We are continuing our Spiritual Soldier Series about spiritual warfare. We have discussed how the Holy Spirit is involved in spiritual warfare. As we talk about the “good guys” on the spiritual battlefield this training talks about angels.
Many people are curious about angels and what they do. Some people believe in them and others don’t. If your idea of an angel is those cute little children with wings on them you may be surprised at how I will describe angels. They are something you may not have realized. Let’s dive in!
- Angels serve God and Christians.
Since it’s hard for us to wrap our minds around these celestial beings God has created let me start by saying that angels serve God and Christians (Hebrews 1:14). They are “ministering spirits” sent to serve those who inherit salvation. That’s Christians.
The writer of Hebrews has opened his letter by showing that Jesus is superior to angels. He finishes that chapter by telling us this about angels. Angels are spirits but they can take physical form. We see this throughout the Bible.
But what does it mean that they are “ministering spirits who serve Christians”? Some people believe in guardian angels who protect individuals. There may be biblical precedents for this. In the book of Revelation angels play a vital role.
In the letters to the seven churches (Revelation 2-3) each church has an angel over it. Some scholars try to make these sound like human messengers, referring to the pastors of the churches. But something about Revelation and their involvement in much of God’s plans, carrying out many of them, tells me that the angels of the churches might be what we are thinking of, celestial beings. If that’s true then churches have “guardian angels.”
Throughout the Bible angels are God’s messengers who deliver messages especially important to His salvation plan. Angels delivered messages to Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and Joseph (Matthew 1:20-25) to tell them about Jesus. An angel also appears to Zechariah (Luke 1:11-17), John the Baptist’s father.
But angels do more than relay God’s messages to His people. We will explore the Scriptures more to discover what angels do specifically in regards to spiritual warfare. Their ability to transfer messages from God to us is only the beginning of their spiritual warfare assignments.
- Angels fight spiritual battles.
Beginning with Daniel 10 as I will further describe on territorial spirits angels fight spiritual battles. We can also see this throughout the book of Revelation. Angels are sent by God to deal with demons and demonic spirits.
We have such a small view of angels and what they do for God and us. We cannot limit ourselves just to the idea of guardian angels. Every time they appear to human beings in Scripture they start with the common greeting, “Do not be afraid.”
This is for two reasons. First, people may think that because they are God’s messengers they bring God’s judgment. But second, it’s because they are pretty impressive beings. These are warriors and sometimes they show up looking like warriors.
In Daniel 10 the way Daniel describes the angel of the Lord coming to see him would scare anyone (Daniel 10:5-6). The angel is wearing a linen garment with a golden belt. Not too weird. But then read the next verse. His body looked like a glowing precious stone, face looked like lightning, flaming torches for eyes, arms and legs like burnished bronze, and a voice that sounded like a multitude of voices.
That’s a good reason to be fearful of this being coming toward you. There are other descriptions of angels throughout the Bible. Not too many of them seem like normal human beings. They are celestial and spiritual beings momentarily maintaining a form humans can see.
Michael is one of two angels mentioned in the Bible. Other books written around biblical times suggest there are more and give names to Angels not listed in the Bible, such as the apocryphal book of Enoch. But in the pages of inspired Scripture only two are listed, Michael and Gabriel.
Michael is known as an archangel (Jude 9). Without becoming too fanciful we might understand there is a hierarchy within the angels of heaven and Michael is a leader of some kind. He is probably a warrior or general. He fights battles as is attested in the Bible.
We see him in Daniel 10 fighting off the prince (demon or spiritual power) of Persia to make way for this angel to come to Daniel (Daniel 10:13). We also see that he contends for Moses’ body with Satan (Jude 9). But he cannot be the only warrior angel in heaven.
One of the names for God is the Lord of Hosts. The hosts referred to are the angels in heaven who fight by His side. All of these are good reasons to suspect that at least some of the angels are worriers who fight spiritual battles.
Because the writer of Hebrews tells us that they serve the saints we can infer that the spiritual battles are either on our behalf or ones that we are not required to fight. Know that as you are on spiritual battlefields fighting these battles that you are not alone. There is a mighty army fighting with you.
- Angels fight territorial spirits.
Angels work for God on the spiritual battlefield. I mentioned in the battlefield training on territorial spirits that I don’t see anywhere in Scripture where Christians fight spiritual battles against territorial spirits.
However, there’s a great possibility that angels fight these battles for us. Daniel prays for Israel and intercedes for his people. But he receives no answer, apparently unusual to Daniel. He wonders what is happening.
Three weeks later an angel appears to him and explains what had happened. His prayer was answered the moment he prayed. But he didn’t receive confirmation until this angel appeared to him (Daniel 10:12-14).
The angel proceeds to tell Daniel he was held up by a spiritual battle with the “prince of the kingdom of Persia.” It’s clear as he describes other “princes” that these are not human beings. They are other spiritual entities.
This is one of the base texts for the understanding of territorial spirits. It seems that each of these “princes” or spirits had a region or a nation. The princes of Persia and Greece are mentioned by the angel. He also refers to the Archangel Michael as a chief prince.
So angels are not only messengers from God but warriors in the spiritual realm. They may fight territorial spirits and demonic forces in the heavenly realms. If this is so, they minister to Christians on a whole different level than we ever thought before.
- Angels deliver messages between God and Christians.
Staying with the example of Daniel 10 this angel had a message for Daniel. Angels work with God to deliver messages to Christians. These can be battle messages that explain why our prayers have not seemingly been answered, to tell us we are part of God’s larger plan, to explain what is happening in the spiritual realm, and any other message God wants to get through to us.
It may be that as Michael the Archangel is a warrior angel for the Lord there may be angels that have the distinct job of delivering messages, probably like Gabriel. When Gabriel shows up in Scripture he is delivering messages to people.
Some angelic messages come as encouragement, like the messages given to Gideon (Judges 6:11ff). Some prepare people for extraordinary roles in God’s plan of salvation for humanity, like Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).
Others tell people that they are special, like Samuel’s and John the Baptist’s parents receiving a word that they would be different and have extraordinary ministries for Him. God sent an angel to Peter in prison to set him free and lead him back to the Church meeting and praying for him (Acts 12:6-11).
As we have discussed, Daniel received information about why his prayers were hindered or held up because of spiritual warfare. If you receive an angelic message it could be for any number of these reasons.
While angels are interesting to us we must not fixate on them just as we don’t fixate on the evil spiritual powers we face in spiritual warfare. They are not the main part of spiritual warfare. What we can learn about them is minor in the Bible because they play a minor role.
But we must be aware of their existence and that they are on our side. It’s helpful to know the rules they play as they serve God. So be aware of their place in spiritual warfare but don’t over glorify them or try to figure out their hierarchies. None of this is necessary to be a Spiritual Soldier for Christ fighting the battles put before you.
Angels are interesting celestial beings that fight spiritual battles. They are on our side and serve God as worriers and messengers. They fight spiritual battles we are not called to fight. But they play on the same team that we do. What other uses for angels do you see God having in Scripture?
Now that we have discussed in our spiritual battlefield trainings all of the persons involved on the side of godliness and goodness in spiritual warfare we will address the enemies of the Church and Christian disagreements before moving on to the more applicable parts of our battlefield manuals.