Angels…what do they truly look like? We all are a bit curious. Do they look like chubby, flying, naked babies as some have portrayed? Do they look like beautiful women with long, flowing locks of hair as another source might depict? Man has been trying to pinpoint the exact appearance of these ethereal beings for centuries. Halos, or no halos? Wings, or no wings? Male, or female? The questions regarding the appearance of angels seem never-ending. While these are all interesting things to ponder, I believe that by focusing on questions such as these, we are missing the real point. We should not be wondering so much “what do angels look like?” as we should be wondering “what do angels look like?!”…
What I mean is this: what can we learn about the character of angels…you know, what they look like beneath the surface? When it comes to our celestial comrades for Christ, halos and wings are the least of our worries. Believe it or not, angels should be playing a huge part in how we view our role as wives and mothers. Allow me to explain. I’m sure you have all read this verse from 1 Corinthians 11:3:b, 8-10:
The head of the woman is the man…for the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
“Because of the angels”…this phrase has long mystified many as to its intended meaning. No wonder, for it does seem rather vague and mysterious! What on earth do angels have to do with a woman having “power on her head”? Some have come to the conclusion that this portion of scripture is commanding females to wear a physical head-covering in worship; whereas others see it as an instruction to be sober in worship because the angels are looking in on us. Now I am not going to delve into either of these topics today…but I am convinced that there is much more to this phrase than meets the eye. Might I suggest that this passage is not so much a discourse on veils or our attitudes in corporate worship, as it is a red flag for the disobedient help meet. Let us hop over to Jude 6, and perhaps this bible riddle can be more clearly understood. It reads:
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he [God] hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Girls, are you making the connection here?! Remember, in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul exhorts us as women to keep our husbands as our head (God’s definition of female empowerment)…then he reminds us to do so “because of the angels”. Why? Because according to Jude 6, angels that do not keep their “estate” (their rightful place with God as their head) will receive condemnation to themselves! Therefore, when we as wives do not keep our “estate” (our rightful place with our husband as our head) we will likewise receive condemnation to ourselves.
In light of this powerful warning, we would do well to dwell on what makes an angel keep in good standing with the Father. Angels and wives have an absolutely identical role in regards to their submission (angels to God, wives to their husbands). Because of this, we are going to consider three celestial character traits that we as wives ought to continually emulate, on account of angels…
1. Angels Know Their Place
For unto the angels hath he [God] not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak…thou hast put all things in subjection under his [Christ’s] feet – Hebrews 2:5,8a (clarification added)
According to this passage, angels are not in a position of authority…Christ is. Every good angel understands this God-ordained hierarchy and unquestioningly submits to it. What would you think about an angel taking charge and trying to be equal with its master? Actually, there is a fascinating account in Revelation 12:7-9 about some dragon-following angels who tried this very thing…
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
This all sounds pretty foolish, doesn’t it? Why would mere angels attempt to prevail against the king? Didn’t they know they were going to ultimately fail? Yet we women can fall into the same folly when we forget our place under our husband’s authority. We need to remember that a wife trying to be equal to her husband and prevail against him is every bit as foolish as angels trying to be equal with God.
It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. – St. Augustine
These angels fell because they did not know their place. Instead of taking on an attitude of humble submission, they allowed themselves to be puffed up with pride. Of course we all know that “pride goeth before a fall”! This is why we are to have “power on our heads” (our husband leading us)! If we don’t, we will fall just like the angels of old did. We will lose everything if we will not stay in the position that the Lord designated for us.
Who is the final authority on heirarchy? God is. He and He alone gets the right to dictate who is in what position. Many women become infuriated when told to submit to their husbands, but who are they fighting against but the Lord Himself? Why can we not lay aside our pre-conceived, worldly notions, and simply admit that He knows best? Ponder the following three verses…
Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? – Isaiah 29:16
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? – Isaiah 45:9
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand.
