Angels have undergone many “brand changes” over the last two thousand years. They went from a messenger in Judaism, delivering the word of the Lord, to a baby cherub in the Renaissance. There have been angels in art for centuries who looked like teenage boys or feminine male figures. With all these strange depictions, trying to point out the “otherworldly,” there recently have been YouTube videos pointing out how different passages, like Isaiah 2 or Ezekiel, depict angels. Some have a rather terrifying description (look here if you want a shock).

What none of this will show you is that, though there are some pretty strange descriptions of angels in the Bible, you may have even met an angel without realizing it!

Here are some reasons why this may be likely:

1. Scripture makes it clear that strangers might be angels.

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”
—Hebrews 13:2 NKJ

According to Hebrews 13:2, angels can appear as terrifying celestial beings and as regular people that you and I would not pick out of a crowd. The CIA has nothing on God’s undercover agents! Also, it seems that the number of angels far outweighs the number of humans on earth.

There may be more angels than people in the world!

“So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’”
—2 Kings 6:16 NKJ

It may seem wild, but there are quite a few angels in God’s cohort. Not only that, but these numerous angels are all serving God and often helping people.

2. Scripture makes clear that angels are dedicated to ministering and serving.

“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”
—Hebrews 1:14 NKJ

“Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excels in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” —Psalms 103:20-21 NKJ

Jesus was Ministered to by Angels

Jesus Himself was ministered to by angels after a season of trials and hardship (Matthew 4:11). This demonstrates how angels serve to help God’s children. During this time, His body was weak, following a prolonged period of fasting and the relentless attacks of the evil one during the wilderness temptation. Angels didn’t arrive to preach to and teach Jesus. They came to bring Him relief and encouragement, like a waiter serving a table.

It is possible that when we have received food, encouragement, and help, it was delivered by angels sent from God!

3. Scripture makes clear that some angels serve as guardians.

“No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling: For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.” —Psalm 91:10-12 NKJ

Let’s not get confused. The concept of guardian angels is not the same as having a bodyguard. The above passage from the book of Psalms is for those who run to God in times of need for protection and covering.

According to Psalm 34:7, angels also “encamp all around” believers who fear the Lord.

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” —Psalm 34:7 NKJ

Angels Encamp, Surround, Defend, and Set Up a Circle of Protection Around God’s People

The word “encamps” is rendered in other translations as “surround, defend, sets up a circle of protection.” It is clear here that these angels are charged with waiting and watching for when trouble comes so that they can deliver God’s people from it. However, like the promises above, this promise comes with certain contingencies. Check out the first four verses of Psalm 34.

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.” —Psalm 34:1-4 NKJ

The angels described in Psalm 34:7 came in direct response to David’s worship and prayers.

Angels Protect “These Little Ones” 

It also needs to be said that the Bible mentions angels that watch over children. For instance, Jesus said that “these little ones” have angels that always “see the face of my Father in heaven.” Jesus immediately tied this to the reality of a shepherd who will look diligently until he locates a missing sheep. Then Jesus said, “In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:10-14).

This passage indicates that even children who may not be saved or born again have angels watching over them. By implication, this may mean that people, in general, have angels who watch over them. Further, the passage also implies that through these angels on assignment, God provides care and protection for everyone because he “is not willing for any of these little ones to perish.”

Could it be that God dispatches angels to guide unbelievers to faith in Christ? According to Matthew 18:10-14, it’s possible.

4. Angels bring comfort to those crying out to God in need.

Multiple passages refer to angels bringing comfort to God’s people. A fantastic passage referring to this was when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:

“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done,’ Then an angel appeared to Him from Heaven, strengthening Him.”
—Luke 22:41-43 NKJ

We see here that an angel from Heaven came to Jesus to strengthen Him before His arrest, torture, and crucifixion. This shows us that even though Jesus was the unique God-Man — fully God, while also being fully human — as a man, as the weight of His impending sacrificial death became more intense, Jesus needed encouragement from angels. If this was true of Jesus, how much more is it true of us? During intense periods of suffering, challenges, and setbacks, we all need God to provide comfort and strength through angelic servants.

Angels Dispatched To Help Desperate People

Interestingly, the first time the Hebrew word for angel is mentioned in the Bible was when Hagar and Ishmael were rescued and comforted in the wilderness. An angel appeared to save them from exposure and keep them safe (Genesis 16). This same thing happened when an angel brought food and water to Elijah, who was exhausted in the wilderness (1 Kings 19:5-18). Angels are sometimes dispersed to help people find comfort and strength in difficult times.

To learn more about how angels visit God’s people even when we are unaware, click here. For an in-depth study of the subject, check out the ISOW Bible College course, Expository Study of Angels, by clicking here.

To view courses in Spanish, click here.