- How do you know your knowledge is correct?
- Who owns the largest angel collection?
- Did Lucifer have the power to create?
My answer is very simple actually. No, I am not God. And no, I have not had a vision. I do answer questions with assurance but not because I think that I and I alone know the facts about angels. This column is written from the perspective of what is taught in the Bible and millions (though not all Christians) share the views I express. You will note that at the end of each column, Beliefnet identifies that I am writing as a Christian pastor.
Beliefnet also features articles written by authors from other traditions and viewpoints. “The Big Book of Angels,” compiled by Beliefnet, has chapters written by contributors from many traditions and world religions.
Here is a brief summary of the biblical teachings about angels. The theological term is Angelology. My answers are based on this framework. Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament (Chafer, “Systematic Theology,” II, 3). Hence, there is ample information available in the scripture that allows us to build a foundation for our knowledge on angelic beings.
- In the scripture when angels appear in human form, it is only a momentary appearance for those who need to see them.
- The holy angels are sent by God to do his will both in heaven and on earth.
- Angels are still active in our world today, but their roles and ministries are always consistent with what is found in the Bible.
- Angels are spirit beings. Each angel has been created directly by God as an angel (Psalm 148: 2-5).
- Angels are personal spirits. They have personal wills and the ability to make choices (Hebrews 1:6). The holy angels always choose to carry out God’s purposes.
- Angels are extremely powerful beings. They are stronger than man, (Psalm 103:20; 2 Peter 2:11) but only God is all powerful.
- Angels have great knowledge and wisdom, but only God knows everything. They are greater than man in knowledge. (2 Samuel 14:20; Matthew 24:36).
- An angel can only be in one place at a time. They not omnipresent (Daniel 9:21-23, 10:10-14).
- Worshipping and praising - This is the main activity portrayed in heaven (Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4-5).
- Revealing - Angels serve as messengers to communicate God's will to men. They helped reveal the law to Moses (Acts 7:52-53) and were carriers of much of the material in Daniel, and Revelation.
- Guiding - Angels gave instructions to Joseph about the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1-2), to the women at the tomb (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20), to Philip (Acts 8:26), and to Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8).
- Providing - God has used angels to provide physical needs such as food for Hagar (Genesis 21:17-20), Elijah (1 Kings 19:6), and Christ after His temptation (Matthew 4:11).
- Protecting - Angels keep God's people out of physical danger, as in the cases of Daniel and the lions and his three friends in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3 and 6).
- Delivering - They get God's people out of danger once they're in it. Angels released the apostles from prison in Acts 5 and repeated the process for Peter in Acts 12.
- Strengthening and encouraging - Angels strengthened Jesus after His temptation (Matt 4:11), encouraged the apostles to keep preaching after releasing them from prison (Acts 5:19-20), and told Paul that everyone on his ship would survive the impending shipwreck (Acts 27:23-25).
- Answering prayer - God often uses angels as His means of answering the prayers of His people (Daniel 9:20-24; 10:10-12; Acts 12:1-17).
- Caring for believers at the moment of death - In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, we read that angels carried the spirit of Lazarus to “Abraham's bosom” when he died (Luke 16:22).