The Truth about Angels
While it took decades to be recognized as such, Frank Capra created a movie classic with his 1946 release of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Who hasn’t sympathized with George Bailey’s skepticism as he is guided by a wannabe angel through a paranormal experience? And, what first-time viewer hasn’t been a little perplexed when the unexpected jingle of a Christmas bell signals that Clarence finally earned his wings?
Obviously fictitious, this holiday fixture underscores our interest in angels during the Christmas season.
In biblically documented accounts, the activities of the angelic realm reach beyond the Nativity, as seen in the following passage:
“Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14).
Culture’s fascination with angels spiked in the 1980s generating a lucrative genre for the media industries. Pennies on the ground, feathers floating in the air, bells tinkling and electric lights flickering were all cited as imagined proof of angelic activity.
With growing public interest, bookstores and libraries created sections devoted to the topic of angels. Angel-awareness seminars highlighted interest in angelic activity. Psychics boasted ability to connect people with guardian angels. Websites archiving angel encounters ballooned into a new market driven trend.
Angel hype, however, has little to do with angelic encounters as documented in the Bible. Angels are awesome beings that do not acquiesce to the quirks of popular opinion or the desires of individuals.
Angelic beings are devoted in service to God. Today’s text indicates, they are “ministering spirits.” Their actions are not governed by man’s desires, but rather by God’s supreme will as He carries out His sovereign purposes in the lives of men.
Do we benefit from the activity of angels today? Undoubtedly! Do they leave clues to their presence? Probably not!
The writer of the book of Hebrews suggests the possibility that when we use our homes and resources for hospitality, we could conceivably be entertaining angels. Nevertheless, their presence in our midst will likely be without our knowledge:
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Heb. 13:2).
As ministering spirits, angels are responsible to protect, guide and assist in providing answers to our prayers (Ps. 91:1-12; Acts 8:26; 12:1-11). Although angels do not necessarily reveal themselves or their names, most people of faith can look back on miraculous events in their lives as assurance that God provided angelic help at times of great need.
Open your heart and mind to the truth that God used angels to actively engage in the outworking of His plan and purpose surrounding the birth of His Son. As you reflect, rejoice in that fact and that God still sends His ministering spirits to intervene on our behalf in the day-to-day realities of life!
1) It’s a Wonderful Life picturing Henry Travers as Clarence the angel and James Stewart as George Bailey. (Image used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credit: Screenshot [PD-US, PD-Art]/Wikimedia/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
2) The Vision of Zacharias (Vision de Zacharie) (circa. 1886-1894). (Image used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credit: By James Joseph Jacques Tissot [Purchased by public subscriptions/No known copyright restrictions]/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
Copyright © 2016 Charles E. McCracken, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.