The Nature of Angels(from Chapter 2 of Heavenly Hosts)
SIMILAR TO MEN
The Bible reveals that angels have a three-part nature consisting of a body, soul and spirit, and all the faculties associated with each. They are similar to men in this respect, as Scripture abundantly proves. They wield swords and wage physical combat. They can be bound by chains and confined to material places. They ride horses, drive chariots, guard gates, and do many other things, as we shall see when we study their works in the last chapter. Angels also have feelings, passions and desires. They have minds to think with, the ability to communicate, and they act on their own volition. They walk and talk and can even cook! They are indeed similar to men, as proved by the points below.
Angels Have Spirit Bodies
Angels have always appeared in Scripture as men. Contrary to many representations of angels, not one Bible verse portrays them as beautiful women or fat little babies! They look like real men in real bodies. We know, however, that their bodies are spirit bodies because Hebrews 1:14 calls them "ministering spirits." They have feet (Gen. 19:2), hands (Gen. 19:10; 2 Sam. 24:16), eyes (1 Tim. 3:16), faces and bodily appearance (Judg. 13:6). Furthermore, their bodies have been seen by many in both testaments of Scripture.
Bodies Seen by O.T. Saints:
• Lot: Both Lot and the Sodomites saw the angels who came to bring God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:1-25).
• Jacob: In a dream, Jacob saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder to heaven (Gen. 28:10-12).
• David: When God was angry with David for numbering Israel, He sent an angel to administer the judgment of pestilence. When the angel stopped at the command of the Lord, he was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. Then "David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem" (1 Chr. 21:16; 2 Sam. 24).
• Ornan: While he was threshing wheat, Ornan saw the same angel David saw.
• Elijah: An angel cooked for him when he was fleeing Jezebel (1 Ki. 19:5-7). Another angel directed him concerning messengers from the king of Samaria (2 Ki. 19:3, 15).
• Elisha and his servant: In answer to Elisha's prayer, his servant's eyes were opened to see the angelic army outnumbering the Syrian army (2 Ki. 6:15-17).
• Micaiah: Micaiah, Ahab's one true prophet of God, saw "the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left" (2 Chr. 18:18).
• Isaiah: Isaiah both saw and heard the seraphim above the Lord's throne (Isa. 6:1-7).
• Ezekiel: Ezekiel saw, heard, and interacted with cherubim (Ezek. 1; 8; 10).
• Nebuchadnezzar: When he looked into the fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar saw an angel with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Dan. 3:24-25).
• Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: These men surely saw the same angel that Nebuchadnezzar saw.
• Daniel: Daniel knew the Lord had sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions (Dan. 6:22). Gabriel himself visited Daniel on many occasions to bring messages and explanations (Dan. 8; 9:21; 10:5-21; 12:5-7).
• Zechariah: Zechariah saw and spoke with angels (Zech. 2:1-3; 4:10).
Bodies Seen by N.T. Saints:
• Zacharias: Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was administering his priestly duties and brought the prophetic message of the birth of John the Baptist (Lk. 1:5-20).
• Mary: In Elizabeth's sixth month Gabriel also appeared to Mary to announce her role in the birth of the Messiah (Lk. 1:26-28).
• Joseph: The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream to tell him the child Mary carried was the Messiah (Mt. 1:20-25). A second appearance warned him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod (Mt. 2:13). The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream a third time to tell him to return to Israel after Herod's death (Mt. 2:19-20).
• Shepherds: An angel accompanied by a heavenly host proclaimed the birth of Christ to the shepherds (Lk. 2:8-15).
• Women at the tomb: Several women saw angels at the empty tomb (Mt. 28:1-7; Mk. 16:1-7; Lk. 24:1-7; Jn. 20:1-13).
• Disciples: Angels appeared to the disciples after they witnessed Christ's ascension (Acts 1:10-11).
• Peter and John: An angel released Peter and John from prison (Acts 5:19-20).
• Philip: It was an angel that directed Philip to head toward Gaza so he would be in the path of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26).
• Cornelius: God used an angelic visitation to Cornelius to thrust Peter into ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-8, 30-32).
• Peter: Peter was released from prison a second time by an angel (Acts 12:5-11).
• Paul: An angel visited Paul at night in the midst of a storm at sea, assuring him of deliverance for himself and all who were with him (Acts 27:21-25).
• John: John saw angels while on the isle of Patmos (Rev. 5:2; 7:1-2; 14:6 - 15:21).
Angels Have Manifested Bodily Parts:
Along with the evidence of angelic bodies being seen, we also have records of things angels have done in their bodies:
• No unusual mode of travel was mentioned when Abraham saw the angels go toward Sodom, so we can assume they were walking (Gen. 18:22). Lot apparently saw them arrive the same way (Gen. 19:1).
