The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 179 of 207
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Symbols of Service: Ambassador, Apostle, Angel.
pp. 121 - 123
Having seen something of the nature of, and preparation for, scriptural service, we
turn our minds to the consideration of what service involves. We might note the different
titles of service, such as "walk" or "work", or the different spheres of service suggested
in such passages as "preach the Word", "fellow-soldier", "we wrestle", "sow", "reap",
etc., or yet again we might note the examples of true acceptable service with which
Scripture abounds, and yet once again, we could bring into prominence all who are called
"servants", or who are said to have "served". Then it will be necessary to note the spirit
that underlies service, and it will not be too far removed from the practical orbit to give
attention to the fact that service will be rewarded by the Lord.
The bare summary of possible avenues of approach reveals so much ground to be
covered that we shall have to deal with the subject under different heads to avoid
confusion. We purpose for the present to bring before the reader's notice a series of
symbols of service that we find in the Scriptures. Every reader will not find each symbol
of personal help. Service is too wide for generalization, but we trust that each reader will
find his own special calling illumined as time proceeds. Moreover, there is always room
for the reader to remember in prayer those whose service is so different from his own,
and this of itself will enable us patiently to consider service in all its aspects, even though
our own particular branch be not immediately in view.
The symbols of service that we will consider in this first review are three, viz.,
ambassador, apostle and angel. While each word has its own distinctive meaning and
cannot be used interchangeably with the other two, they have one or two features in
common, which may be of help to us in this series.
Firstly, ambassadors, apostles and angels are sent ones.--To go at one's own charges,
or upon one's own responsibility, would disqualify anyone from the use of these titles.
Angels are messengers, and as such must be sent on their errand: "Are they not all
ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation"
(Heb. 1: 14).
When we read concerning John the Baptist: "Behold, I send My messenger before
Thy face" (Matt. 11: 10), we not only have the word "send", but in the word "messenger"
we also have the word "angel", for the Greek word is aggelos.
The very idea of the word "apostle" is that of a sent one, for apostello is translated
"to send" scores of times. For example:--
"How shall they preach except they be sent?" (Rom. 10: 15).
"Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (I Cor. 1: 17).