Well, what an interesting week in the Lectionary Calendar – St Michael’s and All Angels.
My evangelical upbringing didn’t include a huge amount of teaching on angels if I’m honest. I do have a faint recollection that Billy Graham wrote a book, ‘Angels – God’s secret agents’ and that I was interested in reading it, but never quite got round to it. In my sermon preparation I was also conscious of unearthing some very ‘dodgy stuff’ from the internet. My ‘safety net’ was that if they could provide a Bible verse to back it up, I was willing to listen.
In today’s society angels are seen as fairly cute and comforting creatures whereas in the Bible whenever angels appear on the scene, the first thing they say is, “Do not be afraid!”. Mmm, not quite so cute then.
Some angelic facts:
Angels are spirit beings and a totally different creature from humans. We do not become angels after death and angels don’t become human Heb 1.14
The Bible never says that angels are made in God’s image, though they can take on physical form (Gen 6.4,19.1)
Angels are intelligent (Matt 8.9; 2 Cor 11.3; 1 Pet 1.12)
Angels are emotional (Luke 2.13; James 2.19; Rev 12.17)
Angels have individual personalities and will (Luke 8.28-31; 2 Tim 2.26; Jude 6)
Angels do not know everything, are not everywhere at once or as powerful as God (Matt 24.36
Angels understand the Bible and the world, and they believe in God’s prophecies (James 2.19; Rev 12.12)
God sends angels to help believers and sometimes bring answers to prayer (Heb 1.14, Acts 12.5-10, 8.26, 19.1)
Angels encourage (Acts 27.23-24)
Angels do a lot of praising and worshipping God (Psalm 148.1-2; Is 6.3; Heb 1.6; Rev 5.8-13)
Only Michael and Gabriel are named in the Bible with Michael being an archangel who protected Daniel (Dan 12.1), withstood the devil (Jude 9) and will participate in the end times (1 Thess 4.13-18).
And what about Guardian Angels? Well, there appears to be differences of opinion here, all centred around the interpretation of Matt 18.10. (have a read from verse 1 to 14). There may be numerous angels assigned to us. Jesus said that he could have called on ’12 legions’ of angels (72,000) to help him.
That’s interesting but does it change anything? I was encouraged to know that in the spiritual battle the Bible talks about, as humans, we’re not left to battle on our own. Angels are around to help us even though we may not know they’re there (Heb 13.2). It was also good to remember that angels are in complete submission to God and have their limitations. We’re to ask God for all that we need, giving praise and worship to him – alongside all the angels (Ps 148.2)
(Thank you to www.compellingtruth.org A web site I found particularly helpful)