By Judy Brandon: Religion Columnist
Some studies show interest in the paranormal and the occult has risen in recent years.
Haunted houses, UFOs, communicating with the dead, astrological signs, palm reading and astrology line the book shelves of commercial book sellers.
The words “guardian angel” has been around for a long time.
A painting I remember as a child depicted a little girl holding an angel’s hand and they were walking across a bridge over a deep gorge. I was taken with that picture thinking that an angel so big and so strong could do just about anything.
If someone is in a near miss accident or if an event takes place where odds are most won’t come out outlive, people sometimes attribute safety and protection to guardian angels.
Sometimes the word angel is used as a compliment. For example, “She’s my angel.”
Sometimes people reward good behavior in children by saying, “You are a perfect angel.”
The preoccupation with angels has been more so in recent years. I once saw a store advertisement that dealt not only with crystals but also with a program to get to know one’s personal angel and “know your angel’s colors.” People have tattoos of angels and have angels in decals on their cars.
For all the preoccupation with angels, little is really known. The source of understanding angels is in the Bible where the best known evidence of angels and the work that they perform and their purpose is found.
In New Testament times, there were false teachers who taught many things that were not consistent with what the apostles taught. One of those teachings was that Jesus was not the Son of God. False teachers said Jesus was the highest angel of God.
The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament warned his audience against false teachers who taught the only way Jesus could be worshipped was through angels. Thus, the message of the Gospel was being diluted and twisted.
The New Testament writers evidently wanted to set the record straight about angels and the position they held in the spiritual realm. Little insight is given to physical characteristics of angels but there are certain references in the Bible that show the responsibilities and work of angels.
According to the Bible, angels are not be worshipped (Colossians 2:18 and Revelation 19:9-10). Angels are God’s messengers and were created by God and are all under His authority (Colossians 1:16). So if there are “marching orders” for angels, the orders come from God.
Angels have several functions. They are to serve believers (Hebrews 1:14) and are to protect the helpless (Matthew 18:10). They are used to proclaim God’s message (Revelation 14: 6-12) and are to execute God’s judgment (Acts 12:1-23 and Revelation 1:3).
Jesus is the Son of God. That title was never given to an angel. Angels are important yet they are servants. (Hebrews 1:7, 14)
The writer of Hebrews makes many references to the Old Testament and quotes from those portions when demonstrating Christ’s greatness in comparison to angels.
His audience of first century Jewish Christians had developed an unbalanced belief in angels and their role. In the letter, Christ’s lordship is declared, yet no disregard is shown to God’s cherished angelic messengers.
Do I believe in angels? Yes.
Do I affirm that God sends some of His hosts of angels to intervene in the lives of us all? Certainly.
None of us in this life will really understand the extent to which the angels carry out their duties in serving the Creator.
Yet, I believe that an all knowing, all loving God would certainly use them to further His purposes and that is just fine with me.