Are guardian angels real?
Angels are fascinating creatures. On the one hand, they are spiritual beings that share the heavenly realm with God Himself. On the other hand, they are created beings and have a mysterious relationship with humanity.
Many of our ideas about angels come from old traditions and popular culture rather than the Bible. There is no one biblical essay that answers every question we may have. And yet, the Bible does have a lot to say about angels.
It can be hard to separate fact from fiction when we think about angels. Do they have wings? Carry harps? Do our loved ones turn into angels to watch over us when they die? The concept of guardian angels is not as far off as you might think. But a closer look at Scripture helps paint the picture of these majestic and mysterious creatures.
Guardian Angels in the Old Testament
One of the many jobs of angels is to care for God’s people in situations where they need His help. Jacob referred to an angel who had concern for him (Genesis 48:16). Deuteronomy 32:8 suggests that angels have oversight over the nations. In Daniel, the archangel Michael is described as fighting against the spiritual forces of evil on behalf of the nation of Israel (Daniel 10:21).
“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided up humankind, he set the boundaries of the peoples, according to the number of the heavenly assembly.” - Deuteronomy 32:8 (NET)
The Old Testament picture of angels does not quite look like the idea of everyone having their own personal guardian angel. But the Bible is clear that part of the job description of angels is to fight for the people of God. In the time between the Old and New Testaments, Jewish scribes developed further the idea of guardian angels.
Guardian Angels in the New Testament
Jesus’ life and ministry took place when wild speculation had grown among the Jewish scribes about angels and the spiritual realm. Matthew’s gospel was written to a primarily Jewish audience. So it is no surprise that he includes teaching from Jesus mentioning these angels.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” - Matthew 18:10 (NIV)
This teaching from Jesus is about how the Father cares for His children. Jesus makes clear that angels watch the face of God to hear His order to help believers when they need it. These angels are not guarding individual believers so much as they are ready at any moment to help one of God’s children at His command.
Angels are created spiritual beings, not former loved ones who have died and now watch over us. God uses angels to protect and minister to us (Hebrews 1:7). We do not each have our own personal guardian angel. We have something much better! We have an everyday relationship with the all-powerful God of the universe who loves us.