DESCRIBING the vision he had involving God’s angelic family, the prophet Daniel wrote: “There were a thousand thousands [angels] that kept ministering to [God], and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him.” (Daniel 7:10) This verse reveals God’s purpose in creating angels. They are to minister to him and stand ready to carry out his instructions.
God uses angels to perform certain functions in connection with humans. We will consider how he uses them to strengthen and protect his people, to deliver messages to humans, and to execute his judgment upon the wicked.
Angels Strengthen and Protect
Ever since spirit creatures witnessed the creation of the earth and the first humans, they have shown keen interest in mankind. Speaking as wisdom personified, Jesus Christ, in his prehuman existence, said: “The things I was fond of were with the sons of men.” (Proverbs 8:31) And the Bible informs us that “angels are desiring to peer” into facts about Christ and the future that have been revealed to God’s prophets.
With the passing of time, the angels observed that the majority of the human family were not serving their loving Creator. How this must have saddened the faithful angels! On the other hand, whenever one sinner repents and turns to Jehovah, “joy arises among the angels.” (Luke 15:10) Angels have deep concern for the welfare of those who serve God, and Jehovah has repeatedly used them to strengthen and protect his faithful servants on earth. (Hebrews 1:14) Consider some examples.
Two angels helped righteous Lot and his daughters to survive the destruction of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by escorting them out of that area.* (Genesis 19:1, 15-26) Centuries later, even though the prophet Daniel was thrown into a lions’ pit, he was not harmed. Why? “My own God sent his angel and shut the mouth of the lions,” he declared. (Daniel 6:22) Angels supported Jesus at the start of his earthly ministry. (Mark 1:13) And shortly before Jesus’ death, an angel appeared to him and “strengthened him.” (Luke 22:43) What a blessing that angelic support must have been for Jesus at those crucial times in his life! An angel also freed the apostle Peter from prison.
Do angels protect us today? If we worship Jehovah according to his Word, we are assured that his powerful, invisible angels provide us with protection. The Bible promises: “The angel of Jehovah is camping all around those fearing him, and he rescues them.”
However, we must recognize that angels are primarily in the service of God, not that of humans. (Psalm 103:20, 21) They respond to God’s direction, not to man’s summonses or requests. Hence, the one to call upon for help is Jehovah God, not the angels. (Matthew 26:53) Of course, since we do not see the angels, we cannot determine to what extent God uses them in helping people with various matters. But we know that Jehovah does “show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 91:11) And we have the assurance that “no matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he [God] hears us.”
The Scriptures also tell us that our prayers and worship should be directed to God alone. (Exodus 20:3-5; Psalm 5:1, 2; Matthew 6:9) Faithful angels encourage us to do that. For example, when the apostle John tried to worship an angel, that spirit creature rebuked him, saying: “Be careful! Do not do that! . . . Worship God.”
Angels Deliver God’s Messages
The word “angel” means “messenger,” and that is another way angels serve God
How do angels serve as God’s messengers today? Consider the work Jesus foretold that his followers would do before the end of this system of things. He said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:3, 14) Annually, Jehovah’s Witnesses spend over a billion hours preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. But did you know that angels are also involved in this work? The apostle John referred to a vision he had, saying: “I saw another angel . . . , and he had everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” (Revelation 14:6, 7) This scripture highlights the foremost work of angels in behalf of humans today.
Jehovah’s Witnesses see evidence of angelic direction as they carry out their door-to-door preaching work. They often contact individuals who were just praying for someone to help them understand God’s purposes. As a result of angelic guidance and the Witnesses’ own initiative, each year hundreds of thousands come to know Jehovah. May you benefit from this lifesaving work done under angelic direction.
Angels Execute God’s Judgment
Though they are not authorized to judge humans, angels are not mere bystanders. (John 5:22; Hebrews 12:22, 23) Serving as executioners, they carried out God’s judgments in times past. For example, God used angels in his fight against the ancient Egyptians, who were holding the Israelites in bondage. (Psalm 78:49) And it was in one night that “the angel of Jehovah” struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand soldiers in the camp of an enemy of God’s people.
In the future too, angels will execute God’s adverse judgment. Jesus will come “with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8) That destruction, though, is to be brought upon only those who do not respond to the message now being preached earth wide with the angels’ backing. Those who search for God and comply with Scriptural teachings will not be harmed.
How grateful we can be for the faithful angels, who always carry out God’s instructions! Jehovah uses them to assist and protect his loyal servants on earth. This is particularly comforting to us because there are dangerous spirit creatures called demons who want to harm us.
During the 15 centuries following Satan’s deception of Eve in Eden, God’s family of angels observed that Satan the Devil succeeded in turning aside from God all humans except a few faithful ones, such as Abel, Enoch, and Noah. (Genesis 3:1-7; Hebrews 11:4, 5, 7) Some of the angels also yielded to Satan. The Bible refers to them as the spirits who were disobedient “in Noah’s days.” (1 Peter 3:19, 20) How did their disobedience become evident?
In Noah’s time an unspecified number of rebellious angels left their place in God’s heavenly family, came down to the earth, and materialized fleshly bodies. Why? They had developed a desire to have sexual relations with women. This led to their fathering offspring called Nephilim, who became violent giants. Moreover, “the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.” However, Jehovah God did not allow this corruption of mankind to go on. He brought a global Flood, which swept away all wicked humans along with the Nephilim. The only humans preserved alive were God’s faithful servants.
The rebellious angels escaped destruction at the time of the Flood. They abandoned their fleshly bodies and returned to the spirit realm as spirit creatures. Thereafter, they are referred to as demons. They put themselves on the side of Satan the Devil, who is called “the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 12:24-27) Like their ruler, demons crave the worship of humans.
Demons are dangerous, but we need not dread them. Their power is limited. When the disobedient angels returned to heaven, they were not allowed back into God’s family of faithful angels. Instead, they were cut off from any spiritual enlightenment from God, with only a dark outlook for the future. Indeed, they were confined in a condition of spiritual darkness known as Tartarus. (2 Peter 2:4) Jehovah restrained them with “eternal bonds,” so that they are in spiritual darkness. Furthermore, they are now unable to materialize human bodies.
What Should You Do?
Do demons still exert influence over humans? Yes, they do so by resorting to “machinations,” or “crafty acts,” such as those used by their ruler, Satan the Devil. (Ephesians 6:11, 12, footnote) By applying the counsel of God’s Word, however, we can stand firm against the demons. Moreover, those who love God come under the protection of powerful angels.
How vital that you learn God’s requirements set out in the Scriptures and act upon what you learn! You can learn more about Bible teachings by contacting Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area or by writing to the publishers of this magazine. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to study the Bible with you free of charge and at a time that is convenient for you.
In the Bible, angels are represented as adult males. Their appearance to humans was always as males.
[Box on page 6]
Jehovah has his vast angelic family organized as follows:
Seraphs occupy a very high position in God’s arrangement. They serve as attendants at God’s throne. Their assignment includes declaring God’s holiness and keeping his people spiritually clean.
Other angels are agents of Jehovah, and they carry out the divine will.
[Picture on page 4]
Angels escorted Lot and his daughters to safety
[Picture on page 5]
When the apostle John tried to worship the angel, he was told: “Do not do that!”
[Picture on page 6]
Angels execute God’s judgment
[Picture on page 7]
Are you benefiting from the preaching work done under angelic direction?