Basic Truths About Angels

Title: Basic Truths About Angels
Category: Angels
Subject: Angels

There are two extremes to which people can go in regard to angels. They can place too much emphasis on angels--and some folks, doing that, go far outside the bounds of Biblical teaching. However, the other extreme--to which others of us tend to go--is to ignore the subject of angels.

But the Bible has much to say about angels. The Hebrew word for angel is malak, which means “messenger” or “agent.” The Greek word is angelos, which means the same thing. On occasion the Bible uses those words to describe human beings who are functioning as messengers or agents--but for the most part, the word “angel” refers to special celestial beings, whose normal habitat is heaven. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus, speaking of his second coming, said: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament.1 Surely, with that much emphasis on them in the Scriptures, God must intend that we at least be aware of who they are and how they relate to us in our daily lives. So, let’s look at some basic Bible truths about angels. Let’s look first at...


Who are the angels? What are they like? The Bible answers those questions with certainty and clarity.

A. Angels are created beings.

We who are Christians do not become angels when we go to heaven. Angels are special created beings.

Psalm 148:1-5: “Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.” Colossians 1:16-17: “For by him 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.” (also Nehemiah 9:6)

The time of their creation is never definitely specified, but it was before he created the earth, because we read in Job 38:4-7: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” The “sons of God” apparently refers to the angels, for man, of course, had not yet been created.

B. They are spiritual beings.

Hebrews 1:13-14: “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?” In Luke 24:39 the resurrected Jesus said, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

1. So, angels are essentially invisible; however, the Bible makes it clear that at times they take on visible form.

In the book of Numbers we read of how God used a donkey to rebuke Balaam. God sent an angel to stand in the way of Balaam and his donkey, and the donkey saw the angel, but at first Balaam didn’t--finally, though, he did. Numbers 22:31 says: “Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.”

2. Sometimes they took on a dazzlingly bright appearance, as in the case of the angel of the Lord referred to in the resurrection story in Matthew 28:3: “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.” John 20:11-12: “But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.”

3. However, at other times they appeared as men. In Genesis 18:2 we read that Abraham “lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him....” But it turned out that one of the men was Christ, in one of his rare pre-incarnate appearances, and the other two were angels. The Lord tarried behind to converse with Abraham while the two angels went on to Sodom--and Genesis 19:1 says, “And there came two angels to Sodom at even....” They stayed at Lot’s house that night, and, according to Genesis 19:5, the evil perverts of Sodom “called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night?” Hebrews 13:2 says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

C. They are intelligent beings.

As we’ve already seen from the passages read, they engage in conversation, they travel, they take action. 1 Peter 1 speaks of the sufferings of Christ, the salvation he provided, the preaching of the gospel, and the coming of the Holy Spirit--and verse 12 closes with these words: “...which things the angels desire to look into.” Apparently the angels have a lively sense of curiosity. They communicate aloud. In Zechariah 1:9 the prophet refers to “the angel that talked with me.”

D. They do not marry.

In Mark 12:25 Jesus said, “For when they [speaking of born again people] shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” Note that Jesus did not say we will become angels--he simply said that we will be as the angels in that particular respect. The Bible makes it clear that when we who are Christians go to heaven, the institution of marriage as we know it down here will not exist. That doesn’t mean that heaven will be a big commune--not at all. Somehow, in a way beyond our present understanding, the people who were special to us down here will still be special to us up there--and it will be even better than it is down here.

E. They do not die.

Again speaking of born again people, Jesus said, in Luke 20:36, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels....”

F. They are powerful.

Psalm 103:20 says, “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” 2 Peter 2:11 says, “Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” In reference to the resurrection of Jesus, Matthew 28:2 says, “And, behold, 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.” The late Landrum Leavell wrote: “Those who have been there and have seen the Garden Tomb, and have seen that trough in which the stone was rolled back, can well understand that we’re talking about a block of granite that may well have weighed four tons.”2 2 Thessalonians 1:7 speaks of our Lord’s “mighty angels.”

