What do angels do, anyway? Do they fly around on Valentine’s Day shooting potential suitors with arrows? Do they swoop down to rescue small children from raging rivers just in the nick of time? Or perhaps they are assigned to adults, guarding perfect parking spots and dropping $20 bills on the sidewalk on the day the checkbook balance turns three shades of red.
In the last two blog posts, we’ve asked and answered the questions, Are angels fat cherubs? and Are all angels good? Today we’ll tackle the question, What do angels do, anyway?
The Bible tells us angels have three main parts to their job description: to worship and serve God, to minister to believers, and to judge the lost. In today’s blog post, I’ll concentrate on the first two.
Myth: Angels sit around on clouds all day shooting arrows at would-be lovers and making music on harps.
Truth: Angels have significant, purposeful job assignments in heaven and on earth.
Angels worship and serve God.
Angels primary job is to worship the Lord and call attention to his glory. This description of what happens in the throne room of God from the book of Isaiah is an awe-inspiring example:
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6:1-3).
Angels perform the will of God.
In Daniel 10:11 the archangel Gabriel described one of his missions. He mentions how the archangel Michael assisted him:
"Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you. . . Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Dan. 10:11-13).
Angels also minister to believers.
This is perhaps the most well-known role of angels—that of a guardian or protector. I remember falling asleep as a child under the painting by Lindberg Schutzengel, Guardian Angel and Children Crossing Bridge. It is a mental picture that has lingered with me all my life.
Do children have their very own guardian angels? Mothers of boys certainly think so, although considering some of the near misses and accidents their children encounter, they might wonder if their sons' angels nap a lot.
Jesus' words in Matthew 18:10 seem to imply that children do indeed have specially appointed watchmen with special access to the Father: “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones," he said. "For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. ”
We adults might have to share our guardians, although Scripture describes them as “innumerable.” They are often described as “like the stars in the heavens,” leading us to believe there could be trillions of heavenly beings.
However many there are, they serve to protect God’s children. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Ps. 91:11).
Angels also comfort (I Kings 9:15), deliver (Acts. 12:7), and minister to the believer at the point of death. Consider Luke 16:22: “The time came when the beggar (Lazarus) died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side.”
I'm comforted by the knowledge that in times of danger, discouragement, and death, God has special, supernatural beings ready to meet my needs.
I don’t know if I’ve ever encountered an angel. They do most of their work in the invisible, spiritual realm, but not always. Ask Abraham, Lot, and Paul. Perhaps this is why Scripture tells us to be watchful and quick to offer hospitality to strangers, “for some have entertained angels unaware” (Heb. 13:2).
What about you? Have you ever encountered an angel? I invite you to leave a comment below and share your story.
In my next blog post, I’ll attempt to answer the question, Do Angels Have Supernatural Powers?
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