The difference between the Old Testament dispensation and the Church age is redemption.
The Old Testament people stood on the prior side to redemption. We stand on the completed side of redemption and the rules have changed. Much is different today. Satanic attack has been increased today. Numbers of demons roaming the earth have increased today. Numbers of plagues have increased today. Numbers of sicknesses and disease and strains of them have increased today because Satan is out to destroy the Church. Satan is out to destroy us so that he can rule and reign over the earth. He knows his days are limited, and he knew his days were limited from the day that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. And now he didn’t have just one born-again person walking the earth. By the end of that afternoon, he had 120 of them. By that night, he had 3,120. A couple days later 5,000 more were added. The Church was increasing and Satan was having to pull out all the stops to try to close this thing down and today he is in high gear. There’s no day off. There’s no moment off for Satan.
I imagine right after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and His ascension into heaven, Satan probably sat down in a rocking chair for a while and thought, Man, it’s all over. That dude is gone. Man, that Son of God is gone. Thank God, He is gone, and probably even the demons sat down for a while and thought, Man, he’s gone. We’re so glad. But boy, just a few days later, I think that sound from heaven must have shaken them too. That came on the day of Pentecost and since that day, the Church has risen, and the Church is so powerful today that Jesus even declared that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. One Christian on this earth is stronger than Satan’s kingdom. That’s why Satan, as well as the Body of Christ, is waiting for the rapture so he can start again strongly into this earth when the Church is gone.
1 Peter 1
vs. 12 “To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.”
Well, let me explain that verse of Scripture. First, it says, “To them it was revealed…” “To whom” is the prophets of the Old Testament. It says, “It was revealed…” This is redemption. Redemption was revealed to the prophets. What was discussed in the verses before this? The shed blood of Jesus, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the coming of the new birth. It was revealed to them, but it goes on to say, “But not unto themselves.” Literally, the meaning was not for themselves. It was revealed to them, but the meaning was not for them. The meaning was for us.
Then it goes on to say,” …but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you…” Peter says it’s time to come down to us. It was first revealed by the Old Testament prophets, but it wasn’t for them. They ministered it, but it was ministered for a time that began with Jesus Christ, and then was taken up by His disciples. The disciples preached it throughout the book of Acts. Throughout the book of Acts, more books were written, and the books that were written have been handed down to us where redemption has become more revealed than ever before.
Then it says, “…which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven [notice this]; which things the angels desire to look into.”
Up until the day of Pentecost, the angels knew everything that was going on. They knew the plan of God. They knew what God was going to do, but with the Church age came a whole change of things and angels today desire to look into the things that we do.
Angels Don’t Understand Redemption
Now, why is this verse written? It’s because angels are not redeemed beings, but you and I are. Jesus didn’t go to the cross for angels. He went for you and me. The blood of Jesus was not for angels but for us. The stripes of Jesus were not for angels but for us. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not for angels, it was for us. The Church is made up of redeemed people, not angels. Therefore again, angels don’t understand what you and I look into. Throughout all of eternity, the book of Revelation tells us, angels will join us in praise and worship, but will have to be silent when we sing the song of redemption, because angels do not understand what it means to be redeemed. They don’t understand what it’s like to sin. They don’t understand what it’s like to be spiritually dead. They don’t understand what it’s like to be separated from God, but you and I do, because there was a day when we were spiritually dead. There was a day we were separated from God. But glory to God, one day we accepted Jesus. We were made brand new on the inside. Old things passed away. All things became new. And we started singing the song of redemption from the very moment we were born again and we will sing it throughout all of eternity.
Angels desire to look into the things we look into but they cannot understand it. In fact, more is said about angels in the New Testament than was ever mentioned in the Old. From the moment the New Testament begins in the book of Matthew, angels are on the scene. And throughout the Old Testament, they appeared from time to time, but more is said in the book of Matthew than just about all of the Old Testament combined about angels. Much less Mark, Luke, John, Acts, into the New Testament.
