Otsego Festival Question Series: Do I Have a Guardian Angel?

To begin with, I want to caution us against building our understanding of angels based on popular culture.  Our knowledge of angels should not be developed from Clarence in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” or the older TV series’ “Highway to Heaven” and “Touched by Angel.”  

The Bible is clear on the existence of both holy and fallen angels (also known as demons), which your question presupposes.  The Scriptures also teach that there are times when angels interact with people.

  • The Devil tempted Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:1-7.  The Devil also was directly involved in Job’s suffering (Job 1:6-12) and Jesus’ temptation (Matthew 4:1-11).
  •  Two angels carried away Lot and his wife to save them from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:15-22).
  • The angel Gabriel was sent by God to tell Mary she was going to give birth to Jesus (Luke 1:26-35).
  • An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to tell him to take Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:20).
  • Angels appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:9-15).
  • Jesus cast out many demons throughout His earthly ministry (e.g., Luke 7:21; 8:2).
  • An angel ministered to Jesus as He was agonizing over His looming death on the cross (Luke 22:43).
  • An angel freed the apostles from prison in Acts 5:17-21. 
  • Hebrews 13:2 reminds us that we may unwittingly cross paths with an angel at an unexpected time or in an unforeseen setting.  

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 

What we learn from these passages is that both holy and fallen angels were and remain active in the world.  What is less clear is the nature of the relationship between angels and humans.  In other words, are angels assigned to specific people as their guardian angels?  I can think of only one passage that hints at the possibility that we have guardian angels.  Jesus says in Matthew 18:10,

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 

Two brief observations.  First, Jesus says “their” angels, suggesting the possibility of angels assigned to a specific person.  Second, Jesus addresses “little ones,” i.e., children in this verse.  So based on the information we have, guardian angels, if Jesus was referring to this notion, are limited to children. 

Whether or not we have guardian angels does not mean, however, that we are unprotected.  The wonderful truth for every child of God, those who have repented of their sins and believed in Jesus (John 1:12; Acts 19:4), is that they are in the hands of a good, benevolent Heavenly Father who can watch over us far better than ten thousand angels (John 10:29; Romans 8:28-30;  Hebrews 13:5-6).

In conclusion, the Bible teaches us that both holy and fallen angels are active in the world.  Matthew 18:10 suggests the possibility of guardian angels but we want to be careful about saying more than the Bible says on this matter.  What we do know is that every child of God is under the care of their heavenly Father.

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