• The entire encounter at Sodom is full of bodily manifestations of angels: they ate food, rescued Lot bodily and shut his door; and they physically led Lot and his family out of the city (Gen. 19:3, 10, 16).
• Elijah was awakened by the touch of an angel and discovered that food had also been cooked for him (1 Ki. 19:5-7).
• The angel saw during the judgment of pestilence was holding a sword (1 Chr. 21:16). Perhaps it was with such a sword that the angel destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (2 Ki. 19:35).
• An angel rolled away the stone from Christ's tomb (Mt. 28:2).
• Like God (Dan. 7:9), Jesus (Mt. 17:2), and the twenty-four elders (Rev. 4:4), angels wear white garments (Mt. 28:3; Jn. 20:12).
• The book of Revelation is full of the physical activity of angels which will be discussed in the chapter on their work.
Angels Have Souls
In addition to their bodily attributes, angels also demonstrate faculties associated with souls.
John records their joyful worship in Revelation:
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. (Rev. 5:11-14)
They shouted with joy at creation (Job 38:4-7), they praised the Lord at the birth of Christ (Lk. 2:13-14), and they rejoice every time a sinner repents (Lk. 15:7, 10).
Wrath in Judgment:
Since angels so exult in God's glory, it is easy to imagine their zeal when His wrath and judgment are revealed. When David sinned in numbering the people, it was an angel who carried out the judgment that resulted in the deaths of seventy thousand people (2 Sam. 24; 1 Chr. 21). Similarly, a single angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night. They will surely not be emotionless "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Th. 1:7-8).
Contending in Spiritual Warfare:
We will study the work of angels in spiritual warfare in chapter five, but for now imagine the soul passions they must feel in those conflicts. Gabriel and Michael were surely emotional when they fought with the demonic prince of Persia (Dan. 10:12-13, 20). Jude states that Michael contended with the devil himself, disputing about the body of Moses (Jude 9). The word for contend in this verse is the Greek word diakrino which in this context has the sense of hostile separation, opposition, striving and disputing. Luke uses this word to describe the reaction of the circumcision to Peter's ministry to the Gentiles: "And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them" (Acts 11:2-3, emphasis added).
In addition to joyful worship, vengeance in judgment and the hostilities of warfare, angels also know desire. Peter uses this word to express the intensity of the angels' interest in things pertaining to the gospel, "which things the angels desire to look into" (1 Pet. 1:12, emphasis added). The Greek word translated desire here is epithumeo, which has both positive and negative connotations. Jesus told the disciples "that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them" (Mt. 13:17). The same word (translated fain in the KJV) describes the prodigal's craving for food: "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him" (Lk. 15:16). Likewise, the beggar Lazarus was "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table" (Lk. 16:21). It expresses the longing of Jesus' heart when He said, "I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer" (Lk. 22:15). Paul said that anyone interested in the office of bishop "desireth a good work" (1 Tim. 3:1). He also desired the Hebrews to be diligent in their ministries (Heb. 6:10-11). In this positive sense angels desire to look into the things of the gospel.
Some angels, however, have allowed themselves to be governed by wrong desires. Such was the pattern followed by the sons of God who took the daughters of men for wives in Genesis 6:1-4, their sin and judgment being further described in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6-7. These angels imitated the devil whose lusts Jesus mentioned in John 8:44. Such angels will also experience torment in the hell created for them (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
But on a more positive note, those angels who have not rebelled are called holy angels (Mt. 25:31; Mk. 8:38). The word holy in these passages is from the Greek adjective hagios. The root idea of hagios is that of separation, so its scriptural usage indicates separation from all sin and impurity, and consecration to God. Jesus used it in prayer, addressing God as "Holy Father" in John 17:11. Peter applied the term to Jesus in his sermon in the temple, declaring to the Jews that they had "denied the Holy One" (Acts 3:14). It is the adjective used in the name of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. It is also used of believers throughout the New Testament, translated "saints," or holy ones. But unlike Christians who experience sanctification as a process, angels who have never rebelled are perfectly consecrated to God.
Angels Have Spirits
Not only do they manifest bodily parts and perform actions requiring bodies, and not only do they exhibit a wide range of passionate experiences common to the soul, but Scripture reveals that angels have spirit faculties as well.
It is obvious that they have a will, as Lucifer exercised his to the point of rebellion:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isa. 14:12-14)
Obviously, the angels who followed Lucifer in his rebellion, including those sons of God who committed sin with the daughters of men (Gen. 6:4; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6-7), also exercised their wills against God. In contrast, the myriads of angels who remained true to the Lord did so by choice.
