If God Is All-Powerful, Why Does He Need So Many Angels?


During the arrest of Jesus, things got a bit heated as Peter draws his sword and cuts off the ear of Malchus. After reminding Peter, that ‘all who draw the sword will die by the sword’, Jesus goes on to say the following to him.

‘Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ Matthew 26:53-54

Peter, still thinking in human terms, thought that Jesus needed help, but little did he know how much help Jesus actually had at His disposal. Jesus could have called for His angels to come when He stood before Pilate, but He didn’t, because His kingdom wasn’t of this world, John 18:36.

Twelve Legions Of Angels

Twelve legions of angels are estimated to be around 36,000 angels, but notice Jesus says He has ‘more than’ that number at His disposal. Jesus could have called numerous angels to rescue Him, but He knew by doing that, wouldn’t fulfil Scripture, Isaiah 50:6 / Isaiah 53:2-11.

Jesus is saying that He must die but He’s also saying all these things must happen to fulfil prophecy, Matthew 18:7 / John 10:35 / 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

This brings us to a question a young lady asked when she read the study, ‘Jesus, betrayed with a kiss’. It’s a question I’ve personally never given a second thought about and to be honest with you, it’s a question that I’ve never even thought about it, until now.

If God is ‘omnipotence’, all-powerful, then why does He need so many angels?

I guess we could ask, if God is all so powerful, then why does He even need one angel, never mind thousands of them?

I love this question because it came from an honest and sincere heart, it wasn’t a trick question to try and undermine God in any way, the young lady really wanted to understand God and His ways.

Satan And The Fallen Angels

Satan has many names in the Bible, including the names Lucifer and the Devil and in Scripture, he’s usually referred to as the opposite of God. However, a careful reading of the Scriptures tells us this isn’t the case, we must remember that God created Satan as an angel, and so he only has the power of an angel, which means that he has nowhere near the power or authority of God.

The name Satan means ‘adversary’ or ‘enemy’ and sure enough, he’s truly the enemy of God and all mankind. We also must remember that Satan was created by God as a good angel called ‘Lucifer’, which means ‘Light Bearer’ or ‘Morning Star’, and he was possibly even one of the chief angels.

Just as God give us humans ‘free will’, he gave the angels ‘ free will’ too, sadly, he rebelled against God and there was a massive battle in heaven. The account of his rebellion and the war in heaven is described in the Book of Revelation, Revelation 12:4 / Revelation 12:7-9.

These passages tell us that Satan wasn’t alone and led a rebellion against God taking as many as a third of all the angels with him. The good news is that Satan lost and along with his followers were thrown out of heaven.

As we read throughout the Scriptures, we quickly see the reason why Satan rebelled in the first place, he wanted to become God and have total power. When it comes to knowing when the rebellion and war in heaven took place, we simply don’t know. Some believe it happened sometime between the creation of the Earth and the tempting of Eve and Adam in the Garden in Eden, but we can’t be sure, Isaiah 14:12-15.

Notice that Isaiah tells us that Satan wanted to make himself, ‘like the Most High’. He wanted to become like God, he wanted to have total power, like God, in other words, he wanted to become God. It’s often overlooked, that Satan tried to tempt others to succeed where he failed. Remember when he tempted Eve in the garden? Remember what he said to her?

‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’ Genesis 3:1-6

Notice how the serpent tempted Eve with the same temptation he failed to achieve, to become like God. Isaiah 14:12-15. Because of this, Satan is sometimes called or referred to as a snake, serpent or dragon, as we mentioned earlier in Revelation. It’s also interesting that God put cherubim, two or more heavenly beings of the same original status as Satan, to protect the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:24.

Now let’s fast forward a few hundred years, and notice he’s still trying to tempt people to become like God, Ezekiel 28:1-2.

Please note that in the reference from Ezekiel, He isn’t saying this is actually Satan. ‘Tyre’ was a city that was located in what is now Lebanon. Ezekiel is simply saying that Satan was manipulating the human ‘Ruler of Tyre’.

God was trying to get us to understand that the ‘ruler of Tyre’ was displaying the same attitude as Satan had, he was trying to get the ‘ruler of Tyre’ to believe he was a god. He failed again because Judgment was being pronounced against Tyre and its ruler and they would cease to be a nation.

We’ve read from the first human, Satan has been trying to stop people from following God and he and his followers are still doing it today. In his first temptation, he used pride and greed, the same sins as he was guilty of when he rebelled against God, and he used the same strategy with the ‘ruler of Tyre’.

We must realise as Christians that Satan and his followers will try everything, they can, to stop people from knowing God because they know that God has total power and will ultimately have the victory.

The devil not only hates God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but he hates everyone, especially Christians and he will try everything possible to stop us from knowing God better and walking in loving fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If he tried to get Jesus to follow him, Matthew 4:1-11, we better know that he will try it with us.

Remember that angels are mighty creatures and in Scripture they had three basic functions, to worship, to witness and warfare. Satan and his followers started this war in heaven before God created the world and although at one time, they were good and faithful to God, they rebelled, and even today, they continue to rebel against God and His people.

Spiritual Warfare

As Christians, we forget we’re in spiritual warfare, physically our bodies are here on Earth but spiritually, our souls are in the heavenly spiritual realms, Ephesians 1:1.

Notice the two locations Paul mentions here, IN Ephesus and IN Christ Jesus, Ephesians 1:3.

