Guardian Angels


What do you think of at Christmas time when you get cards and wrapping paper, signs and symbols and ornaments of these cute little things with halos, wings and nice little faces that are as sweet as they could possibly be?

I don’t think we should be thinking that in our minds when we read the word ‘angel’ in the Bible.

Can you tell me a single story in the Bible where an angel appeared and someone said, ‘Isn’t that nice?’ ‘Isn’t he lovely?’

In the Bible when an angel showed up, almost always, what was the first thing they had to say? ‘Don’t be afraid’, because whatever they look like, they put you down on the ground in terror.

Remember, one of God’s angels killed 186,000 of God’s enemies. 2 Kings 19:35 / Isaiah 37:36.

These are mighty creatures and in Scripture they had three basic functions, to worship, to witness and warfare. So, don’t believe all these nice little pictures you see all over the place with these nice little creatures on them. Don’t be deceived by the world’s interpretations of angels, especially at Christmas time.

Just as a side note, with all these pictures which go around on the internet, some of them show angels as taking the appearance of females, I don’t know of a single Bible verse which gives this idea!

The third verse of the hymn, ‘Count your blessings’, says ‘Count your many blessings, angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end’.

‘Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?’ Hebrews 1:14

Is there any Scriptural evidence to validate this regarding angels in this context?

I want to look at this in order for us to understand what we’re talking about. So, runs the question, a question which, in essence, asks if the Scriptures teach that there are ‘Guardian Angels’?

This is a good question because the very existence of angels is a subject that is rarely discussed these days. We might be forgiven for suspecting that preachers and hearers alike are often reluctant to commit themselves where angels are concerned.

Note, the words for ‘angel’, ‘malak’ in the Old Testament, and ‘angelos’ in the New Testament, occur 213 and 188 times respectively and both mean ‘messenger’.

Whether a reference is to a human being, or to a heavenly, spirit being, must be determined by the context. In the majority of instances, however, the words refer to a definite and distinct order of spirit beings.

‘Modern’ theologians wouldn’t even spend time discussing this topic! One textbook used by theological students states: ‘(It might seem that there is little profit in attempting any discussion of the angels, those higher beings that have been traditionally recognised in Christian faith and theology. As they have usually been represented, they belong to the mythology and poetry of religion, rather than to theology…’ (John MacQuarrie, ‘Principles of Christian Theology’. p.215

The Sadducees are certainly with us still! ‘(The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)’ Acts 23:8

Apparently, in a world as sophisticated as ours, angels simply don’t fit! They appear to be an embarrassment to many people, including, I’m sorry saying, even to some Christians. There are people who are willing to concede that the Scriptures mention such heavenly beings, but who then suggests that, since the Lord Jesus became our Mediator, there is no longer a need for the ministry of angels.

Thus, with a stroke, angels are taken out of circulation or have been made redundant! They belong to an age long since passed and have been put into moth-balls!

Is it not strange that ‘modern man’ is prepared to consider the possibility of ‘alien visitors’ from outer space and ‘U.F.O’s; is fascinated by ‘The X Files’ and ‘Star Trek’, takes seriously so-called ‘astrological forecasts’ the ‘occult’ and ‘star-signs’, and is happy to discuss ‘out of the body experiences’,

the list is almost endless, but mention angels and one instantly becomes some sort of religious freak?

What do the Scriptures reveal about angels and their relationship to human beings?

Well, there are some quite clear statements, which should help us in our search for the answer to the question. Angels have an interest in what happens on Earth. This is a truth which runs right through the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation.

For example:

1. In the Old Testament,

Angels brought Abraham the promise of a son. Genesis 18:10 ‘Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.’

They warned Lot of the impending destruction of Sodom, Genesis 19:1.

They met Jacob, on his way home from his uncle Laban’s territory, Genesis 32:1.

Moses believed in Guardian Angels. He told the people that God ‘sent an angel and brought us forth out of Egypt’. Numbers 20:16

Daniel believed in this ministry of Angels, because he said, ‘My God has sent His angel and has shut the lions’ mouths’. Daniel 6:22

Even Nebuchadnezzar believed in Angels! Daniel 3:28

2. Coming over to the New Testament, angels were intimately involved with the Lord Himself, all through His life and ministry.

