The reality of the spiritual realm seems to be readily accepted by the majority these days. And this is good news for mission minded Believers because it provides opportunities for sharing our faith.
And the Bible has much to say about the activity of beings in the spiritual realm. For example, the Christmas story is full of angels.
Zechariah; Mary; Joseph; Shepherds all encounter angels.
1. WHO ARE THE ANGELS?
a. Angels defined
Hebrews 1:14; Psalm 8:5; 1 Kings 19:2
b. Angel’s appearance.
Luke 2:9; Luke 24:4; Genesis 18:1; Hebrews 13:2; Hebrews 1:14; Mt 22:30; Lk 20:36
Created beings. Psalm 148 includes them with the sun, moon, stars and waters above the skies
2. WHAT DO ANGELS DO?
1. Teachers - Daniel Ch 9
2. Protectors - Psalm 34:7 says,
3. Suppliers of urgent needs - Luke 4:11
4. God’s Rescue squad - Acts 12:8-10.
5. Executioners of God’s judgment - Mt 16:27; Rev 8:2.
This list raises the common question, “Do we have guardian angels?” Jesus seemed to imply the possibility in Matthew 18:7
The book of Revelation refers to “the angels of the churches,” suggesting that there may even be corporate guardians too. But both of these are pretty thin references. There is no direct teaching in the Bible that says we have guardian angels – it’s a nice idea, but at best it’s questionable.
3. DO PEOPLE SEE ANGELS TODAY?
One question I always ask is, “Has this experience led them closer to Jesus?”
WW II fighter crews have reported seeing ‘another figure’ in the cockpit of a stricken plane when the pilot had been killed. People have reported strangers turning up to rescue them from some crisis. Another friend of mine told me of a time he met what he believed to be his guardian angel - it was significant for us because it was the first time we had ever spoken about spiritual matters together and we were able to go from there to talk about Jesus.
Billy Graham recounts the story of John Paton in his book “Angels: God’s Secret Agents.”
Paton was a missionary to the New Hebrides Islands and at one time hostile natives had surrounded his mission. They were intent on burning out the Patons and killing them. John Paton and his wife prayed through the night for God to save them. When daylight came they were surprised to see their attackers gone.
A year later the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ, and Paton asked him what had happened that night. Why hadn’t he and his men burnt down the Patons house and killed them. The chief went on to tell him that they had every intention of killing Paton and his wife but were afraid to because of the hundreds of men surrounding the mission, wearing shining garments and with drawn swords in their hands.
Who were these men? Paton and his wife hadn’t seen them. Yet the description given by the native chief fits that of an angelic army.
4. HOW SHOULD WE REGARD ANGELS?
The Apostle Paul expressly banned angel worship in Colossians 2:18. In fact the angels themselves worship God (Rev 5:11-12), and hold him in great awe. Psalm 89:7
Their task is to point to God and not to themselves. We see that in every one of their appearances in the Christmas story.