Monday, January 04, 2010

Angels - are they real?

I believe the bible is true and trustworthy, so I believe angels are real. They are key players in several Old Testament stories (Abraham, Gideon, Balaam) and in New Testament stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. They are described as innumerable, powerful, and obedient.

Angels were created by God as a special class of beings. They are messengers, protectors and aides, have been instruments of God's judgement, and they praise God. There are dozens of references to angelic beings and activities in the Bible, but there are many unanswered questions about them. This leads to speculation and misinformation when we get too eager to pencil in the details for ourselves. That is why we have so many images of beautiful blonde female angels with huge white wings who are wearing lavish amounts of white flowing chiffon...sort of like a prom dress gone wild.

A few things we do know is that angels were created pre-mankind, that they have free will, and that about a third of them followed a high ranking angel in rebellion against God and were cast out of their heavenly home. These rebel angels are followers of Satan and called demons. It appears that angels do not die, do not reproduce, and when they appear in human form they do not have wings and are always male. We can also deduce that angels are not the sweet little cherubic creatures we see on Christmas cards, but must be somewhat fierce looking as they almost always begin their interaction with humans by directing them to "fear not".

One personal and profound reference to angels is in Psalm 91:9-11 "If you make the Most High your dwelling, even the Lord, who is my refuge, then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." This is where we get the concept of a guardian angel.

From Genesis to Revelation angels are mentioned. Yes, they are real. I think the reason we don't know a ton about them is because God's focus in Scripture is on His created human beings, on His redemption and care for mankind.

1 comment:

Pastor Nick said...

Good ideas about angels! I had never thought about the reason angels receive so little press in Scripture. We tend to get focused on the unique and the supernatural and so angels really intrigue us. But the Bible wasn't written to satisfy our curiosity, but bring us into a relationship with our heavenly Father. The angels are like conduits of faith- messengers that point people to God- but not the subject of our faith.