Angels—Do They Affect Your Life?
DO ANGELS really exist? Or are they just a product of the imagination? If they do exist, can they affect your life?
There is only one reliable source for the answers to such questions. That is the inspired Record that God has given to mankind—his Word, the Holy Bible. Of it the apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial . . . for setting things straight.”—2 Timothy 3:16.
Thus, we can have confidence that the Bible will give us straight answers as to the existence of angels and whether they affect us. Surely the Creator of the universe can tell us if angels were among his creations.
Are Angels Real?
The Bible clearly states: “He [God] makes his angels spirits.” (Hebrews 1:7) So the Creator has spirit creatures in the heavenly realm. These are invisible to us, and they are powerful.—Psalm 104:4; 2 Peter 2:11.
Did God intend for the angels to be just impersonal, vague entities? If that were the case, why does the Bible portray angels as having feelings? For example, it tells us that when the foundation of the earth was laid, the angels “joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God [the angels] began shouting in applause.”—Job 38:4-7.
It appears that, like God’s intelligent earthly creatures, the intelligent spirit creatures, the angels, have their own personality. Although the Bible states the names of only two angels (Michael and Gabriel), the fact that angels do have names adds to their individuality. (Luke 1:11, 19, 26; Jude 9) The Bible strongly condemns the worshiping of angels, and that includes praying to them. Rather than our praying to angels, the apostle Paul advises us: “In everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God.”—Philippians 4:6; Revelation 19:10; 22:8, 9.
But were angels programmed to be without the power of personal choice between right and wrong like mindless robots? No, angels are free moral agents, just as humans are. For example, when certain angels broke God’s laws in the days of Noah, God rejected them, and they have been expelled from God’s heavenly courts. Their disobedient behavior was an obvious display of angelic individuality.—Genesis 6:1, 2; 2 Peter 2:4; Matthew 25:41.
Thus, the Bible provides us with helpful information about the origin, existence, and nature of angels. To go beyond what God’s Word says about them could cause an individual to ponder needlessly over questions that the Bible does not answer. It could even lead to giving undue attention or worship to angels. (Colossians 2:18) The Bible reminds us to “make sure of the more important things” and not to go ‘beyond what has already been declared as good news.’—Philippians 1:10; Galatians 1:8.
Angels in God’s Purpose
Although many may agree on the origin and characteristics of angels, few are really aware of the reason for their existence and how angels affect our lives today.
In the Bible, the two words used for “angel” are mal·’akhʹ (Hebrew) and agʹge·los (Greek). These both mean “messenger.” They tell us something about one of the functions of angels. The angels serve as messengers, or couriers, between God and man.
For example, an angel was sent to deliver a message to Abraham regarding his son Isaac and the blessing that would come through him, a blessing that we can receive. (Genesis 22:11-17) An angel was sent to communicate with Moses. (Acts 7:37, 38) God also sent an angel with instructions to the prophet Elijah. (2 Kings 1:3) And an angel appeared to Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father, with special instructions regarding the infant.—Matthew 2:13.
Angels have also been sent to protect God’s people: “The angel of Jehovah is camping all around those fearing him, and he rescues them.” (Psalm 34:7) For instance, an angel released the apostle Peter from prison. (Acts 12:6-11) Two angels helped Lot and his daughters to survive the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by escorting them out of that area. Lot’s wife, however, did not act in full accord with the angels, so she went down in destruction with those cities.—Genesis 19:1-26.
The Bible mentions many other instances of angelic help, reinforcing what Hebrews 1:7 and 14 states: “With reference to the angels he says: ‘And he makes his angels spirits, and his public servants a flame of fire.’ Are they not all spirits for public service, sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?”
An angel brought great comfort to Jesus. The night before his death, Jesus knew what lay before him—that he would be betrayed, beaten, and cruelly executed. He needed strength to endure this test of his integrity. At that crucial time, an angel appeared to him ‘to strengthen him.’ What a blessing that angelic comfort must have been for Jesus! As a result, although he experienced such anguish that “his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground,” he was able to endure faithfully to death.—Luke 22:43, 44.