Another evidence of the angels’ strength is seen in Revelation 20:1-3, which is a part of the apostle John’s prophetic vision:

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

G. They are many.

Hebrews 12:22 speaks of “an innumerable company of angels.” In Revelation 5:11 the apostle John wrote: “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 [apparently a reference to the angels] was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” (See also Daniel 7:10 and Matthew 26:53)

H. They are organized.

In Jude 9 reference is made to “Michael the archangel.” The word “archangel” means “chief angel,” which implies that there are levels of authority among the angels. (In 1 Thessalonians 4:16, in regard to the second coming of Christ, reference is made to “the voice of the archangel.”) (Daniel 10:13 speaks of “Michael, one of the chief princes”--which suggests that while Michael was the chief among them, there were other angels of high rank as well.) When Jesus was nearing the crucifixion he said, in Matthew 26:53, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” A Roman military legion consisted of 6,000 soldiers who were organized into smaller units, with an ascending chain of command.

I. They are subject to Jesus.

1 Peter 3:22, referring to the resurrected Christ, says, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

J. They are NOT to be worshipped.

Colossians 2:18 (NIV): “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize [KJV says, “beguile you of your reward”] . Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.” In Revelation 22 the apostle John was in awe at what the angel had revealed unto him, and verse 8 says, “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 showed me these things.” But verse 9 says, “Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”

The Bible not only teaches that we are not to worship angels, but 1 Corinthians 6:3 says, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” According to Psalm 8:5 God made us “a little lower than the angels,” but according to 1 Corinthians 6:3 one day, after Jesus comes again, we who are Christians will be given a place above the angels.

K. They are of different types.

a. Reference has already been made to Michael the “archangel,” which means “chief angel.”

b. The Bible also speaks of “cherubims.” In fact, there are 90 verses in which cherubims or the singular, cherub, is used. The word “cherub” means “one grasped, or held fast.” Perhaps the meaning is that they are firmly in God’s grasp, in his hand. They are nearly always spoken of as being near to God. In Isaiah 37:16 we read: “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims....” When Adam and Eve sinned, God expelled them from the garden of Eden, and Genesis 3:24 says, “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” In such verses as Ezekiel 10:5 reference is made to the “cherubims’ wings.” A sculpture of cherubims was placed on top of the ark of the covenent in the tabernacle, and later in the temple. 2 Chronicles 5:8 says: “For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.”

c. In Isaiah 6 the prophet tells of his life-changing vision of God, and in Isaiah 6:1-4 we read:

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

The word “seraphims” is found only here, in this passage, and the word means literally “burning ones.” Apparently these were special angels whose task was to attend the throne of God.

L. Some angels are evil.

2 Peter 2:4: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” [This verse may allow for these fallen angels being on earth for the time being, with the understanding that hell is their ultimate destination--or, it may mean that some of these fallen angels are already there, while others are allowed to roam the earth for the time being, with hell being their ultimate destination also.] There is a similar statement in Jude 6: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Matthew 25:41 speaks of “the devil and his angels.”

Satan, or the devil, was once a great angel in heaven, but his heart was lifted up with pride, he--along with other angels who followed his lead--rebelled against God, and he and those who followed him were cast out of heaven forever. Revelation 12:7-9 seems to be a flashback to that event: “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.”

In regard to Satan’s rebellion and fall, Dr. John F. Carter said that “Jesus in Luke 10:18 probably had it in mind, as well as Satan’s ultimate defeat, which was foretokened by the success of the seventy in casting out demons in the name of Jesus. Indeed, their success might be explained by the fall from Heaven which Satan had experienced.”3 Luke 10:18 reads as follows: “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”

We aren’t told exactly when that occurred, but it must have been after the completion of creation, because Genesis 1:31 says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” But we know for sure that it was prior to the events related in Genesis 3, for it is in that chapter that we read of how Satan, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve and Adam.

In Ezekiel 28 is recorded a double prophecy. The inspired writer was prophesying judgment against the king of Tyre, and at the same time--in the same verses--was also condemning the evil angel who inspired the king of Tyre. Look at Ezekiel 28:11-17:

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

There is a similar prophecy in Isaiah 14. God’s prophet is pronouncing judgment upon the king of Babylon, and in that same passage is also condemning that evil angel, Satan, who had led the king of Babylon down his path of destruction. Look at Isaiah 14:12-15:

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. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

While Satan and many of his fellow fallen angels (sometimes called in the Scriptures “demons” or “devils”) are destined for the lake of fire, for the time being they are being allowed to do their evil work on the earth, and are wreaking great misery and destruction. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 he is referred to as “the god of this world.” But his time, and the time of those fallen angels who follow him, is limited. In Revelation 12:12 we’re told that “the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

In the meantime, though, we who are Christians must battle him. He seeks to distract lost people from the gospel so that they will spend eternity in hell, and he seeks to catch Christians napping so as to rob them of their joy and influence. 1 Peter 5: 8-9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted [NIV: “when you have turned back”], strengthen thy brethren.”

