Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Angels: Do They Exist?

“He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and
unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

-Daniel 3:25

                Approximately 68 percent of Americans believe in angels. Some believe in them because they believe in God. Others either only believe because that’s what they were taught or they only believe because they hope that there are good forces protecting them throughout their days.  There are coincidences that some chalk up to pure coincidence, and there’s too much that some don’t because they have the feeling that it was something else, something divine.

                Many secular people think that Christians are crazy for believing in angels. I’ve seen many comparing angels to fairies, both as mythological creatures made up for fairytales and folk lore. They depict angels as chubby infants with wings who are always smiling and laughing. However, angels, in the Bible, are always adult and usually male, with the exception of the two female angels in Zechariah 5:9.  Many people believe that angels have halos over their heads. They don’t have halos; the light that is described in the Bible is the glow of their face that overwhelms the darkness.

                Angels are talked about much throughout Scripture. The number of angels that exist are unknown but in Revelation they are referred to as “a multitude”, so we know that there are a lot. We also see the seraphim and cherubim. Seraphim are seen in Revelation, as well as in Isaiah 6:2. They each have six wings. The cherubim guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden. Are seraphim and cherubim classes of angels? It is slightly uncertain as we see the cherubim as guardians of paradise, bearers of the throne (Psalm 18:9-10 where we see God mounting the cherubim), and as winged creatures of fire. In Ezekiel 1:-5, the prophet designates them as living creatures and the living creature as cherubim in Ezekiel 10:15, 20. They were seen as four living creatures in Ezekiel 1:10 with four wings each to sustain the firmament and to cover their bodies.

“After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of
the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword
flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”

-Genesis 3:24

                So what exactly is an angel? The word angel derives from the Greek word aggelos, which means messenger. The Hebrew word mal’ak means the same thing. Angels are not merely creatures with wings. As a matter of fact, most angels described in the Bible are wingless and take on the appearance of men. They are not equal to God but they are greater than man. They are stronger than man, but not omnipotent. They are greater than man in knowledge, but not omniscient. They are more noble than man, but not omnipresent.  Some people have prayed to angels. But they are not God. They are merely messengers.

“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those
who will inherit salvation.”

-Hebrews 1:14

                God sends his angels to protect those believers from harm and even to unbelievers that He has plans for. Some people believe that you don’t have to be sent from Heaven to be an angel. God will use people to intercede to do His plans. I’ve witnessed this. Do we all have guardian angels? Not necessarily; God is our guardian and he sends out His messengers when needed. Sometimes, there’s those people who seem to disappear just as fast as they came, leaving without a trace when we look away for just a split second.

                Angels do not reproduce and although they have not existed as long as God has, they were created before man. There is a set number of these angels and they are usually wearing white robes to represent their purity and righteousness. It is unknown when they were created but it is speculated that they were created sometime when God created the Heavens (Genesis 1:1). Since earth is God’s creation and so are angels, angels have the ability to dwell on the earth.
                In the Bible, there are several encounters that people did have with angels. The most famous one might be when the angel Gabriel, the same angel who went to David, went to Mary and prophesized to her that she would bear a child and his name shall be Jesus. He did not come to her in a human form but rather he came in his natural angelic state. In Zechariah 4:1, we see that an angel had also gone to Zechariah and spoke to him. In Daniel 10:5-6, an angel appears to Daniel as well. Daniel describes him as looking like a man, but the description Daniel gives of the angel lets us know that he was more than a man; he had divine characteristics. The book of Revelation is the writings of the Apostle John of visions that he had received from multiple angels. The angels carried him places and showed him many things that weren’t revealed to anyone else. We also see that through faith in God, angels are sent for protection.

“Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent
his angel and rescued his servants!”

-David 3:28

                We all know the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They refused to worship the gods of King Nebuchadnezzar or worship the statue of gold he had set up. Therefore, the King had ordered them to be thrown in a fiery furnace. They were bound and thrown in. While the guards that threw them in had died from the extreme heat of the flame, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were free and their silhouettes were seen walking around in the flame…with a fourth person! This person was one of God’s angels sent to protect these men of great faith.

