Hebrews 1:14 - Angels in Christ's Service: The Benefit of Their Deaconry
Last time we saw the angels in their heavenly liturgy as examples to us. Our text also shows them as deacons for us on earth. They're ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. Of course, that doesn't mean they're at our beck and call, but they're always in service to God. And God uses them for service to those who are to obtain salvation.
You could compare them with our deacons. They're not the "errand boys" of the congregation. Rather, Christ gave them to equip the saints for the work of service, to encourage the members of the congregation to be a hand and a foot to each other. Well, that's the goal of the angels' deaconry too! Christ governs and uses them for our benefit. They serve him with a view to the execution of his plans, implementing the work of salvation that he accomplished with his death and resurrection. The purpose of the entire work of our Lord is to bring God's children home to the Father. That's what he uses the angels for: they're the heavenly host who is available to accompany the church on earth, to defend and preserve her.
Throughout the old dispensation they were ready to serve, as we learn from Daniel 7:10,
Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
As the LORD made Daniel aware, time and again they went out as hosts for the benefit of his people, individually and collectively. They were there at the important moments in the history of salvation, protecting Jacob personally or defending the whole people of Israel. At the time of the conquest of Canaan, Joshua meets the commander of the LORD'S army, ready to go ahead and break down the walls of the city and open the gates to the Promised Land. The angels are there on the night of the birth of our Saviour. They are there on the day he started his public ministry, when "angels came and attended him." They are with him in the garden of Gethsemane, and on the morning of the resurrection. They were sent for service, for diakonia, as our text puts it.
They still do so, serving those who are to obtain salvation, serving to prosper the progress of the work of salvation. And do we ever need their service! What great resistance and hostility the church has met on its way. Over against the angels' deaconry we know Satan's demony! The hatred and enmity of Satan with his host of devils necessitate the service of the holy angels. But we may rest assured that they're up to the task and their numbers are adequate; as Elisha with his servant observed: "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (2 Kings 6:16). They had all come to protect just one prophet and his helper! In the New Testament too, we read about the miraculous delivery of Peter from prison (Acts 12:7-10), and about Paul who tells the people on that ship in the midst of a terrible storm,
Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me, and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul'.Acts 27:23-24
Yes, they're able to do so much if God wills it! They're the angelic deaconry for the benefit of God's people, as we face threats and terrors from the side of man, from the powers in nature, from the dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). That's really where the front lines are today. In their midst we can be so vulnerable, or ignorant, even sloppy, when it comes to our awareness and resistance. How easily we bring them into our lives and homes via the channels and the cable! The angels are holding their breath – they can't understand such ignorance, since they are sent to attack them, those demons.
Thankfully, Christ governs his church and sends his angels for the benefit of those who are to be saved. The angels are there, also when you are struggling with physical difficulties and challenged with chronic diseases – they're beside your wheelchair and your sick bed. They're our guardian angels, not in the personal sense, but they stand on guard even when you're on your deathbed. They are there, so that when the time has come they may carry you into heaven in order to inherit salvation in Christ!