Editor's Note: If you missed Part one of this article, you can still read: Why We Need Warring Angels.
While we may not be in the midst of war zones overseas, we are increasingly facing violence, terrorism and escalating crime in America. 2 Timothy 3:1 tells us that in the last days, "perilous" or "fierce" times will come. The Greek word here is used only two times in the New Testament. The other time it refers to the Gadarene demoniac who was extremely violent. In other words the period prior to the Return of our Lord Jesus will not merely be bad but mad!
Many Christians today are "packin'" and I certainly understand why. Many of us would be surprised even at how many of our lady friends have something tucked into that little purse (and I'm not talking about Skittles or breath mints!).
Even Jesus instructed His disciples, "if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one" (Luke 22:36) when He sent them out into the world. Yet our primary protection should come from the One "under whose shadow we should daily abide" (Ps. 91:1). Then we can claim the promise that follows in verse 10-11, "then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."
I can't emphasize enough in these volatile days prior to His Return how important it is to stay in the center of His will and walk with a reverential fear of God. We simply cannot habitually violate God's holy standards and presume on his grace to somehow keep us safe.
As I write this commentary, my wife and I are eager to welcome back our 30-something daughter from a three-week mission trip in Uganda. After she departed we all heard of the horrific plane crash engineered by the German maniac killing all 150 people aboard the plane. You can imagine how we all had to deal with fears regarding not only her time in Africa but also the flights she would take in this time of terrorism and radical Islamic activity.
What gave us a "peace that passes understanding" was the assurance that she was in the center of God's will and angelic hosts surrounded her exactly as we prayed and believed. We also knew she is sensible and doesn't carry any "knucklehead spirit" doing something reckless or foolish on her journey! She promised not to bungee jump over Victoria Falls.
Violent crime and danger surround us in today's culture, which has drifted from Judeo-Christian standards. "God hasn't given us a spirit of fear ... " (2 Tim. 1:7), but we do need to be vigilant and prudent as we protect ourselves and our loved ones. His heavenly messengers are available to those who are aware and ask Him to activate their ministry in our lives. Here is what they do:
1. Communicate God's messages—never contrary to Scripture (Islam and Mormonism err here).
2. Guard children—Matthew 18:10
3. Protect us—Psalm 34:7
4. Deliver us—Acts 12:7
5. Observe us—1 Timothy 5:21
6. Encourage us—Acts 27:23-4
7. Care for us at death—Luke 16:22; Jude 9
Someone may ask, how can angels care for God's people at death?
Even though the devil is "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2), the Bible teaches that God has assigned angels to see His children safely home through any host of demons in the atmosphere.
In Luke 16, Jesus told of the beggar who died and said that "he was carried by the angels." The man was not merely escorted but carried! What a phenomenal experience it must have been for poor Lazarus who had lain groveling and begging at the gate of the rich man all of a sudden to find himself carried by angels into the presence of God! This is the glorious homecoming of a true believer—departing suffering and difficulties to be ushered by angels into God's heavenly domain.
When my mom at the age of 87 lay dying in a bed, I stood next to her with my sister reciting Psalm 91. Just as I said the words, "He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways, they will lift you up in their hands," my mother took her last breath and went home. My Bible has this noted in the margin at this verse of the 91st Psalm.
Katherine Lippy of Hagerstown, Maryland, shared the following story with which I close: "My 9-year-old friend Jason was hit by a car and killed. His mother and I are good friends. Last spring I was sitting painting a ceramic angel when all of a sudden Jason came to mind. I spoke my thoughts out loud, 'Lord, where was Jason's guardian angel that day?' (as if He has to tell me!!!).
"My all-too-human questioning brought an instant answer as I sensed Him speak to my heart, 'Carrying Jason into My bosom.' I certainly could see angels swooping Jason up instantly as the car hit him—he didn't even feel the pain—he just went to be with Jesus. Praise God! Angels really are ever present."
Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with more than 43 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview (see "Is Gay OK? 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know" now on YouTube). He loves awakening people to today's cultural realities and responses needed for a restored, influential church. Please visit larrytomczak.com.