If Only We Knew More
I wish I knew more about angels. I wish scripture told us more, so that we might identify them, and understand better what God does for us in sending them. Some claim to have seen them, and whether that's God using our mind in ways we don't understand or something someday we will find out was real but rare, who knows. Some claim to have felt their presence or heard them speak, and many of us just believe that somehow they are around us all the time, doing God's work to protect us from harm, even though we can't see or feel them.
In the book of Hebrews, Ch 13, vs-2, we read these words, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Does this mean 'real angel' angels, or humans who God places in our path for His greater purpose? It says 'angels'. Probably 97 out of 100 people when you say angel, picture a pure white human-like or chubby baby figure with wings, but I fear that comes from artists attempts to portray angels. Some verses do describe them appearing as "men dressed in white", but several other descriptions are in scripture too. Ezekiel 11:28 would describe some angels as four-winged creatures called cherubim. Other passages have some other descriptions. (1 Cor 15:39-40, Numbers 22:23, 2 Kings 6:17, Judges 13:6,21, Genesis 18:1-2, John 20, 11-12, Luke 24:4, Acts 1:10, Acts 6:15, Luke 2:9, Daniel 10:5-6).
But we know angels are supernatural beings created by God who operate in the celestial realm as intermediaries between God and humanity. They carry out tasks on behalf of God. They are subject to God and Christ. They have a will and they can express emotions. They are not all knowing, all present or all powerful though, those traits are reserved for God (the Godhead) alone. Two passages lend us to understand they are too numerous to count, tens of thousands and thousands of thousands. At least some have names, perhaps they all do. The roles we see in scripture are usually protecting and guiding humans, taking an interest in mankind for God's purposes, and being messengers from God, but not limited to those. They were with God in the creation, yet they are not to be worshiped.
Scripture is clear that they are real, and that God sends them, so I for one certainly welcome all I can get. Scripture suggests God may use angels in answer to many of my prayers, to protect me, help me, observe me, and take an interest in my affairs, although I never see them, and don't know exactly how all that happens. I'm very confident that God has had them at the hospital when I'm going into surgery, and through my recovery. I'm very confident there was one or more at the accident scene and in the Emergency Room the day I had my near fatal accident. Were angels there to oversee the doctors and nurses? I can't say for sure, but in keeping with what we do know about them, I want to believe some were there. I do know a good many Christians were praying for me, and I know God answered those prayers, so likely some of His heavenly beings were involved.
How all God uses angels, and what they may or may not look like supersedes my understanding, yet I'm confident in their presence and their workings in my life under the oversight of our Almighty God, and I take comfort in that. Matthew 18:10 would suggest that we all have one or more keeping watch over us at all times. That verse says, "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..."
Regardless of what they look like, whether or not anyone has seen one or more, heard one or more or felt the presence of one or more, we do know God created them in His realm, and they function to carry out His will with regards to mankind. While there are many more unanswered questions than answered ones, we should all take comfort in the fact that God has an endless number to dispatch to help us in our times of need. Christians need to be thankful for angels, because "[Are not] all angels [are] ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" Heb 1:14