When the topic of guardian angels comes up I imagine an angel assigned by God to a particular person to protect him from harm and temptation. Guardian angels are familiar to many because of their inclusion in popular movies and television. Guardian angels are a popular idea with many, but what does Bible say about guardian angels?
The Bible tells that angels were created by God, but doesn’t say exactly when. (I think angels were created on day one of the creation week.) We know there are a myriad of angels, but the Bible doesn’t tell us how many. It tells how some angels rebelled against God and lost their heavenly position. The Bible says that angels are the servants of God who reside in heaven always worshiping Him. The prophetic passages of the Bible show angels as the agents of God’s wrath. They carry out some of the punishments wreaked upon the world, call forth other judgments and gather people together to stand in judgment before God. Angels are messengers of God sent from Him to reveal God’s Word to certain prophets. Angels are heralds of God announcing the return of Jesus and His triumph over the world.
Three Bible passages refer to angels playing a role in the life of individual believers. Psalm 91:11, “For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Hebrews 1:14, “Are not (angels) all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” The other passage is often understood to describe angels assigned to children. However, the context of Matthew 18:10 makes it clear that the little ones in view are not children but the followers of Jesus. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my father which is in heaven.”
In all three passages the people under angelic care are the people of God. If there are guardian angels one must conclude they are assigned to believers but not to every person on earth. Unfortunately the passages are all very brief and somewhat cryptic. While they may teach an angelic guardianship, there is enough uncertainty in the correct understanding that reaching a definite conclusion about the nature of the ministry of angels to believers is very difficult. We can conclude some things are definitely no longer a part of angelic minsitry. Because God’s revelation is completed in the Bible, we can conclude angels do not appear to people as special messengers with prophetic words from God for men. Because God is now working in the church, we can conclude that angels are not actively involved in aiding God’s people in military conquest over nations. It seems likely that angels are actively involved in the work of the ministry, the encouragement of the saints and the spread of the gospel. What that activity looks like the Bible does not tell.
Most of our ideas about the ministry of angels today are speculative. While we know there is a great spiritual battle going on, we need to be careful to not speculate too much about what God has not revealed. We especially must remember to not pray to angels or trust in them for safety. Angels are the servants of God. They do not want, nor will they accept, human worship. They do not act on their own initiative, but are the agents of God going out at as He commands to do His bidding. Whatever the role angels play in the believers life God is the One who deserves our worship, praise, adoration and thanks.