Angels - A Bible Study

by Linda Stover

Probably the most intriguing Scripture reference to angels from a human perspective is the one that says, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:2).  Wow!  Doesn't that make you stop to think about how you treat people? Another fascinating Scripture that causes me to pause in my daily helter-skelter activities and give thanks is found in Psalm 91:11-12 "For He will give His angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone."

Friends, there are angels among us! Sometimes we see them and do not even realize it! At other times, we sense their presence. We just know they are there helping us, guiding us, watching over us. Then there are times when we think we desperately need them and they seem to be somewhere else! However, if we believe the Bible (and I certainly do!), we must believe that the angels are always there - the righteous angels doing what God tells them to do; the fallen angels working under the direction of Satan.

Good Vs. Bad - How to Know the Difference

All angels were created as holy angels, but about a third of them rebelled against God and fell from their sinless position (Revelation 12:9). Satan, the leader of the "bad" or fallen angels, is a liar, a murderer, and a thief. (John 10:10) He hates God and - - NEWS FLASH! He passionately hates God's people. The Bible tells us that he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We need to remember that Satan and all the demons are supernaturally brilliant, and Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). Masquerading as a holy angel, Satan and his demons are behind the current angel craze in our culture. Under the covert operation of the master deciever, America is experiencing a wave of angel-mania!

We must always be aware of the two kinds of angelic activity in the world: good and evil. Be very careful of the books you read or the seminars you attend. While there are a number of wonderful Christian books available, there are numerous publications filled with demonic deception of the ugliest kind! The Scriptures tell us to try (i.e. test) the spirits to see if they are from God. How do we know if they have "passed" the test?  There are at least four criteria to identify God's angels:

What do Angels look like, and how do they act?

To understand the differences in angelic beings, look around you. God likes variety, it seems. Everything He created is different in some way.   Even the angels.  Sometimes they have wings, sometimes they are like fire. From reading many Scripture references, it appears that angels are not confined to any specific form or shape, but assume various forms and appearances according to the nature of the work they are required to perform and the will of God. In many instances they behave and act just like we do. They sit, stand, look like women, look like men, talk, eat and sing. In other instances, the Bible describes them as being spirits, wind and fire. Take a look at the descriptive information in the Bible.

What do Angels do?

By definition, the word, angel is: Aggelos: messenger, to bring a message, announce, proclaim.  From this definition and the Scriptures that talk of them, we can get an idea of their work on earth on behalf of mankind. From the following Biblical references we find they do a variety of things: Rescue, Guard, Keep, Protect, Bring us messages from God, Fight our Battles, Carry out God's Desires. A marvelous Scripture that tells us in a nutshell the whole purpose of angels on earth: They are spiritual beings sent by God to minister to those who will inherit salvation. That means they are here for everyone on earth, because salvation is for everyone.  God is so intent upon the salvation of mankind he even sends angelic beings to work toward that end! I believe the ultimate purpose of angelic activity in the life of an unbeliever is to point that person toward Christ. To that end, they protect, defend, instruct and guide us. After we have come to accept Christ as our personal Savior, their work for us continues and increases to the extent we trust in and rely on the Heavenly Father. The passage from Psalm 91 seems to substantiate this. The Psalm begins by identifying his audience: those who trust in God. Take a moment to read the entire Psalm. When you trust in and rely on our Heavenly Father, His holy angels defend and preserve you. Evil cannot conquer them. When necessary, they will turn your steps out of the way of danger.

Does each person have a guardian Angel?

Matthew 18:10 "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in Heaven."

It seems here that Jesus Christ himself is saying that every person has a guardian angel and that these angels always have access to God.

Do Good People Become Angels When They Die?

We see it happen that way on television and at the movies. However, as entertaining and interesting as it is, it is nothing more than a fantasy. A human being is always a human being. An angel is always an angel. The Scripture tells us about man:

Psalms 8:5 "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and has crowned him with glory and honor."

As long as we are on earth we are not as good or righteous as the holy angels. We still sin and go against the will of God. Angels, however, work directly for and with God, so they are "higher" than we are. However, notice that we are still crowned with glory and honor. Why else would Jesus have died on the cross for us?

Do angels know everything?

Matthew 24:36 (Jesus is talking about the rapture) But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

There is nothing written in Scripture that indicates angels are omniscient. On the contrary, they know only what is revealed to them by God - and wonder of wonders - by observing God's working in and through His people! (See Ephesians 3:9,10)

How many angels are there?

Daniel 7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.

Revelation 5:11, NIV "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand."

A Final Word

Go to any search machine and you will find many "angel" sites listed on the internet. Please be very careful when visiting these places. Remember your adversary. He is lying in wait to deceive you. Once you are deceived he has an open door into your life. His goal is to steal, kill, destroy. You may think the study of angels is a harmless pursuit.  It can be extremely dangerous, so please be very careful. Pray to God, the Father, in Jesus' name. Ask His direction. Ask His protection.  And if you want His angels to surround you, talk to Him about it. Remember this: when you start to talk to angels, you may very well be talking to demons in disguise.

In the end, the final destiny of Satan and his evil angels is eternal fire. Matthew 25:41, NIV. "Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." It would be his great pleasure to take you there with him. Don't allow it to happen! Believe in Jesus, the Christ, today. Accept Him as your Savior. Trust Him to surround you with his holy angels as you live for Him day by day.

Copyright© 2004 by and Linda Stover Van Fleet, all rights reserved.