Are angels still active? Do people have guardian angels? How many angels exist? And more.
Robert Morgan is pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for more than 30 years. He is a bestselling and Gold Medallion-winning writer of more than 20 books with more than two million copies in print circulation. His most recent title is The Angel Answer Book. We asked him to list 10 things he wishes people knew about angels.
1. Angels are still prevalent today.
Let’s start with the basics: Is there really angelic activity in a near but unseen realm? Yes. I believe angels are active in our world today — more than we realize. They were active in biblical times and there’s no indication to suggest their activity has ceased.
Angels populate the Bible in vast numbers, and they were prominent in the book of Acts as the apostles began taking the Gospel to the world. Why should they cease their work with the writing of the last book of the New Testament?
We know from Scripture that demonic activity will escalate as we approach the end of time. Jesus indicated in Matthew 24:12 that evil would increase, and Paul said evildoers and impostors would become worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13). He also warned about our struggle with unseen forces in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). From this we can rightly infer that angelic activity will also increase as the times progress — meaning angels are more active and important to us than ever.
2. Angels can vary in appearance.
In the Bible, sometimes these heavenly creatures appeared in human form and sometimes in superhuman splendor. Sometimes they were recognized as supernatural, but on other occasions they appeared as run-of-the-mill strangers. Take, for example, the words of Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”
Sometimes in the Bible angels would appear in ones or twos; other times in multitudes. Some had wings; others didn’t. Sometimes their feet were on the ground; sometimes they hovered in the sky. In Revelation 18:1, an angel descended from heaven with such sun-like brilliance that the entire earth was illumined by his splendor.
3. Believers have a number of angels watching over them.
The most frequent question I get asked about angels is: Does every person (or does every Christian) have a guardian angel?
In the Old Testament, there are indications that both good and bad angels were assigned to various nations. In the Book of Revelation, we have hints that good angels may be assigned to churches. In Matthew 18, Jesus said about children: “Their angels always are observing the face of their Heavenly father in Heaven.”
We have biblical hints about guardian angels, but not enough scriptural data on which to base a rigid doctrine. I would say the primary teaching of the Bible is that a multitude of angels is assigned to watch over us.
Psalm 91:11 says, “He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” I don’t know whether we have just one angel who stays with us from birth to death, but I believe many angels are tasked with watching over us throughout our lives.
4. Angels aren’t meant to be worshiped.
Many people today worship angels, and some religions include the worship of angels as part of their rituals. Others may not consciously worship angels, but they become obsessed with angels’ alleged presence or activities. This is wrong in God’s eyes, for only He is to be worshipped.
Yet, it’s understandable that we’re tempted to render worship to angels. Even the apostle John nearly worshipped an angel as he received the contents of the book of Revelation. In Revelation 19:10, John was so overwhelmed by his vision that he fell down to worship the angel. The angel quickly said, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!”
5. Angels can sing.
Surprisingly, one question I’m often asked about angels is whether they can sing. I think that question comes up because the Bible talks about angels speaking, but not about them singing. The verb is usually “to speak” or “to say.” But those verbs don’t rule out singing, and some translations of the Bible render it “to sing.”
For example, Revelation 5 says, “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, with ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and in a loud voice they sang: Worthy is the Lamb who is slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.’”
Furthermore, all of creation sings. God has built music and song into every part of his creation. We can sing as human beings, but so can birds and frogs and crickets. If all of the creation can sing, then we can expect that the angels could sing as well.
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