Do you long to know more about angels?

Published 11:05 am Sunday, May 28, 2023

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By R.A. Tea Mathews

It happened at lunch. The day my friend, a police officer, told me the most remarkable story of his life.

I had sat facing the door to the cafeteria. When he arrived, he glanced down at the seat opposite me. 

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“I don’t sit with my back to the door.” He moved around to my side of the table. “I always have my eye right there,” he continued, nodding toward the entrance. “Ready if we have an active shooter situation.”

Suddenly, I wanted to know more. 

“Tell me the most remarkable thing that has ever happened to you,” I said, thinking he would relay a big story about a shooter.

Instead, he sat back in his chair and studied me. 

“What?” I asked.

“I’m going to tell you something,” he said, “that I wouldn’t tell just anyone.”

When we finished lunch, he guided me slowly along the corridors of a hospital, getting his bearings.

“I was sitting here in the hallway,” he finally said. “My father had just died, and they wanted us to go to the chapel. But I sat here. I could see diagonally into the doorway of the room beside my father’s room, and I saw two translucent men there, not looking left or right, walking intently toward my father’s room, passing through the walls and the furniture.”

“Angels,” I said.

“Yes.” He described men of average height with a slender build.

“In robes?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “In pants and a shirt. Nothing on their heads.” 

People of every faith want to know about angels. Even those who dislike religion are fascinated by such beings. 

Where can one go to learn more? 

To God. 

These heavenly beings are throughout Scripture. In fact, the words “angel” and “angels” appear almost 300 times in the Bible!

Angels ministered to Jesus after He was tempted by the devil. One fed the prophet Elijah as he ran from the evil queen, Jezebel, and another comforted Hagar when she fled the harsh treatment of Abraham’s jealous wife. (Matthew 4:11, I Kings 19:5-7, Genesis 16:7-11)

It was an angel who struck down 185,000 Assyrian soldiers as they prepared to brutally invade Jerusalem, and an army of angels stood ready to defend the prophet Elisha when enemy troops surrounded him. (2 Kings 19:35, 2 Kings 6:15-17)

An angel guided David to build an altar to stop a plague, and it was an angel who shut the mouths of lions and kept Daniel safe. (1 Chronicles 21, Daniel 6:22)

The angel, Gabriel, appeared to Mary, relaying the upcoming birth of Jesus. It was an angel who gave the shepherds three clues so they could locate Jesus the night He was born. And an angel appeared to Joseph, telling him to flee Herod’s soldiers. (Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:11-12, Matthew 2:13) 

But does the Bible support what my police captain friend saw minutes after his father died? Are the righteous taken to heaven by angels? 

Indeed, they are. Jesus gives us a specific example. Was that:

  1. Lazarus
  2. Paul
  3. Elisha
  4. Abraham

Make your selection and here’s the passage. 

Jesus spoke in a parable, saying, “Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom…” (Luke 16:22)

The correct answer is No. 1, “Lazarus.”

Scripture also supports my friend when he described the angels as translucent, passing through walls and furniture. Who was in such a story in the Bible?

  1. Peter
  2. Gibeon
  3. Isaiah
  4. Jeremiah

Make your choice. Here’s what happened. 

When Peter was taken to prison, there was no way inside except through locked doors, which didn’t stop his angel. The passage says, “On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near Peter…” (Acts 12:6-7)

The correct answer is No. 1, “Peter.”

As we stepped into the hospital parking lot that day, I thought of my friend’s sadness as he remembered his father’s death.

“Were the angels a comfort to you?” I asked.

“Very much so.”

I told him that I had felt the presence of angels at two deaths, times when I badly needed them. 

I suspect all who love the Lord have been cared for by angels. 

My friend was reluctant to let me tell any of this. Yet he also trusts me and finally agreed. This, as he said, is the most remarkable story of his life.

Angels protect, comfort, and guide us. Rightfully, we long to know more.

The Rev. Mathews, BA, MDiv, JD, is a newspaper faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at to join her 1-Minute Bible Study.

Copyright © 2023 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.