By Darwin Hunter


The concept of angels hovering all around us and protecting us from harm is a very popular idea.  Many television shows and movies have promoted the concept and increased interest in angels.  The first movie of this genre I can recall is the well-known Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” in which Jimmy Stewart played a downcast, suicidal businessman who is helped by an angel to value his existence.

Is the concept of a guardian angel a Biblical one?  Several passages are used to lend credence to the view. In Matthew 18:10, Jesus said, “See that you 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 who is in Heaven.”  Does this passage say that each person has a guardian angel?  Does it teach that the angel is present with the “little one”?  No, in fact, the activity of the angel in this text is said to be in Heaven in the presence of the Heavenly Father, where they always behold His face!  Hebrews 1:13 does teach that angels are “ministering spirits” who function in some unexplained way on behalf of the heirs of salvation, but does that mean each Christian has one who constantly hovers over him personally, or does it rather teach that angels were employed by God in some unknown way in His administration of His redemptive plan for man?

We do know that in the age of miracles angels were used by God to influence human events, but should we expect that today when miracles have ceased (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)?  I think not.  In Acts 8, an angel appeared to Philip to send him to the Ethiopian treasurer to teach Him the way of salvation. In Acts 12, Peter was released from prison by the actions of an angel.  [We might wonder if this is a case of a “guardian angel,” did the angel slip up in allowing Peter to be arrested and imprisoned in the first place?]

You have probably asked yourself the question, “If I have a guardian angel, why was I injured in a wreck, or hurt in an accident, etc.?”  Indeed, we have all seen faithful Christians succumb to terrible sicknesses, which produced great suffering and painful deaths.  I have known of Christians dying during mission trips for the Lord, or while engaged in other fruitful Christian work.  The idea that their angel was “off the clock” at the time of the fatal accident or illness is not swallowed easily.  We must conclude that the concept is flawed, and not Biblical.  If man is a free moral agent, as the Bible teaches throughout, then an angel would not be permitted to override our decisions, or cover our mistakes, or keep us from worldly harm.  It seems clear that such miraculous intervention is not ours to enjoy today.  God providentially cares for us, but not by angelic miracles.