As much as I’d like to envision myself with wings, dressed in an intricately-designed white, flowing dress with blonde ringlets around my face and a flawless complexion, that will never happen. Nor will it, according to what I read in the Bible, EVER be the case with any of us. That isn’t really the way angels even look — except for the ones we might put on top of our Christmas trees. As a matter of fact, angels may have been rather frightening looking. Why else would many passages associated with angels begin with the words, “Fear not?” The first reaction to actually seeing an angel must have been shock and terror, not something we associate with the first mental picture I described at all.
Human beings are NOT angels, nor will we become angels. According to Psalm 8:5, we were made “a little lower than the angels.” Look at the whole passage of Psalm 8:3-9:
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
God . . . then angels . . . then us.
As I study more, I notice some very important roles that angels fulfilled in Scripture. First, they were messengers — which is what the word angel actually means. They were also protectors, ministers, mediators between God and humanity, warriors and worshipers of God Almighty. Look up these verses to see those roles for yourself: Psalm 91.11, Psalm 34:7, Isaiah 6:3, Hebrews 1:6, 2 Kings 19:35, Hebrews 1:14, Luke 22:43.
On a recent trip to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, I saw a surprising number of angels. Four trees were carved with them and placed throughout the town. Bay St. Louis, as you might remember, was in the bullseye when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on August 29, 2005. Homes, businesses, roads, bridges, the entire infrastructure were all decimated in the hours of the storm’s heaviest intensity. Yet, there are stories from survivors of finding miraculous objects and trees where they clung desperately while the water raged. Those survivors are convinced angels, in their roles as protectors, were in that place specifically for them. They know they experienced a miracle. They live with a greater resolve and sense of purpose.
In an effort to “do something” to try to comfort the people of Bay St. Louis during their massive rebuilding efforts after the storm, Dayle K. Lewis from Indiana began carving angels from some of the downed live oak trees. They were actually carved with a chain saw, but the details will astound you.
No. We are not angels, but we CAN do some of things that angels do. We can try to console hurting people and minister to them, and we can worship our Creator. And, we can be God’s messengers, sharing His word whenever and wherever we have the opportunity.