Asking the Clergy: Angels’ work in heaven and on Earth – Newsday

Posted By on November 12, 2021

There's a pop-culture notion that 11:11 o'clock is "angel time," a spiritually magical moment. This weeks clergy discuss the biblical foundation for belief in spiritual beings who act as messengers and perform missions to carry out Gods word and will.

Rabbi Mendy Goldberg

Lubavitch of the East End, Coram

The concept of angels is so large and expansive that it cant be covered briefly. Angels are mentioned in the Torah, starting in the book of Genesis. They are mentioned numerous times in Prophets and Scriptures as well. Angels are not physical but spiritual beings. All of the physical characteristics of the angels mentioned by the Prophets such as having wings and arms are metaphors referring to their spiritual character.

The Hebrew word for angel is "malach," which means messenger, and the angels are indeed God's messengers, performing various tasks and missions. Michaels tasks are expressions of God's kindness; Gabriel executes severe judgments; and Rafaels responsibility is to heal. All are at times called the archangels, or angels of high rank.

Some angels are created for a specific task, and upon that task's completion, they cease to exist. According to Jewish mysticism, one angels task is to transport people's words of prayer and Torah-study on high.

Angels are created through the deeds of humankind as explained in the words of the Talmud: "He who fulfills one mitzvah, acquires for himself one angel-advocate; he who commits one transgression, acquires against himself one angel-accuser." (Ethics 4:11.)

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The Rev. William McBride

Religious director, Interfaith Community Religious Education Program, Brookville Multifaith Campus

When I think about what angels are doing in heaven, I'm reminded of what my Dad once said to my Mom, a notoriously bad singer. He said, "When you get to heaven, you should stand next to an angel that plays the harp really loud."

Angels on high are associated with music and described in song as "sweetly singing o'er the plain." But what do angels do on Earth? Both Scripture and tradition suggest that angels are sweetly revealing the ripple effect of goodness on earth. They enter real moments in history and deliver messages when bitter realities threaten our beliefs.

In Judaism, Islam and Christianity, angels do things that remind us of our inherent goodness. An angel who appeared to Sarah made her laugh after revealing she was to have a child in her old age, thanks in part to her generous spirit of hospitality. The angel Gabriel made Mary feel highly favored in a lowly moment while revealing her place in history as a person focused on the good from the beginning of her life.

As we ponder what angels do, let's listen and look while angels are sweetly singing on high and revealing here below the ripple effect of goodness.

Samantha Tetro

Founder, Samanthas Lil Bit of Heaven Ministries, East Northport

A study of angels soon reveals that they are not doll-faced babies so commonly (and adorably) depicted in books and movies. Quite the opposite! Angels are ministering spirits created by God for his plans, his purposes and his people.

The most important thing to realize is that angels will not carry out anything that is not in accordance with Gods word or his will. (Psalm 103:20) Scripture tells us that in the heaven, thousands upon thousands of angels worship and praise the Lord day and night to declare and bear witness of his glory and honor. (Psalm 148:2) Angels are designed to carry out the Lords commands and assignments.

Their positions here on Earth could be one of protector (Daniel 6:22), messenger (Matt 1:20-21), comforter (Luke 1:11-17), worshipper (Psalm 148:2) and even warrior (Rev 12:7). Angels are also sent to serve those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14) and provide care at the time of death (Luke 16:22). They are even called to be part of the "sounding of the trumpets" (Revelation 8:2) as the end draws near.

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS youd like Newsday to ask the clergy? Email them to LILife@newsday.com.

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Asking the Clergy: Angels' work in heaven and on Earth - Newsday

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