Angels are all over the Old Testament, and Jesus was attended by these incredible heavenly beings. But, after Pentecost, who needs an angel? Every born-again believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit! Are angels important today? To answer this question, let’s look at the Book of Acts.
God commissioned an angel to rescue Peter and John from the clutches of the wicked, hyper-religious leaders in Jerusalem. The high priest, “and all who were with him, who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. So they arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out and said, ‘Go and stand in the temple, and tell the people all about this life’ ” (Acts 5:17–19). That event occurred three chapters after Pentecost. The Apostles, indwelt and filled with the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, were led from prison by an angel.
Three chapters later, “an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: ‘Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza’ ” (Acts 8:26). God, speaking through an angel, directed Philip, one of the seven deacons (Acts 6:5), to travel south of Jerusalem, into the dessert, where he found an Ethiopian official who was soon converted to Christianity.
And in Acts, chapter ten, God spoke through an angel to “a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment. He was a devout man and feared God along with his whole household. He did many charitable deeds for the Jewish people and always prayed to God. About three in the afternoon he distinctly saw in a vision an angel of God who came in and said to him, ‘Cornelius.’ Staring at him in awe, he said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ The angel told him, ‘Your prayers and your acts of charity have ascended as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa and call for Simon, who is also named Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.’ When the angel who spoke to him had gone, he called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, who was one of those who attended him. After explaining everything to them, he sent them to Joppa” (Acts 10:1–9). If you read the rest of the chapter, you’ll find that Peter soon returned to Caesarea, and Cornelius and his family were gloriously saved.
Later, when Peter was arrested for preaching about Jesus, God again commissioned an angel. “Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while the sentries in front of the door guarded the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke him up and said, ‘Quick, get up!’ And the chains fell off his wrists. ‘Get dressed,’ the angel told him, ‘and put on your sandals.” And he did. ‘Wrap your cloak around you,’ he told him, ‘and follow me’ ” Acts 12:6-8).
At the end of the Book of Acts, when Paul was on the “ship-wreck-voyage” to Rome, God sent an angel with a message of great encouragement. “Don’t be afraid, Paul. It is necessary for you to appear before Caesar” (Acts 27:24). In other words, “Chill out, Paul! You’re not going to die in this ship-wreck!”
So, if angels were actively engaged in the affairs of mankind after Pentecost in the early church-age, if they ministered to folks who were indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, doesn’t that infer that the angels are still God’s special emissaries twenty-one centuries later? Why shouldn’t we expect that our Almighty Father would use all of His spiritual resources to protect and guide His beloved children?
Paul warned us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12). Angels are present, hovering all around! “Lord, please open (our) eyes and let (us) see ... that the mountains (are) covered with horses and chariots of fire all around!” (2 Kings 6:17).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.