What Is the Army of God?
Angels make up the vast army of God, often referred to as the host of heaven
or heavenly host
, and God Himself is the commander of this mighty host! "I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded"
(Isaiah 45:12). Since the angels and the stars of heaven are often used interchangeably (Judges 5:20; Job 25:5, 38:7), we surmise that an angel accounts for each star in the sky; for the number of angels and stars are so vast that they cannot be determined (Hebrews 11:12, 12:22).
Angels not only carry out God's commands relating to His children, but also carry out the commands of God pertaining to the ungodly. As warriors in God's army, angels bring about judgment (Matthew 13:41, 49), pestilence (II Samuel 24:15-17), curses (Judges 5:23), sudden death (II Kings 19:35; Acts 12:23), and persecution on evildoers: "Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them"
The army of God is usually invisible to the human eye, but it is awesome. In the time of Elisha the prophet, the King of Syria was at war with Israel. This king came against Israel with "horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots."
Elisha's servant panicked, and asked what they should do. Elisha answered, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha"
(II Kings 6:14-17).
What an amazing, incredible sight! Elisha knew that the chariots of fire on his side were greater than the warriors coming against them. There was nothing for him to fear, not even a frightful army.
Who Do Angels Worship?
God's angels surround His throne, serving and worshipping Him continuously. Scripture commands them: "Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts"
The prophet Micaiah said, "I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left"
(I Kings 22:19). This awesome sight was also witnessed by John in Revelation 7:11: "And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God."
God's angels are beautiful and magnificent creatures, yet we are not to pray to or worship them (Colossians 2:18); for only God is worthy of worship. God says, "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another"
(Isaiah 42:8). In fact, the Old Testament writers warned about the danger of worshipping heavenly bodies and prescribed the death penalty for the worship of anything besides the Creator, including the sun, moon, or any of the host of heaven (Deuteronomy 17:2-7).
Scripture says, "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth"
(Isaiah 40:26). One day He, Who is worthy of all worship, will receive His own (Luke 12:8-9), and He will confess or deny each person in the presence of the angels!
Who Is the "Angel of God"?
Throughout the Old Testament, there are certain references to the Angel of God
or Angel of the Lord
. Although not exclusive, this term may refer to appearances of the preincarnate Word (Jesus Christ)! Many of those who saw Him said that they had seen God. Others fell down to worship Him.
Who in the Old Testament saw the Angel of God?
- Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8)
- Abraham (Genesis 18:13, 22:11-16)
- Gideon (Judges 6:11-22)
- Jacob (Gen 28:12, 31:11, 32:24-30; Hosea 12:4)
- Moses (Exodus 3:2; Acts 7:30, 35, 38, 53)
- The Nation of Israel — the Angel will deliver them, go before them, and pardon their sins (Exodus 23:20-23).
- Balaam (Numbers 22:22-35)
- Joshua — Angel introduced himself
as Captain of the Army of the Lord (Joshua 5:14-15, 6:13-15)
- David (I Chronicles 21:15-16)
- Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-13)
- Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:23-28)
- Zechariah (Zechariah 1:9, 3:1-2)
In these encounters, the Angel of God (Angel of the Lord) spoke for God in the first person (Genesis 16:10; Exodus 3:2, 6; Judges 2:1). He alone has the ministry of intercession with His Father on the behalf of men (Isaiah 63:9; I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:24).