Do you believe in angels? Before you answer that question, let me ask you another one: Do you believe in the Bible? If your answer to the second question is yes, then your answer to the question about angels must also be yes. Approximately 275 times, Scripture directly teaches the existence of angels.
You can’t believe in the Bible without believing in angels
God’s Word gives us a lot of information about these supernatural beings. Angels were created by Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16). They have emotions (Luke 15:10), they have a will (Revelation 12:9), and they know that Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 1:34). Angels also have intellect (Ezekiel 28:17), though there are some things they do not understand. The Bible says that angels “long to look” into the mystery of salvation (1 Peter 1:12).
Years ago, when Billy Graham wrote his best-selling book on the subject of angels, he said he found practically nothing about angels in his library. What a difference a single generation makes! Today, many people are interested in angels. You can walk into any bookstore and find an entire section devoted to angels. But does our desire to know about angels mean we are becoming more spiritually alive?
I’m concerned that the fascination with angels has become a substitute for the worship of God. That’s what happened in the church at Colossae. In Colossians 2:18, Paul gave this scathing indictment: “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels.” The writer of Hebrews also urged Christians not to worship angels, explaining that Jesus has “become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they” (1:4). The Bible is clear: We are not to worship angels.
If we are not to worship angels, then why did God create them? What function do angels have today? Hebrews 1:14 says angels are “ministering spirits” sent by God “to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.”
The purpose of angels is to serve Christians
In his book Angels: God’s Secret Agents, Billy Graham tells the true story of Dr. S. W. Mitchell, a Philadelphia neurologist. Dr. Mitchell came home after a tiring day at the hospital and went to bed. In the middle of the night, Dr. Mitchell heard a knock at the front door. When he opened it, he saw a little girl in a brown coat, poorly dressed and shivering in the cold. She explained that her mother was very sick and needed the help of a doctor right away. Would he come? Dr. Mitchell obliged and followed the girl through snow-packed streets until they arrived at a poor tenement house.
Dr. Mitchell went inside and found the mother in bed, deathly ill from pneumonia. He immediately arranged for medical care and then complimented the woman on the persistence of her daughter. The woman looked at him strangely and said, “My daughter died a month ago. Her shoes and coat are in the clothes closet.” Amazed and perplexed, Dr. Mitchell opened the closet and saw the little brown coat as dry as it could be, evidently not being out that snowy night.
What should be our reaction to stories like that? Hebrews 1:14 says we shouldn’t be surprised. That’s what angels are for: to take care of the needs of God’s children in this life. God created angels to care for you, to save you out of deep trouble, and to protect you from harm.
Angels are a very real power in our world today. Although you and I are never to substitute the worship of angels for the worship of Jesus Christ, understanding the ministry of angels helps us appreciate how much God loves us and how He is working in our lives every day.