Guardian Angels?

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

The concept of a “guardian angel” — an angel sent from heaven to guard each of God’s people — is present in popular culture, but is there any basis for it in scripture? Hebrews 1:14 gives us a biblical definition of an angel: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” So angels are indeed sent from heaven to help God’s people. And the present passage makes this even more specific. Jesus, referring to the children He had been using as example of humility, said “their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.”  The word “their” is important here. “Their” angels indicates that they have angels which are somehow specifically assigned to them. While the exact nature of their responsibility is not spelled out, there seems to be some kind of personal relationship involved.

Now, does this correspond with the popular idea many have of a “guardian angel”? The passage appears to fall somewhat short of that. The verse does NOT specify that the angel travels with the person, watching over their every move — in fact what Jesus actually says is that the angels of these children “continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.” Thus although they are somehow related to the children, they are depicted (at least here) as being in the presence of God in heaven, not on earth.

So does this verse teach that we each have a “guardian angel”?  It is pretty clear in its indication that there are angels who have some kind of specific relationship with human beings — but it also fails to spell out the exact nature and details of that relationship.  We can be absolutely certain of anything that God’s word teaches clearly. And we should also be very hesitant to be dogmatic about what scripture does NOT clearly spell out.  While this passage seems to indicate that there may be some kind of “guardian angel” assigned to each person, what we can be confident of is that if you are a Christian, God has clearly promised in His word that He will watch over you, and cover you with the shadow of His hand. And perhaps He somehow uses a certain angel to help!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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