According to my records we have been looking at this chapter for four weeks now. And of course, most of you have known the story of Daniel and the lions for decades before that. But how many times in the last four weeks have you thought about Daniel’s visit by the angel? Daniel says that it was an angel who came and closed the lion’s mouths that night. Come on now, was it really an angel, or is that just a figure of speech?

Before this morning, how many times in the past seven days did you think about angels? None? Do you mean to tell me that you don’t often think about those special servants of God? Even though there could very well be more angels in this room than human beings? Don’t you realize that there is a spiritual warfare going on around you which involves God’s angels and those who serve Satan? Just because Fox News or CNN aren’t covering the battles between angelic armies, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t one.

What are some of the reasons that people don’t often think about the creatures of the spirit world? First, there is the same reason that we don’t generally meditate on the blessing of electricity in their homes. Some Christians don’t think about angels because we take them for granted. Secondly, we don’t often think about them, because we are far too carnal than we ought to be. Our hearts and minds are like a manual, 3-speed transmission, which we constantly run in 2nd gear. And another reason that we don’t think about angels is actually my problem rather than yours. For the most part you are not encouraged to think about them. The last time that I preached on angels was about three and a half years ago. We don’t contemplate angels, because we are not taught or encouraged to contemplate angels.

Even though this will not be a thorough lesson, let’s once again think about the ministry of angels.

The history of man records a lot of SPECULATION about angels.
Unfortunately this is a sad and dangerous practice. The wordspeculationrefers to contemplation on a subject about which we don’t know very much. Another definition refers to engaging ourselves in some sort of risky business. Some people “speculate” in the stock market, because they have no idea what they are doing. Speculating on angels is not only a waste of time, it can be quite risky. But please note: there is a difference in speculating on them and studying what the Bible says about them.

Throughout much of history, angels were exaggerated into the realm of the ridiculous. If preachers today handled Bible doctrine the way that many of them did in the Middle Ages, we’d still call these the Dark Ages. How many angels can stand on the head of a pin? People use to argue over such silly questions. But I couldn’t possibly be any less concerned. How much time elapsed between the creation of the angels and the fall of Lucifer? That question really is interesting, but the answer is not vitally important to any of us. Can two angels occupy the same space at the same time? Do they eat Heavenly manna? What do angels look like when they aren’t residing in human form? “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Does this mean that angels have a particular language beside Hebrew or English? What are the real differences between angels and demons?

Most of these kinds of questions are not only better left unanswered, they are better left unconsidered. Because history has proven that in contemplation of angels sinful people approach the worship of angels. In days-gone-by some people have given angels the admiration which was due only to the Lord. And even in modern days of human enlightenment, millions of books in hundreds of titles encourage the adoration of angels. I think that God’s angels want to have, and should have, a low profile. But at the same time, Christians need to know enough about them to recognize and respect them as important servants of God. “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me.” And whether you have thought about it or recognized it, there have been angels of God standing by you.

To Bible-believers THE EXISTENCE AND IMPORTANCE of angels is beyond dispute.
How do you know that there is such a creature as an angel? Have you ever seen any flitting through the air? Have you ever spoken to any, and have any of them been forced to confess that they are angels? How do we know that there are angels?

There is the argument of reason – as poor as it is. God is a spirit – John 4:24. And people are creatures with spiritual natures enwrapped in physical bodies. Christians are “bought with a price: therefore (they should) glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Thessalonians 5:23 is one of Paul’s prayers: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If God is a spirit, and we are spirits, it’s likely that there could be other kinds of spirits as well. These are possibilities, but I’m glad that this is not our only argument.

There is the argument of the masses: there is nearly universal belief in the existence of angels. Almost all religious systems teach some sort of angelic creatures. They are called Aeons by the Gnostics, demons, demigods, Genii, Lares, and so on, but they are all different types of angels. Socrates claimed to have a spirit helper and so did Plato. But just because nearly all religions teach the existence of angels, that doesn’t mean that everyone in those religious believe in angels, as we see with the Sadducees.

But we aren’t Sadducees, Greeks or Barbarians; we are Christians. We know that there are angels because “the Bible tells me so.” There are 273 references to angels in the Bible. That’s one reference in every 114 verses and an average of one in every 4 chapters. They are found in 34 different books of the Bible, and several times in the Book of Daniel.

Most Christians prefer to take their doctrine from the New Testament. There are about fifty references to angels in the Gospels. Paul said, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” Did Paul write Hebrews? That is one New Testament book densely populated with angels. Christ, “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.”

Perhaps Peter is your favorite Bible penman. “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”

Do you like to read Jude? “The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Peter, John, Mary Magdalene and many others all spoke to angels. And in the Old Testament the list is at the very least doubled.

But it’s the Lord Jesus who leads the way in revealing the angels to us. Not only did Christ teach us about the angels, but it was nearly impossible for the angels and demons to keep quiet in His presence. Christ made such statements as: “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.” “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.” “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” For someone to deny the existence of angels that person must call our Saviour a liar. The integrity of Christ rises or falls on the reality of angels. He was not restating Jewish fables about spirit creatures, just to gain friends among the Jews. Christ wasn’t accommodating Himself to the foolishness of man. And Jesus didn’t speak without thinking, using words that He didn’t understand or really mean. Yes, Jesus often spoke in allegories, but as far as I could see, He never spoke of angels in His allegories.

The ministry of angels permeates the Book of Acts. In chapter 5 several of the apostles were arrested and jailed. “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught.” Stephen’s message to the Sanhedrin has several references to angels, even though he knew that many of those counselors didn’t believe that they existed. In Acts 8, “the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.” In chapter 10 an angel of God visited Cornelius and told him how to find the gospel. Then in Acts 12 Peter was arrested and jailed once again, but… “Behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” Later in that chapter an angel of the Lord killed Herod Agrippa I.

It seems to me, based upon the testimony of the scriptures that….
Not only do angels exist, but they serve the Lord in three basic ways: In the Old Testament we see them busy in the business of praising and worshiping the Lord. Although we don’t see them as actively engaged in this in the New Testament, it is still there.

In both testaments we have references to angels carrying out the judgment of God. After David’s improper census of Israel, and angel was sent with slaughter in his mind. And then there was with Herod. “Immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”

But in contrast to judgment, one of their ministries was to serve to God is through serving God’s people. The Lord had a thousand different ways to deliver Daniel from the lions, but the method that He chose, and one which particularly blessed Daniel, was to send an angel. Do you suppose that it was on this occasion that Daniel first met one of the angels who comes up later in the book? This may have been the beginning of a wonderful friendship between a man and an angel. Later Paul was praising the Saviour as he made this comparison – “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” God the Father has never said to any angel, “Sit here at my right hand.” Angels aren’t sitters – they are ministering spirits, sent forth to care for the needs of heirs of His salvation.

One of these days, when the dust settles, and we, in glorified bodies will be enjoying the blessings of Heaven, one of these days, perhaps we will learn exactly how important the ministry of angels will have been in our personal lives. Then you and I, along with those same ministering spirits, will lift up our voices in praise to the Lord for not only saving our souls, but saving us out of countless storms, dungeons and lions’ dens. Perhaps we need to be praising the Lord about these things even before that day.