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A brief look at angels

Commentary

Sunday, September 29, is celebrated in the Church Year as St. Michael and All Angels Day. This day in the life of the Church is focused on the divinely ordained work of the angels and archangels. Although there are countless angels at work in the service of God, few are known to us by name. The archangel Michael is one of two who are specifically named in both the Old and the New Testaments. Michael’s name means “who is like God.” Michael is given the greatest of assignments in striving on behalf of God’s people and commanding the legion of heavenly beings.

The Old Testament Book of Daniel (10:13-14, 12:1) identifies Michael as the protector of God’s people, and the New Testament Book of Jude tells of Michael contending with the devil himself. In Revelation (12:7f), there is a vision to John that shows Michael leading armies of heaven to a great final victory over Satan and the forces of evil and darkness. Paul writes that at the Day of the Lord, heralding the end of time, “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.”

Gabriel is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel (8:16; 9:21) in the Old Testament and again by Luke (1:19; 1:26) in the New Testament. Gabriel’s name means “strong one of God,” which is appropriate. Gabriel brings strong messages from God. The message from Gabriel to Daniel was the assurance that God’s Anointed One would be coming to His people. And to the Virgin Mary, Gabriel announced the greatest of all news — that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Savior, and delivered the news of John, who would prepare His way.

That angels have the call to serve as God directs is reflected in the account of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. There we read that when He had completed that time of testing, “angels came and were ministering to Him.” The ministry of angels continues among us according to God’s good and gracious will!

The work of angels on earth is as important as their work in heaven, where they surround the throne of God and fill the courts of heaven with praise. Revelation is filled with visions of the angels. John writes: “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ “

(Revelation 5:11-12). Not only do the angels praise the Lord, but all creatures join in the praise as well.

Learn more about angels and their relationship to God and us. Please visit or contact St. Paul Lutheran Church, Fredonia (672-6731 or stpaullcfredonia@outlook.com), Immanuel Lutheran Church, Gowanda (532-4342), or Trinity Lutheran Church, Silver Creek (934-2002).

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