Notice where all the spiritual blessings are located, ‘in the heavenly realms’. The heavenly realms are where we’re spiritually blessed, it’s where Christ is seated at God’s right hand, Ephesians 1:20, it’s where we’re seated with Christ, Ephesians 2:6. It’s the places where the rulers and authorities are, Ephesians 3:10, it’s the place where evil powers are, Ephesians 6:12. The heavenly realms speak of the spiritual realm.

Notice what Paul says to these Christians who are in the heavenly realms, Ephesians 6:10-18.

Guns, cannons, and tanks are of no use in a spiritual battle, we’re fighting in a spiritual war, and we need to use spiritual weapons, we need to use all the weapons Paul describes here because they’re all spiritual. Just because we can’t see certain things which are happening around us, doesn’t mean they are not happening.

If God is ‘omnipotence’, all-powerful, then why does He need so many angels?

Let’s go ahead and see if we can try and answer this young lady’s honest question, whilst remembering that we’re in the middle of a spiritual battle for our souls. God wants to save our souls, whilst the devil and his angels want to steal our souls.

There are a few theories as to why God needs so many angels, we could say that we simply don’t know why He has because we don’t know or understand His ways, Psalm 147:5 / Isaiah 55:8-9 / Isaiah 40:28 / Romans 11:33–34.

I’m not claiming to know the answer to this question, but a reasonable answer would be that He has so many angels, isn’t because He NEEDS them, but because He WANTS them, in order to carry out His will. Our God, Who is all-powerful enough to speak creation into existence, doesn’t NEED anyone to carry out His will but He CHOOSES to do so.

God’s Protection

A careful reading of some Scriptures will help us see that God is using these mighty creatures to protect us in the heavenly realms.

Jacob dreamed of angels ‘ascending to heaven and descending to earth’ after meeting with his brother Esau, Genesis 28:12, this was God’s way of reminding Jacob that He was with Him and that He would protect him.

Notice what Moses told the Israelites, He told the people that God ‘sent an angel and brought us forth out of Egypt’. Numbers 20:16. They were being protected by God’s angel.

In 2 Kings 6 we read about how Elisha was surrounded by the King of Aram’s Syrian army, but notice what happened the following morning, Elisha’s servant is terrified, but Elisha told him, ‘Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha’. 2 Kings 6:16-17

Psalm 125:2 speaks about God’s protection surrounding us, and Psalm 32:7 speaks about God’s protection of His people. It was an angel which protected Daniel whilst he was in the lion’s den, Daniel 6:22, it was an angel who protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego whilst they were in the fiery furnace, Daniel 3:28.

When God brought an end to the threat of the Assyrians because they were oppressing His people, we read that only one of God’s angels killed 185,000 of God’s enemies in the blink of an eye, 2 Kings 19:35 / Isaiah 37:36.

Over in the New Testament, all of the apostles knew that an angel realised them from prison and therefore the angel was protecting them from the jealous Sadducees, Acts 5:19. Peter knew it was one of God’s angels who was protecting him from Herod, Acts 12:11. Later, Paul knew after being stuck in a storm that an angel was protecting not only him but all those on board the ship, Acts 27:23.

Guardian Angels

One of the most compelling Scriptures as to why God chooses to have so many angels is found in the Book of Hebrews.

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

Do I believe in guardian angels? Yes! Absolutely I do! But if you were to ask if I can recognise a ‘Guardian Angel’, I would answer, No! But that doesn’t constitute a problem for me. After all, on several of the occasions to which I have already referred, lots of people in the Bible 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, that’s Christians. It’s not necessary for me to be able to recognise him, but he is commissioned to recognise me!

How do the angels go about their work? That is for them to know, we’re to have faith in our heavenly Father’s promise to care for His people.

The good news is that Satan has lost that battle and he and his evil angelic followers, have also lost the overall battle for the universe. Satan thought he had won, when he, thought he managed to get Jesus killed, but he was very wrong. Jesus came back to life and defeated the power of death and Satan forever.

And although Satan knows he’s lost the war and is well aware of his final fate and destination, he still tries to stop people from knowing about God today, in an attempt to take as many people with him on the Day of Judgement, Revelation 20:1-3 / Matthew 25:41.


How do you explain or even try to describe to someone whose been blind since birth, what the colour blue is! It’s impossible because a blind man has never seen anything, never mind colours.

It’s the same with this question, trying to answer why God has so many angels is like trying to describe to anyone, something none of us has ever seen. By faith, we understand we’re in the middle of spiritual warfare, but we can’t see it because it’s happening in an unseen world.

Yes, God is more than powerful enough to function without angels, but He chooses to use them to uphold His will for mankind and beyond. He chooses to use them to declare to the world what His will is but more importantly He uses them to protect us from the evil one and His evil schemes.

Why hasn’t God brought this war to an end?

Revelation 20:10 tells us that one day, He will bring it to an end, but in the meantime, God wants more souls to come to Him in obedient faith in order for them to be saved, 2 Peter 3:9.

If we want to win this spiritual fight, we must fight with the spiritual weapons God has supplied us with, Ephesians 6:10-18, we must continue to trust in Jesus and what He did on the cross of Calvary, Genesis 3:15 / John 19:30 / Colossians 2:14–15 / 1 John 3:8.

God is greater than Satan and his angels and we must trust that He can and will protect His children in this spiritual warfare.

‘You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.’ 1 John 4:4