                There are also encounters with angels where they did not resemble an angel but they rather resembled man. In Genesis 18:2 there are three men that approach the tent of Abraham where he is staying with his wife. Moses does not immediately recognize these men as angels but he tends to them quickly. One of these men was actually the Lord himself! In Genesis 19, two men visit Sodom and Lot lets them reside with him. He protects them from the residents of the city while they stay and in return he is protected from the burning of Sodom.

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some
people have entertained angels without knowing.”

-Hebrews 13:2

                God sends certain people in our lives, who may be His angels as in the stories of Abraham and Lot, to test our faith and to test our love for Him. The Word says that when we help someone, we are helping the Lord. They might not be angels in all cases but we should never doubt that this could happen. God does send His angels to dwell among us and protect us.

                We do need to remember though that not all angels are good. Satan was an angel of God. When he decided he wanted God’s power and he was banished from Heaven, other angels were banished with him. There is a constant battle between good and evil, although we don’t always see it. You see, the demons, or evil angels, attack us. They try to attack our thoughts. In turn, God’s angels, once we are saved, are constantly trying to battle off these demons so that we may remain pure as God’s children.

“Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself,
and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.
That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

-Matthew 12:45

                Daniel 10:7 informs us that not everyone can see the angels but others can. But no matter what, God will send His angels to help protect us. But we need to believe in what we cannot see. In Matthew 16:1-4, the Pharisees had commanded that Jesus perform a miraculous sign from Heaven. He refused and told them that an adulterous people ask to see signs. This applies to all aspects of God’s glory. If we believe in God then we believe in all things that are His. This includes angels; the Bible even gives proof of their existence.

“He will command his angels concerning you to guard you
carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so
that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

-Luke 4:10-11

                Angels have many jobs. The most noted angels are Michael (Daniel 10:13; Jude 9) and Gabriel (Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26). However, there are numerous unnamed angels who appear in Scripture to carry out a variety of tasks-all designed to serve God. Just as we have spiritual gifts, these angels too are assigned certain duties.

-          Worship and praise: This is the main activity portrayed in Heaven (Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4-5)
-          Revealing: They communicate God’s will to men. They revealed the law to Moses (Acts 7:52-53) and served as carriers of much of the material in Daniel and Revelation.
-          Guiding: Angels gave instruction to Joseph (Matthew 1-2), women at the tomb, to Philip (Acts 8:26), and to Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8).
-          Providing: God has used angels to provide physical needs such as food for Hagar (Genesis 21:17-20), Elijah (1 Kings 19:6), and Christ after his temptation (Matthew 4:11).
-          Protecting: Keeping God’s people out of physical danger, as in the case of Daniel and the lions, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.
-          Delivering: Getting God’s people out of danger once they’re in it. Angels released the apostles from prison in Acts 5, and also Peter in Acts 12.
-          Strengthening and Encouraging: Angels strengthened Jesus after his temptation (Matthew 4:11), encouraged the apostles to keep preaching after being released from prison (Acts 5:19-20), and told Paul everyone on his ship would survive the eminent shipwreck (Acts 27:23-25).
-          Answering prayer: God often uses angels as His means of answering prayers of His people (Daniel 9:20-24; 10:10-12; Acts 12:1-17).
-          Caring for believers at the moment of death: In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, we see that angels carried the spirit of Lazarus to “Abraham’s bosom” when he died (Luke 16:22).

                Just to show that God can send His angels to protect, I have gathered a few testimonies from some friends of “angelic encounters”.

