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  • How Guardian Angels Are Assigned
  • If Angels Abandon Us When We Sin

    Is there any mention in the Bible of us actually being assigned or given a guardian angel by God or heaven? - Gregory C.

    Yes, the Bible teaches that God not only assigns but actually commands angels to care for us. Psalm 91:11 says, “For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways,” while Hebrews 1:14 explains, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” The Bible is filled with specific examples of angels guiding, helping, and protecting people.

    So God does assign angels to watch over us. The Bible is definite about that. But your question asks if there is any place in the Bible that tells us that God assigns a specific angel to each person. The answer is no. God arranges to have his angels care for us, but the Bible does not tell us how he does it.

    Although the Bible is silent on the topic, theologians, Bible scholars, preachers, and ordinary people have speculated about this. Here are a few of their ideas:

  • Many of the church fathers, including Thomas Aquinas, believed that God assigned each person a guardian angel at birth.
  • Martin Luther asserted that the angels God assigned to men differed in rank and ability, as did the men themselves. Luther wrote, “Just as among men, one is large and another small, and one is strong and another weak, so one angel is larger, stronger, and wiser than another. Therefore, a prince has a much larger and stronger angel, one who is also shrewder and wiser, than that of a count, and the angel of a count is larger and stronger than that of a common man. The higher the rank and the more important vocation of a man, the larger and stronger is the angel who guards him and holds the Devil aloof.”
  • The Catholic Church has taught that every angel in heaven has one chance to become a guardian angel, from seraphim down. The angel has to “lower himself” to serve his protégé on earth, but in so doing he learns more about the incarnation. The angels even puzzle about why God provides humans with so great a salvation according to 1 Peter 1:12.
  • Billy Graham writes, “Every believer should be encouraged and strengthened! Angels are watching; they mark your path. They superintend the events of your life and protect the interest of the Lord God, always working to promote his plans and to bring about his highest will for you.”
  • Do each of us have more than one guardian angel to guide us? Also, when we sin against God, do the angels leave us? Or do they forgive us and keep guiding and helping us?
    - Ana C.

    Christians have assumed through the ages that God most likely assigns one angel to one person, usually at birth. Matthew 18:10 says, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my father in heaven.” This verse implies that each child has one angel assigned to him or her. But while these lines establish that angels watch over children, they do not tell us that each child, or any of us, has one and only one angel.

    Catholic doctrine (the Catechism of the Catholic Church) states, ”Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd, leading him to life.”

    In Jewish tradition and in the Hebrew Bible (Malachi 3:16) each person is said to have two angels, one who records our every good thought or deed and one who records our every evil thought or deed. A variant of this idea is that we have a good angel who influences us to do good and a bad angel who is always trying to lead us into temptation.

    The Protestant John Calvin wrote: “Whether individual angels have been assigned to individual believers for their protection, I dare not affirm with confidence. We ought to hold as a fact that the care of each one is not the task of one angel only but of all angels, with one consent watch over our salvation.

    And if the fact that all the heavenly host are keeping watch for his safety will not satisfy a man, I do not see what benefit he could derive from knowing that one angel has been given to him as his special guardian.”

    As to your other question: What happens when we sin against God; do the angels leave us or keep helping us?

    Angels are not like humans. Friends and family may get angry or even desert us. But angels do not carry grudges. They don’t get angry. Their only desire is to serve God. The angel’s role throughout the Scripture is to call us to obedience and worship. When we sin, just as God does not turn his back on us and forsake us, angels don’t either. It is God’s will that we turn to him and ask for forgiveness. To that end, God may use his angels to prick our conscience, bring thoughts and memories to our minds, or create other circumstances to make us aware of God’s love.

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