Skip to Content

Ministering Angels: Heavenly Helpers In The Bible

In this article, we will look into ministering angels in the Bible and what these angels do according to scripture. So, grab your Bible, and let’s dig in…

The Bible is full of references to angels as beings that help execute God’s will on earth in various ways.

There are mentions of angels being messengers, warriors, and helpers; some even appear as men in some portions of the Bible.

Unfortunately, this has given way to an entire sub-culture within Christianity where people rely on angels and call on them for help rather than God, things like angel numbers, which is entirely unbiblical.

But this does not change the fact that God places angels in our lives to minister to us and help us at times.

So, what does the Bible say about these ministering angels?

Ministering Angels

Are Angels Ministering Spirits?

According to the Bible, angels are ministering spirits.

We can see this clearly in Hebrews 1:13-14, which says,

And to which of the angels has He ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

From these verses, we can notice that all angels are ministering spirits. Whether they are messengers or warriors, their purpose is to minister.

And that word for ministering comes from the Greek root word, leitourgeō.

λειτουργικός leitourgikós, li-toorg-ik-os’; from the same as G3008; functional publicly (“liturgic”); i.e. beneficient:—ministering.

λειτουργέω leitourgéō, li-toorg-eh’-o; from G3011; to be a public servant, i.e. (by analogy) to perform religious or charitable functions (worship, obey, relieve):—minister.

Throughout the Bible, in the Old and New Testaments, there are numerous incidents where God sends His angels to minister to believers, and we will look at them more closely.

But first, we must determine what ministering angels do.

What Do Ministering Angels Do?

The first thing we can notice from Hebrews 1 is that angels are sent out to serve on behalf of the believers (those who inherit salvation).

So, everything that God sends out His angels to do should be to act on our behalves. But to be more specific, we can see that they do a few things in the Bible:

  • They carry messages from God to the people. Angels warned Lot and his family about the coming destruction of Sodom in Genesis 19. An angel also appeared to Mary to tell her that she would give birth to God’s Son, and angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.

Note that we should not rely on angels to give us messages – that’s what the Holy Spirit does. However, God may still choose to send angels to give us messages from time to time.

  • Angels save people. For example, the angels warned Lot and his family to leave Sodom before its destruction. An angel also saved Peter from the prison cell in Acts 12:5-7.
  • Ministering angels can offer protection, as we can see in Psalm 91 and Daniel 6:21-22.
  • Angels can also offer assistance, as they did with Jesus after He fasted for 40 days and resisted the enemy’s temptations. More on that in a moment.

This is a broad overview of what angels often do to minister to us. For more on the topic, check out The Ministry of Angels {Understand What Angels Do}.

Now, let’s look at a few Biblical examples.

Angels Ministering To Jesus

One of the most notable examples of ministering angels is in Matthew 4.

This tells of the time after Jesus’ baptism when He went into the wilderness to be tempted by the enemy. He fasted for forty days and became hungry, which is when the enemy attacked.

Let’s understand Jesus’ situation at that time, as His situation and the devil’s specific temptations are highly relevant.

First, Jesus was hungry in a way few people today truly understand.

A forty-day fast isn’t a game and could carry severe health risks. Satan’s first temptation was related to that: turn these stones into bread (Matthew 4:3).

Secondly, Jesus was God that took on human form.

The limitations He suffered in a human body must have been a terrible hindrance, which was made even more evident by His body’s weakness during the fast.

The devil’s second temptation was for deliverance by ordering angels to carry Him away, revealing His Godly nature (verse 6).

Thirdly, Jesus knew what His mission was.

He knew that He only had a few years before He would face the worst pain and suffering that any person ever suffered, all to establish His kingdom on earth.

Satan’s third temptation was a shortcut: bow down and worship me, and I will give you all the world’s kingdoms. Yet Jesus still resisted him.

After these severe attacks and temptations, the Bible says angels appeared and ministered to Him.

Though we don’t know exactly what kind of ministry it was, the Hebrew word for “ministered” is “diakoneo” (Strong’s number G1247), the same word which we got the English word “deacon” from.