Since so much is said in the New Testament about angels, we need to find out why, because it seems like the ministry of angels, not only demons but angels, went into high gear the moment that a certain individual was announced to be born. His name was Jesus. Christmas is the time we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ, and I can tell you, when we celebrate it, angels look back and went, “Yeah, man, we sure went into overtime on that day, and we haven’t let up since.” Demons also say, “Yeah, we went into overtime on that day and we haven’t let up since.” It has been nonstop since the day that Jesus Christ came into this earth and especially since the day He started His Church. Angels and demons have had their work cut out for them ever since.
Standing on this side of redemption, that is, on this side of the cross, there is more satanic opposition, there is more evil, there are more plagues, and there are more stones in our path.
Ministry of Angels Surrounding Jesus Birth
What the angels did for Jesus, they do for us. How the angels ministered to Jesus is how they minister for us, because if Jesus is the firstborn and if you and I are members of the Church of the firstborn, then how they ministered to our firstborn Jesus is how they minister to us.
First, before Jesus was ever born, the angel of the Lord went to Zachariah and announced to him that his wife would bear a child. Now, of course Zachariah laughed because he and his wife were so old. They trusted God for children in their youth, but now they were so old that they were probably looking forward to retirement any day, getting away from working in the temple every day. One day while Zachariah was working in the temple, an angel appeared and told him his wife Elizabeth was going to have a child. This child, of course, we know would be John the Baptist and he would introduce the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Well, of course, Zachariah didn’t believe it. He laughed at it and then wanted a sign. The sign was he was struck dumb during Elizabeth’s pregnancy. I’m sure he probably thought, I shouldn’t have asked for a sign. I should have just believed that angel. He was struck dumb until the child was born and then his tongue was loosed so that he could speak.
Next, Gabriel was sent to Mary to announce Jesus’ birth. This was all within just the opening of the whole book. I mean, just the time you open the New Testament, angels are right there appearing and performing miracles and bringing messages from God. So, Gabriel was sent to Mary to announce Jesus’ birth and, of course, she was just as dumbfounded as Zachariah. She was just as shocked. She was just as much in disbelief in the beginning, but her answer which changed everything was, “Be it unto me according to Your word.” When the angel, Gabriel, spoke to her and announced what was going to happen, it was so overwhelming to her. She said, “How can this be, seeing I know not a man?” Now we know what she was saying was that she was not married. She’d had no sexual relations with a man. How could she possibly have a child?
On a side note, this is the way we should always react when God brings His Word to us. How can this be, seeing I know not a banker? How can this be seeing I know not a doctor? How can this be seeing I know not a financial expert? We want to name people. We tend to always want a substitute. When God says, “I’m going to do it by the Holy Spirit,” we have a hard time with that because we’re used to dealing with things in the natural. How can this be, seeing I know not a man? How can this be seeing I know not an individual? We should respond with “All right, God, I don’t know any human being, but I do know the Holy Spirit. Be it unto me according to Your word.” That’s when miracles happen. Whenever God says it in His Word and we decide to believe it whether we know a human being that can help us or not, God brings it to pass.
So, the angel appeared to Zachariah, told him he would be having a child. Gabriel was sent to Mary announcing she would give birth to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then Gabriel went to Joseph in a dream to confirm Jesus’ birth and announced to him in the dream that this was true, not to put Mary away, not to divorce, not to separate from her, but that which was in her truly was conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Then next of all, the angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. When the shepherds were out in the field, the Bible says suddenly the heavens were filled with a multitude of angels singing and praising God, singing, “Glory to God in the highest.” So, we have one angel appearing to Zachariah, one angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, then to Joseph in a dream, but now we have multitudes of angels which no man could number. That innumerable company of angels was there to minister about Jesus at His birth to the shepherds in the field. After that, Joseph was warned again by an angel in a dream to hide Jesus in Egypt after the wise men came to visit. I think it’s interesting both times the angel came to Joseph. He was warned in a dream to hide Jesus in Egypt and this occurred for the space of around two years that Jesus and His family were in Egypt before they came back.