                                Nelly’s Story:
Rebecca, I have not had angelic encounters. My brother had an experience worth mentioning though. He was on his way back from his last class at university, after 10pm. The university campus is located in a really rough and poorly lit neighborhood, so it was pretty dark. He flagged the last bus of the night, which stopped to pick him up. As my brother got on the bus, the driver asked him where the other two, really tall guys that were with him had gone, but my brother was puzzled, as he was alone (or so he thought). As he found a seat near the back of the bus, two other young guys he knew asked him too, who the super tall guys standing next to him at the bus stop were. My brother smiled and told them they were angels, and he then asked them what the two beings looked like, to which they replied "they wore white clothes, and were a full head taller than you". My brother is 6'4" tall. Needless to say, my brother was delighted when he came home and told us :)

                I don’t know about you, but it seems as though God had sent angels to protect Nelly’s brother in this rough neighborhood. He hadn’t seen them, but everyone else did. This could have kept off potential criminals from attacking him. He was protected, just as Daniel was, from the danger around him. There are numerous reports of people who say that they have seen two tall men dressed in white on either side of a person in rough neighborhoods while the people being protected hadn’t seen them at all. But it’s just as Daniel 10:7 says: not everyone will be able to see the angels. I believe that the people being protected don’t see the angels because they have no need to. The only people who need to are the people who would try to bring harm upon them.

Noelle’s Story:

It's not probably the best example, but when my grandfather was in his last moments (he was dying from cancer but was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s and couldn't remember anything) he got lucid for a couple of minutes. He told my grandmother he loved her and said goodbye to my mom. And just before he took his last breath, he started carrying on a conversation with Gabriel. I wasn't there, but my mom told me about it. I've never been able to forget that because I've always had a hard time believing stories of people seeing Heaven and then coming back to talk about it. He was a strong man of God, so it was really touching to hear that my grandfather was experiencing it, and they got to see it for themselves.

This is a good example of an encounter during death. You may think that he was just an old man suffering on his death bed. But then again, you might say that he really did have an angelic encounter.

                Although not everyone has experienced an angelic encounter, they may have experienced divine intervention by God.

My Story:

When I was still high school, my dad would leave for work before I woke up for school. I’d call him every morning when I woke up. One morning I decided to get ready and then call him, which wasn’t the usual routine. I called him and he told me that he had just been about to leave a truck stop and wasn’t going to answer the call but decided that he should. We talking for five or ten minutes and then I was on my way to school. When my dad got home that night he told me that if I hadn’t called him when I did he could have gotten into a serious accident with a fuel truck. Just minutes before I got off of the phone with him, two 18 wheelers had crashed and the only thing he suffered was having to sit in traffic.

Cheri’s Story:

Back in 2003 I was on my way home from seeing my Mother who had just had surgery at the local hospital. It was 10pm. My little niece, a 5 year old, begged me to allow her to spend the night as she oftentimes did. My Mother got on the bandwagon and asked me to take her. I firmly told them "no" as I was going to get up early to attend early morning prayer at church.

I was about half way home and stopped at a red light behind 5 other cars. Suddenly a vehicle hit me from behind. The impact was horrific. I had just filled up my car with gas. I could smell gas and could see smoke (later I learned it was the powder from the air bag). I was pinned in my car. Someone came and asked if I was ok and if there was anyone else in the car. I told them, "no." Others came to inquire as to my well-being and if anyone else was in the car. It actually irritated me. But I was growing concerned about my own safety. I wanted out but couldn't. I could move but the door would not open. Finally, the paramedics arrived and used the Jaws of Life to get me out. As it turns out, all cars in front of me as well as the truck that hit me were totaled due to the impact. There were injuries, but no one was killed. There was not one place on my car that was not bent up and scratched up other than the passenger side mirror!!

The guy who ran into me was driving a 3/4 ton pickup and was pulling a trailer. The police said he was drunk and never even tried to put on his brakes. They surmised he was going at least 60 miles per hour when he ran into the back of my car.

Here's the wonderful part of the story... if my niece had come with me she would not have made it through the accident alive. She would have been sitting in the back seat. The back of my car ended up being pushed in as far as 1 foot behind the back of my head!!! There was no trunk, and no back seat left!! Yes, God intervened in many ways that night!!


  1. Great post! I appreciated all the verses you referenced. I didn't think about most of those, and didn't even remember the one that visited Daniel.


    1. Yes, I forgot about that one but I did research for 2 days. Thanks for reading!

  2. Thank you for sharing my brother's story. Great job on summarizing the teaching on angels.