WHEN I was a teenager back in the late thirties and early forties, I wondered what it would be like to be invisible. I remember so well the movie The Invisible Man starring Claude Raines. It was the story of a chemist who had discovered a formula that made him invisible. Although invisible, he could still be felt and sometimes heard when he did not wish to be. His footprints could be seen; an opening door would betray him; or he would fall over an unseen object. Unable to discover the antidote that would make him visible again, he soon became very unhappy; the novelty of being invisible became a tragedy.
The Invisible World
Science fiction and Hollywood aside, there is a very real, but invisible world — another dimension, as some choose to call it — existing along with our own — but absolutely undiscernible to our five senses. It is the spirit world of God and angels. God tells us that He is a spirit (John 4:24); that spirit is invisible (John 3:8, Col. 1:15); and that He is the Father of all spirit beings (Heb. 12:9). God speaks of His son Jesus Christ, saying: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be [or have] thrones, or dominions, or [whether they be] principalities [holders of high offices in heaven or on earth], or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (Col. 1:15-17). Angels are called God's sons (Job 1:6; 38:7) because God created them. But they aren't begotten sons as is Christ. They exist in a hierarchy below the God-plane level of God the Father and Christ (Heb. 1:5-14). Paul speaks plainly of the angels of God in the first two chapters of Hebrews. He tells us that we are created a little lower than the angels; but we have the awesome potential of becoming far greater. We are called the sons of God — not sons by creation as they are, but begotten sons with a far greater future than they. We can be born into God's very own family as fellow-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:26-29).
God's Angels Created Before Adam
God created angels and archangels before He created and placed Adam on this earth. They were here even before the foundation of the earth was laid. They shouted for joy when they first saw the earth in all its perfection (Job 38:1-7). That was prior to creation week, which took place sometime after the destruction on the earth caused by Lucifer's rebellion (Isa. 14:12-17). The earth was not created waste and in confusion, as we find it in Genesis 1:2. God created the earth to be inhabited; He did not create It In the ruined state in which it later became (Isa. 45:18). Angels are invisible, immortal, spirit beings with superior power and knowledge (II Pet. 2:11). They have seen all the activities of man on earth, and therefore know far more about the human mind, psychology, sociology, science and all the arts than any man living. And God has put them here with us as ministering spirits, to serve us! "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14.) They are put here to help us along the road to eternal life, to save us from premature death, accident etc., and to help us fight our battles and protect us from the devil and his demons. No wonder Elisha had no fear of his physical enemies when He saw one of God's spirit armies standing upon the mountain (II Kings 6:15-17). God has had angels specifically assigned to supervise and protect His Church throughout all of its history (Rev. 1:4, 16, 20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). He has angels who continually walk through the earth to observe and report back to Him the overall conditions on earth (Rev. 5:6; Zech. 4:10; II Chron. 16:9). And God has angels specifically assigned to look after His begotten human children (Acts 12:15; Matt. 18:10). God promises: "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways" (Ps. 91:11). Twelve of God's angels will be the gatekeepers in the new city of Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12), one for each tribe of Israel. These same twelve are probably assisting the Archangel Michael now. Angels were messengers to the patriarchs of old. They appeared to Abraham, Lot, Hagar, Moses, Manoah, Gideon, Elijah and many of the prophets and apostles. When these angels manifest themselves to human beings, they generally do so in the form of men. They are not described in the Bible as having wings or halos. Paul points out in Hebrews 13:2 that they can travel incognito, not immediately revealing who they are.
The Bible mentions three angels of high rank: Lucifer (Isa. 14:12), now Satan the devil; Gabriel, who appeared to Daniel on two occasions (Dan. 8:16; 9:21), to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19), and later to Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26); and Michael, called one of the chief princes (Dan. 10:13), and whom Jude identifies as an archangel (Jude 9). Michael is the archangel specifically assigned to protect and minister to the twelve tribes of Israel. We read of this in Daniel 12:1; 10:13, 21. Lucifer, of course, is a fallen angel — he rebelled against the government of God. How Lucifer came to be the devil, where he got his power, and his ultimate fate is all explained in our booklet titled Did God Create a Devil? If you have not read it, please do. When Lucifer rebelled against God, he led one third of God's angels into mutiny with him (Rev. 12:4). Lucifer's name was changed to Satan ("the adversary"). God renamed the fallen angels "devils" (Matt. 12:26, 27; Rev. 12:9) or "demons" (RSV). They are also called "evil spirits," "familiar spirits," "dumb spirits." Their whole self-willed purpose in life now is to destroy all mankind and to thwart the plan of God. Satan — who is the prince of demons (Matt. 12:24-26) — has not given up his futile struggle to overthrow God.
