Saturday, November 18, 2017

Delighting in the Biblical Narrative (3): Angels

We may gain some insight into the existence and ministry of angels by reflecting on their activities as revealed to us by Jesus Christ through the Gospel according to Matthew.

Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus. Then, as soon as events in the immediate life of Jesus begin, we find angels involved.
When Joseph finds Mary, his fiancĂ©e, pregnant, he decides he cannot marry her. Not wanting to subject her to public disgrace, he decides to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:18-19). But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (1:20-21, New American Standard Version, here and following). Good man that he is, Joseph awakens, obeys the angel, and marries Mary (1:24).

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, again in dreams, twice more. Once visiting wise men had paid homage to Jesus and left rejoicing, an angel warned Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt because Herod was sending men to find Jesus and kill him. Joseph obeyed at once (2:13). When, in Egypt, an angel told Joseph it was safe to return home, he did so (2:19).

When we find the place of our little story in the biblical narrative, then we too may expect an angel of Jesus to appear to us in our dreams at critical moments and to speak to us words of life that we too may obey promptly and cheerfully.

Once Satan tempts, fails, and abandons Jesus, angels come and minister to Him (4:6).

We too may expect angels to comfort us after particularly trying moments.

Indeed, if we remain marginal by walking daily with Jesus on the path of freedom, Abba will continually send guardian angels to nurture and protect us. “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (18:10).

The biblical narrative tells us that the day is coming when Jesus Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead. Angels will serve Jesus on that day as harvesters. When Jesus explains his parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Weeds), he concludes by saying, “So… shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (13:40-43; see also 13:47-50).

Satan, the six malicious yet conventional gods who serve him, the Global Technological System devoted to them, and the corporate media which serves them—all conspire to bully, bribe, or deceive us, Christians and churches, into abandoning the biblical narrative. This is because it remains our surest guide to Jesus.

In saving contrast, Jesus today invites us anew to find the place of our little story in his comprehensive narrative. Then with him we too may count on Abba, his heavenly father and ours, to nurture and protect us through the ministry of angels.

Copyright © 2017 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.