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Angels – Ministering Spirits

 The Reading:  Hebrews 1:1-14 

Are they not all ministering spirits …” (v.14) RSV

I have never seen an angel, and yet I believe that we are surrounded by these unseen beings.  The Bible refers to angels nearly 300 times! God not only created the world and all that is material, he also created the immaterial world including spiritual beings.  These are known in the Bible as angels.

Now you may be accustomed to calling certain people like nurses, ‘angels’.  But that is not what the Bible is talking about.  You may also believe that the Bible is merely talking about human beings who are God’s messengers, for the word ‘angel’ means ‘messenger’.  But despite angels sometimes appearing as human beings (see more about this in the next few weeks) we must not lose sight of the fact that God has created myriads of unseen beings.

Why?  As our reading today says, “Are they not ministering spirits …?” (v.14).  They are at God’s beck and call, not ours.  But nevertheless they are “sent forth (by God) to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation.” (v.14).

One of their main functions therefore is to protect God’s people.  Do we believe that there is this silent army on stand-by?  Remember how Jesus’ Father could have sent “more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53) to deliver him in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Or how the eyes of Elisha’s servant were opened to see that “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about” (2 Kings 6:17).  The words of Elisha to his servant could equally well be applied to us: “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16).

We are not simply dependent on the gifts, people and forces that we can see.  There are unseen hands at work whose task it is to protect us and bring us through to salvation.  We must not assume that we are always going to be protected from all troubles.  Sometimes suffering serves our Father’s purpose.  But oftentimes when we call upon Him, he will send his “ministering spirits” to our aid. (Psalm 34:7)

Thank you Lord that I am never alone, and need fear no evil.  Send your holy angels to protect me. Amen. 

Explore More

1  How was Lot protected by angels?      

Genesis 19:1, 12-17

2  Note how angels ministered to Jesus in the Wilderness.

Matthew 4:10-11

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