Many believe that angels are still among us. Their very name "angel" means “messenger,” and we can be assured that when they’re here, they have come for a very specific purpose. For throughout history, angels have been sent by God to bring a message of hope, to protect, comfort, serve, carry out his judgment, and to give Him praise.
There are people who have had encounters with angels in our world even today. Maybe some are aware of these angelic meetings. Maybe others have no idea they’ve walked or possibly talked with an angel.
We’re told in Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And we can be confident that He still works in the same powerful ways, for He never changes.
Here are five reasons why God sent angels in the Bible, what their stories teach us, and why we may experience an interaction with angel today.
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1. Angels come to bring a message from God.
Many people believe that angels are very real, even today. They are God’s messengers, and there is a vast spiritual realm that surrounds us, though we can’t visibly see it (Colossians 1:16).
There are many examples in the Bible of when God sends an angel to give a specific message to an individual or group. Sometimes it was a word of encouragement or to offer hope for what was still to come. Other times it was a clear warning for God’s people and provided protection and guidance. Here are some examples from Scripture where God sent angels with messages:
In Genesis 18, God sent three of these messengers to Abraham and Sarah to tell them that even in her old age, she would soon bear a son. Within just a year, those words had come true.
In Genesis 16, God sent an angel to Sarah’s servant, Hagar, in the desert when she ran away after feeling hurt and mistreated. We read the story of how the angel’s message was to give hope that God indeed saw her situation, and she was not forgotten.
He sent an angel to the discouraged Gideon in Judges 6, who greeted him with the words, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Hardly the words Gideon may have used to even describe himself at that time. But God saw with different eyes, and the angel’s words spoke truth and life to a fearful soul.
God sent the angel, Gabriel, to Mary in Luke 1 to tell her that she would give birth to the very Son of God. Gabriel also came to Zechariah to tell him the news that Elizabeth would bear a son. In Luke 2, God sent an angel messenger to the shepherds to tell them of Jesus’ birth. In Matthew 28, an angel appeared at the tomb of Christ to announce that Jesus was risen.
2. Angels protect God's people.
As believers, we never need to be afraid of angels. Though this may be our normal response if we ever encountered one, the Bible reminds us over and over that we do not need to fear them (Luke 2:10).
Many times throughout history, and still today, God sends angels to protect, guard, and fight for us. We do not have authority over angels, and the Bible never tells us to give them instruction or to command them. That is the work of God alone.
He tells us in the powerful words of Psalm 91 that He would give angels charge concerning us to guard us in all our ways.
God sent an angel to protect Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel 6:22 says that he shut the mouth of the lions so that no harm came to him who was found blameless before God.
God reminded the Israelites of his presence with them in Exodus 23:20 when he said, “I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
Psalm 34:7 reminds us, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.”
In 2 Kings 6:17, Elisha prayed that his servant would see the armies of angels surrounding the city. God opened his eyes and he realized he had overlooked these mighty invisible beings.
His word reminds us of his special care over children, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father...” Matthew 18:10.
3. God's angels come to comfort and minister to believers.
Many times, God sends angels to minister to those in extreme times of pain, loss, or grief.
If you’ve ever sat at the bedside of a loved one who was at heaven’s gates, whether you recognized it or not, you were surely in the presence of angels. Maybe one of your loved ones has spoken last words of seeing angels or light before being ushered straight in to the presence of God. Maybe you just knew and were comforted by the fact that they were seeing into a realm that we can’t fully see, and it gave them peace and strength. I’ve had the experience several times through life of saying goodbye to dear ones I loved. It gives us a picture of God’s tender heart that He cares for His children enough to send help in our greatest times of need and loss.
We see many accounts in the Bible of when God sends His messengers to provide comfort and to minister to those who are in need and to those who are passing from this life to the next.
When Elijah was afraid and running for his life in 1 Kings 19, an angel appeared to him and provided food and water for his journey.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus prayed and wrestled with what was to come, Luke 22:43 tells us that an angel appeared from heaven, “strengthening him.”
After Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and stood strong against the temptations of the devil, Matthew 4:11 says, “Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”
4. Angels execute God’s judgment.
According to the Bible, angels can also be used by God to punish sin and to bring his judgment.
We are wise to walk with spiritual discernment, for the Bible says that even the devil will disguise himself as an angel of light. We can always be confident with God’s help as He leads us to recognize truth and deception through his Spirit who guides us (2 Corinthians 11:14).
In 2 Kings, King Hezekiah prayed boldly to God, asking for his help against their enemies. The Assyrians were known for the cruel way they treated their captives. 2 Kings 19:35 says, “That night, the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men…”In Revelation, we see specific times that God will give angels the charge to execute his judgment.
Revelation 12:7-9 tells us, “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
5. Angels come to give praise and worship to God.
Angels are mighty beings who offer praise and worship to God. God never intends for us to worship angels or pray to them. He alone is worthy of our worship (Revelation 4:11). And angels remind us of this truth.
Revelation 4:8 says, “Day and night they never stop saying, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’”
In Revelation 5:11-12 we read, “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand…In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
Satan - The enemy intends evil, but God promises good.
According to Scripture, Satan himself was the highest of all angels in heaven. But because of his great pride, desiring to be worshipped and set up above God, he was thrown out, and he took one-third of the angels with him (Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14, Revelation 12).
These are the demonic, dark spiritual forces we’re up against today. And you can be assured that the enemy knows how to disguise himself as an angel. His whole intent is to lead us into traps of destruction and to draw our worship away from God. Live aware; don’t be easily deceived.
God promises to help us as we seek to honor Him and walk wisely in this life. We can trust that even when we’re unaware of our needs or impending disasters that lay before us, God knows the way. He is at work: sending words of hope, protecting his children, attending to our needs, bringing justice and mercy to our land, drawing us closer to himself, and encouraging us to walk wisely, be aware, and live fully for Him.
He often works in ways we can’t fully see, sometimes behind the scenes or with unexpected timing. Yet he’s always working on our behalf. Whether we realize it or not, there’s a spiritual realm constantly around us. May God give us eyes to see clearly that angels are among us and that God is working miracles, even today.
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
Originally published Wednesday, 04 May 2022.