(continued…) I want to focus my attention on Jesus and not angels, but if we are to learn about life from Jesus, then perhaps we should pay at least some attention to angels. At the very beginning of the story of Jesus we see all those angels. And when Jesus grew to be a man and was teaching the people about God, he also had some important things to say about angels. And the Gospels tell us that at key times the adult Jesus was strengthened and sustained by the presence of angels. So, we may not need to focus on angels very much, but we do need to pay them some attention and at least look at what the Bible says about them.
There are four main types of references to angels in the Bible.
First of all, they appear as messengers, as Gabriel appears to Mary to announce the coming of Jesus. Angels also appear as messengers to Abraham, Gideon, Paul, and to the women at the tomb of Easter morning, to mention just a few of many examples.
The second type of reference in the Bible to angels is when they appear to comfort or sustain or rescue someone in need. They appeared to Jesus after his forty days of fasting and temptations in the wilderness. An angel appeared in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, protecting them from the flames. Angels came to be with Daniel in the Lion’s den, shutting the mouths of the hungry lions. And an angel appeared to the apostle Peter when he was in jail, opening the locked doors to release him.
The third type of angelic appearance shows them engaged in the ongoing battle against Satan in the great cosmic struggle between good and evil. There is some of this in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, and a great deal of it in the New Testament book of Revelation.
This type of appearance is closely related to the fourth type of reference, and that is how angels play a major role in visions of the end times, such as in Revelation and Daniel and some of the other Old Testament prophetic books.
We won’t look at all 300 specific Biblical references to angels, but this is a summary of the types of appearances they make and purposes they serve.
But this still does not speak to my own primary response to all of the references angels, which is, to put it bluntly, ‘so what?’ There is much to study in the Bible, and angels will never be at the top of my priority list. I have never seen an angel, and no matter how much I know about angels from the Bible, I also know enough from the Bible to know that I can continue to seek my guidance, protection, comfort, strength, and hope directly from God himself. So I haven’t paid much attention to angels, but the little bit I have learned, I will tell you in tomorrow‘s meditation. (continued…)
Genesis 28:11-12 — When (Jacob) reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Psalm 91:11 — He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
Hebrews 1:14 — Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
MARTIN LUTHER’S ORDER FOR EVENING PRAYERS–from the Small Catechism
In the evening, when you retire, make the sign of the cross and say, “In the
name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Then, kneeling or standing, say the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.
Then you may say this prayer: “I give Thee thanks, heavenly
Father, through thy dear Son Jesus Christ, that Thou hast this day
graciously protected me. I beseech Thee to forgive all my sin and the wrong
which I have done. Graciously protect me during the coming night. Into
thy hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let thy holy
angels have charge of me, that the wicked one may have no power over me. Amen.”
Then quickly lie down and sleep in peace.