Angels foretold his birth to Mary and Joseph, Matthew 1:20.

Angels announced it to the shepherds in the fields, Luke 2:9.

An Angel instructed Mary and Joseph to go to Egypt, Matthew 2:13 / Matthew 2:19.

Angels ministered to him after his fast and temptation in the wilderness, Matthew 4:11.

An angel strengthened him in Gethsemane, Luke 22:43.

Angels stood ready, 12 legions of them! To respond to His call, if He required them! Matthew 26:53.

An angel rolled the stone, from the mouth of the tomb, Matthew 28:2.

Angels met Mary Magdalene when she came to the tomb, John 20:11-12.

Angels were present at his ascension, Acts 1:10.

Angels will accompany Him when he returns, 2 Thessalonians 1:7.

An examination of the Scriptures will easily extend this list. In Matthew 18:10, the Lord Himself warns against despising, treating badly, or harming. ‘little ones’ who believe in Him. ‘See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven’.

The plain meaning of His statement is that there are heavenly beings to whom is entrusted the special duty of the care and guardianship of believers.

I might add that those words, ‘for I say to you’, are tremendously significant because that is the formula used by the Lord when He introduced new truth or illuminated truth not previously understood. Compare Luke 15:7 ‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’ Luke 15:10.

And note, also, that He uses the same formula no less than nine times in Matthew 5. Matthew 5:18 / Matthew 5:20 / Matthew 5:22 / Matthew 5:26 / Matthew 5:28 / Matthew 5:32 / Matthew 5:34 / Matthew 5:39 / Matthew 5:44.

Angels are interested in the conversion of sinners. Luke 15:7 / Luke 15:10 reveals that ‘there is joy among the angels of God’ when the lost is found and when the sinner repents. In the next chapter, Luke 16:22, Jesus tells us that, when he died, Lazarus ‘was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom’, another example of angelic involvement with the faithful.

They have an interest in the faithful preaching of the Gospel, 1 Timothy 5:21.

An angel directed Philip the evangelist, to meet the ‘Ethiopian’, Acts 8:26.

And Cornelius was told by an angel to ‘send to Joppa for Peter.’ Acts 10:3-5.

Angels will be the Lord’s agents at the time of the Judgement, Matthew 13:41.

In the church, angels are concerned with the woman’s subjection to the Man, 1 Corinthians 11:8-10.

Notice the phrase ‘because of the angels’. It means that her acceptance of the divine order constitutes an example to the angels.

‘Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?’ Hebrews 1:14

This reveals their ministry to be two-fold

They are ‘ministering spirits’ ‘liturgical’ or worshipping spirits, sent forth to serve for the sake of ‘those who are to obtain salvation.’ The word ‘leitourgika’, rendered ‘ministering’ or ‘worshipping’, speaks of their service to God Himself. The word ‘diakonia’ which is rendered ‘to serve’, describes the nature of their service to believers. They are to serve those who inherit salvation, and that means you and me!

1. Satan certainly believes in them.

When trying to tempt Jesus to dramatically cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple, as recorded in Matthew 4:5-6 ‘Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’

Satan quoted Psalm 91:11 ‘For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.’

2. Peter believed in them.

Having been released from prison, Peter said, Acts 12:11 ‘Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.’

3. Paul believed in them!

During the storm, on his voyage to Rome, he said ‘Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me.’ Acts 27:23

4. In fact, ALL the apostles must have believed in them.

After having been arrested by the Sanhedrin, they say, Acts 5:19 ‘But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.’


Do I believe in Guardian Angels? Yes! Emphatically!

And if you ask if I can recognise a ‘Guardian Angel’, I answer, No! But that doesn’t constitute a problem for me. After all, on several of the occasions to which I have already referred, e.g. Abraham in the Old Testament and Peter in the New Testament, they didn’t recognise them either!

In any case, the recognition of God’s children is the job of the angel, since he is to minister to those who inherit salvation. It is not necessary for me to be able to recognize him, but he is commissioned to recognise me!

How do the angels go about their work?

That is for them to know. We are to have faith in our heavenly Father’s promise to care for His people.



"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."