Do angels really exist? Why? What is their purpose?
For believers, the only real authority on these heavenly beings is the Bible. Dr. Billy Graham, one of God’s great contemporary generals of our generation, offers these words of wisdom regarding the existence of angels:
I am convinced that these heavenly beings exist and that they provide unseen aid on our behalf.
- I do not believe in angels because someone has told me about a dramatic event or visitation from an angel, impressive as such testimonies may be.
- I do not believe in angels because of the sudden worldwide emphasis on the reality of satan and demons.
- I do not believe in angels because I have ever seen one, because I haven’t … at least not that I know of.
- I believe in angels because the Bible says there are angels and I believe the Bible to be the true Word of God.
Angels are heavenly beings that exist in the spirit realm. The scriptures record a variety of angelic appearances and activities that confirm the reality of their existence, including visiting individuals, intervening in their circumstances and assisting them in countless ways.
The work and ministry of angels is specific – in heaven, on earth and to believers.
The supernatural ministry of angels in the earth is very real. But how effective they can be depends heavily on you and me.
We actually can hinder them from doing what they’re created to do. That is why we must understand their ministry and lean to cooperate with them according to the Word of God.
Angels are often dispatched to earth to accomplish the Lord’s will, to deliver a message, or to perform tasks in the lives of believers on behalf of God. At times they are even dispatched to pour out God’s wrath and judgment. Their interaction with man is sometimes veiled from those who are the recipients of their work and ministry. However, whether apparent or obscure, the work and ministry of these heavenly messengers is real.
According to the scriptures, they are referred to as the “heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14), sent to those who belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ. As believers, we must understand the work and ministry of angels.
ANGELS ARE CREATED, NOT BORN
In Hebrews chapters 1 and 2, we find out that angels are created beings. They aren’t born as men are born, nor do they have the same authority as human beings. They are created with purpose. Hebrews 1:14 tells us about their ultimate role “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
Who are these “heirs of salvation?” You and me. Believers. Those who are born again and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. These are the heirs of salvation and the ministering spirits or angels of God are sent to minister to us.
What are we heirs of? Salvation – which includes preservation, healing, soundness and deliverance from temporal evils.
JESUS AND THE ANGELS
The Bible gives us numerous accounts of angelic deliverance and protection. Jesus was always aware of their presence. When arrested, He said, “thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53.
One Roman legion was 6,000 soldiers. Jesus said one prayer could have called 12 legions – or 72,000 – angels to come to his aid. Jesus understood the power of angelic protection.
As a joint heir with Jesus, we can have the same protection. Through prayers and speaking God’s word, we can have that kind of divine protection that comes by the ministry of angels.
The apostles Peter and Paul experienced the assistance of angels. On more than one occasion, angels delivered Peter from jail (Acts 5:18-20, 12:6-8) Paul was facing shipwreck – a potentially fatal situation. After much prayer he said, “and now I exhort you to be of good cheer, for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer, for I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me. Acts 27:22-25
Now getting that kind of results will do wonders for your prayer life! Angels are “mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His Word.” Psalm 103:20.
ANGELS IN HEAVEN
God’s Word gives numerous examples of the work and ministry of angels in heaven. These examples are very specific, showing us glimpses of what we will someday see in glory.
Angels rejoice when a sinner is saved: “Likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.” Luke 15:10
Angels worship God: “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 was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” Revelation 5:11-12
“And all the angels stood round about the throne and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces and worshiped God, saying Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:11-12
Angels behold the face of God: Take heed that you 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.” Matthew 18:10
Angels stand above God’s throne and declare his holiness: 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 and 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. Isaiah 6:1-3.
Angels present the prayers of the saints before God’s throne. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3-4
ANGELS ON EARTH
Just as there are a number of examples of angels in heaven, God’s Word offers many insights into the work and ministry of angels on earth.
Angels sometimes serve as God’s agents of warning. “And when they were departed, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt and be there until I bring word, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. Matthew 2:13
Angels can be God’s agents of war. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, a host compassed the city both with horses and chariots, and his servant said unto him, alas my master! How shall we do? And he answered, fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-17)
Angels can be God’s agents of wrath against the enemy. 13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Joshua 5:13-14
ANGELS AND BELIEVERS
Not only are we given many examples of angels in heaven and earth, we have a number of faith-building scriptures to show the work and ministry of angels to believers.
Angels strengthen believers. Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. Luke 22:43
Angels minister to believers. 7 And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire.” 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:7, 13-14
Angels are agents of God who bear messages from Him. And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. Luke 1:19
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” Matthew 2:13
Angels minister God’s encouragement and bring peace. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him and said unto him, the Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor … and when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! For because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face, and the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto you, fear not, you shall not die.” Judges 6:12, 22-23
Angels minister God’s protection. My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” Daniel 6:22
Angels minister God’s guidance. Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. Acts 8:26
Angels appear unexpectedly. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2
The work and ministry of angels is specific – in heaven, on earth and to believers. The work and ministry of angels is clearly ordained by God, not just in the past or right now, but forever. In the words of the late Dr. Lester Sumrall, “Angels were not made for a certain brief period of time. Throughout eternity we will have fellowship with the angels of God, just like we have fellowship with the redeemed who have been living for Jesus.”
Angels are an important part of the spirit world. Their assignments are very real. God created them to be available at a moment’s notice to minister for us, and their ministry includes providing divine protection, guidance, deliverance and peace.