July 6, 2015
I very much enjoyed your response on prayer. Praying has given me the balance I need in my life as a Christian it is very reassuring to know that the Lord is available to us 24/7. I have been thinking a lot lately about heavenly angels and wonder what you might have to say about them. My knowledge about heavenly angels is limited. Sometimes I wonder if they are real and if they are helping us in our lives. Anything you might know from Scripture would be appreciated.
God bless you!
Thank you for your kind words. The Bible gives us some marvelous and heroic accounts regarding God’s holy angels. Angels are helpers, guardians, official announcers of news, and emissaries of both the mercy of God and the wrath or judgments of God. Angels have often been referred to as God’s secret agents. Here is just a short synopsis of the many biblical references made to God’s holy angels:
Angels are God’s faithful assistants reverently serving Him:
“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will” (Psalm 103:19-22).
“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness” (Matthew 13:41).
“And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth, to the farthest end of heaven” (Mark 13:27).
“And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus, is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:1-2).
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31).
Angels can visit the earth from heaven:
“And he [Jacob] had a dream, and behold a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold the angels of God were ascending and descending on it” (Genesis 28:12).
“And He said to him [Nathanael], “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open up, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” (John 1:51).
We have protective angels:
“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them” (Psalm 34:7).
“For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11).
Angels can suddenly appear to help in a time of need:
Even Jesus, was helped by an angel from heaven. When He was fervently praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was in agony knowing what He was ahead of Him; that He was about to be crucified and take upon Himself all the sins of the world.
“Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43).
After Jesus had fasted in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, Satan tried to tempt Him. But Jesus rebuked the devil and he fled. Immediately after, angels came to minister to Jesus:
“Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him” (Matthew 4:11).
“And he [Elijah] lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, ‘Arise, eat.’ Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Herob, the mountain of God” (1 Kings 19:5-8).
“And when Peter came to himself, he said, ‘Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting’” (Acts 12:11).
“But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy; and they laid hands on the apostles, and put them in a public jail.
But an angel of the Lord during the night opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, “Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life. And upon hearing this they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach” (Acts 5:17-21a).
“For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.
Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told’” (Acts 27:23-25). (An angel comforted Paul and told him that no lives would be lost in the shipwreck.)
“When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, ‘Arise, take your wife and your two daughters, who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city’” (Genesis 19:15).
“Then Daniel spoke to the king, ‘O king, live forever! My God, sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me; inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, ‘O king, I have committed no crime’” (Daniel 6:21-22).
“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert” (Acts 8:26).
“And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John [John the Baptist’s birth foretold]” (Luke 1:11-13).
Angels continually exalt God and have His attention:
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
“And I looked, and heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing’” (Revelation 5:11).
“In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory’” (Isaiah 6:1-3).
Joseph received guidance and warnings to protect the baby Jesus from an angel in his dreams (Matthew 1:20, 24; 2:13, 19).
Angels proclaim awesome news and important events:
Angels announced the birth of Messiah Jesus to the shepherds:
“And an Angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will be for all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’ And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made know to us’” (Luke 2:9-15).
Angels are strong and powerful:
“Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word; heeding the voice of His word” (Psalm 103:20).
“Wheras angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord” (2 Peter 2:11).
An angel was very involved in bringing the revelatory visions to the apostle John during his exile on the island of Patmos.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And he sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John” (Revelation 1:1).
“I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head; his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.
He had a book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices” (Revelation 10:1-3).
“After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory” (Revelation 18:1).
“Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God” (Revelation 22:8-9).
Annie, there is a lot here to contemplate about angels. They are indeed real and as you have read, serve God in many ways. While heavenly angels carry a great deal of authority, it is always limited to God’s will. They never veer away from God’s intentions. They always glorify Him and never themselves. What an exciting future we have when we will be living side by side with our heavenly angels in the heavenly realm. Even so come Lord Jesus!
“Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:12).
In God’s love,
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing’” (Revelation 5:11-12).
Excerpts from A Better World Is Coming Soon - Don’t Miss It, Expanded 2013 Edition, pp.373-378, Kit. R. Olsen, World Bible Society.