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Sunday, the 29th of September, was Michaelmas, from Michael's Mass, a feast day celebrated in the Western Church since the mid-fifth century when a basilica near Rome was dedicated in honor of Michael the archangel on Sept. 30, with celebrations beginning on the eve of that day, Sept. 29. The feast is now kept in honor of Michael and all angels in some Western churches.

And, if you paid close attention, you will have noted that all our Scripture readings Sunday make reference to the angels or to Michael himself. We see the angels protecting believers in Psalm 91 and young believers in Matthew 18. And Michael's work in resisting Satan and his forces in the world is mentioned in Daniel 10 and 12, with Revelation 12 describing Michael's battle with Satan and Satan being cast out of heaven and onto the earth until Judgment Day, when Satan and his evil angels will be cast into the eternal fires of hell (cf. Matthew 25:41).

There are all kinds of false beliefs out there concerning the angels. Some even suggest that good people will become angels when they die. But, to learn the truth, we need to look to the Scriptures and to what God Himself tells us about the angels.

The Bible teaches that the LORD God, when He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1-2), also created a great number of angels to carry out His commands and do His will. The Bible says that God "maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" (Psalm 104:4; cf. Nehemiah 9:6; Exodus 20:11; Colossians 1:16; Psalm 103:20-21; Daniel 7:9-10).

It describes the angels as spirits of great power and strength when it says: "Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure" (Psalm 103:20-21; cf. 2 Kings 19:35).

According to the Bible, a large number of these angels sinned and fell away from the LORD God shortly after the creation (cf. Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9). The Bible speaks of the devil (or Satan) and the other evil angels who fell away with him being reserved unto the judgment of eternal torment in hell (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Matthew 25:41).

The Bible also warns us that, until the last day, these evil spirits continue to oppose God and His will and seek the destruction of God's works, especially seeking to lead believers away from God and back into sin and unbelief. It tells believers to "be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8; cf. Genesis 3:1ff.; Revelation 12; John 8:44; Job 1-2; Matthew 4:1-11). It cautions followers of Christ to "put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:11-12).

The great number of angels who remained faithful to the LORD God are now, according to the statements of God's Word, confirmed in their holy estate and continue to carry out God's commands and serve the needs of Christians. God tells us in His Word that His angels are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Hebrews 1:14). Jesus says in regard to the angels who watch over little children who believe that "in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 18:10; cf. 25:31). And, the Bible assures us that God "shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone" (Psalm 91:11-12; cf. 103:20-21).

All of this teaches us of the great spiritual battle taking place -- a battle we can't even see with our eyes. Satan and his evil angels are working through nations and rulers to silence the preaching of God's Word and to persecute and destroy the true visible church in this world that people would not hear of their lost and sinful condition and would never learn of God's mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus. Satan and his cohorts are at work through false doctrine and temptations to lead people away from Christ and the salvation He won for all when He died on the cross and rose again.

That is why the Bible enjoins us in Ephesians 6:10-13: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand...."

And God's good angels are watching over us and protecting us from Satan's assaults by withholding nations and rulers, by keeping us from harm, by watching over us and protecting us that we are not swallowed up by Satan and his schemes.

We who trust in Christ alone for our salvation have the assurance of God's Word in Psalm 91:9-12: "Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." And we are assured that in heaven, our "angels do always behold the face of [the] Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 18:10).

"I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee that Thou wouldst keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen." -- Luther's Small Catechism.

Randy Moll is the managing editor of the Westside Eagle Observer and also the pastor of Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rogers. He may be contacted by email at rmoll@nwadg.com. Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 10/02/2019

Print Headline: Last Sunday was Michaelmas

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