Angels are real, they are not the names of Daddy’s darlings, or decorations on Christmas trees. They serve Almighty God in different ways, and some are more powerful than others. One treasonous angel wanted to overthrow God, and Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18). This began Satan’s attack, supported by his evil angels, on God’s people -only defeated by God sending his beloved only Son to die on the cross, and to give humanity, made in his image, a second chance of eternal life.
Angels are sent to people with messages from God. Instances of these are recorded in the Old and New Testaments. These often occur in dreams, but more dramatically, in physical appearances. As one would expect, there was much angelic activity during the life of Jesus Christ, but especially at the time of his birth. One can’t conceive the wonder of Almighty God sending his Son to rescue humanity from the Devil and death.
This is what we read in Luke's gospel, “The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to Nazareth to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph and the virgin’s name was Mary. The Angel said, “Hail thou, thou art highly favoured, the Lord Is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying. The Angel said to her, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest.” Then Mary said,” How shall this be seeing I know not a man? The Angel answered her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” And the Angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-35;38).
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, for that which is conceived of her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Then Joseph did as the Angel had bidden him, and took unto him his wife. And knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son, and he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1: 18-21; 24, 25).
“There was in the days of Herod a certain priest named Zacharias, and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous before God. They had no child because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well stricken in years. Zacharia’s lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. The whole multitude of people were praying without at the time. And there appeared unto him an Angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. When Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. The Angel said, “Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; for he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children shall he turn to the Lord their God. He shall go to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” And Zacharias said, “Whereby shall I know this?” The Angel answered, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God. Thou shalt be dumb and unable to speak until the day that these things shall be performed because thou believest not my words.” The people waited for Zacharias, and when he came out, he could not speak. He beckoned to them and remained speechless. After those days, Elizabeth conceived. (Luke 1: 5-22; 24). “Now Elizabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered, and she brought forth her son. Her neighbors and cousins rejoiced with her. On the 8th day, they came to circumcise the child, and they called him Zacharias after his father. But his mother answered, “Not so, he shall be called John.” And they made signs to his father. And he asked for a writing table and wrote, his name is John. His mouth was opened immediately, and he spoke and praised God.” (Luke 1: 57-64).
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.“ When Herod heard these things, he was troubled. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, “In Bethlehem of Judaea.” Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child, and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.” When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. and when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his a mother, and fell down and worshipped him. When they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts: gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt. And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of by the prophet, saying , ”Out of Egypt have I called my son.” When Herod was dead, an Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph saying, “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for they are dead which sought the young child's life.” And he arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.” (Matthew 2: 1-5; 7-15; 19-21).
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And, lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: And they were sore afraid. And the Angel said unto them, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.” (Luke 2:8-14).The descendants of Aaron were the priestly line that offered sacrifices in the temple. Interestingly, Elizabeth was a daughter in the line of Aaron, and Mary, her cousin, would have been too. And then Joseph, known as Jesus’ father, but in reality his guardian in his early life, was in the kingly line of David, so we have Jesus as king and priest. In the outlying areas of Bethlehem Ephrathah, was the shepherds’ field. It was here that lambs were bred and at birth were wrapped in swaddling clothes to be offered twice a day in the temple sacrifice. These were strips of clean linen cloth held in place to prevent movement. It was a common practice to wrap babies in swaddling clothes, but to Christians a very poignant thought that our Lord was wrapped in the same way as the sacrificial lambs.
Throughout our Lord's life angelic activity continued though not as frequently as before. The first recorded event occurred after his baptism when he was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. For 40 days and 40 nights our Lord ate nothing while he rebutted the Devil from Scripture. It was an unbelievable, exhausting experience. We read, “Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” (Matthew 4: 11). When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying on the night before his crucifixion, and was in deep distress as he realized that for the only time in eternity he was about to be parted from his Father in order to accomplish the mission on which his Father had sent him, and which he had voluntarily undertaken, we read, “And there appeared an Angel unto him from heaven strengthening him.” (Luke 22: 43). When our Lord rose from the dead, we read, “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” What a magnificent, triumphant gesture! (Matthew28:2).”But Mary (Magdalene) stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre. And seeth two Angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, “Woman, why weepest thou?” She saith unto them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20: 11-13). We read Jesus’ farewell to his disciples, recorded in Acts 1:9-11. “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
And Jesus will return to earth, not as a baby in a humble manger, but with the awe-inspiring magnificence of the “king of kings and Lord of Lords.” (1 Tim 6:15). In Revelation 1: 7 we read, “Behold, he cometh with the clouds: and every eye shall see him.” And the apostle Paul amplifies this when writing to the Philippians he says, “That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2: 9). The apostle Matthew tells us how this will come about: “And he shall send his Angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31). And finally, the apostle Paul writing to the church in Thessalonica says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:16-17). We await with longing that glorious day!
For many years there have been sporadic reports of UFOs (unidentified flying objects). I remember reading of a woman who said she saw a flying object and little green men hopping out of it. One of them invited her for a ride which she accepted. This was a circular vehicle that could move in any direction and up or down at phenomenal speeds. I even read a report by two military pilots that claimed to have seen such flying objects. My father's American cousin would have said “they are from the funny farm.” I read a report in 2021 that concluded that UFO sightings were not linked to extraterrestrial life. On the same day, I read in a newspaper that people had spotted a great number of UFOs. People who reported them said that previously they didn’t believe in UFOs, but now they weren’t sure! Authorities said that they were probably drones. In Luke 16: 22, we read, “The beggar died and was carried by the Angels into Abraham’s bosom.” So, Christians believe that when they die, Angels will carry their souls to heaven to be reunited with their bodies at the second coming of Jesus Christ, bodies like his that are fitted for eternity. Can you imagine the heavenly traffic, day and night, of Angels coming down from heaven and carrying the souls of people back to heaven when they die? And the world is oblivious of this!
God bless you