Minutes With Messiah Logo

Guardian Angels

by Tim O'Hearn

Angelology can be a fascinating study. The problem is, it raises more questions than it gives answers. In the Middle Ages the question arose, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” While that question appears to most to be absurd, others debate the hierarchy of angels (Seraphim, Cherubim, Archangels, Angels, etc.). Some debate whether angels have gender. Still others wonder about the permanence of angels; are they created at a specific time for a specific purpose and then cease to exist. And of course, there are all sorts of speculations about the devil and his angels, and whether or not they ever existed in heaven.

Then there is the question of guardian angels, which subdivides into individual guardians for children or for everyone, and guardians for specific nations. It is that last idle speculation to which this article will be dedicated.

David was the first to propose the idea of guardian angels. His concept, though, was guardians of the Messiah to come.

There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (Ps 91:10-13)

The devil tried to use this idea of protecting angels when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He took Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple and proposed that if he be the Son of God he should jump. As justification he used this passage from the Psalms. (Matt 4:6) Jesus, without acknowledging whether he had guardian angels or not, said “You shall not tempt the Lord thy God.”

Jesus does seem to advocate for the idea of individual guardian angels. At least, he proposes that children have their own angels. Whether that continues into adulthood is unstated.

Take heed that ye 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 which is in heaven. (Matt 18:10)

The word we transliterate as angels is properly translated messenger. Do the angels of the little ones protect them, or merely inform God about their condition? Jesus does not expand on the thought.

In like manner, John is told that churches have angels. (Rev 1:20 and following chapters) Since the translators of the King James Version chose to use the term angels, most people believe that each congregation has its own guardian angel. On the other hand, it could simply be that the letter of chapters 2 and 3 were written to the human messengers (preachers) of the churches. If that were so, however, it is more likely that he would have used the related word, evangelist (which contains the word angel).

And what about nations? Do they have their own angels? A reading of the book of Daniel indicates this to be true, although he uses the word Princes instead of Angels. In Daniel 10, Gabriel (who is identified as an angel), says that he was opposed by “the Prince of Persia,” but assisted by “Michael, your prince.” He then announces that he must go back to fight the Prince of Persia, but that the Prince of Greece is about to come. (Dan 10:20) If we assume that these prices are guardian angels of the nations, then we must also believe that some of them are good and some evil. That, then, raises the question of how an angel (of God or the devil) becomes a guardian angel, and if there are evil guardians of the nations, then are there evil guardians of children as well?

Oh, the tangled webs! Are there guardian angels? Whom do they guard and where do they come from? We have to admit that we just do not have sufficient information. There are hints in the scriptures, but they do as much to conceal as to reveal. In the end, we must figure that if God wanted us to know the details, He would have told us more clearly. Absent such details, angelology remains a speculative discussion.