Do Angels Really Exist?

'My pastor says angels are symbolic. Is he right or wrong?'

Find Out:During Advent we pray to our Advent angels. One of my students asked me if there were Lent Angels. I am showing them [my students] the Bridge of Angels in Rome, but I have not found anything about Lent Angels. I have also found many pictures of Christ’s Passion in which there are always angels assisting him. Do you have any information on Lent Angels?
--Julie C.

In the Bible, angels play a prominent role in the life of Christ, from his birth to his resurrection and ascenscion into heaven. Even though the Gospel writers record the events of the Passion, angels are never mentioned. This is not by accident; rather, it is a part of the sacred mystery of salvation. As Jesus faced his death, he retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” Then, “an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22:43).


When Jesus went through the agony in the garden and committed himself to following his Father’s will, the heavenly Father sent an angel to Jesus to strengthen him!  That was the end of the ministry of angels during the Passion. The angels did not intervene afterwards when Jesus was betrayed, humiliated, scourged, and crucified. The angels could have protected Jesus from harm and Jesus himself said that he could call on twelve legions of angels (Matthew 26:53)--far more angels then would be necessary to protect him.  During the Passion, the angels must have watched [Jesus' suffering] in amazement, wishing they could be allowed to intervene and rescue Jesus.  The angels cound not comprehend the mystery.

On Easter Sunday, in his sermon, my pastor said that angels in the Bible are only symbolic and that angels do not exist. He said that the Easter story in John’s Gospel, about the angel rolling away the huge stone from the tomb, was only meant to emphasize God’s might and power. Are there really angels? Do they exist?
--Helen R.

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William D. Webber
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