Howard Mooney - Angels - 2009

Howard Mooney Hebrews 12:22   

It is this "innumerable company of angels" that we would like to speak about this evening.  You will notice that these are included among 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 separation that takes place, the sacrifices we are called upon to make, etc. One does not walk long in the Lord's way though, until we begin to see the other side of the picture, what we have been brought into.  This far outshines the other.

"Ye are come unto Mt. Zion."  Zion means a sunny place.  The top of this mountain generally extended above the clouds.  God chose the city built on the top of this mountain as a type of His church, reminding one that when we become lifted up into His fellowship we find ourselves above the clouds. The clouds of fear, of confusion, or unbelief, and the many other clouds that weigh so heavily over the hearts of people.  It is a wonderful awakening to realize I am above the clouds.  One lady who had recently professed said to me, " Everything seems brighter now."  The city of the Living God mentioned next embodies all that the Church stands for, the walls of salvation protecting us from the enemy without; God from off the mercy seat meeting the needs of all who dwell within.  But while it is wonderful to find ourselves above the clouds, and while it is wonderful to be within the walls of the eternal city, it is equally wonderful to know that we have also been brought into the fellowship of the angels.

The religious world misses a great deal of comfort along this line.  They think of an angel as a winged creature they will meet after death.  They do not realize that God intended for us to be comforted by the help of the angels now; that they are given to help us prepare for death.  "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)

Notice these words: "innumerable company of angels," an unlimited source of help.  You remember the time when Peter cut off the ear of that man in the garden?  Jesus rebuked him and He ended that rebuke by saying, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray the Father, and He shall presently give me more than 12 legions of angels?"  In the Roman army a legion consisted of more than 6,000 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 a man could possibly face in life.  So great was the conflict that the sweat that dropped 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)  That one angel gave Jesus all the help He needed in facing this greatest 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 this fact that the same unlimited help and host is at our disposal.  There need not be such a thing as can't in our picture.  God has placed at our side the help of these angels so that even the weakest child of God can make it if he wants to.

According to Luke 15:10 the help of these angels begins when we repent and obey the gospel.  The Lord's servants also rejoice at such times.  I am sure there is no joy known to man like the joy that fills the heart of a servant of God when we see a sinner brought to repentance.  We rejoice because we know that salvation is priceless and what it will mean to that person.  To be lifted up above the clouds, and to know the security of the walls of the city, etc.  This verse, however, speaks of the joy among 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 individually now, but they also know what this will mean to that person throughout all Eternity.  They are there in the presence of God; they see the things that our eyes have not seen, they hear the things that our ears have not heard, therefore they are in the position to rejoice more fully over that person who comes to repentance. Isn't it comforting to know that they, who most fully realize the wonderfulness of this salvation, are the ones that God has placed at our disposal to help us?  "For He shall give His angels charge over thee." (Psalms 91:11)  You can think of this in the light of an individual or of the church as a whole, for the church is made up of individuals.  Isn't it nice to know that God has given this charge to the angels; the angels that never die, that never change?  God has placed a very responsible work in the hands of the angels and of His servants, the workers.  On our shoulders rests the care of the Lords people.  We are responsible to see that people understand the Truth and fit into the Truth. (Hebrews 13:17)

We cannot be grateful enough for the workers who brought us the Truth, and who have continued so faithfully to counsel us.  There are in our ranks today, elder 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, young or old, would consider one moment changing one iota of the Truth.  Sometimes the question might arise, "Will the Truth ever change?"  It could never happen because God has placed it in the hands of His 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)  Peter remembered this.  Later on, he passed on that same assurance to the Christians, reminding them that our inheritance in the Truth cannot be defiled, cannot be corrupted, cannot fade, cannot be taken from us.  (I Peter 1:4)  Don't worry one moment about the future of the Truth.  There is a verse that often frightens me, "blindness in part is happened to Israel."  (Romans 11:25)  That could easily be said of us; we could see the Truth alright, we could fully realize that this is the way that God planned from the beginning, that this is the only way that God is sanctioning today but, at the same time, we could be blind to the worth of the Truth.  If we do our part, all will be well.  Our great need is to see more clearly the need of putting our best in the Truth.  If we do this, God will then take charge of the rest, for He has placed our future in the charge of the angels that never change, the angels that never die.

Just how do angels help us?  We have a good example in the case of Elijah. (I Kings 19:1-8)  Elijah was very discouraged at this time.  We have here a reminder that discouragement is not always connected with defeat.  We often become discouraged at the thought of failure.  At such times, it would  be good for us to read Zechariah 3:1-5.  We have a wonderful picture there of God's mercy toward a man who had failed, of an angel that 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 failure, he was discouraged because he began to wonder if it was worth while to keep on going or not.  The crucial battles of the Lord's people have always been fought in secret, when we are alone with God.  God sent His angels for the purpose of assuring Elijah of two things:  first, that He knew what he was up against, that He knew that the journey was too great for Elijah in his own strength.

Secondly, that through His angel He was making provision which would be more that enough to meet his need.  This is the double assurance we still have today.  God said to the church at Pergamos, "I know where thou dwellest." (Revelations 2:13)  Don't ever be discouraged by the thought that no one understands fully what we are up against or what we have to contend with.  Maybe the brethren don't, maybe even the workers don't, but God understands fully and the provision He still sends by the hands of the angel is always more than enough to meet our need.  Isn't it comforting, as we look into the future that is clouded in mystery, to know that there is no position we will be found in, or called upon to face, but what the Lord will understand and send help accordingly, as we face it with purpose or heart to be true?

We also have a wonderful picture in the case of Daniel 6:22.  Daniel, like Elijah was in trouble, not because of unfaithfulness but because he was loyal.  Satan often tries to hinder the most when we are the 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 merely history, this is something the Lord's people are proving constantly.  We often find ourselves facing the "roaring lion." (I Peter 5:8)  He is an old bluffer!  A woman who decided in our meetings a while ago surely proved this.  Her husband was twenty years her senior, which was bad.  He was very jealous, 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 the safety of her children that caused her to turn to the Lord.  He did not mind at first, but when he saw she was getting a happiness that he had never been able to give her, his jealous rage knew no bounds.  This night, he told her that if she went to the meeting, she would never see her children again, and when she came home she would find the door locked.  She went away in fear and trembling. After the meeting, she asked if we thought she should return home and try to get in or wait until the next day.  We assured her that she had committed no sin in coming to the meeting, but he might make a real issue of it if she stayed away all night, so we encouraged her to return.  I knew the Lord wouldn't 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 she slept in another room with the little girl (that is, she spent the night there but she didn't sleep much).

In the morning, she got up and started breakfast, every once in a while casting an anxious glance at the bedroom door, wondering at what moment the old lion would come roaring 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 had not interceded, for he had always carried out his threats before.  We assured her that she could have lots in common with Daniel in Heaven, because of her experience.  Don't be afraid of the old bluffer.  Peter says he goeth about as a roaring lion.  He really isn't one, he is an imitator.  Remember the Lion of the tribe of Judah is on our side.

There is also another work the angels do for us.  We read of it in the death of Lazarus, Luke 16:22.  He was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The angels that had strengthened him during his time of discouragement, that had closed the mouths of lions in the way, now were gently carrying him up into the place of rest "underneath the everlasting
arms."  There may be some here tonight who will soon be passing through this experience of death.  We don't want you to dread the thought of it.  God has planned that death, to His people it 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 up out of his old aching body, and carrying him to the place where pain and tears will never be known.  We talked to a woman who believed in the doctrine of the sleeping soul.  She said she didn't 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 some verses of Scripture to prove this?  In Genesis 35:18, we read of Rachel's soul departing when she died.  In I Kings 17:21,22 we read of this lad who had died, his soul had departed from his body, and when Elijah prayed his soul came into him again.  In 2 Corinthians 5:8, 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)  Don't be afraid of being put into a cold, dark grave.  God has something better for you at death than that.  Your angel will see to it that His plan is carried out.