– Jeremiah 18:5-6
How do these verses about clay apply to the angels, or to us as wives? Consider for a moment that if an angel chooses to fight against God, (or if a woman chooses to fight against her true nature of help meet and humble servant to her husband), it is as foolish as it would be for clay to rise up against the potter and demand to be made differently than the potter wills. It’s just plain silly. Our Lord made angels and women in such a way that is fitting and suitable…just right for us. Would we rise up in wickedness and pretend we know better than He? Or would we not rather say:
But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. – Isaiah 64:8
If we are going to be true followers of God, it means we are going to follow Him in all things, even when it hurts. It means that we will allow ourselves to be completely subdued by our husbands, regardless of whether or not we want to…simply because God said to and that’s that. It means that we will stay in our designated position even if:
Our husbands are mean. Our husbands are unfair. Our husbands don’t pull their weight around the house. Our husbands have different child training techniques than us. Our husbands are selfish. Our husbands don’t love the Lord. Our husbands don’t love us. And so on, and so on, and so on.
Our King (whose blueprint for marriage is perfect) told us wives to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22) – and He didn’t offer an “unless”! In fact, He calls us to obey our husbands no matter how dastardly they might be. Consider that there is no greater sin than blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29). Yet what does God call the wife of such an unbeliever to do? Subject herself to her husband with a chaste and fearful attitude (1 Peter 3:1-2)! If God calls women to obey even a husband who is living in such sin as unbelief, then surely any other lesser excuse we can come up with will be rendered invalid.
It has nothing to do with whether you like God’s rules. It’s not your kingdom. If you want to operate by your own rules, then you need to go out and create your own world. But as long as you are in God’s world, where God has set the rules, you must abide by His rules or you become a rebel against His kingdom government. – Tony Evans
On Account of Angels, let every wife know her place.
2. Angels Show His Face
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. – Psalm 34:7-8
This verse really encompasses what it means to be a godly help meet. I want you to stop and think on who it is that is working in this passage, and who is the one getting the credit for that work. Is it not in fact the angel “doing all the work”? Therefore, the angel should receive the credit…right? Look at the verse again! It is not the angel getting the credit, but God who is regarded as good. This is because the angel is an unseen servant, working joyfully in the background with no need of thanks or recognition. Angels do many things for our well-being, but God is the One who gets the credit. Angels live to “show His face”! And that’s just the way it should be. Consider if a similar scenario would make you angry as a wife:
Lisa stayed up all night walking the halls, rocking her baby to sleep. Let it be known that Rick is a wonderful father…better could not be found within miles.
I can see the gritted teeth and hairs rising even now of “Lisa’s” the whole world over! “RICK is a wonderful father?! It was ME who stayed up all night, ME!! How dare he get the credit!!” Yet this is not the spirit of an angel of God, nor is it to be the spirit of a Christian wife.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:1-4
I’ll let you in on a little secret: your reward for your labor is in your husband’s glory. Let me repeat that for you: YOUR reward for YOUR labor is in your HUSBAND’S glory. You might be calling me crazy, but hear me out. People will only recognize the state of your family by the success of your husband. He is the leader and poster boy of your home. It is not your place to receive glory for yourself, but to make him be glorified. Your thanks is knowing in your heart of hearts that you did your job and that you helped your husband to be regarded as a good man. Take joy in the fruit of your labors. When your husband delights in you, when the children are well-behaved and respectable, when the house is kept to a reasonable standard of neatness – this is your high-five from God. You have to be confident enough to take joy in this humble role without getting recognition. To the world this is crazy talk; yet as Christians we know that this is representing a perfect eternal portrait of Christ and His church.
We are all familiar with the famous chapter on the virtuous woman – Proverbs 31! Let us contemplate an interesting thought from verse 23. Who is the individual that is “known in the gates”? Not the virtuous woman, but her husband! Does it not seem odd that in the midst of a detailed description of the virtuous wife, a passage is randomly thrown in to describe her man? Yet this seemingly out of place text is not accidental. When a man is known, and has a glorious reputation…this sends a loud and clear message about what kind of wife he has. As a general rule, it says that he has a wife that is so humble and submissive in a behind-the-scenes sort of way, that by contrast he shines all the more brightly for the world to see. This is the same way that the angels are in regards to the Lord. Their primary goal is to make God known…to show his face. Not to be the one receiving the glory, but to be going about receiving glory for their king.
