The Ministry of Angels

“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” —Psalm 34:7

THE GOD WHOM we worship, our Father in heaven, Jehovah, is so great that we as small earthly beings have much difficulty in understanding his character and awesome power. The Scriptures indicate that God has used various ways to manifest his power—to his people, Israel, during the Jewish Age—and to the Christian church during the Gospel Age. One of the most prominent methods of manifesting this power has been through angels.

The word ‘angel’ in the Scriptures is a translation of the Hebrew word, malaki, and the Greek word, angelos, both of which words have the meaning ‘messenger’. Usually these messengers have been spirit beings from the angelic realm who stand ready to do God’s bidding. In a broader sense God could use other agencies or powers as his messengers besides these spirit beings, but usually their presence is also involved. For example God could make the wind, or a flaming fire, his messenger. (Ps. 104:4) He could use as a messenger whatever or whomsoever he might choose to invest with the requisite power.


The details of how the Almighty has knowledge of our prayers, our thoughts, our words, our needs, are not furnished us in the Scriptures, and it is not necessary that we should understand these particulars. As David said, “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”—Ps. 139:1-6

No finite mind can comprehend God. He is too great for our comprehension, and his powers and abilities are far too mighty for man to understand fully. However, we are invited to try to understand something concerning God’s infinite power. Some people, in trying to understand God, assume that he is in every place, in every niche of space throughout the universe. It does not appear that the Bible teaches such a concept even though the prophet David said, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”—Ps. 139:7,8

Others assume that God knows about every living thing, every little tadpole, pollywog, microbe. Also that he takes knowledge of every act of the billions of the human family. How can God do this? Yet Jesus said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”—Luke 12:6,7

We are prone to judge God’s workings by human experiences and limitations. Few in the human family have the unusual capacity to manage large corporations as those do who are the Chief Executive Officers of large corporations. Even the most capable of these does not try to do everything alone; rather, he surrounds himself with competent assistants.

Our theme text tells us about the adept assistants that God has in the spirit realm. In the Old Testament we have many recorded instances where these angels appeared to men, having the ability to materialize and to dematerialize, vanishing from sight. If this special care and attention was given to natural Israel as God’s House of Servants, can we not expect it to be so for Spiritual Israel, his House of Sons?—Heb. 3:4-6


We read that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (II Chron. 16:9) Also, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”—Prov. 15:3

But this does not give us the thought that God personally beholds every individual act of every person on earth, but that he takes cognizance of matters throughout the world by means of his agencies and by making use of his power. These ‘eyes’ are the Lord’s influence, his power of knowing, whatever the means. Whether his power is exercised and his will executed through angels, or through other forces and agencies, it makes no difference.

Likewise, we too can use various means to carry out the ends we have in view. If we want to know about certain matters in another city, there are various methods by which we could learn them. One effective method would be to telephone them to get into direct voice communication with the individual; or we could send a messenger to the party by some means of conveyance; or we could send an e-mail communication to them electronically; or we could write them a letter and send it by post.


If mankind can have these various ways of accomplishing their designs, we should expect our Heavenly Father to be capable of having full ability to come into communication with his children, and, as having various superior agents to do so. He has not revealed his methods clearly to us except to tell us that he is informed respecting all that concerns us, as well as respecting all the affairs of the world. He does tell us that angels are his ministers and that these have a charge over his people: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14) They do not minister in the sense of directly providing food and shelter. They do not minister in these ways. How, then, do they serve us? We have no way of knowing positively how they serve, except from the words of our Lord Jesus who said that the angels of God’s “little ones” always behold the face of the Father—always have access to him.—Matt. 18:10

The fact that these angels represent the Lord’s ‘little ones’ would imply that they would have immediate access to God, and have his immediate attention. God’s knowledge of our affairs is gained by methods of which we have little knowledge except that the mediums used are largely the angelic messengers. God has laws that govern his entire universe, and these angels have insight into these laws.


Our Lord Jesus has always had a prominent position with the Father. In his prehuman existence he was the Logos [Greek, ‘spokesman for God’]. After providing the ransom for mankind, he has been exalted to the right hand of God. (Heb. 1:3) Now he has a Divine nature like that of his Father, and his power has been greatly increased. He was able to tell his disciples, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [age].” (Matt. 28:20) As he has been Jehovah’s chief messenger in the past, so also he continues to be God’s chief messenger in the present. God is especially caring for his people through our Lord Jesus Christ, as the overseer of all spiritual powers. He has charge of all Jehovah’s affairs.

We have been brought into the school of Christ and Jesus Christ is our teacher. When we go to the Heavenly Father in prayer, we do not ignore this teacher; rather we go in his name and with his authority. Certainly the Father will recognize Jesus as our representative in our dealings with him. Likewise, the angels who are caring for the Lord’s little ones, will report to Jesus.

Since the church has been put under the special guidance of Jesus, we can assume that those angels of the Lord who encamp around them are under his direction and control. He is their prince. This is confirmed in the book of Hebrews, where the Apostle Paul quotes many Old Testament prophecies to show that Jesus would be exalted above angels. For instance: “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Heb. 1:4) Also, in verse 6, Paul says (in quoting from Psalm 97:7), “Let all the angels of God worship him.” God gave supreme authority to Jesus, as recorded: “All power … is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18) All angels, therefore, being subject to him, assist him in supervising the interests of God’s people.


Our theme text says that the angel of the Lord ‘delivers’ the Lord’s people. In Old Testament times this deliverance was often miraculous, yet not all were delivered. Some were delivered from peril. Some were not. This has set a pattern for spiritual Israel. All should not expect deliverance from evil, but we must accept God’s will whatever it may be.

We have given ourselves unreservedly into God’s hands. These are the terms of our consecration vows to God. We need the Lord’s guidance in all of our affairs, because we are not capable of guiding ourselves in the correct way; but, we can be sure that the Lord will deliver every one in a manner that will bring the greatest blessings to each individual.

In the days of the Apostles, James was killed by Herod with the sword. (Acts 12:1,2) Herod imprisoned Peter. However, he was delivered by an angel who appeared to him in prison, waking him from sleep. His chains fell off his hands, and he followed the angel out of prison to an iron gate, which opened to them by itself. Once the apostle was free, the angel departed from him. At first Peter thought all this was a vision, and not an actual happening. When he came to realize it was real, he said, “Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod.”—Acts 12:11

Peter went to the home of Mary the mother of John Mark, where a prayer meeting was being held for him. None could believe that Peter was delivered, but apparently it was a necessary experience for Peter and the Early Church. Whatever the Lord permits, it is because “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) All should have full confidence in God, knowing that we are the subject of his choicest care at all times.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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