By Dr. Roger Barrier, Crosswalk.com
I read a lot in the Bible about angels; but there doesn’t seem to be much information about how angels interact with us. How can we actually know that they are engaging with us? I’ve never seen an angel. How do we know that they are really there and caring for us?
I’d like my answer to be interactive. At the end of each section I’ll share some 'exercise' suggestions as to how you might engage with angels to enrich your life and ministry.
Both good (godly) angels and bad (demonic) angels are real and exist today.
I will use the terms “godly angels” or “good angels” to refer to God’s angels who are dedicated to enhancing the kingdom of God on earth. These good angels minister and interact with Christians:
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? – Hebrews 1:14
We will use the term, “demons” or “demonic” to refer to Satan’s bad angels. Demons are intent on destroying the kingdom of God on earth. Bad angels are working behind the scenes to influence the affairs of nations and wreak havoc in the lives of Christians.
Many groups and cults claim to use angels for guidance, worship, revelation, sexual carousing, and spiritual secrets known only to the leaders.
Beware that these may be masquerading demons.
In one way or another they distort and confuse the gospel while twisting it into something it is not. Any angel who fails to follow the principles and teachings of the Bible is a demonic angel.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called and are turning to a different gospel--which is really no gospel at all...But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned – Galatians 1:6-9
Good angels are responsible for delivering godly messages, providing care, and protecting God’s children.
There’s no doubt that godly angels were active in our house the day that our three-year-old daughter was toddling toward our two-foot-deep-tile bathtub.
I was at the back of our house when I heard Julie yell, “Roger get back here quickly!” Julie and I collided as we ran simultaneously down the hall. We got there just in time. Brie was already on the edge.
I said to Julie, “I’m sure glad you called me to come quickly.”
Julie replied, “I didn’t call you, you called me.”
I’m so glad that Brianna’s guardian angel was on duty that afternoon. She got the protection. We got the message.
An angelic messenger should be no surprise. In Greek the word “angel” means “messenger.”
I’ve watched for angels ever since.
For he will command his angels concerning youto guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. – Psalm 91:11-12 NIV
Meditate on the fact that angels are deeply involved with our safety, even if we can’t see them.
Good angels are not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent, but they are really fast!
Daniel chapter nine records Daniel’s prayer for forgiveness, mercy and God’s future dealings with Israel. As soon as Daniel began praying, the good angel Gabriel was dispatched from heaven to earth with the answer to Daniel’s prayer. Gabriel arrived just as Daniel was saying “amen.”
The fact that it takes three minutes to read Daniel’s prayer from beginning to end means that Gabriel traveled for only three minutes to get from heaven to earth. That’s really fast!
Is it a good angel or the Holy Spirit delivering a message to me?
One of my friends asked me an intriguing question: “When something happens, how do we know if it’s the Holy Spirit communicating or an angel addressing us?” I’d never thought about that before.
So, one Friday I was sitting in the grandstand of the Tucson Open golf tournament when I received this deep impression that I needed to go back to work at church. The impression was overwhelming. However, I’d arranged for time off and I had front-row seats. I had no intention of missing the action. So, I pushed the impression aside and continued enjoying the tournament. But, I was assaulted with an overwhelming impression to hurry back to church. Finally, I surrendered and returned to church.
Rhonda screamed at me, “Where have you been?! We’ve been calling everywhere to find you. Your daughter’s been shot.”
I raced to the hospital like a bullet shot from a gun. The drive-by shooting caught her in the back of the leg, missed the femoral artery and thus became a relatively “simple” fix.
Was an angel delivering a message? Or, perhaps was it the Holy Spirit?
I finally decided that it really didn’t matter. So I thanked both.
Think of a specific time when God warned you from a threatening situation. Consider that maybe an angel was involved. Why not give God a word of gratitude for guarding you?
I pray often for the ministry and well-being of my Guardian Angel.
Over the years, I’m often asked, “Does everyone have a guardian angel?” One thing Jesus said convinced me that we do.
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. – Matthew 18:10
I always appeal to a person’s guardian angel when I’m praying for someone in the hospital. I pray to “Jehovah Rophe,” the God who heals, and encourage the patient’s guardian angel to watch over them for a successful surgery with no problems or complications.
