Billy Graham once wrote a book called “Angels, God's secret agents” where he recounted stories about Angels in the modern world and the way that they'd often been involved in preserving and protecting God's own people.
I'm a firm believer that we each have a guardian Angel, whether he or she sits on your right shoulder or not I really don't know. But they are around and they look after us.
What is an Angel?
When we hear of Angels we often think of the fluffy little babies with harps floating around on clouds and singing songs. Part of their job is to worship God, of that there's no doubt, but it's not the idle worship of the little beings with the harps. Rather it's the homage that a Warrior pays to his or her King when they come into their presence. In Revelation chapter four and five the beings around the throne proclaim God's holiness and as they do so it's recognized by all present as a COMMAND to bow down and worship.
Later, in Revelation chapter five Many Angels join in the worship and proclaim “worthy is the lamb” indicating an acknowledgment of who Jesus really is. They are Warriors giving homage to their King.
The word Angel comes from the Greek word Angelos meaning messenger. They can be both human and spirit but when the Bible talks of them they are almost always spirit beings. Actually the Bible uses the word for messengers both from God and from Satan (Matthew 25 verse 41).
One really surprising thing is that there is an old Jewish belief that not only do we all have a guardian Angel, but that angel actually looks like us, or at least can take on our form! (Imagine another creature as handsome as you!) but they only ever do it in times of extreme emergency.
Remember the story of Peter in prison and an Angel shows up to let him out. He heads off to where the believers are all praying and knocks on the door, the folks there are so stunned that they actually forget to let him in! In fact it takes him a while to convince them that it really is HIM! Incidentally, this isn't the first time this happened in the Early Church! Acts chapter five tells us of the first time when the Jewish Authorities tried to keep the Apostles quiet! This time (Acts chapter twelve) it was Herod Agrippa. And hew meant business, where the priests had merely intended to get a promise of the Apostles silence, Herod intended to put some to death!
What were they praying for?
Imagine, you're praying for something and when it happens you don't believe that it happens! Sounds silly doesn't it. But if we think that the church was praying for Peter's deliverance that's exactly what happened! (Read Acts 12 verse 15) It took Rhoda a while to convince the prayers that Peter really was there!
Kind of makes me wonder what the believers were really praying for! Maybe it was for Peter to have the strength to face the situation (he'd shown a bit of courage recently but there was a time when he failed his Lord!).
Whatever the believers were praying for, God decided to answer in his own way, and it wasn't what they were expecting. Peter was free and banging on the door outside!
When the Angels don't show up.
When we read about Angels we can think that they'll show up all the time and rescue Christians, but the reality is that there are many times when the Angels don't show up, at least not to deliver the people. James, the brother of John the Apostle had been executed (Acts 12 verse 2-3) and Stephen had been martyred by stoning (Acts chapter 7).
It is a glorious thing to see deliverance come and for the Father to send his Angels to protect his children, but there are times when the Angels are sent not to deliver believers but to bring them safe into Heaven.
Stephen had the joy of seeing Jesus himself waiting to welcome him into Heaven, what would be the greeting to that first martyr? Would it be “Well done, good and faithful servant” or would it be something more intimate?
There are times when the Angels seem not to show up, but that's is because they may be waiting to welcome the believer home.
It might sound trite to say this but spend time in the presence of someone who is near to passing away but has spent their life walking with Jesus and you can sometimes feel the presence of the Angels waiting to welcome the believer home.
Angels are the messengers from the Father to do his bidding. At times they come as warriors to fight his Battles, other times they are messengers and deliverers to bring the believer safely through but sometimes they are there to welcome the believer home when the enter into the presence of Jesus.