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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Are the Ministries of Angels?

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Don Stewart
The work, or ministry, of angels, with respect to humanity, can be placed in three categories - they are God's agents, His messengers and His servants.

1. God's Agents

As agents of God, angels act as executors of God's judgment. When God decreed judgment on humanity, often He would send angels to carry out this judgment.

After He drove them out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24).

Angels judged the city of Jerusalem for their idolatry (Ezekiel 9:1-11).

Judgment Of Sodom

Angels also went to Sodom to pronounce judgment upon that evil city.

In the evening the two angels came to Sodom, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground (Genesis 19:1).

Act With Authority

When angels were sent to do the will of God, they acted with authority. At the tomb of Jesus, two angels broke the Roman seal, and rolled back the massive stone. This caused the entire guard unit to faint.

And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord, descended from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men (Matthew 28:2,4).

2. God's Messengers

Angels bring God's message to humanity. This is in keeping with the meaning of the term "angel." God has used angels to send the following messages to humanity

Divine Revelation

Divine revelation has been given by angels. The martyr Stephen said.

You are the ones that have received the law as ordained by angels, but you have not obeyed it (Acts 7:53).

Paul wrote to the Galatians.

What purpose then does the Law serve? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator (Galatians 3:19).

Book Of Revelation

The introduction to the Book of Revelation tells us that this final book of Scripture was given through an angel.

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, (Revelation 1:1).


Angels announced the birth of Christ and John the Baptist.

But after he [Joseph] had thought about these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife: for the child which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus; for it is He Himself that shall save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:20,21).

Then the angel of the Lord appeared there with him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified and fear overcame him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John (Luke 1:11-13).


Angels gave warnings to God's people.

Now after they had left the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and His mother, and escape to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you - for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy Him" (Matthew 2:13).


God used angels to provide instruction. The Gentile Cornelius received angelic instruction. He was commanded to send servants to Joppa to find Simon Peter.

One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!" (Acts 10:3).

3. God's Servants

Angels have also been used as God's servants. They have ministered to believers in the following ways.

Rejoice At Conversion

Angels are interested in the spiritual welfare of people to the point that they rejoice at their conversion. Jesus said.

In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10).

Physical Provision

Angels have been used to give physical provision.

Then he [Elijah] laid down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat." He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and laid down again. The angel of the LORD came a second time, touched him, and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you" (1 Kings 19:5-7).

Angels have been sent to sustain people. After the Lord Jesus was tempted by the Devil, angels were sent to sustain Him.

Then the Devil left Him, and suddenly angels came and began to minister to Him (Matthew 4:11).

Physical Protection

Angels have also been sent to protect God's people.

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring of water in the desert, the spring on the way to Shur (Genesis 16:7).

The two angels who visited Lot protected both him, and themselves, by causing blindness to the men of Sodom.

And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, so that they were unable to find the door (Genesis 19:11).


God has used angels as objects of deliverance.

When we cried to the LORD, He heard our voice, and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. Here we are in Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory (Numbers 20:16).

The Lord also used angels to deliver Peter and John from the hands of the Sadducees.

Then the high priest and all his associates, the members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in jail. But during the night the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out (Acts 5:17-19).

What makes this episode all the more ironic is that the Sadducees did not believe in the existence of angels.

The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit-but the Pharisees acknowledge all three (Acts 23:8).

Giving Direction

The Bible says that Philip was directed to the Ethiopian eunuch by an angel.

Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a wilderness road) (Acts 8:26).

Assisting In Answering Prayer

On a couple of occasions, angels assisted in an answer to prayer.

In the Book of Daniel we have the angel Gabriel explaining to Daniel the meaning of his prayers (Daniel 9:20-27). We also find Peter being helped in his release from prison by an angel who was sent in response to prayer (Acts 12:1-11).


Angels have also interceded on behalf of humanity.

Then the angel of the LORD said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will You withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been angry these seventy years?" (Zechariah 1:12).


Angels have also been sent for encouragement. Often times when they appeared to people their first words were, "Don't be afraid." The Apostle Paul was encouraged by an angel after a storm at sea.

For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship. He said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.' So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told (Acts 27:23-25).

The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, a discouraged and frightened man.

Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty warrior" (Judges 6:11,12).

The cowardly Gideon went on to lead Israel in a great victory over the Midianites.

They Never Appear To The Wicked

Angels are God's agents to His people. Never do we find an angel appearing to an evil person to warn them of impending disaster. When God was going to send a Flood to the earth, He warned the people through Noah, not an angel.

For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37-39).

Good angels only appear to righteous people!

Came At Important Times

Like the miracles recorded in Scripture, angels seem to have appeared at crucial times in the program of God. For example, we find them giving praise at God's creation, guarding the Garden of Eden after the Fall, involved in the giving of the Law, and center-stage in events in the life of Christ - birth, temptation, Gethsemane, resurrection, and ascension. They will also appear at His judgment of the nations.

Service To God

Although the great amount of biblical references with respect to angels refers to their service toward humanity, their most important ministry is service to God. We are told that certain types of angels unceasingly worship the Creator.

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come" (Revelation 4:8).


What motivates the angels in their ministry to humans is not their own love for them, but rather their love and devotion to God.

The work of angels can be placed in three categories.

They are God's agents who execute His judgment.

2. Angels are God's messengers revealing His will.

3. They are God's servants, doing His will.

They have also appeared at crucial times in the overall program of God to do the Lord's bidding. Consequently their work has been of the utmost importance in God's overall plan for humanity.
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