διακονέω diakonéō, dee-ak-on-eh’-o; from G1249; to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially or as a host, friend, or (figuratively) teacher); technically, to act as a Christian deacon:—(ad-)minister (unto), serve, use the office of a deacon.

διάκονος diákonos, dee-ak’-on-os; probably from an obsolete διάκω diákō (to run on errands; compare G1377); an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess):—deacon, minister, servant.

The word means to serve the same way a waiter or host would, so it’s safe to assume they took care of all His physical needs after His fast and temptations were over.

This wasn’t the only time an angel ministered to Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, we also see that a ministering angel was sent to strengthen Jesus. (Luke 22:43)

The agony in garden painting by James Tissot

Other Biblical Accounts Of Ministering Angels

Apart from Jesus’ example, we can see several other cases where angels ministered to believers somehow.

Lot And His Family

We already mentioned how angels ministered to Lot and his family in Genesis 19. They did two main things:

  1. The angels carried a message of warning to Lot.
  2. The angels helped Lot and his family to escape before Sodom’s destruction.

Daniel In The Lion’s Den

Daniel 6 tells how Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den because of his faith. But, in verse 22, we see that God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions to protect Daniel from harm. Daniel’s testimony on this matter changed the mind of King Darius, who declared to all his people that God was the living God.

Hagar And Ishmael

Abraham received a promise from God that he would have a son, but Sarah did not believe this would happen due to her old age.

So, she tried to help God a little by offering her Egyptian servant, Hagar, so that Abraham could have a son. The result was Ishmael. Yet this was not God’s will, and Isaac was born soon after.

This set off events that eventually led to Hagar and Ishmael being sent into the desert, where Hagar believed she and her son would die.

In Genesis 21, we can see how Hagar cried out, and verse 17 tells how God heard the cries and the angel of the Lord cried out to her that God would protect her.

It’s important to note that many Bible scholars believe this, and a few other references to “the angel of the Lord” actually refers to Jesus before He became human, rather than an actual angel.

Psalm 91

Psalm 91 is one of the most well-known Psalms, second only perhaps to Psalm 23.

The reason for its popularity is its content: it’s a Psalm proclaiming the protection of God. It’s unclear who wrote the Psalm, though many believe it was originally written by Moses and then slightly adapted by David.

But whoever wrote it, Psalm 91 contains some of God’s most powerful promises of protection.

Verses 11-12 say,

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

Here we can see that God instructs His angels to protect those of us who seek shelter with Him.

Peter In Prison

Acts 12 tells us how Peter was captured and imprisoned, sleeping between two guards. But the church was praying for him, and in verse 7, we read that an angel appeared in the cell, woke Peter up, and freed him from the chains.

Peter then followed the angel out of the prison and to freedom.

Angels ministering spirits

Jesus’ Ability To Call On The Father For Angels

Though this doesn’t directly show how angels ministered to people, it provides an interesting perspective on ministering angels.

Matthew 26:47-56 tells us about Jesus’ arrest and how Peter tried to defend Him with his sword. Then, in verse 53, Jesus asks Peter,

Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”

This shows two important facts.

First, God can instruct angels to minister to our needs, whatever they may be if we pray.

Second, even Jesus did not call on the angels Himself. He called on the Father, and the Father sent the angels.

That’s also how we should operate when it comes to angels. They are not to be worshiped or prayed to; only God has that right.

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

1“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.” – Revelation 4:9-11

It’s not the angels we should call on whenever we are in need, but God. He will deal with your care as He sees fit, and it’s His choice to involve angels or not. If Jesus Himself didn’t call on the angels directly, neither should we.

God sends angels to minister to believers in various ways. Whatever we need, when we pray, God can send angels to help fulfill our needs and answer our prayers. These ministering angels can serve, protect, and sometimes encourage us.

However, that does not change the fact that angels are not our source of support, provision, protection, and care; they are not to receive our worship in any way.

We are to worship God and Him alone, and when we pray for His protection or deliverance, He will not hesitate to send His angels to minister to us, whether we realize it or not.

More On Angels

I have a whole page on Angelology: The Study of Angels you can check out. Or you can look at the articles below:

I accept the Privacy Policy