Angels also have intelligent minds. Jesus said of heaven and earth passing away that not even the angels of heaven knew the day and hour when it would happen (Mt. 24:35-36). This would seem to imply that they had a great deal of knowledge about many other things, so much so that one might think they would also know of the timing of this particular event.
Related to intelligence is the ability to communicate. As discussed above, many people have interacted with angels, having no difficulty understanding them or making themselves understood in the process. Paul states that angels have languages of their own, distinguishing between "tongues of men and of angels" (1 Cor. 13:1).
Beyond intelligence, angels also have the capacity for wisdom. Paul said that one of the results of his preaching "the unfathomable riches of Christ" was that "the principalities and powers in the heavenly places" might have "the manifold wisdom of God" made known to them by the church (Eph. 3:8-11). It was even a compliment in David's day to compare one's wisdom to that of an angel (2 Sam. 14:17, 20; 19:27; 1 Sam. 29:9).
Speaking of "them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government," Peter says they are "presumptuous" and "self-willed," and "are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (2 Pet. 2:10). In contrast, "angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord" (2 Pet. 2:11). The idea here is that the holy angels who are given responsibility to report to God of the actions of both fallen angels and wicked men, do not rashly accuse or condemn, but merely report facts as they are without bitterness and railing. They are courteous in their reports. As an example of such meekness, Jude says that "Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee" (Jude 9).
David said, "Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word" (Ps. 103:20). From this verse we can see that even their worship is an act of obedience, for the word "bless" is an imperative or command. Such obedience may have led to concern regarding submission and propriety in worship, prompting Paul's admonition for women to be veiled when praying or prophesying, "because of the angels" (1 Cor. 11:10). Indeed, the very idea of angels as messengers implies obedience to the One sending them. It is for good reason they are called "holy angels" (Mt. 25:31; Mk. 8:38).
Scripture teaches then that angels are very similar to men in that they have bodies, souls, and spirits. But that is where the similarities end. Though in initial encounters they were frequently mistaken for men (Gen. 19:1-5), the Bible is quite clear that angels are not natural beings, but supernatural. Men certainly aren't capable of ascending and descending between heaven and earth, as angels did in Jacob's vision (Gen. 28:12).
The natures of men and angels are sharply contrasted when Paul says that Christ "took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham" (Heb. 2:16). We know that we will not always have the bodies we now possess. Paul said,
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Cor. 15:51-54)
But in the meantime, we are as David stated, made "a little lower than the angels" (Ps. 8:5). The word lower here is from the Hebrew chacer which has the sense of lacking, having want or need. It was used to describe the flood waters abating and decreasing from the earth (Gen. 8:3, 5). Abraham used it in his intercession for Sodom, asking God if He would still destroy the city even if it should "lack five of the fifty righteous" (Gen. 18:28). When God fed the children of Israel with manna, the Bible says "he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack" (Ex. 16:18). When Moses reminded the people of God's provision for them, he said "the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing" (Dt. 2:7). And it was the word David used to express his confidence in God: "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Ps. 23:1). When compared to angels then, we are for the present time a little lacking, for we are not supernatural beings as they are.
We have already seen that angels are capable of operating within the material realm, as illustrated by the numerous appearances and accomplishments described above. But angels are not of this realm in the sense human beings are. Rather, Scripture says God "maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" (Ps. 104:4). Paul appeals to this as well, asking a question that illustrates the superiority of Christ over angels: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14).
So, though angels have appeared visibly and interacted with men on several occasions, these events are relatively rare, given the span of human history. More often than not, it seems these ministering spirits are unseen in the material sense.
An excellent example of this occurred during one of the periods of war between Syria and Israel. Elisha kept telling Jehoram, king of Israel, where the Syrian king was camping (2 Ki. 6:8-10). Having learned of this, the king of Syria sent an army to Dothan where Elisha was staying (vv. 11-14). When Elisha's servant saw that the entire city was surrounded by horses and chariots, he cried, "Alas, my master! how shall we do?" (v. 15). 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." (vv. 16-17)
They were there all the time, but they couldn't be seen apart from God opening the natural eyes. On the other hand, even when they are seen, they are apparently able to keep their nature a secret, as Paul indicates: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Heb. 13:2).
In addition, angels have been known to appear in dreams. Such was the case on three occasions in the life of Joseph, the husband of Mary. In the first instance, when he reacted to her state of pregnancy and considered divorcing her privately, "the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost" (Mt. 1:20). Later, on account of Herod, Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream to "Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word" (Mt. 2:13). Then, when Herod was dead, the angel of the Lord appeared once more in a dream to tell Joseph it was safe to return to Israel (Mt. 2:19-20).