So, there is constant spiritual warfare in progress until Jesus comes again. We read these sobering words in Ephesians 6:10-18:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

But the Bible assures us that never again will heaven be contaminated with rebellion or any other sin. 1 Peter 1:4-5 speaks of heaven as “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” Our heavenly home being “incorruptible” means that it cannot be corrupted. There is great mystery as to why God allowed it the first time--but he gives us his assurance that it will never happen again.

And, praise the Lord, in the meantime we don’t have to let Satan defeat us. In 1 John 4 the inspired penman is warning believers about the false prophets and others with the spirit of antichrist whom we will confront--in other words, he is talking about all the various forces of Satan that will try to bring us down. But then he gives us this wonderful, encouraging promise in 1 John 4:4: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that in you, than he that is in the world.”

Now, having dealt with the fact that there are evil angels, fallen from heaven, sometimes called “devils” or “demons” or “evil spirits,” who are led by Satan--let us now turn our attention to that vast multitude of angels who are NOT fallen, but rather are obedient and loyal to their Creator, and let’s consider...


A. They praise God.

Psalm 148:2: “Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.” [“All his hosts” apparently refers to all things created, animate and inanimate.]

B. They deliver messages from God.

One day when the aged priest, Zechariah, was ministering in the temple, an angel appeared to him with a message. Luke 1:12-13: “And when Zechariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zechariah, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” Later in that same chapter of Luke we read of the angel appearing to the virgin Mary: Luke 1:30-31: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.” We read in Matthew 1 of the angel appearing unto Joseph, to assure him that Mary, to whom he was espoused, was not impure, that she was indeed a virgin, and that her pregnancy was a miracle.

Then, when Jesus was born, we are told in Luke 2 that “the angel of the Lord” announced that great news to the shepherds. In Matthew 2 we’re told that an angel warned Joseph that he and Mary should flee to Egypt with the child Jesus, because Herod was determined to destroy him. John 20 we learn that it was two angels who announced to Mary Magdalene that Jesus had risen.

The Bible tells that an angel was sent to Cornelius, a lost man, to direct him to send for Simon Peter. He did so, Peter went to his house, Cornelius and his family were converted, and later, in Acts 11:13-14, Peter explained to some brethren what had happened: “And he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.”

C. Sometimes angels are agents of God’s wrath.

In Genesis 19 we read of how God sent two angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. 2 Kings 19:35: “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they [meaning, the Israelites] arose early in the morning, behold, they [the Assyrians] were all dead corpses.” We read in Acts 12:21-23: “And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”

D. Angels figure prominently in the second coming of Christ.

In Matthew 25:31 Jesus said, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.”

E. In that connection, at the end of the world God will use the angels in gathering the unsaved and consigning them to their fate.

I don’t know how he is going to do it, but the Bible clearly states that it will happen. In Matthew 13 Jesus told the parable of the sower, and then he explained its meaning in verses 37-42:

He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

F. God also uses the angels to carry believers to heaven.

In Luke 16:22 Jesus said, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom....”

There is an old spiritual which contains these words:

I looked over Jordan and what did I see, Comin’ for to carry me home,

A band of angels comin’ after me, Comin’ for to carry me home.

G. Angels ministered to Jesus when he was here on earth physically.

Following our Lord’s temptation experience in the wilderness, Matthew 4:11 says, “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” As the time drew near for his crucifixion and Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemene, Luke 22:43 says, “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.”

H. Angels minister to believers.

Look with me again at Hebrews 1:13-14: “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?”

1. Sometimes they provide physical nourishment. In 1 Kings 19 the prophet Elijah fled from the wrath of the evil queen Jezebel, and was exhausted and depressed. Then 1 Kings 19:5 says, “And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.” Elijah found a meal had been prepared for him, and he ate. Then he slept again, and verse 7 says, “And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.”

