The first angels who appear in the Bible guard it against the return of Adam and Eve. Scripture says that God “drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24).
The final angel who appears in the Bible is the one who brings John the vision that he describes in the Book of Revelation. When John tries to kneel to the angel, the angel says: “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” (Revelation 22:9). He goes on to tell John that the vision comes from Jesus and to spread his vision to others and tell others to take it seriously.
[Image: Angel of Revelation by William Blake]
The first angels carry flaming swords to keep people out of Eden, and the last angel delivers a vision of the end of the world that includes many incidents of angels bringing down plagues and wreaking havoc. At the same time, the angels who follow God do God’s will absolutely. They interpret God’s will for humans, guide them in what they should do, praise God and rejoice in God’s victories, fight on the side of righteousness, and do God’s will in other ways. Some appear as otherworldly; some as human; some are good; some are fallen. Their portrayal in scripture suggests that the battle that we perceive between light and darkness is one part of a much larger battle, one being fought by the followers of God and those who fight against God throughout the universe — and beyond.
In this course, The Very Rev. Kate Moorehead, author and Dean of St. John’s Cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida, examines angels in detail — who they are, what they do, and how they are connected to God. In the first lesson, she introduces angels and talks about their varying shapes and roles in scripture. In the second lesson, she discusses angels as messengers from God — individuals who interperet God’s will for humanity. In the third lesson, she discusses the presence of evil angels in scripture; angels who have chosen to work against God instead of serving God, and how they can influence human thinking. She opposes their interference with human thought to the angels’ non-invasive invitations to God. In the fourth lesson, she discusses angels at the end times, especially as portrayed in the Book of Revelation.
This class is ideal for anyone interested in angels, the book of Revelation, or ways in which God communicates with humanity. For previews of this class, please click here.