On the Wings of God’s Angels

In Brief

  • Angels were created by God to attend to the work and the person of Jesus Christ.
  • Angels are most often invisible to human eyes.
  • Scripture portrays angelic visitations as stunning occurrences.

The Annuciation, Eustache Le Sueur, 17th century

The angel Gabriel appears to a young girl to tell her she will be the mother of God’s Son. Nine months later the darkness is overcome as the angel choir of heaven announces to shepherds that God’s salvation has come to all mankind in the birth of His Son as a baby in Bethlehem.

The greatest good news to come to all mankind, that God in His mercy was sending Jesus to be the Savior of the world, comes on the wings of God’s angels. This is not the work of cherubic figures with harp and bow, but the majestic work given to God’s mighty messengers.

A messenger is “one who is sent” to speak on behalf of another or “one who is sent” to perform a deed or action on behalf of another. From humanity’s point of view, angels are indeed God’s agents, sent from God’s side to do His will and service among us. Besides describing the function of the angels, the Greek word for messenger becomes the English name for them. The psalm writer speaks of the character and heavenly activity of angels:

Praise the Lord, you His messengers,

you mighty ones who do His bidding,

who obey His word.

Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts,

you His servants who do His will. (Psalm 103.20, 21. Also Psalm 148.2)

These messengers are the angels of God, charged with the care of men (Psalm 91). Created at the dawn of time, the angels have witnessed every action of God on mankind’s behalf and every era of our existence. As the true and loyal messengers of God, angels always act as an extension of His will and affection toward humanity.

Angels have no physical form; they are not flesh and blood. The Bible indicates, that angels are most often invisible to human eyes. However, God allows His messengers to appear visibly to aid in their contacts with the human race. When visible, the angel is described as having the appearance of a man. (Read Genesis 18.1-2 and Genesis 19.1-5 as two examples of Scripture’s description of angels.) The visible appearance of angels is so strongly associated with normal human form and appearance that the writer of Hebrews states that they can even be entertained as strangers, “without [anyone] knowing it” (NIV Heb 13.12). And yet, Abraham, Jacob, Daniel, Zechariah, Mary, and others had no problem recognizing God’s angels.

Scripture also portrays angelic visitations as stunning occurrences. In most instances when appearing visibly, angels are so glorious and impressively beautiful as to stun, amaze even terrify those who witness their presence. Read again the magnificent account of the resurrection in Matthew 28. Matthew describes the angel who rolled the stone away from Christ’s tomb as dressed in a white garment that shone like a flash of brilliant lightning. Notice the effect the angel had on those who witnessed him: “And for fear of him the guards trembled and became as dead men” (ESV).

The angels were created by God to attend to the work and the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the first Christmas, the infant Jesus was born into the world of man for our redemption. While glorious and remarkable, it is not surprising that an entire heavenly choir of angels appears on that night to sing: “Glory to the newborn king; Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.”

Who are the guardian angels?

In Brief

    • Yes, there are guardian angles.
    • Most ‘modern’ talk about angels has no basis in the Christian Scriptures.
    • Archangels of Divine Mercy, Archangels of Divine Providence, whether named Bethany or Marachiel or St. Isaiah, are figments of someone’s imagination.

It seems the fad about angels, which was so prevalent in the 80’s and 90’s with Sophy Burnham and the television show Touched by an Angel, has not diminished much. A reader’s note prompts me to consider that maybe the false teachings about angels have endured long enough to almost become mainstream and accepted by even Christians to be biblical. In part, then, here is the reader’s note and them my response. What do you think?

Afternoon Scot.

… I am hoping that you can help me with a puzzle.

I recently received an email from an astrologer who has told me that I have a guardian angel. This does not surprise me in the least. Recently, I have indeed felt a presence beside me, guiding me through the days and helping give me rest at night. She continues to still my mind when it races and warms me when I feel cold and empty.

What puzzles me is that I cannot find information as to the identity of this archangel: ST. BETAHNY (sic), ARCHANGEL OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. Only one website provided a more complete name: ST. MARACHIEL, ARCHANGEL OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE.

I have always believed my guardian angel is ever-present, and say my prayer every day. I have several guardian angel pins that I wear whenever I am out, most especially when traveling. I wear the pin not as an adornment, but as a visual reminder to me that I am being looked after by Him, and (along with my own good judgment) will be returned safely to my home and family.

Can you provide me with any information about this particular archangel and about ‘divine providence?’

Thanks, Scot, for listening. I look forward to your response.

William Blake, Christ in the Sepulcher Guarded by Angels


There is only one archangel named in the Bible, that is Michael. Gabriel, the only other named angel in Scripture, is commonly considered to also be an archangel, but that is not explicitly stated in the biblical texts. In the extra-canonical Apocrypha (those books that often appear between the Old and New Testaments) Raphael is mentioned in the book of Tobit. The Ethiopian (Orthodox) Bible’s  extra-canonical book, the book of Enoch, gives the name on another angel, Uriel. These two are also commonly considered to be archangels. The extra-canonical books, while understood to be useful for learning, are never considered on the same level as the books of the Old and New Testament which are held to be the inspired Word of God. So, you are left with one, maybe two, identified archangels in the Bible.

Unfortunately, the New Age movement has taken over the biblical teaching of angels and applies the term ‘angel’ to everything from one’s emotions and urges, to wood nymphs and fairies, and then baptizes this false teaching by evoking the very biblical understanding of guardian angels. Nevertheless, this is not biblical and it is not Christian.

Yes, there are guardian angels. Psalm 91 comes quickly to mind. These mighty beings are God’s heavenly army, and messengers sent on our behalf. The New Age movement would fashion angels who hear our voice instead of God’s. Wrong. They would have us believe we can shape them, or influence them to our will. Wrong. God’s holy angels hear only the voice of God, the do only the will of God. Remember, after the fall the angels who did not revolt against God were confirmed (set forever) in their holiness, and as such would hear and do only the will of God.

I am glad you find comfort in your guardian angel pin and that your faith is strong enough to understand what the Bible teaches about the holy angels. For some however, the pin—a product of the New Age fascination with angels—will only speak of the miniaturization of the mighty angels into something that can be manipulated by us humans.

The following prayers, taught to our children from youngest age, certainly teach us a proper understanding of God’s angels working on our behalf:

Morning Prayer

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Evening Prayer

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Another thing to note is that the angels are neither male nor female, yet in every case when an angel’s appearance is recorded in Scripture, the angel takes on the form of a man.

Back to your question. Who are Bethany and/or Marachiel? Who is St. Isaiah – Archangel of Divine Mercy? Figments of someone’s imagination. But don’t worry. We have a God holds us fast in His love and provides something greater than our imagination could conjure. And this loving God commands His mighty angels concerning you.




For more about the biblical teaching on angels, including guardian angels, see the page: All About Angels (tabs at the top of the window). 3/26/2010


On the Wings of God’s Angels.