Question #411

What does the bible say about Guardian angels?

What does the bible say about angels? I always hear at funerals etc that the deceased has a angel watching over the family etc. Thank you.

The Answer:

The following answer is taken from Summary of Christian Doctrine by Louis Berkhof. It is reproduced here solely to provide direction to Biblical passages that deal with angels. The comments concerning angels may or may not be correct. While Mr. Berkhof's statements may provide a starting place in a study of angels, readers should consult each passage cited and determine from the passage the accuracy, and therefore correctness, of Mr. Berkhof's comments. The comments are at best a shorthand discussion of angels. Entire books have been written and there is disagreement among the authors as to the work of angels and, to some extent, their nature. For example, in his discussion of the work of angels Berkhof says of Matthew 18:10 that angels "protect the little ones." Others conclude from that passage and others that each person has a guardian angel. Representative of this position are these statements, taken from The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church:

105. Whence is taken the name of guardian angels?

From the following words of holy Scripture: He shall give his angels charge over thee, to guard thee in, all thy ways. Psalm xci. 11.

[Vol. II, p. 463]

106. Has each one of us his guardian angels?

Without doubt. Of this we may be assured from the following words of Jesus Christ: Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father, which is in heaven. Matt. xviii. 10.

Berkhof's comments follow:

"a. Proof for the existence of angels. Modern liberal theology has largely discarded the belief in such spiritual beings. The Bible, however, assumes their existence throughout and ascribes to them real personality, II Sam. 14:20; Matt. 24:36; Jude 6; Rev. 14:10. They are pure spiritual beings (though sometimes assuming bodily forms), Eph. 6:12; Heb. 1:14, without flesh and bone, Luke 24:39, and therefore invisible, Col. 1:16. Some of them are good, holy and elect, Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; II Cor. 11:14; I Tim. 5:21; Rev. 14:10, and others are fallen from their original state, and therefore evil, John 8:44; II Pet. 2:4; Jude 6.

b. Classes of angels. There are evidently different classes of angels. The Bible speaks of cherubim, who reveal the power, majesty, and glory of God, and guard His holiness in the garden of Eden, in tabernacle and temple, and at the descent of God to the earth. Gen. 3:24; Ex. 25:18; II Sam. 22:11; Ps. 18:10; 80:1; 99:1; Isa. 37:16. Alongside of these are seraphim, mentioned only in Isa. 6:2, 3, 6. They stand as servants round about the throne of the heavenly King, sing His praises, and are ever ready to do His bidding. They serve the purpose of reconciliation and prepare men for the proper approach to God.

Two angels are mentioned by name. The first of these is Gabriel, Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26. Evidently it was his special task to convey divine revelations to man and to interpret them. The second is Michael, Dan. 10:13, 21; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7. In the Epistle of Jude he is called the archangel. He is the valiant warrior fighting the battles of Jehovah against the enemies of the people of God and against the evil powers in the spirit world. Besides these the Bible mentions in general terms principalities, powers, thrones, dominions, Eph. 1:21; 3:10; Col. 1:16; 2:10; I Pet. 3:22. These names point to differences of rank and dignity among the angels.

c. Work of the angels. The angels are represented as praising God continually, Ps. 103:20; Isa. 6; Rev. 5:11. Since the entrance of sin into the world they serve those who inherit salvation, Heb. 1:14, rejoice at the conversion of sinners, Luke 15:10, watch over believers, Ps. 3:7; 91:11, protect the little ones, Matt. 18:10, are present in the Church, I Cor. 11:10; Eph. 3:10; I Tim. 5:21, and convey believers to the bosom of Abraham, Luke 16:22. They also frequently bear special revelations of God, Dan. 9:21-23; Zech. 1:12-14, communicate blessings to His people, Ps. 91:11, 12; Isa. 63:9; Dan. 6:22; Acts 5:19, and execute judgments on His enemies, Gen. 19:1, 13; II Kings 19:85; Matt. 18:41.

d. Evil angels. Besides the good there are also evil angels, who delight in opposing God and destroying His work. They were created good, but did not retain their original position, II Pet. 2:4; Jude 6. Their special sin is not revealed, but they probably revolted against God and aspired to divine authority, cf. II Thess. 2:4, 9. Satan, who was evidently one of the princes among the angels, became the recognized head of those that fell away, Matt. 26:41; 9:34; Eph. 2:2. With superhuman power he and his hosts seek to destroy the work of God. They seek to blind and mislead even the elect, and encourage the sinner in his evil way."

Perhaps this will be helpful even though brief. Entire books have been written on angels. Unfortunately, much that is written is opinion and speculation since the information contained in Scripture is scant. Be satisfied with what the scripture says and avoid useless speculation.


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)