Angels are personal spiritual beings, having aspects of intelligence, emotions,
and will. This is true of both the good and evil angels. Angels possess intelligence
(Matthew 8:29, 2 Corinthians 11:3, Peter 1:12), show emotions (Luke 2:13, James
2:19, Revelation 12:17), and demonstrate that they have wills (Luke 8:28-31 ,2 Timothy
2:26, Jude 6). Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14), with no true physical body.
The fact that they do not have bodies does not affect their being personalities
(any more than it does with God).
The knowledge angels possess is limited by their being created beings. This means
they do not know all things as God does (Matthew 24:36). They do seem to have greater
knowledge than humans, however. This may be due to three causes.
- Angles were created as a higher order of creatures in the universe than humans are.
Therefore, innately they possess greater knowledge.
- Angels study the Bible and the world more thoroughly than humans do and gain knowledge
from it (James 2:19, Revelation 12:12).
- Angels gain knowledge through long observation of human activities. Unlike humans,
angels do not have to study the past; they have experienced it. Therefore, they
know how others have acted and reacted in situations and can predict with a greater
degree of accuracy how we may act in similar circumstances.
Though they have wills, the angels are, like all creatures, subject to the will
of God. Good angels are sent by God to help believers (Hebrews 1:14). Here are some
activities the Bible ascribes to angels:
- They praise God (Psalm 148:1,2, Isaiah 6:3).
- They worship God (Hebrews 1:6, Revelation 5:8-13).
- They rejoice in what God does (Job 38:6-7).
- They serve God (Psalm 103:20, Revelation 22:9).
- They appear before God (Job 1:6, Job 2:1).
- They are instruments of God's judgments (Revelation 7:1, Revelation 8:2).
- They bring answers to prayer (Acts 12:5-10).
- They aid in winning people to Christ (Acts 8:26, Acts 10:3).
- They observe Christian order, work, and suffering (1 Corinthians 4:9, 1 Corinthians
11:10, Ephesians 3:10, 1 Peter 1:12).
- They encourage in times of danger (Acts 27:23,24).
- They care for the righteous at the time of death (Luke 16:22).
Angels are entirely a different order of being than humans. Human beings do not
become angels after they die. Angels will never become, and never were, human beings.
God created the angels, just as He created humanity. The Bible nowhere states that
angels are created in the image and likeness of God, as humans are (Genesis 1:26).
Angels are spiritual beings that can, to a certain degree, take on physical form.
Humans are primarily physical beings, but with a spiritual aspect. The greatest
thing we can learn from the angels is their instant, unquestioning obedience to
Do we have Guardian Angels?
Matthew 18:10 states, "See that you do not look down on one of these little
ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father
in heaven." In the context, "these little ones" could either apply
to those who believe in Him (v. 6) or it could refer to the
little children (vv. 3-5). This is the key passage when the discussion of
guardian angels comes up. There is no doubt that good angels help protect (Daniel
6:20-23, 2 Kings 6:13-17), reveal information ( Acts 7:52-53, Luke 1:11-20), guide
(Matthew 1:20-21, Acts 8:26), provide for (Genesis 21:17-20<, 1 Kings 19:5-7),
and minister to believers in general (Hebrews 1:14). There are so many more instances
of these in Scripture.
The question that is difficult to answer is whether each person or each believer
has an angel assigned to him/her. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel had
the archangel (Michael) assigned to it (Daniel 10:21, Daniel 12:1), but you do not
have anywhere in Scripture where it states that an angel was "assigned"
to an individual (they were sometimes sent to individuals on different instances
but no mention of "permanent" assignment is given). One commentator states
that the Jews had fully developed the belief in guardian angels during the time
between the Old and New Testament periods. Some early church fathers believed that
each person had not only a good angel assigned to him/her but also a demon as well
(I am not sure who they believed assigned the demon, whether Satan or God). But
at any rate, the belief in guardian angels has been around for a long time.
If one is to understand from the Matthew 18:10 passage that guardian angels are
referred to, it would seem that these angels are not in an active duty, but rather
"always see the face of" the Father in heaven. The active duty or oversight
seems then to come more from God than the angels. In our society today, it is "in"
to believe in angels. We have movies that focus on angels; we have series on TV
which portray angels as being assigned to help. Scripture makes it clear that although
angels possess superhuman power and knowledge, they are created beings just as we
are and are "nothing" in comparison with God. As such, they are not to
be worshipped (Exodus 20:1-6, Colossians 2:18). Rather, worship is to be reserved
for the Trinity alone. Unfortunately, while the shows about angels give lip service
to God, the Son of God is rarely mentioned (if at all). And God says, in John 5:23
that if one does not honor the Son, he does not honor the Father who sent Him.
It cannot be emphatically answered from Scripture whether each believer has a guardian
angel assigned to him/her. But as stated earlier, God does use them in ministering
to us. I believe that it is scriptural to say that He uses them like He uses us,
i.e. He in no way needs us or them to accomplish His purposes, but chooses to use
us nonetheless (Job 4:18, Job 15:15). And in the end, whether we have an angel assigned
to protect us or not, we have a greater assurance that God gives: that if we are
His children through faith in Christ, He works all things together for good (Romans
8:28-30), and that Jesus Christ will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6).
If we have an omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving God with us, what does it really
matter whether there is a finite angel along side of us or not?