We are examining some Scriptures used to defend the belief in personal guardian angels
1. Psalm 91:11 is thought to teach each believer has one assigned guardian angel (See Part 1).
2. Some use Mt. 18:10 to teach that each child has only one guardian angel assigned at birth.
This was the view of Thomas Aquinas in his The Summa Theologica. Question 113 addresses the guardianship of the good angels and Article 5 asks whether an angel is appointed to guard a man from his birth?
“As long as the child is in the mother’s womb it is not entirely separate, but by reason of a certain intimate tie, is still part of her: just as the fruit while hanging on the tree is part of the tree. And therefore it can be said with some degree of probability, that the angel who guards the mother guards the child while in the womb. But at its birth, when it becomes separate from the mother, an angel guardian is appointed to.”
Jesus is talking about only children who are already believers “who believe in me” (18:6). Aquinas taught on the basis of Mt 18:10 that each child at birth was assigned a guardian angel. Jesus is warning about offending a little child. If anyone offends a little child, God has angels ready to deal with the offenders. Jesus says these angels are in heaven, not on earth shadowing their charge. Jesus says these angels are “always beholding the face of God the Father” rather than guarding believers.
3. In Acts 12:15, Luke records that a group of believers believed in guardian angels.
But this group of believers is not exactly the model for us to follow in belief or practice. They were praying for God to deliver Peter from prison and when God answered their prayer, they would not believe it. Instead of believing that God had answered their prayer, they thought Peter’s guardian angel was at the door knocking.
“The reply to Rhoda reflects the Jewish tradition that a guardian angel resembles the person to whom it is assigned. But a report indicating that certain disciples believed in guardian angels does not invest the belief with authority. Some Christians still had mistaken or confused beliefs on various subjects. In absence of definite didactic material, we must conclude that there is insufficient evidence for the concept of guardian angels” (Erickson, vol. 1, page 445).
The believers in the prayer meeting were mistaken about Rhoda being crazy. She was not. The believers in the prayer meeting were also mistaken about Peter. They did not believe Peter was at the door. He was. An angel had helped break Peter out of prison, but then left for heaven, rather than constantly guarding him.
This thought leads us to Hebrews 1:14 which is part of Hebrews one and two,the most thorough discussion on angels in the New Testament. The final word on any doctrine in Scripture is found in the Epistles. As we have already seen, angels do not perform all the ministries found in the Gospels (delivering God’s revealed Word to individuals) and in the book of Acts (breaking innocent believers out of jail).
4. Hebrews 1:14 is the final teaching on angels.
Angels minister by serving God and worshiping God (see Part 1). They worship God as witnessed in Revelation. They also serve believers according to Heb 1:14. From Hebrews one and two we learn:
a. Angels are inferior to Christ.
1) God calls Jesus His Son, not angels (Heb 1:4-5).
2) God commands angels to worship His Son (Heb 1:6).
3) God has exalted His Son an eternal King above angels His servants (Heb 1:7-9).
4) God has assigned angels to serve believers in the world created by Christ (Heb 1:10-14).
5) Christ in His incarnation became man not angels because angels do not have a physical body and can not die (Heb 2).
Many advocates of guardian angels teach that we should develop a relationship with our guardian angel. Terry Lynn Taylor advocates this in her book Guardians of Hope: The Angel’s Guide to Personal Growth. “Basically, I’m suggesting that you become best friends with your guardian angel! Pretend you have an invisible best friend who witnesses everything you experience and with whom you can share insights” (page 13).
“When children make up invisible playmates on their own, it is generally cute, harmless, and even therapeutic. When adults recommend to other adults that they pretend to have an invisible friend who will protect them day and night as a guardian angel, that’s bad advice” (Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr. Sense & Nonsense About Angels & Demons. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007, 80).
The Word of God teaches us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (not angels),” “Draw nigh to God (not angels) and He will draw nigh to you,” and “Seek first the kingdom of God (not angels).”
Not only are angels inferior to Christ but next we learn from Hebrews 1:14 that
b. Angels serve only believers.
Hebrews 1:14 says that angels are ministering spirits “to them who shall be heirs of salvation” or believers. Psalm 34:7 teaches the same truth as Hebrews 1:14, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him”. If an unsaved person claims to see an angel there are three possibilities:
a) That unsaved person was either dreaming.
b) That unsaved person mistook a human for an angel. It was not an angel who changed your fat tire, it was a good Samaritan.
c) That unsaved person was visited by a fallen angel/demon.
From Hebrews 1:14 we have discovered that angels are inferior to Christ, that angels only serve believers and also that
c. Angels are created by God.
It is God who ultimately protects us, and Hebrews 1:14 says angels are “sent forth” by their Creator to protect believers.
Why was James the apostle martyred in Acts 12 and Peter was delivered? Did James’ guardian angel fail? No it was God’s will for James not to live.
What about babies and small children who die, did their guardian angel fall asleep on the job? No, God is ultimately in charge not angels. While God sometimes uses angels to protect us as He sometimes uses other believers or police officers or the military, God does not need angels to protect us because He is all powerful.
David Jeremiah opens his book on angels entitled, What The Bible says about Angels, “In a doctor’s office one fall day last year, I was told I had cancer. I’m sure you’ll understand when I say I was fearful. It was one of those times when I would have cherished having an angel with me in the room, assuring me everything would be okay. In the months that followed I felt the same fear when I prepared to have surgery on two occasions. An angel’s hand holding mine as I was wheeled into the operating room would have been treasured comfort. But as far as I knew, I’d never seen an angel. Never. Did that mean something was wrong with me? Why did other people have that privilege? Wasn’t I spiritual enough?” (page14).
But near the end of David Jeremiah’s book he (page 188) summarizes my thoughts: “But if this is disappointing news to you, and you’re dismayed to think there may not be a specific angel responsible for your protection, you need not jump up in fear to check the locks on your doors and windows. There’s plenty of evidence that God himself is looking out for you.”