Thursday, July 30, 2009


My article from today's Algona Upper Des Moines about Angels:

Q: Are angels real and how much do we really know about them?

Angels have probably been one of the most popular subjects in spirituality over the years. On one hand, angels are real beings, described by the Bible, but on the other hand, some popular beliefs regarding angels are no more than superstition or speculation. Because we see so many examples in the Bible of angels in action, there are many things we can know about them. First, we know that angels were created by God. Because God says in the book of Job that they were present when God “laid the foundations of the earth,” they were probably created on the first day that God began to create the world.

Angels are not just a spiritual phenomenon, but they are individual, personal beings. The Bible shows us that angels have names, such as Michael and Gabriel, but they are neither male nor female and do not marry or reproduce—something Jesus reveals to us in the Gospels. They experience joy when sinners repent, and they exist to serve God and follow His commands.

There are also different types or ranks among the angels. The picture we usually imagine of an impressive glowing angel with wings dressed in white would probably resemble the Seraphim. (Incidentally, the Bible never describes an angel who looks like a chubby, winged toddler.) Seraphim surround God’s throne in heaven and their task is to praise and glorify Him. They are described in Revelation 4 and Isaiah 6. Cherubim are angels who act as servants to God. They assist in carrying out God’s will and His commands in heaven and on earth, as seen in Genesis 3:24 and Ezekiel 1. Another class of angels, described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 9 is the Archangel.

We do not know how many angels there are, but we do know from a statement made by Jesus (Matthew 26:53) that there are at least 72,000. All angels were originally created by God to serve Him, but soon after creation, one angel began a rebellion in heaven, leading one-third of the angels to oppose God. These angels were condemned for their rebellion and are now known as demons. Michael, the Archangel is described as fighting against Satan and the demons.

The angels’ task is to praise God (Isaiah 6, Revelation 5) and carry out His will in the world (Revelation 7 & 14). They defend earthly rulers who God approves (Daniel 6) and destroy the enemies of God’s people (Exodus 14, Acts 12). They watch over the households of believers and guard their children (Job 1, Psalm 34, Matthew 18), and they guard and protect Christians from the time of their Baptism until their death (Psalm 91, Luke 16, Jude 9). When Jesus returns, the angels will separate the condemned from the saved and carry out His punishments against them (Matthew 13 & 25), and they will escort the saved into the eternal life.

One of the most popular myths about angels is that people can communicate with them or seek their guidance. There are even services available where, much like a psychic reading, a person claims that they can connect you with the angels and (for a fee, of course) tell you what they have to say. This sort of practice is entirely contrary to the teachings of Scripture. God did send messages to Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, John, and some of the prophets through angels, but He has never promised that He will do the same for us. Additionally, those Biblical saints heard directly from the angels and did not require the assistance of a “professional.”

Furthermore, Paul informs us in 1 Timothy that, “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” The fact is that since Jesus has died and risen for us, Christians do not have need of anyone to stand between them and God to assist in communication. Christians have the privilege to hear God’s Word for them directly from the Bible and to speak back to Him directly through prayer. Jesus, not any angel, is the only mediator who can connect us with God the Father.

Readers are encouraged to submit questions for inclusion in future issues. According to your preference, you may include your first name or submit questions anonymously, and I will do my best to answer your questions as my knowledge and research allow and according to their suitability for publication. You may submit questions by email to or by mail to P.O. Box 195; Burt, IA 50522.

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