Angels: Power, Purpose, Position
The subject of angels is both fascinating and frightening. Angels are fodder for fantasy entertainment and extravagant speculation. They are depicted as both tiny nymphs with bows and arrows and gigantic wizard-like creatures storming the earth to devour evil. Almost every Christian can name an “angel encounter” that they have experienced personally or through another that is far from these descriptions. Do these mysterious beings have affect in our daily lives?
Numerous portrayals of angels in movies depict the presence of angels in the world to assist mankind. In the beloved Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” we see this played out by “George Bailey and the chance he is given by his guardian angel Clarence Odbody. We see what the lives of his closest loved ones would be like if he was never born”.[i] Popular television programs such as Highway to Heaven and Touched by an Angel were also in this “helpful angel” category. These fanciful stories leave viewers with a sense that maybe there is something or someone “out there” to protect them in everyday life.
Angels have been used as a source of comfort for bereaved parents who naively believe that their young child is now an angel. Along these same lines is the habit of praying for and to angels believing they are loved ones who have passed.
There is much we know and do not know about angels. References in the Bible are scattered from Genesis to Revelation. Their importance is undeniable, and they are not nymphs with wings. They are powerful, purposeful, and positioned.
One cannot argue that angels are powerful. Psalm 103:20 calls them “mighty ones who do his word”, “powers” (see Ephesians 1:21), and “dominions” and “authorities” (Colossians 1:16). 2 Peter 2:11 calls them “greater in might and power” than humans. They are powerful enough to bind Satan and throw him into the pit for a thousand years (Rev. 20: 1,2). [ii]
The purpose of angels is to “do His word” (Ps 103:20). They fight battles against Satan’s forces (Daniel 10:13). They are examples to us in their loyalty and worship of God. They are created beings by God and for God. They carry out God’s judgment (plagues, wars, etc.) Angels are sent to patrol the earth with specific duties.
Angels are positioned and ready to carry out God’s commands and wishes. Two “named” angels in the Bible are Gabriel and Michael. Michael is mentioned in Jude, Daniel, and Revelation. Gabriel was sent to Mary (Luke 1:26-27). These two angel beings appear to be leaders among angels. Angels were positioned by the thousands to welcome the birth of Jesus. Some angels are constantly worshiping at the throne singing “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3).[iii]
As Christians be aware of angels in God’s ultimate forever plan, yet do not worship them or falsely portray their purposes. Do not attempt to “conjure” an angel or pray to them. It’s not accurate to give angels positions or powers or purposes that God has not created them for. Though they are interesting to study, keep your eyes on the Creator Jesus. “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Matthew 4:10).
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