This Sunday we celebrate a feast day entitled “St. Michael and All Angels.” We don’t celebrate this every year, only when the specific day (September 29) falls on a Sunday. There is a lot of confusion about angels in our society today, so I thought it would be appropriate to address a few myths about angels that are commonly spread around in today’s world.
Myth 1 – When you die, you become an angel.
This seems to be the assumption of every movie, television show, and cartoon out there. I blame the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life for the prevalence of this. Angels are not dead humans. Angels are created beings that serve various functions in heaven and on earth. The word “angel” means “messenger.” This is one of their primary tasks. We see angels appear regularly through the Bible and very often they are delivering messages from God to God’s people.
When we die, our hope is not to become angels. Our hope is to be raised from the dead as human beings. When Jesus is raised from the dead, He has a resurrected, perfected, human body. He is not an angel. The same thing that happened to Jesus will happen to us when Jesus returns.
Myth 2 – Everyone has their own, personal, guardian angel.
I’m not saying this couldn’t be true, but there is no biblical evidence to support this idea. Yes, some angels are charged with spiritual battles on earth that involve our protection. We see this in the book of Daniel and a few other places. Yes, some angels could easily be called "guardian angels," but that doesn't mean each person or even each Christian throughout the world has their own guardian angel only charged with guarding one person. God’s protection of you may certainly involve the use of His angels. But never forget it is God’s protection. He is the one who deserves the credit, glory, and praise.
Myth 3 – Angels are cute.
In the last 50 years, angels have become this cutesy, kitsch decoration item. They look comfortable and harmless. The picture we have in the Bible of angels is quite different. Angels are often depicted with six or eight wings, and every time an angel shows up in the Bible, people are terrified. As Luke writes in the Christmas story, “And an angel of the Lord appeared to [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.” The first thing out of the mouth of whichever angel appears is, “Fear not!” or “Don’t be afraid.”
I’m not saying you should throw out decorations or anything of the sort. I just want to make sure what we are passing down to the next generation is not from TV or some marketing scheme, but rather from God’s Word. Angels are created beings that serve God. Humans are also created beings that serve God. But we are in fact very different from angels.
God’s richest blessings on your week.