Do Angels Really Exist?
'My pastor says angels are symbolic. Is he right or wrong?'
- Are there Lent angels, like Advent angels?
- Do angels really exist, or are they symbolic?
- Why have I never seen an angel in my life?
- Do angels have different scents?
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?
Yes, angels are real. They appear hundreds of time throughout the Bible. Many Bible verses, such as Hebrews 1:14 and 13:2, are among the many verses that make it clear angels are actual beings, not just symbolic ideas. Chapter 21 in the Gospel of John records the historical facts of the first Easter. It is a fact that Roman soldiers guarded the tomb. It is a fact that the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled away the stone from the tomb. It is a fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Erna Anderson expressed it beautifully in the following poem:
No angels? Would you hush their song?How come I have never experienced or never heard any angel in my life? This really bothers me because I have never felt or had an inkling of an angel being around.
Call them a myth? A belief that’s wrong?
Alas! For shame! No tongue can quell
The message that the angels tell.
To Mary: of the Christ Child’s birth;
To shepherds: Good will, peace on earth.
To God: Their voices sang of glory
As they proclaimed the Christmas story.
To you: tidings of joy they bring.
A multitude of angels sing.
No matter what the world would do,
Thank God, the Scriptures still are true.
So even though the world may try,
The angel’s song will never die.
Many people have seen angels but, in the Bible and in life today, the great majority of people have never seen an angel. This majority includes many Christian leaders. For example, in his book "Angels, God’s Secret Agents," Billy Graham wrote that he had never seen an angel. The Bible does not explain why God has his angels appear to some and not to others. A person does not lack faith or lack God’s favor if he or she has never seen an angel. Be assured that God’s angels are with you, even if they remain unseen and you are not aware of their presence.
Can angels have a certain scent?
In the Bible, there is no record of angels having a scent or leaving a scent behind them. Your question is, “Can
an angel have a scent?” It is possible, of course. Some people have told me of times when they felt an angel present with a distinct scent of roses. I have no strong opinion about this.