“Stars are the windows of heaven, where angels peek through,” says a cute, old song.
Once a friend received an e-mail stating, “When you find a penny, an angel has tossed it to the ground when you’re frowning to give you a smile.” The message ended, “I hope that you feel as lucky as I do, as I am so very fortunate to be graced with angels such as you in my life.”
This, too, would be viewed as cute or sweet by many people. But that does not mean it’s true. Such sentiments tend to minimize the power and glory that angels possess.
Many people assume a lot when it comes to the angelic realm. They carelessly base their beliefs on what they’ve always heard or what sounds good.
For the truth about angels we must turn to the God who made them—and made everything else as well. And what He says is found in His Word—the Holy Bible.
Angels are found in the movies, on cards, everywhere—at least the popular conception of angels is. If you explore the subject in books and on the Internet, most of what you’ll find is based on fables, myths and popular suppositions. We hear stories about guardian angels, angelic protection in time of war, and people being helped by angels in various ways. They’re depicted in movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Angels in the Outfield, as well as TV shows like Highway to Heaven, Touched by an Angel and some animated programs (along with a number of darker, even immoral, presentations). People sell collectible angels, children’s picture books on angels and sand pictures of angels.
There are some right ideas among the various portrayals and descriptions but also many misconceptions. What ought we to think about angels? What’s the real story? Where can we turn to know for sure? For the truth about angels we must turn to the God who made them—and made everything else as well. And what He says is found in His Word—the Holy Bible. What, then, does the Bible actually say about angels?
Spirit messengers, God’s heavenly army
One of the most fascinating subjects of the Bible is that of God’s servants in the spirit realm—His messengers and heavenly army.
The English word “angel” derives from a Greek word used in the original New Testament, aggelos (the double g or gamma pronounced here as a hard “ng” sound, as in “angle”). This word means “messenger.” The Old Testament Hebrew word malak means the same thing. These terms are used in Scripture of human messengers as well as spirit messengers. Context determines which is intended.
We read in God’s Word about mankind’s various encounters with these beings that are usually invisible to us—some of which are rather astonishing! We find elaborate descriptions of cherubim in the book of Ezekiel and another interesting depiction of seraphim in the book of Isaiah.
We see angels serving the physical needs of various men and women in stories throughout Scripture. We also see different levels of administration in the angelic realm.
In the pages of the Bible we find a number of recorded accounts of angelic visits or intervention. Jesus and the apostles Peter and Paul noted direct and indirect encounters with angels!
Battling spiritual foes
Angels play important roles throughout the letters of the New Testament up through the book of Revelation. We find examples of righteous angels fighting the wicked demons—evil angels who rebelled against God and are trying to thwart His plan.
As Christians, we know we are in a spiritual battle and our warfare is not against flesh and blood—as the apostle Paul warned (Ephesians 6:10-18). Deception is not accomplished through a stark contrast between blatant good and evil. There is often a dark side to the “cute” and “comical” of the world.
In the pages of the Bible we find a number of recorded accounts of angelic visits or intervention.
Each of us needs to beware of deception that can come in many forms— for our adversaries are powerful. People perceive Satan as a funny caricature with a pitchfork or as an ugly, fearsome-looking creature. Most images we have are from art and Hollywood. Yet the Bible says Satan appears as an angel of light to deceive (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Thankfully, God intervenes for us—including through sending His righteous angels to protect and help us (see “Personal Stories of Angelic Encounters")
Though we don’t see them, angels are there
Again, angels are God’s messengers and His spirit army, and they are very numerous. Make no mistake, angels do exist! They exist to serve “those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:13-14). But because they are invisible, we tend to forget their role in carrying out God’s purpose and plan.
We’ve all heard stories of supernatural intervention—some of them may even be your stories! Many angels have been given the duty of serving our needs, and their responsibilities and assignments may change with circumstances.
So let’s take a look in our Bibles and examine some of the interesting and profound verses that give us insight into these servants of God. The Scriptures have much to tell us on the fascinating subject of angels!