I had a conversation recently with someone who asked me if I believed in angels. This person was questioning if God uses angels in our present day, to provide comfort and care for believers. That conversation led me to a book by Bill Graham that I had read many years ago about angels. In his book, Angels: God’s Secret Agents, Rev. Graham says, “I do not believe in angels because I have ever seen one- because I haven’t. I believe in angels because the Bible says that there are angels; and I believe the Bible to be the true Word of God. I also believe in angels because I have sensed their presence in my life on special occasions.”
There is a story from 2 Kings, Chapter six, where Elisha traps a group of soldiers sent by the king of Aram. Aram was at war with Israel and the king of Aram was enraged that the prophet Elisha seemed to know his every move. The king of Aram then sent out his fighters to Dothan in order to capture Elisha. The next morning when Elisha’s servant got up and went outside, he saw that an army of horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. Don’t be afraid, Elisha answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed for the Lord to open the servant’s eyes so that he may see. When the Lord did this, the servant looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. God had sent protection for his prophet, but only Elisha could see what was unseen to everyone else.
Billy Graham tells a similar story of the Reverend John G. Paton, a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands. This story also involved the protective care of angels. Hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters one night, intent on burning the Patons out and killing them. John Paton and his wife prayed all during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see the attackers unaccountably leave. They thanked God for delivering them.
A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ, and Mr. Paton asked the chief what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men you had with you there?” The missionary answered, “There were no men there; just my wife and I.” The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard – hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack. Only then did Mr. Paton realize that God had sent His angels to protect them. The chief also agreed that there was no other explanation. Could it be that God had sent a legion of angels to protect His servants, whose lives were being endangered?
The Bible states that angels, like men, were created by God. At one time no angels existed; there was nothing but the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Paul, in Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible.” Angels indeed are among the invisible things made by God, for all things were created by him, and for him.
Hebrews 1:14 calls them ministering “spirits.” Essentially, they do not possess physical bodies, although they may take on physical bodies when God appoints them to special tasks. Furthermore, God has given them no ability to reproduce, and they neither marry nor are given in marriage (Mark 12:25).
Rev. Graham says that if you believe the Bible, you will believe in the angel’s ministry. They crisscross the Old and New Testament, being mentioned directly or indirectly nearly three hundred times. David recorded 20,000 angels coursing through the skyways of the stars (Psalms 68:17). Ten thousand angels came down on Mount Sinai to confirm the holy presence of God as He gave the Law to Moses (Deuteronomy 33:2). And in the New Testament John tells us of having seen ten thousand times ten thousand angels minister to the Lamb of God in the throne room of heaven (Revelation 5:11).
In my earlier mention of the story of Elisha, we can learn an important lesson, which may aid us in our understanding of the work of angels in our world today. There is Elisha at Dothan, seemingly overwhelmed by powerful enemy forces. If we, like Elisha, had spiritual eyes that were open to the unseen power of God, we would see not only a world filled with evil spirit and powers – but also powerful angels with drawn swords, ready for our defense.
At Dothan thousands of soldiers surrounded the city and intended to do Elisha harm. Yet he had peace. His servant, however, did not, and needed his eyes opened. Billy Graham says that “we must not get so busy counting demons that we forget the holy angels. We are encompassed by a heavenly host so powerful that we need not fear the warfare of Satan – the battle belongs to the Lord.
Source used: Angels: God’s Secret Agents, Doubleday and Company, Inc. Copyright 1975.