Angels 101: A Biblical Introduction
Angels are God’s idea and I’m grateful He created them.
Angels and I both love God, we have been assigned by Him as co-workers together, and we happily serve Him as a team. However, that wasn’t always the case with me. I started well, got derailed for a minute, but now do life together with them again.
When I was a little girl I always talked about my invisible playmates. While some parents might have wanted their kids to “grow up” and stop telling stories about imaginary friends my parents encouraged it. My mom always believed I was seeing my guardian angels, and my dad always taught me to look at the things that are unseen because that’s the most real reality (2 Cor. 4:18).
Adventures in Smuggling
I remember seeing my angels, Pojes and Shobis, with me over the years as I was growing up. For example, when I was on a mission trip and we were carrying Bibles into a closed country, they were right there with me. I had a backpack full of “bread”, not to mention pockets bulging with tracts, and I wandered my way right past the security checkpoint and x-ray machines with no detection by the guards at all. And I knew why too. My angels ran interference and stood between me and the soldiers blocking me from their view. The border patrol never stopped me because I don’t believe they ever even saw me!
Surprisingly though, I never really appreciated what they did. Even though I’ve always seen my angels around, I never talked with them much. Well, I’d talk at them. I’d give them orders and tell them what to do, because they’re ministering servants sent to help me. While that is true, being bossy and one-sided is not the Spirit of Christ, so that was definitely a bit messed up.
The thing was, somewhere along the line my beliefs about angels got seriously off track. I somehow got two ideas which kept me from interacting with them even though they were right here.
Number one, I decided it might be disrespectful to Jesus to hang out with my angels. Since He’s right here with me too, I should focus on Him. He’s God, they’re not! And I don’t want to disregard or dishonor Him in any way.
Since I didn’t want to overemphasize angels, my solution was to marginalize them and basically ignore completely the very assistants God had sent to bless and help me.
Trick of the Enemy?
The other hang up I had – and I don’t know if I got this from a teaching somewhere or if it was just a sneaky little thought from the enemy trying to trip me up – but I got it in my head that now that we are in the New Covenant and have the Holy Spirit in us and access to God’s strength and gifts, now we no longer need angels. What can angels do that God can’t? Obviously nothing. Somehow I thought I was giving God more credit by not seeing any need for angels and I believed I was doing Him a favor by overlooking their work in my life.
Allow Me to Introduce You
While I thought in a certain way my ideas made sense, God was not impressed with any of it, and lovingly made that abundantly clear the day He re-introduced me to my angels. He said, “Okay guys, you’re friends. Partners and co-laborers for and with Me. We’re all on the same team! Hang out, chat. Be friendly, and be friends.”
Now I’m all for obedience, but I still felt it necessary to explain to God how I was actually trying to be nice to Him by ignoring my angels. I was giving my quiet times exclusively to Him, and wasn’t that so awesome and spiritually thoughtful of me? While He did appreciate the heart motive, He gently enlightened me to where He was coming from on the matter and why I really didn’t need to worry that He would feel hurt or insulted in any way.
Truth That Set Me Free
Jesus: “Remember I’m the One who created family. I’m the One who made Eve for Adam because it wasn’t good for him to be alone. And I’m the One who put you in a family with a mom and dad and brother and gave you a husband and friends. So I’m the One who created relationship, and put you into them. Lots of them! Interconnected. Family. Members of a body.
“The point is I’m not threatened by your having other relationships and friendships outside of your fellowship with Me. Why would I be? I’m not selfish like that. That is the way love is not jealous (1 Cor. 13:4).”
Of course. I knew that! God’s not insecure. Why did I think He would be so petty? I seriously needed to get myself renewed to His mind. What He said made much more sense than what I’d been thinking all this time.
I also realized how funny it was that I thought I shouldn’t talk with angels in order to not focus on them too much. However satan is an angel and we talk to him and his demons – resisting, rebuking and casting out. Why not talk with the good, non-fallen ones at least as much?
But I still had my other huge concern: What about the Holy Spirit? Why would I need angels if my spirit is connected to God’s Spirit? It sure doesn’t seem like there should be anything missing or lacking that needs to be taken care of. Or is there?
The only way to really know anything for sure is to find out what the Bible says. Turns out it says a whole lot more about angels than I ever noticed before. There are literally hundreds of verses on angels in the Bible. The majority of books at least mention them, and in some places whole chapters are made up of angelic encounter (for example, Daniel). Half of Zechariah is an extended conversation with “the angel who was speaking to him,” not to mention the entire book of Revelation. Amazingly, angels are actually mentioned more in the New Testament than the Old, even though the New Testament is much shorter.
Basically everyone who did anything significant in the Old Testament met with angels: Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David. Of course Elijah and Elisha. And Ezekiel and Isaiah, just to name a few.
What I found to be even more incredible are all of the New Testament accounts. Everyone from Joseph to Mary to Zacharias to Cornelius.
All the Cool Kids Are Doing It
I still had my question about the Holy Spirit though. Were there believers who were filled with the Holy Spirit, connected to God and His wisdom and power, who still needed help from angels?
How about Peter (Acts 5:19 and again in Acts 12:7-11), John (Rev. 1:1), Philip (Acts 8:26) and Paul (Acts 27:23,24).
