Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do You Have a Guardian Angel?

George Bailey had one!  His name was Clarence - Angel Second Class (2nd Class because he had not earned his wings).  Of course I am speaking of the Holiday movie, It's A Wonderful Life.  Though it is a wonderful movie that I enjoy watching every year, there are some Biblical inaccuracies when it comes to angels.

First, in the movie Clarence was a human who died back in the 1800's and became an angel.  Sorry!  That's not where angels come from.  Angels are created beings, not humans who died (Colossians 1:15-17; Psalm 148:2, 5).

Second, Clarence is trying to earn his wings.  Sorry once again!  There is no question that at least some angels have wings (Cherubim are described in Ezekiel as having four wings each and Seraphim in Isaiah are described as having six wings each) but nowhere in Scripture are we taught that angels have to earn their wings.  This would also shoot holes in the movie idea that "Every time a bell rings an angel gets it wings."    

Third, Clarence was George Bailey's guardian angel.  Sorry one more time, folks!  Though the Bible teaches that angels are ministering spirits sent by God to be involved in the loves of believers and those who would become believers in Jesus (Hebrews 1:14), no place in Scripture do we see clear teaching that each of us have a guardian angel.

Many would point to Acts 12 as proof.  In this chapter Peter is on death row in prison and the church is praying for him in a home.  In response to these prayers, God sends an angel to deliver Peter from prison (I love the fact that when we pray prayers that are in the will of God, the Lord dispatches angels in response!  How awesome!).  Peter goes to the home where these believers are praying and knocks on the door.  A servant girl answers the door and is so excited she closes the door, leaving Peter in the street, and goes back in and tells everyone it is Peter at the door.  They do not believe her and say, "It is his angel!"  Many have taken that to be a reference to Peter's guardian angel.  Is it?

I don't think this is the case.  Jewish tradition (seen in the story of Tobit) taught that each person had an angel and that when you died that angel took on your human form and appeared to the people who loved you to tell them you had died.  The believers would have interpreted this servant girl seeing Peter's angel as evidence that Peter had been killed.  Of course, they found out different when they went to the door and saw that it was actually Peter.

Like the Jewish people back in Peter's day, we must be careful that we do not base our belief system regarding angels (or anything else for that matter) on tradition, superstition, experiences or even Hollywood.  We must base our beliefs on one thing - the Word of God.  Does the Bible clearly teach that we each have a specific guardian angel?  Not that I can see.  Does the Bible teach that angels collectively are involved in our lives including protecting us?  Absolutely.

No comments: