as God has. They were created and have their beginning. We find references to angels in the Old Testament and the New Testament. "Angel" is derived from the Greek word, ἄγγελος, which means messenger. Also the Hebrew word, מַלְאַך, is used in the Old Testament for a messenger of God. In some passages of the Old Testament, the Angel of the Lord is God himself (Genesis 16: 7-14; Genesis 22: 11-15). In the New Testament, the word angel is found in the book of Revelation in this way: "Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus" or "Write to the angel of the church in Pergamum". Jesus himself commanded John to write letters to the angels of the seven churches. It makes no sense to write a letter to the spirits in heaven. So in this context, angel means a human messenger, ie, the pastor of the church. For he who is charged with the preaching of the Word of God is a messenger of God.
However, many other verses in the Old Testament and the New Testament refer to the spirits who serve the Lord night and day as angels. For example, the Lord visited Abraham with two of his angels in the form of men. The Lord spoke to Abraham face to face but did not continue on in visible form. But the two angels went on to Sodom to visit Lot, Abraham's nephew, and pronounce God's judgment against Sodom. In the New Testament, a choir of angels appeared to the shepherds in the field on Christmas Eve. Also an angel announced to the Virgin Mary the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
The angel who appeared to Mary is called Gabriel, one of the three angels named in the Bible. The Scriptures speak of millions upon millions of angels. In the garden of Gethsemane, when the disciples wanted to fight the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus, Jesus told them, if it was the will of my Father, He could send twelve legions of angels to rescue me.
So Gabriel is one of the three angels named. Another is Michael. Our second lesson (Revelation 12: 7-12) says that Michael fought the third angel named in the Bible, who is Satan.
Because God created all angels as holy beings in the beginning, but some of them followed their own will and were turned into demons. Satan is the prince of the Rebel Angels. He even today is the adversary of God and us.
So, we speak in catechism class only two kinds of angels, good and bad. The good angels serve God and carry out his will. The bad angels try to deceive us for our destruction and damnation. Because only the good angels do the will of God, we should not pray to them or invoke them. Because evil angels just want to deceive and destroy us, we should not pray to them or invoke them. In addition, the evil angels are not more powerful than God, so, they can not fulfill their promises.
The Bible also says there is a gulf between us and the spirits of the dead and, therefore, the dead can not communicate with us or help us. If someone consults a sorcerer or spiritualist, there are only two possibilities. They are frauds, or are in communication with a spirit, but not a good spirit.
In our reading of the Old Testament (2 Kings 6: 8-17), God showed his power against the king of Syria, who wanted to kill the prophet Elisha. "And rising early the servant of the man of God, went out, and behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Oh my Lord! What will we do? And he said unto him, Fear not: for more are those who are with us than those who are with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Oh, Lord, open his eyes to see. The Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horsemen and chariots of fire all around Elisha " The Lord sent his angels to protect Elisha, but the prophet did not say to his servant, pray to the angels, but prayed to God directly.
However, the Bible affirms the reality of angels and their protection. In the temptation of Jesus, the devil misread Psalm 91, but these words are true:
"Well, his angels charge over you, to keep you in all thy ways. in their hands they shall bear you lest you foot strike against a stone. "
In the same way, the gospel today speaks of children. "Look that you not despise one of these little ones; For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. "
We are all sons of God through the blood of Christ, who died for us. All receive the grace of God in baptism. As a child in the arms of their parents trusts them, we trust God for our salvation. Therefore, we baptize little ones and do not deny them God's blessing, because all enter the kingdom of God in this way. "Truly I tell you, that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
And God will send his angels to protect his children, especially the smallest. He will balance all accounts and exact vengeance on those who disturb his children. Therefore, we pray in the morning prayer of Martin Luther, "Your holy angel be with me for the evil one shall have no power over me. Amen."
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