Angel Picture - Do Angels Really Act as Guardians?
When we think of an angel picture, we often think of a regal "guardian angel" who is specifically assigned to watch over us. Does this picture have any foundation in the Bible? In Matthew 18:10, we read, "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." In context, "these little ones" could either apply to those who believe in Him (Matthew 18:6) or to the little children (Matthew 18:3-5). This is the key passage pointed to when people discuss the possibility of guardian angels.
Angel Picture - The Various Roles of Angels
What is the true picture of an angel? There's no doubt that good angels help protect (Daniel 6:20-23; 2 Kings 6:13-17), reveal information (Acts 7:52-53; Luke 1:11-20), guide (Matthew 1:20-21; Acts 8:26), provide for (Genesis 21:17-20; 1 Kings 19:5-7), and minister to believers in general (Hebrews 1:14). It's not so apparent from Scripture whether each person or each believer has an angel assigned to him or her. In the Old Testament, the Nation of Israel had the archangel Michael assigned to it (Daniel 10:21; 12:1), but there's really no place in Scripture where it states that an angel was ever "assigned" to an individual (they were sometimes sent to individuals on different occasions, but no mention of "permanent" assignment is given).
One commentator states that the Jews had fully developed the belief in guardian angels during the time between the Old and New Testament periods. Some early church fathers believed that each person had not only a good angel assigned to him but also a demon as well (it's unclear whether they believed Satan or God assigned the demon). At any rate, the belief in guardian angels has been around for a long time.
If we interpret Matthew 18:10 as referring to "guardian angels," it would seem that these angels are not on active duty, but rather, "always see the face of" the Father in heaven. The active duty or "oversight" role seems then to come more from God than the angels. In our society today, it's "in" to believe in angels. We have movies that focus on angels and we have TV shows that portray angels as being assigned to help. Scripture makes it clear that although angels possess superhuman power and knowledge, they are created beings just as we are -- "nothing" in comparison with God. As such, they are not to be worshiped (Exodus 20:1-6; Colossians 2:18). Rather, worship is to be reserved for God alone.
Angel Picture - What Really Matters is God, the Maker of Men and Angels!
So, what's the definitive "angel picture?" Do angels really act as our individual guardians? Well, Scripture isn't perfectly clear. As stated earlier, God does use angels to minister to us. However, the Bible is clear to say that God uses angels just like He uses people -- He in no way needs us or them to accomplish His purposes, but chooses to use us nonetheless (Job 4:18; Job 15:15). In the end, whether we have an angel assigned to protect us or not, we have a greater assurance that God gives: that if we are His children through faith in Christ, He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28-30), and that Jesus Christ will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). If we have an omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving God with us, what does it really matter whether there is a finite angel along side of us or not?
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