Evangelist Billy Graham has shared his thoughts on one of the Bible's most mysterious beings -- angels -- revealing that the celestial beings are a significant part of a Christian's life even though they are invisible to the naked eye.
In a Q&A published in the Kansas City Star on Thursday, the 97-year-old preacher helped a reader, by the name of E.K., better understand the nature of angels.
"What do angels look like? Do they look like the pictures we see on Christmas cards? Or are they even real? I've always been curious about this," the reader asked.
Graham responded, "Yes, angels are real, just as real as you and I are. Although they are largely unseen by us, they exist in great numbers. The Bible speaks of 'thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly' (Hebrews 12:22). When Jesus' birth was announced to the shepherds outside Bethlehem, 'a great company of the heavenly host appeared ... praising God' (Luke 2:13)."
While angels do not have physical bodies, on occasion they appear as ordinary humans or glorious celestial beings that reflect the majesty of God, Graham contended.
"When God gave the prophet Isaiah a vision of his glory, his throne was surrounded by angels of great splendor and power: 'At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook"'(Isaiah 6:4)," he explained.
Ultimately, God created the angels for one purpose: to serve him: "As such they work in hidden ways to carry out God's will and protect God's people," Graham wrote. "Even when we are unaware of them, they are still part of our lives. They also are part of a great unseen army that constantly fights against Satan and his servants of evil. God's promise should bring comfort to every believer: He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways' (Psalm 91:11)."
However, Graham warned against worshiping angels, as God alone is worthy of worship.
"But we can thank God for them," he concluded, "and some day in heaven we'll realize just how much they've done for us, at God's command. 'Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?' (Hebrews 1:14)."
According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans (68%) completely or mostly agree that angels and demons are active in the world.
Another prominent evangelist, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, frequently encourages Christians to recognize that those who trust in God have a powerful "invisible army of God" on their side, even when all hope appears to be lost.
In a 2012 "Daily Hope" devotional, Warren referenced the story of the prophet Elisha and his servant, who one day woke up surrounded by enemy troops. Instead of responding in fear, Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!" (2 Kings 2:17 NLT). Suddenly, Elisha's servant saw an army of angels on the hills outside ready to protect them from the massive army.
"Just like Elisha and his servant, you have things attacking you right now. You're tempted to panic. The truth is, you have a whole lot more that's for you than against you. But when you're in the midst of being attacked, you just can't see it," Warren explained.
"God needs to open your eyes to all that is on your side. Like Elisha, you just need to ask him for help. Even though you can't see them, God has released his forces to protect you. Will you ask him to open your eyes to them?"