As the authors of several angel books and frequent guests on radio talk shows, the Steigers receive dozens of letters from men and women who share accounts of angelic interactions. If you'd like to ask a question, e-mail them at columnists@staff.beliefnet.com. Please put "Steigers" on the subject line.

Q: Why all this talk of angels? When you speak of guardian angels, you are diverting people from trusting in their savior, Jesus Christ. Why not tell people all they need is their faith in Jesus?

A: We are delighted that your faith so fulfills you, answers all your questions, and helps with your problems. Certainly, we would never suggest that you cease praying to your image or concept of Jesus.

As authors of a column in such an ecumenical forum as Beliefnet, we feel that it is not our place to propagate any one religious view but to celebrate the truth in the belief systems of all sincere spiritual seekers. However, there is no need for anyone to be forced to choose between Jesus or the angels, for it is clear from the gospels that the angels consider themselves subordinate to him.

The gospels also record a continuing interaction between the angels and Jesus: In Matthew 1:20-21 and Luke 1:26-37, they predicted his birth; in Luke 2:9-14, they announced his birth; they ministered to him during his time in the wilderness (Matthew 4:11); they sought to soothe his anxiety in the garden before his crucifixion (Luke 22:43); they rolled away the great stone that covered his tomb (Matthew 28: 2-4); they announced his resurrection (Matthew 28:5-7).

We have stressed repeatedly in this column that one does not pray to angels or seek their energy in an attempt to manipulate reality in ways that would be magical, rather than spiritual. We have also reminded our readers that angels are not omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient. Nor do we humans die, ascend to heaven, and become angels.

The angelic beings are a separate creation formed by God to glorify Him and to serve as His messengers. And we have also made a point of recognizing that while the majority of angels remained true to God, the rebellious fallen angels who were turned out of paradise seek always to deceive humans with the temptations and allure of the dark side. To believe that we have guardian angels who guide, direct, and protect us is not to deny Jesus but to have the faith of such great heroes of the Bible as Jacob, Daniel, Moses, Elijah, Joshua, Joseph, Peter, and John, who also received the benefits of angelic intervention.

Q: Is it true that guardian angels can be living persons, not just a unseen entities?

A: The broadest definition of an angel is simply one who serves as a messenger of God. In this sense, a living person could certainly serve in such a capacity and serve God's purpose by delivering a particular thought, knowledge, or counsel that one might require at a certain crisis point.

Many of us have been privileged to have had a good friend or family member become an "angel" when we really needed the unconditional love and assistance of another, and some of us may even have had such a person assume a protective "guardian angel" role for a time. However, when we speak of our true "guardian angels," we are referring to those unseen, benevolent entities who, according to many traditions, have been assigned to us at birth to guide, direct, and on occasion protect us.

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