Howard Mooney - Angels

Hebrews 12:22, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.”  It is this "innumerable company of angels" that we would like to speak about this evening.  You will notice that these included amongst the things that we have been "brought into" - when one first begins to walk in the Truth, we seem to be concerned more with the things we have been "brought out of" the separations that take place, the sacrifices that we are called upon to make, etc. One does not walk in the Lord's Way very long though, until we begin to see the other side of the picture - what we have been "brought into."  "Ye are come unto Mount Zion."  Zion means a sunny place.  The top of the mountain generally extended above the clouds...the clouds of fear, of confusion, of unbelief and many other clouds that weigh so heavily over the hearts of people.  It is a wonderful awakening to feel I am now above the clouds.  One lady who decided recently said, "Everything seems brighter now."

City of the living God, mentioned next, embodies all that church stands for.  Walls of salvation, protecting us from enemies without, God from His Mercy Seat meeting the needs of all who dwell within.  But while it is wonderful to find ourselves above the clouds and to be within the walls of that eternal city, it is equally wonderful to know that we have been brought into fellowship of angels.  The religious world misses a great deal of comfort along this line.  They think of an angel as a winged being they will meet after death.  They do not realize that God intended for us to be comforted by the help of angels now, and that they are given to help us prepare for death. Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Notice words "Innumerable company of angels"(Hebrews 12:22) unlimited source of help.  The time when Peter cut off the ear of the man in the garden Jesus rebuked him by saying  (Matthew 26:53), “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” In the Roman army, a legion consisted of more than 6000 fully equipped soldiers.  Think of it - more than 72,000 fully equipped angels at Jesus' disposal, and if you would like to know the comparative strength of an angel, think of that time when Jesus was praying in the garden facing the greatest test man could possible face in life  -  so great was the conflict that sweat from His brow was like drops of blood.  In His agony, He prayed and how many angels did God send to help Him?  Only one!  (Luke 22:43, “And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”)  That one angel gave Jesus all the help He needed in facing this great test of all tests.  It is good to remember though, that there were 71,999 others waiting to help had He needed them.  I hope we can grasp the fact that this same unlimited host is at our disposal. There isn't such a thing as "can't" in our picture.  God has placed at our disposal, our side, the help of those angels so that even the weakest make it...........if they want to.

According to Luke 15:10, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”  The help of these angels begins when we repent and obey this Gospel.  The Lord's servants also rejoice at such a time.  I am sure there is no joy known to men like the joy that fills the heart of a servant of God when they see a sinner brought to repentance.  They rejoice because they know what it will mean to that person to be lifted above the clouds and to know the security of the walls of that City, etc.  This verse, however, speaks of joy amongst the angels of God, suggesting that their joy is even greater than ours. I believe it is because they not only know what this will mean to persons now, but they also know what this will mean to people throughout eternity.  They are there in the presence of God - they see things that our eyes have not seen, they hear things that our ears have not heard, therefore they are in a position to rejoice even more fully over that person who comes to repentance.

Isn't it nice to know that God has given this charge to the angels that never die, that never change?  Isn't it comforting to also know that they who most fully realize the wonderfulness of this salvation are the ones who God has placed at our disposal to help us?  Psalms 91:11-12, “For He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee in all Thy ways. They shall bear Thee up in their hands, lest Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.  You can think of this in the light of an individual or the church as a whole.  God has placed very responsible work in the hands of His servants.  On their shoulders rest the care of the Lord's people.  We are responsible to see that people understand Truth and fit into the Truth.  (Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”)  We cannot be grateful enough for the workers who brought us the Truth, and the workers whose health is practically shattered because they put more than they were able to put into it for our sakes.  Only eternity will reveal the vastness of this.  However, no servant of God, old or young, would consider for a moment changing one iota of Truth.  Sometimes the question arises, "Will Truth ever change?"  It could never change, because God has put it into the hands of angels who never change.  Jesus spoke of His church as something that the gates of Hell would never be able to prevail against.  Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Peter remembered this later on and he passed on this great assurance to Christians, reminding them that their inheritance in Truth could not be defiled, could not be corrupted, could not fade and could not be taken from them.  1 Peter 1:4, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”  Don't worry for a single moment about the future of the Truth.  All we need to worry about is our own future.  Let us see that it is invested in the Truth.  There is a verse that has often frightened me - Romans 11:25, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”  This could easily be said of us.  We could see the Truth all right, that is the only way God sanctions today, but we could be blind to the worthwhileness of that Way.  The purpose of this meeting this evening is not to reveal more of the Truth - none here are perishing for lack of knowing the Truth.  Our great need is to see more clearly the need of putting our best into this Truth.  If we do this, God will take care of the rest.  He has placed our future in the charge of angels that never change - angels that never die.