God has also used angels to annihilate the enemies of his people. When the Assyrian World Power threatened God’s ancient worshipers, the following took place: “It came about on that night that the angel of Jehovah proceeded to go out and strike down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When people rose up early in the morning, why, there all of them were dead carcasses.” (2 Kings 19:35) You can see the awesome power of angels—it took only one angel to execute 185,000 opposers of God and his people!
Blasphemous Herod too was confronted with the power of an angel. When Herod began to think of himself as being godlike, “instantly the angel of Jehovah struck him, because he did not give the glory to God; and he became eaten up with worms and expired.”—Acts 12:21-23.
We are informed that soon, when God brings this entire wicked system of things to its end, angels will again be used as executioners. “The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace.”—Matthew 13:41, 42.
Thus, angels are far from what many people may imagine. The German religion author Dr. Manfred Barthel stated: “If we want to imagine the angels of the Lord as the authors of the Old Testament saw them, first we will have to forget the dimpled cherubs . . . that decorate our greeting cards.”—What the Bible Really Says.
How Do Angels Affect You?
However, the question remains: What are the angels doing today? Are they affecting us right now? Yes, they certainly are!
Recall that in his prophecy concerning “the conclusion of the system of things” Jesus foretold: “When the Son of man arrives in his glory [assuming Kingdom power], and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another.”—Matthew 24:3; 25:31, 32.
How will this separation of people be accomplished? Jesus foretold: “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 24:14) Yes, God uses his people on earth to do this global preaching work.
God’s Kingdom is the government that will bring the only solution to mankind’s problems. Today, the message about it is being proclaimed throughout the world by more than three million of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have angels backing them up. “That is how it will be in the conclusion of the system of things: the angels will go out and separate the wicked from among the righteous.”—Matthew 13:49.
This angel-directed preaching work today receives a mixed reaction from the people. Some say they are too busy to listen or simply refuse to do so. Others are hesitant or indecisive. Yet, many honesthearted ones, concerned about their future, have willingly responded. How?
In 208 lands, Jehovah’s Witnesses are conducting home Bible studies with millions of people who are “conscious of their spiritual need” and who are ‘hungering for righteousness.’ (Matthew 5:3, 6) Many experiences show that angels often direct God’s servants to contact such honesthearted persons with the message of salvation. Revelation 14:6 symbolically describes an “angel flying in midheaven” having “everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth.” That is certainly happening right now! How will this affect your future?
Angels in Your Future
The Bible clearly identifies our times as “the last days” of this present system. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) The Bible also informs us that angels are now “standing upon the four corners of the earth, holding tight the four winds.” (Revelation 7:1) What does this symbolism mean?
Being at the “corners” of the earth, the angels are in position to loose destructive “winds” from all directions. No area of the earth will be spared, which will mean “harm,” or destruction, for this wicked system and all its supporters. God’s angels are thus described as ready to go into action when the signal is given!—Revelation 7:3; 19:11-21.
The destructive “harm,” though, is to be on only those who do not respond to the angelically backed message now being preached earth wide. It will not harm those who are searching for God and who listen to the Kingdom message. They will be preserved, as God’s Word says: “Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth . . . Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.”—Zephaniah 2:3.
What will then be the lot of such “meek ones”? Psalm 37:11 says: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” For how long? “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29) That means that everlasting life will be possible on an earth that is to be transformed into a paradise, as Jesus indicated.—Luke 23:43.
So, then, the question you need to ask is: ‘What will be my future?’ The answer depends on how you react to angelic direction. Will you listen and respond when you are presented with the message that they are backing? If you do, you will be among those who can look forward with confidence to the future, having God’s sure promise: “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
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Angels are now ‘holding back the four winds.’ Why?