Contrast this godly attitude with that of the feminist movement:
I do not want to be the angel of any home: I want for myself what I want for other women, absolute equality. After that is secured, then men and women can take turns being angels. – Agnes Macphail
What Ms. Macphail fails to realize (pardon the pun), is that men and women were never meant to “take turns being angels”. What a perversion of truth! Such a mindset can only lead to discord in the family unit. When a wife tries to make herself equal with her husband (her human example of God in the flesh – Ephesians 5:22), is she not ultimately pulling the same wicked scheme as Satan did in times past? When Satan and his angels tried to become equal to God, they brought eternal damnation upon their own heads. May we never do the same by trying to become equal to our husbands.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. – Colossians 2:18-19
There is a lot of “angel worship” going on in this world today: only it’s now evolved into the term “gender equality”. We see women trying to be men, wives trying to wear the pants in the home…yet wives were never meant to be elevated to the status of their husbands, just as angels were never meant to be elevated to the status of their God. This goes against the created design! Just as the aforementioned verse implies, our job is not to be the star of the show, but simply to “hold the Head”. Our modern society would have us believe that women should be exalted and revered like men. Yet consider how a true angel of God reacts to such nonsense…
And he [an angel] saith unto me [John], Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. – Revelation 19:9-10
And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. – Revelation 22:8-9
Do these two closing words not send chills down your spine? Worship God. Oh, but if only this were the attitude of every wife towards her husband:”Don’t give me the credit….no, forbid that this should be! Here, it is solely my husband who deserves the adoration in our family. I am nought but his servant…give him the glory!” A meek and humble spirit such as this should be sought above all else. This is the primary goal of woman.
Does not every true man [or in our case, true woman] feel that he [she] is himself [herself] made higher by doing reverence to what is really above him [her]? – Thomas Carlyle (1841) [clarification mine]
Remember Hebrews 13:2:
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Why do you think we might be unaware of an angel’s presence? Perhaps it is because they live to show God’s face…and not their own.
On Account of Angels, let every wife show her husband’s face.
3. Angels Grow His Race
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. – Psalm 91:11
In terms of hierarchy, humanity’s relationship with the Lord and His angels might be viewed somewhat like a business relationship. The Father might be regarded as a store’s general manager, the angels as shift leaders, and mankind as more generic crew members. God is the head honcho. The angels are higher than man, but ultimately answer to the Father like the rest of the team. Their job is to ensure that the crew members (us) are staying under the authority and headship of the Boss (Jehovah God). As women, this is how we should view our role of motherhood. We are given a charge over our children, but only according to the will of the main guy on deck (our husband).
We women really have to take care that we do not take such an ownership position over the area of child-rearing, that we forget that ultimately we are here to grow our husband’s race, not our own. Always keep the proper familial hierarchy in front of you:
[of Jesus…] Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they…But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? – Hebrews 1:4, 13-14
I find this verse interesting because it doesn’t only say Jesus is “better than the angels”, but rather “SO MUCH better than the angels”. Do we regard our husbands as “so much better” than us? Do our words, tone, body language, and actions make this clear on a daily basis? Are we teaching our children that Daddy is the king and wears the pants in the family, not Momma? Note that this verse says that angels are ministering spirits. Ministering spirits of what? God’s salvation – His message. They are not pushing their own agenda or trying to gain the favor of mankind for themselves. It should be the same way with mothers and their children. The world tells us that mothers are the alpha and omega of family life, and that fathers are incapable morons who know nothing of child-rearing. This is not the way it is in God’s family system! We mothers should be teaching our children above all else to venerate and obey their father, for this is training them to bow themselves to a sovereign God as adults.