Just how do these angels help us?  We have a good example in the case if Elijah. 1 Kings 19:18, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”  Elijah was very discouraged but we have a reminder here that discouragement is not always connected with defeat.  We often do become discouraged with our faults and failures.  At such times it would be good for us to read Zechariah 3:1-5, “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.  And the LORD said unto Satan, 'The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.  And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, 'Take away the filthy garments from him.'  And unto him, He said, 'Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.'  And I said, 'Let them set a fair mitre upon his head.'  So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”  Of an angel who interceded for him and of that man being cleansed and sent on his way rejoicing.  But going back to Elijah, his discouragement was not because of his failures.  He was discouraged because he was weary of faithful battles he had been fighting alone.  He was beginning to wonder if it was worthwhile to keep on or not.  The crucial battles of God's people have always been secret, when we are alone before God.  God sent His angel to Elijah assure him of two things - first, that He knew what he was up against, that the journey was too great for him in his own strength - that through His angel He was making a provision for him which would be more than enough to meet his needs.  This is the double assurance we still have today.

God said to the church of Pergomos, "I know where thou dwelleth," (Revelations 2:13, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast My name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.)  Don't ever be discouraged with the thought that no one understands what you are up against or what you have to contend with.  Maybe the brethren don't, maybe the workers don't, but God understands fully and the provision He still sends by the hands of His angels is always more than enough to meet our needs.  Isn't it comforting as we look into the future that is clouded in mystery to know there is no position we will be found in or be called upon to face but what the Lord will understand and send help accordingly?  We also have a wonderful picture in the case of Daniel 6:22, “My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him, innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.”  Daniel, like Elijah, was in trouble, not because of his unfaithfulness, but because he was loyal.  Satan often tries to hinder when we are most faithful.  Daniel found himself in a den of lions this night, but he also found an angel there that stopped the lions' mouth.  This isn't purely history, but this is something the Lord's people are proving constantly.  We often find ourselves facing the "roaring lion."  (1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.") 

Satan is an old "bluffer."  A lady who decided in our meeting awhile ago proved this.  Her husband was 20 years her senior, which was bad - but he was jealous too, which was worse.  He was a habitual drunkard which made it tragic.  For years, she had lived in fear of her life.  In fact, it was this fear for her safety and that of her children that caused her to turn to the Lord.  At first he did not mind, but when he saw that she was getting a happiness that he was never able to give her, his jealous rage knew no bounds.  This night he told her if she went to meeting she would never see her children again and that when she came home the door would be locked.  She went anyway in fear and trembling.  After the meeting, she asked us if we thought she should return home and try to get in, or wait until the next day.  We assured her she had done no sin in coming to the meeting but that he might make a real issue if she stayed away all night, so we encouraged her to return home.  I knew that God would not let her down.  When she got home the house was in darkness but the door was not locked.  She was afraid to go into the room where he was sleeping so slept in another room with her little girl - that is she spent the night there, but did not sleep much.  In the morning, she got up and started breakfast - ever once in awhile casting an anxious eye at his door, wondering what moment the old lion would come out of his den.  Finally the door opened and out he came, and do you know what he said?  "Darling, is breakfast ready?  I must have overslept!"  The "old bluffer."  She could hardly contain her joy.  She told me afterwards that no one could ever convince her that God did not intercede, because her husband had always carried out his threats before.  We assured her that she would have lots in common with Daniel in Heaven because of that experience.  Don't be afraid of that "old bluffer."  Peter wrote that he goeth about as a roaring lion.  He really isn't one, but is an imitator.  Remember that Christ,  "the Lion of Judah," is on our side.

There is another work the angels do for us.  We read of it in the death of Lazarus.  (Luke 16:22, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.”)  He was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.  Angels who had strengthened him in times of discouragement, that had closed the mouth of lions in the way, now were carrying him into that place of rest.  "Underneath are the everlasting arms."  You may soon pass through the experience of death.  We do not want to dread the thought of it.  God has planned that death, to His people, should be the most glorious experience of all.  I don't think that Lazarus found it such a dreadful hour when suddenly he felt those tender hands lifting him out of his old aching body and carrying him to the place where pain and tears will never be known. 

We talked once with a woman who believed in the doctrine of the sleeping soul.  She told us she did not fear death, but she was terrified at the thought of spending so many years in the cold dark grave.  We told her we had a better hope than that.  All that goes to the grave is the old worn-out body that we will need no more.  Would you like verses that prove this?  In Genesis 35:18, “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin.” we read of Rachel's soul departing when she died.  In 1 Kings 17:21-24, “And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, 'O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.'  And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.  And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, 'See, thy son liveth.'  And the woman said to Elijah, 'Now by this, I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.'” We read of this lad that died.  His soul departed from his body and when Elijah prayed his soul came into him again.  In 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Paul spoke of being absent from the body at death and going to be with the Lord.  Peter also spoke of death as a time when he would put off his old tabernacle, not go to the grave with it. 2 Peter 1:14, “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.”  Don't be afraid of being put in the cold, dark grave.  God has something better for you at death than that.  Your angel will see to it that God's plan for you is carried out.