Frequently Asked Questions
Satan's rebellion is proof that angels had free will. Since God does not change, we know that such remains to be the case.
Angels do not communicate anywhere in the Bible (which is a long book) in a telepathic manner. The Bible records angels communication using words like said, called, talked, asked, and answered. These indicate standard speech. They also use body language. For example, if an angel is carrying a drawn sword (as in Numbers 22:23), the topic will not be philosophical discussion! (By the way, that example in Numbers is the angel of the LORD, who most theologians believe to be God appearing as an angel.) While we would not presume to place a limit on their capability of communicating, the complete lack of any comment on telepathic communication in the Bible indicates that angels do not use telepathy.
Although related to the question Is there any way to contact my guardian angel? farther down this page, this question implies that someone believes they have already made contact with an angel. We can not know with certainty whether your friends experience is real or not. The Bible states that angels do physically visit people. Still, during the 4,000 years of events recorded in the Bible, perhaps 50 visits are documented. (This does not include the part of Revelation that occurs in our future.) This is an average of one actual contact in the world per 80 yearsnot very frequently. Further, many of these visits were God appearing as an angel, and probably should not be included in this count. (To learn more about God appearing as an angel, click on this sentence.) To be fair, the Bible probably does not record every angelic visit during that 4,000 year time span, yet it seems likely that many of the hundreds (or thousands) of encounters numerous people believe they are having with angels each day are not real.
Now, lets look at this question from a different viewpoint. The Bible contains everything that God intended to reveal to us and says so in many places. (See Revelation chapter 22, verses 18 and 19 for one example.) When people say they have been visited by angels, they are stating that they received special, personal one-on-one revelations from God (through angels). Even if no conversation takes place, these people are seemingly given some kind of special experience and the rest of us are left to wonder, Whats wrong with me? Wheres my angel? Such continued revelation has been the foundation of many cults who add their own teachings to the Bible. (If you would like to learn more about the methods and recognition of cults, click on this sentence.) Colossians chapter 2, verse 18 clearly tells us not to get fooled into following those who claim to have seen visions and encourage people to worship angels.
This question and others like it (we get quite a few) has its roots in the story On the Celestial Hierarchysupposedly written by Saint Dionysius the Areopagite. Dionysius was a real man mentioned in Acts chapter 17, verse 34. He became one of the early believers of Christianity in Athens when Paul preached at the Areopagus, and therefore came to be known as Dionysius the Areopagite.
This story is typical of many that appeared during the first few centuries of Christianity. In those days, someone would write a document, pretending that someone in the Bible was the author. Later, this person would claim that they found this document, written by this famous author, and attempt to get people to believe what they wrote. (People do weird things in the name of religion sometimes.) It did not take long before everyone realized that this document was a hoax, so the author of On the Celestial Hierarchy is often called Pseudo-Dionysius, revealing that Dionysius is a pseudonym.
This document claims to be secret information from the apostle Paul, revealing what Paul learned during his vision of the third heavenrecorded in 2 Corinthians chapter 12. (One reason we know this story is false is that Paul himself states in 2 Corinthians 12:4 that the man heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. We find it impossible to believe that Paulthe man who wrote more of the New Testament books than anyone elsewould violate Gods direct command and tell something to Dionysius that he was not supposed to tell anyone.) Anyway, this document assigns angels into nine orders. Listed from highest to lowest, they are: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. Although these are legitimate terms, arranging them into an order and (even worse) telling people the responsibilities and duties of these angelic positions has no basis in fact and is not supported by the Bible.
Along this same train of thought, the Bible does not mention any signs that identify angels, nor does it list any important angels by name besides Michael and Gabriel, and the fallen angels Satan (Lucifer) and Abaddon (Apollyon). We suspect that all such listings of angels, their ranks and duties, their symbols, and their names began in someones imagination.
We know that all children have what we could call guardian angels, as explained by Jesus in the following Bible verse.
10 Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
All children are protected until they reach the age of accountability. Once they reach the age of accountability, they need to get right with God to maintain His protection, and go to heaven. You can find out more about children going to heaven on this page by clicking here.
A different verse seems to indicate that adult Christians also have guardian angels.
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
Here, those who will inherit salvation refers to adults who have gotten right with God.
You may indeed have been saved through the actions of an angel. However, angels work for God, so when you were savedeven if it was through the actions of an angelit was at Gods command. Therefore, you should focus your gratitude toward God. The Bible makes it clear that Angels do not want it. For example, see the following passage.
8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said to me, See that you do not do that.* For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.
If you are not yet a Christian, God may have wanted you to have a second chance to get right with Him through Jesus, before it was too late. (Once you die, you are locked into the relationship you established with Godwhether it was good or bad.)
The Bible makes it clear that trying to contact an angel is dangerous for two reasons:
Copyright © 1998-2004 by Clarifying Christianity (SM).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All information contained in Clarifying Christianity is a resource for questions dealing with Christian issues. It is not to be taken as Christian counseling. Seek a qualified Christian counselor for help with all such issues. If you choose to work with a Christian counselor, it is your responsibility to ask pertinent questions before you begin, to assure yourself of their qualities and abilities.10701