Am I knocking motherhood? Am I saying it’s unimportant? Absolutely not! I am a mother myself, and I hold this role in high esteem. Yet I am convinced that it needs put in a proper perspective. Wives and mothers were never, ever meant to be the general managers of the home – this is the position belonging to fathers. We need to always remember that we are subject to our husbands just as our children are, only in a slightly higher position than they. Consider Psalm 8:4-5:
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
You can see here that in keeping with the comparable hierarchy of [Husbands/Wives/Children] with [God/Angels/Man], our children are to be regarded as a little lower than Mother, but it should always be abundantly clear that both are under Father.
One way many women disrespect their husbands is by letting the children do things he would disapprove of when he is not around. This is such wicked behavior and teaches children little regard for authority. A mother should never overstep her husband’s will any more than a shift leader should overstep the will of a store’s general manager! This can only lead to confusion, rebellion, and chaos in the home (or outside of it, for that matter).We would do well to note that likewise, only God has authority over man – not even His angels:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. – Galatians 1:8
We might think, “Caring for the children is my job! I spend the most time with them, I should choose how I want to rear them.” Yet in the spirit of Galatians 1:8, this argument does not hold any weight. Might we not rather say in similar fashion to the scripture…
If the children, or even myself as the mother in this home, persuade me to go against my husband’s instructions, I will completely ignore such folly.
Another way that many women misuse their role as mothers is by putting motherhood before marriage in her heart. Would it not be foolish for an angel to get so wrapped up in mankind that he forgets the Lord who placed humans under his charge in the first place? We would do well to remember that God calls us to be one with our husbands, not with our children. Now, do children need love, care and attention? Certainly “yes” on all accounts! However, this should never be to the neglect of the marital relationship. Husbands are to come first, and his needs above the needs of the children.
A man would not ignore his boss in order to take care of the other employees. If neccesary, he would ignore the other employees under his authority in order to hear what his boss is saying and get new directions. – Debi Pearl, The Hidden Help Meet
Yet another way many women disrespect their husbands is by trying to control what he lets the children participate in. Perhaps the wife doesn’t approve of a certain tv show, or thinks a particular sport is too rough, or doesn’t want her child around a certain friend…the list goes on. Unless the child is in imminent danger of evil, the wife must relinquish her motherly worries over to the will of her husband. After all, he is the master of both mother and child. We must let him rule as he sees fit, without our nagging and criticism.
Who art thou [mother] that judgest another man’s [your husband’s] servant [his child]? to his own master [dad] he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. – Romans 14:4 (clarification added)
On Account of Angels, let every wife grow her husband’s race.
Before you act, remember to only do so on account of the angels.
- If you think: “I’m every bit as good as my husband, I deserve to be equal with him.”
Ask yourself: “What happened to the angels that held this opinion?”
Know your place!
- If you think: “I want to be recognized for the work that I do. I don’t want my husband to get glory when I’m the one slaving away.”
Ask yourself: “Do the angels seek to show off, or to show off their God?”
Show His Face!
- If you think: “Leave the parenting to me. I know more about raising kids than my husband does!”
Ask yourself: “Does an angel exercise it’s own will over mankind, or rather the will of it’s King?”
Grow His Race!
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 pleasures. – Psalm 103:20-21
The world calls such perfect submission and obedience weakness, but God calls it excelling in strength. Apply this verse to your life:
Bless your husband…for you are his wife. Excel in strength by letting go of bitterness when he hurts your feelings. Obey him even though he’s not perfect. Listen to him so that you can learn what he desires of his woman. Bless your husbands, all wives everywhere! You are to be a servant to your master! You were made to please your husband all the days of his life.
When all is said and done and this world has come to a close, you will receive your sure reward for your angelic obedience. And won’t it be good to enter into the kingdom of our beloved King who can then say of us:
By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not, An earthly paragon! – William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
For God’s Glory,
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.