Do Angels Minister to Christians Today?
“Please explain Hebrews 1:14. Do angels minister to Christians today?”
The inspired passage poses this question: “Are they [angels] not ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?” There are several points worthy of note here:
First, as the question is framed in the Greek New Testament, there is the use of the negative particle
ouchi (not) within the question. This type of construction implies an expected answer in the affirmative. The sense is then, “They are ministering spirits, aren’t they?” And so, yes, angels are spirits who minister to the Lord’s people.
Second, the participle “being sent forth” is a present tense form. It suggests that angels are continually being sent by God, as human needs correspond to the divine will. They function as servants on behalf of those who are to inherit salvation, i.e., enjoy it in its final phase—in heaven.
But how do angels accomplish these missions? One may not conclude that this phenomenon is miraculous, because the New Testament clearly teaches that the age of miracles has been terminated (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; Ephesians 4:8-16). Since the supernatural era is gone, and only God’s providential activity (i.e., the divine manipulation of natural law) remains, one must conclude, I believe, that somehow God employs angels in the implementation of his providential will on behalf of his saints in today’s world. This seems to be a reasonable conclusion, but beyond this we should not speculate.
There certainly is no evidence that angels actually appear today, manifesting themselves in human form, as they did in ancient times when divine revelation was being supernaturally implemented (see Acts 10).
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.