Many people, including Christians, are very afraid at this time of year because of Halloween and what it’s come to represent. So, instead of focusing on demons or fallen angels and spirits, I want to shift our attention to angels and their role in the life of the believer.
The Bible is filled with angelic encounters and information about angels. There is no way I can address everything in this post. However, I hope to provide you with some basics about these heavenly beings so you can move forward in faith and not fear and have peace during this Halloween season.
The word “angel” comes from the Greek word angelos meaning messenger. You will find that delivering messages from God is one of their primary responsibilities. The most famous account of an angel delivering a message is Luke 1:26-28 when the angel Gabriel tells Mary about Jesus’ birth. In Matthew 28:2-7, an angel of the Lord delivers the message to the women at the tomb that Jesus rose from the dead. Again, there are so many accounts.
“Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will” Psalm 103:21 (NRSV).
Hebrews 1:14 (NRSV) says about angels, “Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” Other Bible versions describe angels as “ministering spirits.” Angels are members of the heavenly hosts. In Matthew 18:10 Jesus says, “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.” They stand in the very presence of God, but they are not to be worshipped as equal to God. The Bible says we are a little lower than the angels in Psalm 8:5, but like us they, too, are servants of God.
“Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’” Revelation 19:10 (NRSV).
God dispatches angels to minister to believers in their time of need. In Matthew 4:11, angels minister to Jesus after the devil tempts him in the wilderness. In Luke 22 after Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives, other gospel accounts say the Garden of Gethsemane, an angel appears and gives Jesus strength to fulfill God’s will. Angels give us supernatural strength. Even though there are times when we feel alone, we are never alone. There is much activity going on in the spiritual realm.
God allowed Jacob to witness the activity in the spiritual realm in Genesis 28:10-17. In his dream, he saw a ladder with angels descending and ascending from heaven to earth. God also permitted Elisha’s servant to see warring angels in 2 Kings 6:17. The king of Aram sent his armies to fight against them, but God opened the servant’s eyes to see the angels in chariots of fire that surrounded them. Angels fight on the behalf of God’s people. You can see angels in the spirit in visions and dreams (not with your physical eyes) and angels can appear in physical form. Two angels appeared in physical form when they visited Lot and his family in Sodom in Genesis 19. The angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar to encourage her in Genesis 16:7-12 after Abraham and Sarah sent her away.
Angels also battle on the behalf of the believers. In 2 Kings 19:35, the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 Assyrians. In Matthew 26:53, Jesus tells Peter that he can call down legions of angels to fight on their behalf. Jesus also tells the disciples in Matthew 13:49-50 that angels will participate in executing God’s judgment. He says they will separate the evil from the righteous.
“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels” Matthew 26:53 (NRSV)?
God also sends angels to prepare the way for believers. In Exodus 23:20-23, God tells the children of Israel that He’s going to send an angel before them into the land of Canaan. God also tells them in Exodus 32:34 and 33:2 that He will send an angel before them. We, too, can ask God to send angels on our behalf to prepare the way for us.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid” Psalm 27:1 (NRSV)?
As previously said, there is no way I can cover all the activity of angels in the Bible in this post, but this should give you a great start. This is just a reminder that Jesus and his heavenly army are working on our behalf. We don’t have to be afraid of anything. There are more for us than against us.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2 (NRSV).
This post wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t share with you my encounters with angels. Of course, as in the biblical accounts, I didn’t realize I encountered an angel until after he departed. So here are a couple of my personal experiences.
Angel in the Bookstore
This happened about 10 years ago. I used to frequent a Borders bookstore during my lunch hour when I worked in downtown Washington, DC. The Lord had recently called me into the Gospel ministry, and I wanted to read every book I could get my hands on about Jesus, the Bible and ministry. That day, I picked up “The Power of a Wise Woman” by Bishop Eddie Long. I sat on a bench in one of the aisles when a man approached me. He was a black man for those who only visualize angels as white women, but I digress. He asked me what I was reading. I told him and showed him the cover of the book. He asked me what it was about. I said, “It’s about how God used these women in the Bible.” He then said, “I’m looking for a book and you know what it is.” I shrugged my shoulders. He pointed to the title of the chapter on the page. It said “She spoke for God.” He said again, “I’m looking for a book and you know what it is.” I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Then the man pointed to the ceiling and said, “Did you ask God first?” Immediately, I became nervous because just the night before I had a conversation with my aunt a.k.a. my spiritual mother, and she told me to “ask God first” before I answered any questions about God or made any moves in my life. There was no way this “stranger” could have known about the conversation. I just shrugged my shoulders again. He then asked me what church I went to. I told him. He said, “Very good. Very good.” He walked out of the aisle and disappeared. Almost immediately I called my aunt and told her about the encounter. She, too, agreed that I probably just encountered an angel. Many years later, I finally caught the revelation of the man’s question. The book he was looking for was my book. God called me to write for His purposes and there is a book in me that He wants to get out. I haven’t written it yet, but I’m getting to it!
“Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” Joel 2:28 (NRSV).
In the previous encounter, the angel appeared as a man, but another time I saw an angel was in the spirit. You can read the details here. As I prepared to preach my first sermon after my husband’s death, I saw a gigantic angel standing on guard in the pulpit. The vision was so compelling and soul stirring that I had tears in my eyes when I took the mic. You can view the video here.
Angels in Benjamin Mays Hall
The first time I had a vision of an angel or saw an angel in the spirit was when I was in seminary. I just landed the position as editor of the school’s newsletter, but I didn’t know how I was going to perform the duties because I didn’t have a computer. I went upstairs into the dormitory, plopped face down onto my bed and started crying. I prayed to God and asked Him how I was supposed to design, write and edit the newsletter with no computer. In the same moment, my telephone rang. It was my stepmother calling to ask me if I wanted a computer from one of the members of my former church who just passed away. I screamed, “Yes!” After I hung up the phone, I started worshipping and praising God in tears because of how quickly He answered my prayer. In the midst of my worship, my spiritual eyes were opened to see a gigantic angel in the ceiling of my room. The angel filled the entire space of the ceiling. If you know anything about Mays Hall, you know that the rooms are long and wide, so the space in the ceiling is huge. The angel filled the entire ceiling and was just looking down on me. It looked like other biblical accounts of angels. A being with human form, dressed in white with huge white wings. The vision scared me so much, I tiptoed out of my room because I was afraid. However, I knew in that moment that God was with me and had angels watching over me.
A Praying Woman
My mother also had an encounter with an angel. She was out of town and fell ill with what we later discovered was a kidney stone. She was at a flea market in New Jersey when excruciating pain hit her. Immediately, she knew something was wrong and called 911. The debilitating pain prevented her from standing up, so she laid on the ground. While she waited for an ambulance, a woman (a white woman this time for those who care) came out from nowhere, held my mother and started to pray for her. By the time the ambulance arrived, my mother passed the kidney stone. The woman never told my mother her name or gave her a number to follow up. The woman just left the scene. My mother is convinced God sent an angel to minister to her during her time of need.
I have several other stories, but these are just a few to strengthen your faith in the Lord. There are many frightening things in this world, but there is also an invisible reality – the Kingdom of God. The truth about it is God is with us, watching over us, protecting us and working on our behalf.
What about you? Have you ever had an encounter with an angel? Please share your story in the comments section to encourage someone!
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