ASK Commentary
June 13, 2002 

Why Does God Need an Army?

By David Sielaff, June 2002

A good friend recently asked me this question. Why does God need an army of angels? I thought the question was silly at first, then I began to consider—it was a good question, why does God need an army? Does God need protection? Does Christ? Do they need defenses to protect their life, limb and the heavenly Temple?

The answer is simple. God has an army not because he needs one, but because he wants one. The Creator who speaks and it is so, does not need subordinates doing his bidding. However, it is quite apparent that He chooses to do so.

God has an army because God chooses to delegate His authority to others who carry out His will. Angels (Heb. Messengers) do not so much take information to God, as they take messages from God to the principalities and powers throughout the universe and to earth. They learn that way.

Jesus, as King of the Jews, had servants that He could call upon to fight for him, even as he appeared before Pilate. The purpose of that fighting would not be to protect Jesus, but to go on the offensive and create the Kingdom of God, then and there! It was not in God’s plan at that time for Jesus to do so,

“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.’”

• John 18:36

God delegated an angel to kill the Egyptians first-born sons. An army of angels was sent to protect Elisha against the Syrians (2 Kings 6:16–18). God delegated Satan to have control over the nations (Matthew 4:8–9) and to punish reprobate believers (1 Corinthians 5:5). All of these actions were God’s wishes.

God’s will is opposed even in heaven, where war and rebellion occur just as on earth.

“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.”

• Revelation 12:7–9

The principalities and powers in the universe had their power delegated to them by God, which was removed from them by Christ’s actions,

“Having spoiled principalities and powers, he [Christ] made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

• Colossians 2:15

Besides conquest through power, God delegated Christ to reconcile the universe to Himself,

“For by him [Christ delegated by the Father] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

• Colossians 1:16-17

God could do all things suddenly by command of His words and voice, but He uses a process that delegates others to carry out his wishes. He has an army to enforce His rule, his commands and his mercy throughout a rebellious universe. See Dr. Martin's Article on Christians and War for more information about the problem—and the solution—of war.

God even delegated His only begotten Son to bear our sins, die for us and be resurrected as the firstborn of many brethren. Such is the model of delegated power He shows us in His grace.

God’s army exists—temporarily—to fulfill His will.

David Sielaff

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