Thursday, November 08, 2018

Guardian Angels?

Q. Does each individual Christian have his or her own guardian angel?

A. According to a “Guardian Angel” is “an angel believed to protect a particular person, as from danger or error.” The idea of the guardian angel seems to be a fairly common and favored belief in our culture. Our intent is not to consider whether it is popular or that some church holds the position,[i] but whether the Bible teaches and supports the idea.

The primary verses that are used to support the idea of a personal guardian angel seem to be two: (1) Matthew 18:10,[ii] and (2) Acts 12:15.[iii] The Roman Catholic Church also uses Psalm 91:10-12.[iv] These fall short of saying that each person (or each believer) has a specific angel assigned to him or her, based on the following other biblical examples.
  • Because we find one angel ministering to more than one person at different times. For example, the angel Gabriel was a messenger to Daniel (Daniel 8:15-16), Zacharias (Luke 1:18-19), and Mary (Luke 1:26-27).
  • Because we find one angel ministering to more than one person at the same time. For example, the angel of the Lord released the apostles (plural) from prison, Acts 5:18-19.
  • Because we find many angels ministering to one person at the same time. For example, a mountain full of angels was protecting Elisha, 2 Kings 6:17.
These and other verses suggest that more than likely the concept of one “Guardian Angel” is built more on our own notions than on specific teachings of Scriptures. On the other hand, the specific teachings of Scripture do not lead us to despair – the angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). It is certainly not a lesser comfort to know if need be we have access to a mountain full of angels instead of just one! The angels of the Lord move at his command (Psalm 103:20 , Matthew 26:53), the eyes of the Lord are in every place (Proverbs 15:3), and he will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Psalm 124:2-3 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

[i] The Orthodox Information Center says that, “The Orthodox Church believes that every person has his own Guardian Angel, unless he has driven him away by an evil life.”
[ii] The angels of “these little ones” are collectively called “their angels.”
[iii] Just what the very surprised damsel Rhoda meant in referring to “his angel” is certainly not as clear as other passages about the ministry of angels.
[iv] Psalm 90 in the Catholic Bible. “There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling. For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalm 90:10-12, Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition). The New Testament applies this to Jesus in Matthew 4:6. It may have broader application as well, but notice that “his angels” (plural) have charge over “thee” (singular) – which would also support more than one angel ministering to one individual.

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