Who doesn’t like to talk about or dream about angels, especially with Christmas just around the corner? Angels are exciting, perhaps terrifying and certainly captivating to consider. The Bible includes almost 300 references to angels. From beginning to end the Bible describes angels in a variety of activities. Let’s consider some Bible truths about angels: information and misinformation plus what difference does it make?
Angels are immortal and they were present when God created the world. They are millions of angels involved in announcing, defending, guiding, punishing, comforting, challenging, instructing, warning and more. The book of Revelation described a number of them too large to count! So, they are quite real of course and not mythological. They are swift and powerful spirit beings with personality: mind, will and emotions. They are very intelligent and are interested in human affairs. Abraham, Daniel and Jacob interacted with angels. Jesus, Paul, Peter, Mary, Salome, John and others encountered angels. Two angels named in the Bible are Michael and Gabriel.
You may know stories where a person believes their life was saved by an angel – perhaps while driving, or a rescue from drowning, or being pulled from a fire. You might have your own story of an encounter with an angel. They are actually “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation.” Fourth Officer Charles Lightoller who survived the Titanic sinking in 1912 credits an angel for his miraculous rescue from certain death.
Many people have been influenced by a cultural understanding of angels from movies and TV. How many movies or TV shows come to mind that include angels? It’s a heartwarming Christmas story, but remember ‘Clarence Odbody’ the angel character in It’s a Wonderful Life! However, we do not become angels when we die, a sort of glorified humans who have earned their wings. Also, angels are not all-powerful, all-knowing or everywhere present, but they are super-human in strength and power.
In the Christmas story, from the Bible books of Matthew and Luke, angels appear to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and some awe-struck shepherds outside Bethlehem! As fascinating as angels are, they are not to he worshipped in any way. They will actually worship the Lord God with us! Understanding and appreciating angels helps us see God’s providential and sovereign direction throughout history. There is an unseen world that intersects with ours. If you are part of God’s family, angels will be ‘ministering spirits’ watching over you!