Ministering Angels Surrounding Jesus as an Adult
After Jesus chose His disciples, He said to them that they would see angels ascending and descending upon Him. He said this at the closing of the first chapter of John, chapter 1, verse 51. Reminds us of the Old Testament, doesn’t it, where that ladder went into heaven? Jacob saw the angels ascending and descending. The same thing Jesus said of Himself. You would see angels ascending and descending upon Him, the Son of Man. Angels ministered to Jesus after His temptations by Satan. We know that Satan came to Him with three temptations. After Jesus had been fasting for forty days and forty nights. After the third temptation angels came and ministered to the Lord Jesus Christ. Angels came and ministered to Him in Gethsemane in His time of agony. That was physical strength as well as spiritual strength. Jesus was so exhausted, He sweated great drops of blood. He prayed for so long that He was already weak before the trials ever began, but angels came and ministered strength to Him because He had to go through with the trials. He had to go through with redemption.
There have been times in your life where you didn’t know how in the world you were going to face the problems, face the challenge that was ahead of you. You may not know until you get to heaven that angels came and ministered strength to you as they did to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise and worship brings strength. The Word of God brings strength. Prayer brings strength. I want you to understand, angels bring strength to us. Angels brought strength to the Lord Jesus Christ when He was in Gethsemane. When Jesus arose from the dead, it was an angel that rolled back the stone and greeted the two women as they came to the grave. The incredible strength of one angel to roll away a stone that took a multitude of men to roll. This angel just rolled it away.
An angel greeted the two women that came and the two women didn’t even recognize it was an angel. They thought it was the gardener at first, but then they recognized it was an angel afterward. Again, the Bible tells us in Hebrews 13 to beware when we entertain strangers because often we entertain angels unawares.
Angels were present at the ascension of Jesus into heaven at the Mount of Olives. These angels appeared just at the opening of the New Testament. From the time that Jesus was born, angels have brand new orders, and they were constantly going, constantly coming, more than they have ever been in the Old Testament.
Prophecies of Angels
It was prophesied angels would be there at the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ.
vs. 17 “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of thousands; The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.”
Notice that the angels followed Him at His ascension. These are unseen angels. There were two that stood on the earth, but there was a multitude of unseen angels, 20,000 the Bible says, “even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.
vs. 18 “You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the Lord God might dwell there.”
This is a prophecy of the ascension of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the Church that Jesus Christ was surrounded by thousands of angels as He ascended into heaven. Don’t you think we’re going to be surrounded by thousands of angels at the rapture of the Church? I think angels not only greeted Him in heaven, there must have been a multitude that greeted Him on earth and escorted Him to heaven.
Here are some examples of angels in the four Gospels. Not only just with Jesus, but also for us:
1. At death, they accompanied Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom. Just like angels ascended and took Jesus to heaven, angels greet us at the point of death and escort us into heaven, just as they did with Lazarus. When Lazarus died, the rich man went into hell, yet Lazarus went into Abraham’s bosom. An angel took him there.
2. Jesus confesses us before our angels, or before angels at the new birth. The Bible says if we’ll confess Him before men, He’ll confess us before the angels in heaven.
3. Children have angels. When Jesus took the little children, put them on His lap and blessed them, He said that their angels do ever behold the Father’s face. So He was saying that small children have guardian angels. You had a guardian angel when you were growing up. If you did dumb things like I did, you know there had to be angels to protect you, lest you dashed your foot against a stone or fell out of trees or whatever you did. Angels were there to watch over you and protect you.
4. Angels bring healing. Remember they said, “No plague would come nigh your dwelling?” We find this true at the pool of Bethesda, that it was an angel that stirred up the water so that people could get in and get healed. Angels bring miracles and the supernatural.
5. Finally, at the end of almost every one of the four Gospels, angels operations in end-time events surrounding Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ comes back to the earth to set up His Kingdom, angels will travel to the ends of the earth. Angels will sever the wicked from the just. They will gather the wicked for judgment and they will protect the just from the coming judgment, which will come on the earth.
Angels are powerful and they surround us today. Angels are that powerful, yet God’s given them to you. They are not only for Jesus, but He’s promised them for you. The works that I do shall you do also, and greater works because He had to ascend and go to heaven (John 14:10).