Elect Angels & Their Employments

1 Timothy 5:21

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

A. A. HODGE (1823-1886): What are the Scriptural designations of angels?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): We have a description of them in 1 Timothy 5, verse 21, as the “elect angels”―there are some angels that can be described as the elect angels, and others not.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): He calls the angels elect, unquestionably in opposition to the evil and reprobate angels.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): The elect angels are called the sons of God in Job 1:6 and elsewhere; not because they are so by eternal generation, as Christ alone; nor by adoption and regeneration as the saints; but by creation―as Adam is called the son of God, Luke 3:38; and by resemblance, for they are made in God’s image, and are like Him as His children, both in their substance, which is incorporeal, and in their excellent properties, which are life and immortality, blessedness and glory; wherein we shall one day be their equals, Luke 20:3.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Another term that is used about angels is that they are called the “holy angels.”

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): There are good angels, who have continued in that goodness in which they were created…Good angels may be said to have been ever with God, and are always serving Him, and since they never sinned, they stand in no need of renovation.

JOHN TRAPP: The good angels are not stable by their own strength, but by God’s stablishing of thereto stand when others fell―and that the good angels stand, and are out of danger of ever falling, is of divine grace.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): They are the objects of God’s free and sovereign grace.

First, because of His election of them from out of the whole angelic race (I Timothy 5:21).

Secondly, and in consequence of their election, because of His preservation of them from apostasy, when Satan rebelled and dragged down with him one-third of the celestial host (Revelation 12:4).

Thirdly, in making Christ their Head (Colossians 1:15-18; I Peter 3:22), whereby they are eternally secured in the holy condition in which they were created.

Fourthly, because of the exalted position which has been assigned them: to live in God’s immediate presence (Daniel 7:10); to serve Him constantly in His heavenly temple; to receive honourable commissions from Him (Hebrews 1:14).

A. A. HODGE: What are their employments?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The first thing we are told about them that they spend their time in adoring God and the Lamb. Read again the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation, and you’ll find that they’re singing His praise, worshipping and adoring Him. That’s the thing that comes first. That’s the thing they delight in.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Those that are employed in the court above rest not day nor night from praising God, which is their business there; and those that are employed in the camp below are never idle, nor lose time; they are still “ascending and descending upon the Son of man, John 1:51, as on Jacob’s ladder, Genesis 28:12; they are still “walking to and fro through the earth, Zechariah 1:10.

A. A. HODGE: God employs them as His instruments in administering the affairs of His providence.

JOHN MILTON (1608-1674): Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth

Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): They do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word. He says to one, Go, and he goeth; to another, Come, and he cometh: and it is His pleasure they regard, and not the nature of the employment; and if two of them were summoned into His presence, and ordered, the one to govern an empire, and the other to show Hagar a well, they would repair to their posts with equal readiness and delight.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): In angelic ministry, it matters not to an angel whether he be sent to destroy an army or to protect the person of some heir of salvation; it is the Master who entirely fills his vision…This is most true, and so should it be with us.

MATTHEW HENRY: Good angels are employed not only as the ministers of God’s providence, but sometimes as the ministers of His Word.

A. A. HODGE: The law “was ordained by angels,” Galatians 3:19.

JOHN GILL: Angels were concerned in the giving of the law, and were frequently employed under the former dispensation, in messages to men, and in making revelations of God’s mind and will to them.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: And, of course, we have this crucial statement in that last verse of the first chapter of Hebrews, where they are described as “ministering spirits”―“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” And I understand from Acts 27, verses 23 and 24, that the angels are sometimes used by God to cheer us, and to give us comfort and consolation, for the apostle Paul tells his companions on that ship, you remember, that was already in a shipwrecked condition―“for there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul;” and he told him certain things. The angel was sent by God in order to cheer up the apostle.

JOHN TRAPP: The holy angels are styled Eγρηγοροι―“watchers,” Daniel 4:10.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Indeed the whole Scripture is full of evidences, which prove that angels are guardians to the godly, and watch over them.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Christians, God and angels are observing how you quit yourselves like children of the Most High.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: They’re looking at us. In 1 Corinthians 11:10, Paul uses these words: “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.” You remember that he’s considering the question of women praying without their heads being covered. Apparently, some of the women at Corinth were taking part in prayer with their heads uncovered, and the apostle tells them that’s quite wrong; it’s not only wrong because a women should have her covered to show that she is under the authority of the man, but in addition to that he says that she should be covered because of the presence of the angels. In other words, the scripture teaches that when we are met together in prayer, that the angels of God are present, and they are looking upon us, and the women is to be covered when she takes part in public prayer because of the presence of the angels. It’s a tremendous and a remarkable thing; let us bear it mind.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Remember that, ye sons of men, ye are not unregarded; ye do not pass through this world in unseen obscurity. In darkest shades of night eyes glare on you through the gloom. In the brightness of the day angels are spectators of your labours. From heaven there look down upon you spirits who see all that finite beings are capable of beholding.


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