Angels the Messengers of God: Are They Real?
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
We have all heard about angels. Probably the most famous angel we know of is Clarence, the bumbling angel in the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. In the movie, Clarence is portrayed as a junior angel trying to obtain his wings by helping George Bailey through some tough times. In the movie, we are also told that every time we hear a bell ring, a junior angel has gotten their wings. Well, this makes for a good subplot in a movie, but it isn’t quite accurate from a Biblical standpoint. Clarence’s is portrayed as an angel is close, but not completely accurate.
To know about and determine what are angels, we should turn to the Bible. And when we use the Bible as the authentic source of information, we need to believe that the Bible is the word of God without error. Using this perspective we get three clues about angels. The first is the word angel itself, in ancient Hebrew, it means messenger. In the entire Bible, the word angel appears three hundred times. Many times as a messenger, perhaps the most famous time was when an angel visited Mary to let her know she would bear a son named Jesus.
In today’s verse from Hebrews, we get a second clue about another role of angels, that as ministers or helpers. An example of this is found in Matthew [4:11], where it says; Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. This verse is right after Jesus has spent forty grueling days in the desert and had been tempted three times by the devil. After His ordeal, angels came and ministered or attended to Jesus.
In the book of Psalms, we find a third clue, angels as protectors. In Psalm [91:11]-12, it says; For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands, they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. In this case, we find God uses angels to guard and protect us.
We now have three ways that angels help us. They are messengers with instructions or advice. They help heal and minister. Finally, they are guardians or protectors.
Back to Clarence, it seems that he was all three to George Bailey. When George tried to commit suicide, Clarence intervened, protecting George. He also showed George that the world would be a lesser place without him, ministering to his broken soul. And he delivered an important message to George about his worth. But he probably didn’t have wings or need wings. Nowhere in the Bible do we find that angels had wings or have to earn their wings. This concept has been a creation of art from the Renaissance. But it doesn’t mean Clarence wasn’t an angel, he was, through his three forms of angelic service to George Bailey.
How does knowing this help our lives and help us understand how angels help us? My belief is that at some point in our lives we have all been aided or used by an angel. At some critical juncture, an angel has stepped in and helped turn disaster to victory. As I look back on my own life, I can recount many times when an angel has helped my life. When the seemingly impossible became real.
As I researched angels, I became a little confused. It seems that angels are not human, but yet I have experienced humans acting as angels. For instance, for most of my adult life, I have always felt that my deceased grandmother, Eleanor, was there in my best and worst times. Many times, I get feelings she is present. Waves of emotion will flow through me when these moments hit. Was she my guardian angel?
At other times in my life, I have felt that I was used to helping someone else. Once in Orlando, while on a bus, I spotted a man in the distant crowd and knew he was going to fall. In my next moment, I was cradling his head in my arms; telling people to call 911. Then comforting him until EMT’s showed up. When the EMT’s showed up, I silently went back to the bus and on my way. A similar event happened on a street in NYC when I knew a young woman was going to collapse. Once again, I was at her side until the EMT’s showed up. If angels aren’t human, then how could I have helped or why is my grandmother so present in my life? Perhaps the same has happened to you.
Other times, in my life, I have felt that I was urged to help someone in surreal moments. At the back of an AMTRAC train I was asked by a conductor; How do I find God? Or a time I felt that I was to pray intently for someone to be healed. Only to discover they were healed miraculously.
Now, this doesn’t mean I feel special, but rather it means that my experiences are probably shared experiences that many others have had as well. But if angels aren’t human, how did these events happen?
I turned to my good friend, Pastor Lou, right after one of these experiences and after my research was completed. I asked Lou, How could this be? Lou, as always was quick to point out that I was trying to explain the unexplainable. His point was there are somethings our minds can’t comprehend through human thought. Lou’s explanation was that these experiences are a matter of faith and not logic. Lou finished by saying; Once again, you are overthinking and not accepting!
The more I thought about it, Lou is right. Just have faith that angels exist and constantly be obedient when asked to serve. So I ended my quest to analyze how this could be and focused on knowing that angels exist. Sometimes as messengers, sometimes as ministers, or sometimes as guardians.
Sometime in the future, an angel will help me again. And maybe I will be asked to help someone else. That’s the point of angels. They are a matter of faith and knowing the Bible verifies they exist. How they work is a gift from God.
They are answers to our or someone else’s prayers. They are part of God’s unrelenting grace.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman