Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 38 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Acts 12 today and our focus is on guardian angels and what exactly angels do in this world, according to the Bible. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Northern Ireland, U.K., Assam, India, Chicago, Illinois, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Tupelo, Mississippi and Tampa, Florida. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan!
Today we will engage in one of my slightly obnoxious habits: Asking a question of the Bible that is not fully, nor finally answered by the Bible. I do this often, as you might know if you’ve listened to the podcast for longer than just this year, and I actually find it constructive and helpful to ask such questions, even though I know that we will not ultimately and completely solve the mystery today. Sometimes it is satisfying just to ask great questions of the Word of God, sift through the evidence, and then come away with a leaning…if not an outright conclusion, because we should be very careful in concluding on subject matters that the Bible does not give us concrete answers on. Let’s consider an example from the book of Acts, for instance. Some Christians adamantly believe that the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues, and they come to that conclusion from such passages as Acts 10:
45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and declaring the greatness of God. Acts 10:45-46
It certainly seems here as if speaking in tongues is evidence of the presence of the filling/gift of the Holy Spirit, right? But, also consider Acts 9:
17 Ananias went and entered the house. He placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Acts 9:17-18
9 But Saul—also called Paul—filled with the Holy Spirit, stared straight at Elymas 10 and said, “You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery, you son of the devil and enemy of all that is right. Won’t you ever stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord? Acts 13:9-10
So – three instances of people being filled with the Holy Spirit here, and 3 different responses and results of that filling. In one, Paul has scales fall off of his eyes, in another, Saul/Paul confronts a person behaving wickedly, and in one the brand new believers start speaking in tongues. What can we conclude? Probably NOT that every time a person is filled with the Holy Spirit they will speak in tongues, because it doesn’t happen every time in the book of Acts. That’s the problem of building theology off of narrative passages. We can definitely learn by observing things that happen in the Bible, but we should stop short of making pronouncements and doctrine based solely on observation. I spend so much time on that point because of our discussion topic today. There is no Bible passage that unequivocally says that Christians have guardian angels, but we do apparently see that some Christians believed that Christians had personal angels assigned to them, or something along those lines, because of happenings like we encounter in today’s reading, in which Peter is miraculously freed by an angel. Let’s read the chapter and consider it.
Did you catch what the church thought in vs 15 about Peter knocking at the door? 15 “You’re out of your mind!” they told her. But she kept insisting that it was true, and they said, “It’s his angel.” They didn’t think it was him – but his angel! I note that this doesn’t PROVE anything – but it is interesting. Are there other verses that could be referring to guardian angels? I can think of at least 2:
“See to it that you don’t despise one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10
Or, one more: Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)
Wow – so, does either of these three verses PROVE that all Christians have guardian angels? They don’t – but they definitely seem to point towards the possibility – so I can give you a definite maybe to our question. Isn’t that lovely to be so definitive! (Note: we should be careful to be definitive in areas where the Bible isn’t!) That said, I think I concur with Spurgeon…it does seem like Christian humans do indeed have something like guardian angels!
We have each of us a guardian angel to attend us. The meaning of the passage, “In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven,” surely is that every Christian has a guardian angel, who flies about him, and holds the shield of God over his brow, keeps his foot lest he should dash it against a stone, guard’s him, controls him, manages him, injects thoughts into his mind, restrains his evil desires, and is the minister and servant of the Holy Ghost to keep him from sin, and lead him to righteousness. Whether I am right or wrong, I leave you to judge; but perhaps I have more angelology in me than most people have. I know my imagination has sometimes been so powerful that, when I have been alone at night, I could almost fancy that I saw an angel fly by me, when I have been out preaching the Word. However, I take it that the text teaches us that angels have very much to do with God’s Providence, for it says, “And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.” Let us bless God that he has made angels ministering spirits to minister unto them that are heirs of salvation.
C. H. Spurgeon, “God’s Providence,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 54 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1908), 496.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for FEBRUARY: Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
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