“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”
The relative lack of detailed information about angels in Scripture when compared to other topics has not prevented men and women from speculating about these supernatural creatures. Western art is filled with paintings and poems about angels. Hollywood tells stories on TV and in movies about angels. Several modern Christian best-selling novels have purported to pull back the curtain and let us see the spiritual warfare between angels and demons that is going on sight unseen. Many Christians have their view of angels more informed by these nonbiblical sources than by the Word of God.
When it comes to our angelology—our study of angels—we must avoid the extreme of speculating too much about what angels look like and what they do. At the same time, we must avoid the other extreme of not being aware of the angels at all. Our Creator made the universe, and He directs and sustains all that is in it according to His eternal decree (Eph. 1:11; Heb. 1:1–4). Yet, He does not do this apart from the decisions and actions of His creatures, including human beings and angels. While His eternal plan governs all that happens, angels also act in creation and are secondary causes through whom God brings His purposes to pass. God is not the only supernatural being who acts in creation. The angels also do things.
We have seen the role angels play in the worship of God, but they also have been key actors in miracles such as the resurrection. Matthew 28:1–10 tells us that an angel rolled the stone away from the tomb of Jesus. Angels also seem to be active in guiding the course of human history, with particular angels assigned to nations and territories. Daniel 12:1, for instance, says that the angel Michael is the “great prince” with charge over Israel. Daniel 10:12–14 refers to a battle between Michael and “the prince of Persia”—apparently an evil angel or demon. Michael intervened in the fight between another angel and this demon in order to give the angel a clear path to deliver the interpretation of a vision to Daniel.
Michael is identified as an archangel in Jude 9, indicating that he has some kind of leadership role in the angelic hierarchy. He and the other holy angels go to battle for the people of God as part of their job as ministers to believers (Heb. 1:13–14). Our Lord has created a vast angelic army to fight for us and to do battle against the devil in order that His kingdom will advance.
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
God shows His tender care for His people in giving His angels to us to minister to us and to do battle for our sakes. We do not know how often the angels intervene to protect us, but we do know that their intervention under the direction of the Lord has done more for us than we can imagine. Let us be thankful for these spiritual allies, and let us not fall into the trap of thinking that what we can see is more real than the supernatural beings whom we cannot.