A Voice in the
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Eph 1:11-14)
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:29-31)
This is the question: If God is for us, what do we need to fear? If we are in Christ neither Satan, nor the world can do us harm.
How does God protect us? What forces does He summon to our assist- ance?
In Ex 7:4 God promises Moses, "that I may bring My HOSTS and My people out of the land of Egypt." Joshua "fell on his face to the earth" when confronted by the "Commander of the ARMY of the LORD." (Josh 7:14) Some will contend that this is talking about the ACTUAL Children of Israel as BEING an "army" and might point to the added text (italicized) "and" in Exodus. But let's see more examples to get a more complete picture.
In 2 Kings 6 is the account of God thwarting the king of Syria's plans against Israel through Elisha telling the king of Israel where Syria was planning to attack. Eventually the king of Syria is made aware of Elisha and gathers his armies around Elisha. Elisha's servant is terrified at this large army, asking "what shall we do?" Elisha prays to God to "open his eyes that he may see." And the sight of God's chariots of fire surrounding the Syrians illustrated Elisha's claim, "those who are with us are more than those who are with them." (6:16)
An angel of the Lord opened prison doors to release the apostles in order that they could continue preaching. (Acts 5:19) And again for Peter. (Acts 12:7)
With all these examples, why are we always so fearful? When a storm came up and was about to inundate the boat Jesus and His disciples were in, He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (Mat 8:26) The answer is, "Lack of faith."
Jacob provides quite a study in Man's Fearfulness vs. God's Protection. In Gen 28 Jacob is running for his life from Esau. God gives him a vision of angels and assures him, "I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you." (Gen 28:15)
20 years have now gone by, and Jacob is prosperous, is coming back to his birth place, and is about to meet Esau who is accompanied by 400 men. He contrives a strategy for self-preservation, and then in wres- tling with God, God cripples him. (Gen 32:25)
What would our response be? "Lord, this is not what I need...I NEED to be strong so that [I] can fight to protect MYSELF. What have You done to ME?!" Well, we see a peaceful reunion between the brothers, and God protects Jacob, just as promised.
On another occasion Jacob's sons mete out justice because their sister has been defiled, and Jacob complains to them, "You have troubled [ME] by making ME obnoxious...and since [I] am few in number, they will gather themselves against ME and kill ME. I shall be destroyed, MY household and I." (Gen 34:30) Can't you just hear him? "Oh, poor me, poor me!!"
What does God respond? "Go to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of your brother." And as they traveled it says, "the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob." (Gen 35:1-5) C'mon Jacob, quit ch'r whinin', and get your focus back on God!
~440 years later God has just shown His awesome power, practically annihilating Egypt with the 10 plagues. Jacob's descendants are on their way back to promise, and find another obstacle as the Egyptians are pursuing. They begin (what will become 40 years) more whining. "Moses, why did you bring us out here, that we should die in the wilderness?"
God responds, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today." (Ex 14:13)
So far we have observed God's physical protection for those who are His. His angels also serve in other matters. For Daniel, Gabriel was sent to give explanations to his prophetic visions. Gabriel was also sent to Zacharias and Mary to announce the births of John and Jesus. Cornelius was directed by an angel to send for Peter so he could hear the gospel and be saved. In Revelation John is escorted and communicated to by angels.
Who do angels minister to? and when does this ministry begin? The writer of Hebrews gives a little teaching on this matter. "..are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" (Heb 1:14)
First of all we see that angels minister for God's Chosen Ones. Currently these are called Christians. Have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined because He foreknew us. Thus, the promise "who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31)
Additionally, it seems apparent that family members where one is a Christian also receive some sort of consideration. Paul writes, "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified (set apart or acknowledged) by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. (1Cor 7:14)
When does this angelic ministry begin? Even BEFORE one is saved. Hebrews says, "for those who WILL INHERIT salvation." Several people I know, who are clearly Believers, have attested to God's "hand upon" them even years before they responded to Him in brokenness.
Israel in Egypt was not in belief (Heb 3:19, Gal 3:7), and yet God's "hosts" were with them. (Ex 7:4) Obviously, when the angel appeared to Cornelius he was not yet saved; but he was about to be.
God's commitment and our response is clear. "The solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.'" (2 Tim 2:19)