Satan's Form and Image
The devil is called "the dragon" — a winged serpent (Rev. 20:2). Satan is not made in the form and image of God, but is a "great red dragon" (or flying serpent). (Rev. 12:3.) He is the serpent who induced Adam and Eve to sin with disastrous results for them and all mankind since (Gen. 3:1, 5, 13-19; I Cor. 15:22). God sternly warns us not to seek after demons, and not to associate with those who do. "There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord..." (Deut. 18:10-12). In spite of this warning, these and other occult practices are quite popular these days. (Read our free booklet The Occult Explosion - What Does It Mean? It contains much more information about this subject.)
Fighting Our "Real" Enemies
Evil spirits, far more powerful than we, are actively seeking to destroy us. They are not playing games, though those people who begin to get involved with them see no danger until it is too late! God says to avoid any demonic influence and to resist the devil (James 4:7). Spirit beings are very "real" — in fact, more real than we are. As spirit beings they are immortal, while we in the physical human flesh live a transitory existence. And evil spirit beings can completely destroy us spiritually unless we resist them and all they represent with all our might and the help of God and His angels. That protection comes to those who love God and keep His commandments. We must "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities [high-ranking spirit beings who influence humans to fight and destroy one another], against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [wicked spirits] in high places" (Eph. 6:11-12). We should heed Paul's admonition not to be ignorant of Satan's existence, or of his devices, nor let him get an advantage of us (II Cor. 2:11). Then we can confidently look forward to the New Heaven and New Earth, where only righteousness will survive — to a time when Satan and his angels will be cast away from us into outer darkness forever (Rev. 21:27; Jude l3).
There Are More With Us Than Against Us
When Christ said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18), He was speaking of complete control over all evil powers, all spirit beings, good and bad: They all must do His bidding. He is "the head of all principality and power .... having spoiled principalities and powers [when He conquered Satan], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:10, 15). If we continue to serve Him, we need have no undue fear of any of these spirit beings — no matter how powerful they are or how much they want to separate us from life. Even though Satan brings our sins before God day and night (Rev. 12:10; Job 1:6), we have Jesus Christ as our advocate and atonement for all (I John 2:1; Heb. 7:25-26; 8:24-26). Therefore, we can say with the Apostle Paul: "... 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" (Rom. 8:38-39). Truly, those who trust God need not fear, "for they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (II Kings 6:16).
CHERUBIM AND SERAPHIM
The word "angel" literally means "messenger," and this is often the role they fulfill in the Bible. The word conjures up in the minds of many people an image of an androgynous person clad in white robes, held aloft on wings and forever clutching a harp or a trumpet. However, the Bible presents quite a different description. There appears to be at least two kinds of angels, each with distinctive features and responsibilities They are known as cherubim and seraphim. Some ancient authorities believe cherubim were just below seraphim in rank; but whether that is true or not is an unresolved academic question. The best description of cherubim in the Bible comes from Ezekiel. They certainly don't look like babies with bird wings as the artists in the Middle Ages painted them. They are large, powerful, ox- and dragon-like creatures. In chapters, one, nine and ten, we read of these living creatures as they are used to transport one of God's thrones. Our first introduction to them is recorded in the book of Genesis, when God placed cherubim in the Garden of Eden to keep Adam from entering and taking of the tree of life after he and Eve had sinned (Gen. 3:24). The cherubim are associated with God's throne, either transporting it about (II Sam. 22:11; Ps. 18:10; 80:1; Ezek. 9:3; 10:4; 11:22), or carrying out important responsibilities, such as guarding the tree of life. Lucifer was given rule over the earth and thousands — perhaps millions — of angels before Adam. And he still is "the god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4). The seraphim described by Isaiah (Isa. 6:2-6) are similar living creatures. These creatures have six wings, whereas cherubim have only four. These creatures are said to be before and above the throne, whereas the cherubim are beneath it, supporting and transporting it (see also Revelation 4).