Does The Bible Teach That Guardian Angels Are Real? #210
Hello again friends, and happy Saturday to you! Today we’re talking about angels – specifically guardian angels. It is a topic that I honestly can’t believe that we’ve never covered on the show before, but a handy-dandy search of Biblereadingpodcast.com says we haven’t, so don’t spoil it for me if the site is wrong. Angels are fascinating beings, right? I have never personally seen an angel – at least, never seen one that I was aware of, but I did happen to enter a Target in Anaheim a mere ten minutes after Mike Trout and Chuck Finley had just been there. #Dadjokes
Anyway, I really have not ever seen an angel – the baseball kind or the heavenly kind, but I have heard stories from many friends and pastors over the years who have seen angels. One time, a couple of friends and I even dressed up as angels (thank you, old school choir robes!), and convinced people that we were supernatural beings. I was a young youth minister at the time, and was given a most valuable treasure – a CHURCH KEY! This enabled our merry band of faux ‘angels’ to appear and disappear all around the church building late one night to the great mystification of many young adults and college students that were returning from an event. Good times, and I’m glad that impersonating an angel wasn’t a crime in Alabama in the 90s. #2nddadjoke
Today’s Bible readings are Judges 8, Acts 12, Jeremiah 21 and Mark 7. Our focus passage comes from Acts 12, which is a passage that is chock full of angels. Well – there are at least two different real angels in Acts 12 and one hypothetical angels, which is still more angels than I’ve ever seen. Let’s read the passage, paying at least a little attention to the church’s theory as to who was knocking on Mary’s door.
Great passage, and it raises our big Bible question of the day. Do Christians have guardian angels? It is quite apparent from our passage that the Christians that were gathered at Mary’s house praying for Peter certainly did think that – or at least something quite related to that theory:
14 She recognized Peter’s voice, and because of her joy, she did not open the gate but ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the outer gate. 15 “You’re out of your mind!” they told her. But she kept insisting that it was true, and they said, “It’s his angel.”
Does this PROVE that Christians have guardian angels? I don’t believe so. Think back to our Bible passage in Mark 6 that we read together yesterday. In this passage, Jesus is walking on water, and they think He is a ghost:
48 He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them. 49 When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
So the disciples obviously – to at least a degree – believed in ghosts! There were other times, including after the resurrection of Jesus, that they mistook Him for a ghost…and astonishingly, we have no record in Scripture that Jesus ever corrects them and says something like, “How many times do I have to tell you guys – there’s no such thing as ghosts!” What does this tell us about ghosts? Practically nothing, really, beyond the fact that the disciples believed that ghosts were possible when confronted by Jesus walking on the water and materializing inside a locked room that there was no way for Him to get into except by supernatural means. Does that mean that ghosts exist? It doesn’t – the Bible simply doesn’t address that question. Similarly, our Acts passage today doesn’t answer the guardian angel question either, but it does indicate that a good portion of the existing church at that time believed in something like guardian angels.
This isn’t the only passage to discuss the possibility of guardian angels, however, and there is actual biblical evidence that God may indeed assign at least some angels to guard people. Sam Storms points us to Matthew 18 as a teaching of Jesus that might indicate the existence of guardian angels – at least for children:
“In Matthew 18:10, Jesus warns against the neglect of little children and reminds his disciples that “their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” An ancient custom prevailed in eastern court settings according to which those who stood “before the king” or were allowed to “see his face” were officers who enjoyed the king’s special favor and were privileged to enjoy the closest possible fellowship. The implication may be that the highest ranking angels are assigned and commissioned by God to watch over with loving care his “little ones”. Thus Jesus is saying, “Don’t despise my ’little ones,’ for they are so highly regarded that God has appointed his most illustrious angels to keep watch over them.” Their constant presence before him may be so that they can quickly respond to whatever tasks God may assign them in their ministry to us.”
Source: Samuel Storms, Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions (Wheaton: Crossway Press, 2013)
How can we conclude the question? Do guardian angels actually exist – do you have one; do I? I think the Bible does not give us quite enough information to be definitive on this question, but i think it is a definite ‘maybe.’ Most Protestants I know would completely dismiss the possibility, and most Catholics would embrace it. I have to think the evidence here slightly favors the Catholic side, at least in this instance, as we see a slight amount of pro guardian angel evidence in the Word, and nothing that I’ve found that refutes the possibility.
At the very least, you should keep your guest room (or couch) clean and suitable for visitors, as Hebrews 13:2 reminds us:
2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.