Father God could have certainly set Peter free from the jail cell all by Himself. The Holy Spirit could have told Paul not to worry about the storm, that all the crew would be safe. And Jesus could have easily given John all his revelations of heaven all by Himself, as He was standing right there and obviously a part of the vision too (Rev. 22:16).
But instead, God chose to use angels.
Jesus and Angels
And if that’s not enough, of course we would always say our ultimate example is Jesus. He IS God. Surely He doesn’t require angelic assistance. Well, it turns out He does actually. Or at least He wants it. It’s the way Father set it up: for angelic ministering spirits to minister to us (Heb. 1:13,14).
We know angels were there when Jesus was born in Bethlehem and they surrounded His resurrection and later ascension. But what really amazed me was the fact that angels ministered to Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:11), and strengthened Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk. 22:43).
Since angels are such important figures in the Bible, in the lives of the disciples, and in the life of Jesus Himself, why haven’t they been a bigger part of my life?
What Are They Good For?
I had finally gotten used to the fact that angels can be around, but I still had some pretty specific and limited tasks I understood to be in their repertoire of usefulness. For example, they can protect me since that’s a definite theme for them in Psalms.
I decided they could also explain things to me, since that happens repeatedly throughout the Prophets. As it turns out, however, they actually do all kinds of other things too, from making dinner (1 Kings 19:5-8) to even playing a role in healing (Jn. 5:4).
This seemed kind of a stretch for me at first, but now I understand. I don’t believe they have healing power themselves, instead they’re just like me. I can receive a gift of healing from God and give it to another person. It flows through my hands, but obviously isn’t me. I think it’s the same way with angels.
Angels Can’t Do That!
If there is one thing I think we all would agree that no angel should or could ever have anything to do with, it would be in cleansing us from sin. That’s Jesus’ job and angels have nothing to do with it.
Not according to God. Isaiah 6:1-7 makes it crystal clear how important angels are and how much they can really do. The setting is Isaiah having his great vision where he sees the Lord high and lifted up. So God is right there on His throne and there are angels surrounding Him. So far so good, but when Isaiah worries about his sin in the presence of a holy God, what happens next? Let me quote it exactly…
”Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken awayand your sin is forgiven.” (Isa. 6:6,7)
What? God, You were right there. You were with Isaiah. You could have easily done this Yourself. I know it’s Jesus’ blood and sacrifice that saves us, so why let an angel give him the burning coal? If I had manufactured this vision, I definitely would have had You get up from Your throne and just bring that coal over to Isaiah Yourself. You didn’t need an angel to do that for You.
Father’s Point of View
God: Of course I didn’t need an angel to do it. You’re right in that I don’t “need” anyone to do anything. But I’m God, and I like it this way. I’m a King. I’m on a throne. Why wouldn’t I want My servants to serve on My behalf? Why wouldn’t I want to commission those under My authority to do the work I want accomplished?
While you’re completely right about My ability, I choose for it to be this way. I designed for angels to be part of the spiritual landscape. I like them! They like serving Me. It’s really a win-win situation.
Here you’d been thinking that by having others do My work for Me, that somehow detracts from My power or awesomeness in some way. Actually, it does the opposite. Kings and Presidents and Prime Ministers – they don’t do everything for themselves. They don’t usually go out to war themselves personally, do they? They send armies out on their behalf, with their full authority and backing and strength behind them.
Play Well Together
It doesn’t diminish Me to have angelic servants that I work through;it glorifies Me. So when you realize you guys are all on the same team, partnering together to obey Me and serve Me, that thrills Me. That’s the vision! That’s how it’s supposed to work.
So don’t feel the need to question anymore. You’ve got the biblical basis, you’ve got My personal invitation and instruction – run with it. We can accomplish so much more through unity, of everyone on the same team aware of each other and cooperating together with their team members. You’re not alone, and never have been. I never leave you or forsake you, and neither do they. Because they live in perfect obedience to My will, and My will for them is watching over you (Ps. 91:11).
What Are They Like?
So now that I had all my questions answered and I finally got the revelation… what are my angels actually like? They’re like the big brother you always wished you had, or the best version of your very best friend. They are authentic and charming. Unexpectedly fun and funny. Almost like stand-up comedian, buddy comedy flick funny.
I asked, “Are you guys for real?”
Their response: “Fun? I know, not the first thing you probably think of when you consider angelic guardians. We get that a lot.”
That’s pretty funny! Another morning Shobi was complimenting me on my appearance and said: “If I may say so, Milady, you are a vision…”
I just laughed at him and said, “Thanks, and I could certainly say the same thing about YOU” (considering he actually is an invisible spirit from another dimension). He said that just to make me laugh, I know. They do that a lot. They say they are “guardians of my laughter“ and “protectors of my peace.“
One day I tried to turn the tables on them and tease them back: “So about your names. I mean, Pojes and Shobis? Really? No offense, but they’re just really not that cool…”
Their response: “Yeah, actually – we’re not from around here.”
Ha! Well, I certainly couldn’t argue with that.
I had the wonderful opportunity of being invited to share on a video call about my experiences with the spirit realm. There was a lively group who had a bunch of great questions on how to engage your guardian angels, practical steps to connect with the supernatural world, and what living into heaven actually looks like on earth.
We had a lot of fun together, and you can check out the recording here. Enjoy!
“Question Mark Shaped Cloud” image courtesy of iamharin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Broken Jail Window” image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Fire Cooking” image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
”Cool Microphone” image courtesy of Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net