When you are praying over someone who is suffering, you can ask God to send comforting angels just like He did when Elijah was discouraged when running from wicked Queen Jezebel:
Elijah said, “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.” – 1 Kings 19:4-9.
Spiritual wars are real and continuously rage between godly angels and demons.
While all the angels were originally created holy and without sin, there was a rebellion by Satan who sought to exalt himself above God. One-third of the angels joined with him in the rebellion (Revelation 12:4;
Fallen angels are called “demons.” Demonic angels disobeyed and fell from their holy position.
Most of these battles are occurring in the spirit realm over the leadership of the various nations and over the souls of men and women.
For example, the book of Daniel has numerous descriptions of the behind-the-scene battles between godly and angels and demonic spirits:
Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me (Daniel), because I was detained there with the king of Persia...So the angel said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the Prince of Persia, and when I go, the Prince of Greece will come. – Daniel 10:20-21
Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future for the vision concerns the time yet to come. – Daniel: 12-14
Some demonic spirits are territorial. Battles behind the scenes affect the affairs of countries based on the outcome of godly angelic and demonic battles.
John wrote,“There was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war” – Revelation 12:7
Robert is one of my heroes. We met doing mission work in Korea. He had just come from a revival of preaching the gospel in northern India. The night before his preaching tour was to conclude, an anti-Christian-Indian-religious-splinter group had marked him for death. To run away would make a mockery of his Christian faith; so, he decided to stay and preach the gospel even if it cost him his life.
The next morning Robert awakened as usual and sought out the tribal leader. Robert asked “Why didn’t you follow through?” To which he replied: “How could we, an army stood guard over you all night.”
Ask God to open your eyes to spiritual battles around you. Take your Bible and look up Ephesians 6:10-17. Memorize the tools God has given us to defeat and conquer the evil one. Use them daily.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:11-12
Please remember that Satan is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent. Satan himself is most likely not blinding everyone’s eyes. That work is left for individual demons.
Pray for both the Holy Spirit and for God’s angels who defeat the fallen angels against blinding unbelieving friends.
Be ready. Don’t be around when angels administer God’s judgments.
Now is the time to get ready for the Second Coming. You don’t want to be around when angels open the seals, blow the trumpets, pour out the bowls of wrath and unleash God’s judgment and devastation upon the earth (Revelation 4-18).
The only way to be sure you’ll avoid this devastation is to surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. – 2 Peter 1:10
Reconfirm that your commitment to Christ is safe and secure as you worship him as Lord and Savior.
A myriad of angels render non-stop praise and worship to God.
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.
In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” – Revelation 5:11-12
There’s no reason to wait until later to join with the angels and initiate your own time of worship and praise. Take a few moments to fall on your knees and give worship and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. He will enjoy it.
As angels comforted Jesus, so shall we comfort him.
In Gethsemane Jesus was in agony as he struggled to drink the cup of sacrificial death.
And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground – Luke 22:44
My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, stay here and keep watch – Mark 14:34
Jesus was mourning. According to his own Beatitudes he needed someone to comfort him:
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:24
Three times he implored his apostles to watch and pray and three times they fell asleep.
Do you see what’s happening here?
Whose job was it to comfort Jesus? The disciples! They failed, so God had to send an angel to finish the job.
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. – Luke 22-43
Can you imagine that if you’d been there, you might want to put your arms around Jesus and comfort him?
“Well” you say, “The disciples are the ones who should have put their arms around Jesus and comforted him. But, they didn’t and I wasn’t there. I can’t comfort Jesus?”
Sure you can!
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come...take your inheritance...For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ – Matthew 25:34-40.
Find someone in need and care for them.
Well Caitlin, I hope this gives you some insight into what angels are doing for us now.
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Roger will respond in as timely a manner as possible. Due to the large volume of questions, patience is requested. When questions involve mental health issues, no part of any response to an “Ask Roger” question should be interpreted as a substitute for seeking professional counseling from a licensed mental health professional. Email him your questions at [email protected].
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Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
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