Angels as Ministering Spirits

Hebrews 1:14: Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Hebrews 13:2: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

We tackled a very interesting topic in our Sunday school class this morning on the subject of angels and the role they play in our daily, ordinary lives. Angels are messengers sent from God and they basically help us to understand and follow God’s plan for the world and for our individual lives. We are certainly fascinated with angels and how they possibly intersect with our lives but we should not worship angels. Our lesson this morning from Hebrews reminded us that Christ alone is worthy of our worship because he is greater than all the prophets, Moses, the Aaronic priesthood and even angels.

Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, reminded the early church that only God the Son is worthy of worship; the angels are not. Colossians 2:18: Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. There were some in the early church that apparently did worship angels. It’s possible they could have believed that God was too holy to worship or approach and so they made angels the focus of their worship.

Another passage from Revelation 22:8-9 reveals to us that we should not worship angels: “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!'”

Morton Kelsey in his excellent book, What is Heaven Like? The Kingdom As Seen in the Beatitudes, writes about angels as ministering spirits of departed loved one. “The deceased, particularly the gentle-spirited deceased, are the very ones who are given permission to exert a gentle and hardly perceptible influence upon those on earth who are open to such influence. Raymond Moody and Karlis Osis in their research and Billy Graham in his book on angels have described the experience of being met at the point of death by a deceased friend or loved one. The other person is there to help us make the transition, and apparently has been keeping watch over us all the time. I have personally felt this guidance after the death of my mother and then after the death of my son” (P.28).

Kelsey goes on to write, “The deceased who are kindly spirits and have inherited the earth, influence us in many ways, even though we hardly know it. Those in the heaven beyond the earth are not so separated from us as we sometimes think. By becoming more conscious of the spiritual realm, we can often become more aware of the presence and the influence the deceased in heaven have upon us” (p. 29).

I have always thought that my loved ones that have departed and are in heaven are watching over me and my family in ways that we can’t quite discern. The Bible doesn’t necessarily teach a doctrine of individual guardian angels but there are many scriptures that point to angels offering protection to God’s people in various ways. While we should worship Christ alone, as the Bible teaches us, we can and should draw some comfort from the angels who are sent to us as ministering spirits.

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