One of my pet peeves is when someone says that a deceased person is an angel watching over a person. While the effort to be comforting is appreciated, the statement isn’t true; humans do not turn into angels. Perhaps people got that idea from watching the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which an angel named Clarence received his wings when he accomplished a mission on earth.
What does the Bible say about angels? Angels are mentioned 108 times in the Old Testament, and 165 times in the New Testament. God created countless angels, (before creating the earth), with a will and ability to express emotions like joy and longing. These spiritual beings were made for the purpose of serving God, glorifying, praising, and worshipping Him. The Bible says that angels report to God, obey Him, and observe, help, and minister to God’s people. They also attended to Jesus after His temptation (Colossians 1:16; Job 38:4-7; Luke 15:10; 1 Peter1:12; Job 1:6,2:1; Psalm 103:20-21; Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 4:11).
Angels are invisible unless God wants them to be seen. Balaam’s donkey saw an angel with a sword, standing in its path before God opened Balaam’s eyes to see it (Numbers 22:31). The angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel, Mary (Jesus’ mother), and Zachariah, delivering messages to them. An angel rolled back the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb, terrifying the guards. First one angel announced Jesus’ birth, then multitudes of angels praising God appeared to shepherds.
Angels have sometimes taken a human form when they interact with people. An angel-looking man appeared to Samson’s mother and father. The Lord and two angels appeared to Abraham and ate a meal with him, and two angels protected Lot from his friends before leading him out of Sodom. Mary Magdalene, with a couple of other women, saw and talked to an angel at Jesus’ tomb.
Angels have other purposes besides giving messages to people. God placed cherubim with a flaming sword to guard the tree of life, (cherubim and seraphim were created differently — Ezekiel 10:20; Isaiah 6:2). Other angels protected God’s servants, like Daniel in the lion’s den and his three friends in the blazing furnace. An angel touched Elijah and provided food for him (after running from Jezebel). An angel delivered Peter from prison, and one strengthened Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Do guardian angels exist? Jesus implied that children had angels in heaven, but it’s unconfirmed that a special angel is assigned to each person. Angels [plural] carried Lazarus’ soul to Abraham’s side, and Jesus said He could have called 12 legions (72,000 angels) during His arrest. David wrote, “For he will command his angels [plural] concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Matthew 18:10, 26:53; Luke 16:22; Psalm 91:11).
We know that angels are powerful. David saw the angel who struck down 70,000 of his people. One night, an angel annihilated 185,000 Assyrians camped gathered for war against Israel.
Perhaps these spiritual beings are mostly invisible for a reason. People are so infatuated with angels and awed at their presence that even John fell at one’s feet to worship. But they’re not to be worshipped for they are fellow servants of God. John claimed that ten thousand times ten thousand angels sang around the throne of God (Revelation 22:8; 5:11-12).
Satan is an angel whose pride led him to rebel against God, and other angels followed him; however, God uses Satan and demons to accomplish His purposes. In the end of time, they all are doomed to the lake of fire, and evil will be forever destroyed. There will be a new heaven and earth, and believers will live eternally with the Lord. Will the angels also be present?
We’ve heard stories of believers seeing angels and the room becoming brighter right before their deaths. Many have reported angels randomly appearing on earth to help people. I believe two angels had once helped my daughter. Furthermore, Hebrews 13:2 reveals that some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Have you ever had an encounter with an angel?