The Mission and Ministry of Angels

Why did God create these heavenly beings?

Revelation 10:1-3

We see images of angels all around us at Christmastime. In some of these, angels are portrayed as slim Victorian beauties with flowing hair, giant feathered wings, and elegant gowns. Others look like adorable babies carrying tiny harps. But these representations have very little in common with the terrifying angelic messengers found in today’s passage and throughout Scripture. In fact, their first words to the humans they encounter are usually “Do not be afraid.”

In the final book of the New Testament, these heavenly emissaries play a significant role. For one thing, in the first two verses of chapter 1, an angel gives John the revelation from which the book gets its title. Later, angels worship God (Revelation 5:11-12) and provide help and care to His people (Revelation 7:2-3). Then they loudly proclaim the good news of Jesus (Revelation 14:6-7). And they also serve God by heralding His perfect justice to the world (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 14:17-19).

Notice the action-oriented mission and ministry of angels throughout Revelation, and recognize the contrast with the sweet, passive images we usually see. Angels were created by God to glorify Him. And though we are “for a little while lower than angels” (Hebrews 2:7), the same is true of us as well (Romans 15:5-6).