One day some Sadducees attempted to confound Jesus by posing a hypothetical question about the outcome if seven brothers each widowed the same woman in succession: "In the resurrection whose wife of them is she?" (Lk. 20:27-33). Correcting their error, Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (Lk. 20:34-36)
Though the point of this passage is the defense of the doctrine of the resurrection, it does show that angels are immortal. They simply do not die. The book of Revelation even says there are four angels which have been bound in the Euphrates river, awaiting their role in the tribulation judgment (Rev. 9:13-15). We know these are fallen angels, for good angels are never bound. We don't know how long they've been bound, but it is apparent they haven't drowned in the process!
Powerful and Mighty
The very mention of the word supernatural suggests things that are powerful and mighty, and angels certainly qualify. Comforting a persecuted people, Paul mentions the time "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels" (2 Th. 1:7). Mighty comes from the Greek word dunamis from which we get our word dynamite. The word is used 120 times in the New Testament, in a variety of ways. Its first occurrence is in the close of the Lord's prayer, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever" (Mt. 6:13). Dunamis is repeatedly translated "mighty works," descriptive of the miracles of Jesus (Mt. 11:20-23; 13:54, 58; etc.). It characterizes the time when Jesus will come "in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Mt. 24:30). When the woman with the issue of blood touched His garment, Jesus knew immediately that "virtue had gone out of him" (Mk. 5:30). Though we know that angels are in no way equal with Christ, they nevertheless possess a dynamic type of power.
The same idea is communicated in the Old Testament with the Hebrew word koach which means strength or power. It is translated strength in Ps. 103:20 which says, "Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word." Using this word, Moses declared that the Lord had brought forth the nation of Israel from the land of Egypt "with great power, and with a mighty hand" (Ex. 32:11; Num. 4:13; Dt. 4:37; 2 Ki. 17:36). It is descriptive of Samson's strength in Judges 16. And Isaiah comforts us with the promise that "they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isa. 40:31).
Great Feats of Strength:
When we think of such incredible, supernatural power and might, we naturally imagine great feats of strength. One amazing display of such ability occurred during the reign of Hezekiah. When the Assyrian armies surrounded Jerusalem and defied the living God, Hezekiah prayed, Isaiah prophesied Assyrian defeat, and an angel came and slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (2 Ki. 18:13 - 19:37). We don't know exactly how many hours were involved, but it was "early in the morning" when they discovered a field full of "dead corpses"(2 Ki. 19:35). So, whether it was eight hours or less, it was still incredibly fast.
The book of Revelation also comments on angelic speed. John writes in Rev. 9:1-3,
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
There was the appearance of a meteor or shooting star, but personal pronouns and personal acts are ascribed to this "star." Only an intelligent being could be given a key to a material place and a command to obey, as here. Even Satan's angels are referred to as stars (Rev. 12:3-9). There is no indication, however, that this is a fallen angel. He will descend from heaven to open the abyss, liberating the creatures who will fulfill the vision in chapter 9. He must be a holy and trusted angel to have the key to the pit. But he moves with such speed that he has the appearance of a star falling from heaven.
Ability to Fly:
We aren't told how this angel moves so quickly, but flying seems most reasonable. And we do know from Revelation that angels fly. Verse 13 of chapter 8 records "an angel flying through the midst of heaven," and we see the same thing in Rev. 14:6.
No Need to Rest:
Awesome feats of strength and incredible flying speed aren't the only facets of the angels' supernatural power. Even the strongest of natural creatures need sleep and rest, but apparently angels do not. In his vision of the scene surrounding the throne of God, John describes the worship of four special angels, saying that "they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" (Rev. 4:8).
When the angel of the Lord came to the shepherds to announce the birth of Christ, the Bible says "the glory of the Lord shone round about them" (Lk. 2:9). Glory is significantly associated with the presence of God. It is described in Exodus:
the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. (Ex. 24:16-18)
As a result of being in the presence of God, Moses' face shone so brightly that he had to be veiled when talking with the children of Israel (Ex. 34:29-35). In Paul's words, "the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance" (2 Cor. 3:7).
Jesus was more fully revealed in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. Matthew says the face of Jesus shone like the sun (Mt. 17:2). Indeed, not only His face, but even His clothing "was white as the light," or as Mark puts it, "his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them" (Mk. 9:3).
Angels also have a glory of their own. Jesus said, "For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels" (Lk. 9:26). And on the morning of the resurrection, Matthew says "there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men" (Mt. 28:2-4). In Revelation 18:1 John tells of seeing an "angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." Consider also Ezekiel's vision:
And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures . . . . As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. (Ezek. 1:4-5, 13-14)
No wonder Psalm 104:4 declares that God's angelic ministers are "a flaming fire!"
Thus, while we see that angels are similar to men in many respects, they are nevertheless supernatural beings whose majestic appearance occasionally required the encouragement, "Fear not" (Mt. 28:5).