Christmas is still in the air and an Associated Press poll reveals that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe in Angels; 77 percent of adults to be exact. The Washington Times states that most Americans do believe in guardian angels who keep them safe in a dangerous world. A new study says it’s this belief that keeps them from taking risks.
The most memorable angel in the movies is the Christmas classic, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey in the fictional town of Bedford Falls shortly after World War II – a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve gains the attention of his guardian angel, Clarence, who is sent to help him in his hour of need. ‘And whenever an angel gets his wings, a bell rings.’ A great movie.
I’ve always believed that we all had guardian angels; angels who protect us from that close call while driving; or making us aware of things that could be harmful to us or simply keeping us from doing wrong. What does the Bible say?
The Bible mentions angels frequently. Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament. Only two angels–Michael and Gabriel–are mentioned by name in Scripture. These two names are masculine in gender.
According to the Bible, however, angels are spiritual (not physical) beings. Although they can take on human form or appearance (as they do at times in Scripture), they do not have physical bodies like humans and so are neither “male” nor “female” in gender. Angels are essentially “ministering spirits”. Jesus declared that “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have”.
Angels are everywhere — the intermediaries between God and man; and Jesus set a seal upon the Old Testament teaching: “See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven”. Matthew 18:10.
It also tell us in the doctrine : ‘even little children have guardian angels, and these same angels are within the vision of God and they have a mission to fulfill on earth.’ There are a whole range of spirits whom God has created, with special categories such as cherubim, seraphim, and the archangel. We are familiar with archangels Gabriel and Michael.
There are many places in the New Testament that allude to ministering of angels: Gabriel announcing the good news of Jesus to Mary; the angel in the Garden of Gethsemane ministering to Jesus; and the angel who delivered Peter from prison. They are sometimes in the form of men and their purpose is very meaningful.
Angels in the Bible never appear as cute, chubby infants! They are always full-grown adults. When people in the Bible saw an angel, their typical response was to fall on their faces in fear and awe. Some Bible passages picture angels with wings. Other verses talk about angels flying, and we assume that the wings would be useful for that flight. But others say that angels may be able to move around without having to depend on wings, somewhat like clouds do. Most references to angels in Scripture say nothing about angels having wings and yet, Daniel and John both refer to angels as ‘flying’ by.
Our Lord often spoke of angels; in the New Testament – and because of this, churches teach that everyone has a guardian angel based on references to them throughout the Bible. “No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent, for to His Angels God has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” “For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.”
Angels strengthened Jesus after his temptation and encouraged the apostles to keep preaching after releasing them from prison and gave Paul information about his shipwreck. Answering prayers – God often uses angels as His means of answering the prayers of His people. Caring for believers at the moment of death – In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, we read that angels carried the spirit of Lazarus to “Abraham’s bosom” when he died.
So — “Do you believe YOU have a Guardian Angel?” I know I do. I can be very klutzy and my angel has prevented a lot of mishaps in my life! I used to say ‘Wow, that was lucky’ and now I say thanks to my angel and to God. For those of you who do believe there is a spirit out there watching over you and protecting you from most things – have you ever heard their bells ring?
Marie Coppola Revised December 2018