2. Angels sometimes direct our paths. In Acts 8:26 we read: “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.” And we learn in the following verses that Philip had the privilege of leading the Ethiopian eunoch to Christ. He had a great victory because an angel directed his path. That angel, of course, was not acting independently or on his own authority--he was simply carrying out God’s command by delivering God’s message to Philip.

3. Sometimes angels protect us and deliver us. In Genesis 19 we read of how angels delivered Lot and his family from destruction. In Daniel 6 is the account of Daniel being cast into a den of raging lions, but miraculously he was unharmed. In verse 22 Daniel said to the king, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths that they have not hurt me....” Psalm 37:4 says, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” In Acts 12 we read of how Simon Peter was imprisoned and scheduled to be executed, but verse 7 says, “And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.” We are told then of how the angel led him to safety.

I remember reading several years ago about a series of rapes that occurred in a park in a northern state. One day a particular young lady was jogging in that park, when she saw a suspicious man coming toward her. Her heart began to beat faster, for she feared for her safety, but to her amazement and relief the man walked wide around her. It was later determined that another rape had occurred during that time period, and when she heard about it she contacted the police and described the man she had seen in the park. She was asked to identify him, and it turned out that he was, indeed, the rapist. When asked why he didn’t attack her, he said, “Are you crazy? I wasn’t about to mess with those two big guys in white that were jogging beside that girl!” The young lady was astonished at his statement. So far as she knew, she had been utterly alone at the time.

4. As we’ve just noted, angels may minister to us without our knowledge. Billy Graham wrote a book entitled, Angels: God’s Secret Agents. In the case just cited, they were invisible to the young lady they were protecting. However, we’ve already seen from both the Old and New Testaments that sometimes they are visible, yet appear in the form of men, so that we don’t realize they are angels. And I know of no reason to think that that doesn’t happen in our own day and time, as well. In Judges 13 an angel visited Manoah and his wife, to whom Samson would be born, but verse 16 says that “Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord.” Thus, as we’ve noted earlier, Hebrews 13:2 says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

5. Does each believer have his or her own personal “guardian angel?” Some Bible interpreters think so. Two passages are often cited in support of that idea. One is Matthew 18:10, in which Jesus said: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Some, however, believe that Jesus was simply making a general statement, meaning that angels do look out for believers.

Another passage sometimes cited in support of the idea that each person has his own guardian angel is found in Acts 12. As we noted earlier, we read in that chapter that Peter was imprisoned and “the angel of the Lord” set him free. Then Peter went to a home where fellow Christians were praying for him. He knocked on the door, and a young girl named Rhoda answered. She ran back inside and excitedly told the group that Peter was at the door. Acts 12:15 says, “And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.”

Some believe that God put that in the Bible to let us know that Peter did have his own guardian angel, and that other Christians do, as well. That may be. However, it is also possible that that passage was not intended to teach such a doctrine; it may be that there was a commonly held notion that each believer had his own guardian angel, and that these Jewish Christians held that notion.

My point is that in recording events the Bible tells us what happened whether it should have happened or not. In other words, we’re told here that these people apparently believed that Peter had a guardian angel, but we’re not told whether or not they were correct in that belief.

The idea that each of us has a guardian angel is an attractive idea--but I think it is questionable as to whether or not the Bible actually teaches it. That may be the intent of these passages--but I don’t believe we can be dogmatic about it.

But regardless of that, the fact remains that the Bible definitely teaches that God’s angels do minister to us. However, they are not to be the focus of our attention. As one writer has rightly expressed it: “Our faith is not to be in angels, but in God who rules the angels. It is God who continues to do extraordinary acts in our lives, commanding His angelic hosts on our behalf.” In the last analysis, sending angels to minister to us is simply one more evidence of God’s love. It is he who created them and uses them as his instruments of blessing. Thus, all the praise and glory belongs to God for every good thing that ever happens in our lives.


1 Chafer, Lewis S., Systematic Theology, Vol. 2

2 Leavell, Landrum, Angels, Angels, Angels, p. 37

3 Carter, John F., A Layman’s Manual of Christian Doctrines, pp. 162-3