God’s holy angels are at work in world in remarkable ways. Our source for their activity is the Holy Bible. There has always been both fascination and doubt when it comes to angels. Even in Jesus’ day, one of the major religious groups called the Sadducees did not believe in the existence of angels (Acts 23:8). The Bible says they exist, and Jesus said they exist.
What does Scripture say? Hebrews 13:2 tells us that humans have had encounters with angels but weren’t aware of it. One of the greatest passages that will encourage you is II Kings 6:15-17, where the prophet Elisha prays that God will open the eyes of his servant to see the vast army that surrounded them. It says, “…behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” Hebrews 1:14 says that one reason God created angels was to serve those who follow Jesus. Psalm 34:7 says, “The angel of the Lord encamp around those who fear the Lord.”
It was an angel that God sent as a messenger to announce the birth of Jesus to Mary and to Joseph. Angels told the shepherds where to find the newborn Savior (Luke 2:8-14). Angels ministered to Jesus after His 40 days of temptation by the Devil (Matthew 4:11). Angels announced the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the women at the tomb (Matthew 28:2).
Angels will gather God’s people from the four corners of the earth when He returns (Matthew 24:31). Angels freed Peter and John from their jail cell in Acts 5:19. Jesus spoke on the reality of angels in Matthew 18:10, Matthew 22:30 and Matthew 26:53. These passages are worth looking up.
We know from God’s Word that angels were created (Colossians 1:16; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2-5). I love what I Timothy 6:15-16 says, “…the King of kings, and Lord of lords…who alone possesses immortality.” Only God has no beginning or end.
Angels do not reproduce themselves (Matthew 22:30). Their number is never specified. We are told there are “multitudes” of angels (Luke 2:13) and “legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53), and “myriads of angels” (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11). Angels have some sense of order, rank and distinctiveness.
Few angels are named. Michael is called the archangel (Daniel 10:21 & Jude 9). The angel Gabriel assisted Michael (Daniel 8:16). Gabriel spoke to Zacharias, the father of John the baptizer (Luke 1:18-19), and he spoke to Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-28).
Another of my favorite passages on angels is in I Peter 1:12, where we are told that angels “desire to look into the gospel” that redeems humans. Fallen angels are not given a second opportunity to reconcile with God. Only humans are. Angels are called “cherubim” in Genesis 3:24 and called “seraphim” in Isaiah 6:2-3.
One last thought is that there is another distinct angel called the “angel of the Lord.”
He seems to be distinct over and above all other angels, and many believe this is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. Look up Genesis 16:7-13; Exodus 3:1-6; Judges 6:11-13; and Judges 13:21-22 and see what you think.
John Hunn is pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new preacher each month writing a column.