My Answer: Do we know when we've seen an angel?

Q: What do angels look like? My aunt likes to collect figures of angels (she has dozens of them around her house), but how do we know if angels actually look like them? — Mrs. R.E.

A: The Bible doesn't tell us exactly what angels look like. In fact, they often are invisible to us because they are spiritual beings that seldom take on any physical appearance.

At times, however, they do become visible. When the prophet Isaiah was given a vision of God's majesty and glory, his throne was surrounded by angels. They were similar in appearance to humans, with faces and feet, but they also had wings and could fly (see Isaiah 6:1-3).

When the angel announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds outside Bethlehem, the Bible says that "the glory of the Lord shone around them" (Luke 2:9). On the other hand, angels sometimes took the appearance of ordinary men, and were only recognized as angels later (see, for example, Genesis 19).

God created the angels before the beginning of time, and they had one purpose: to be God's servants. Today, angels watch continually over God's people, to deliver them from evil and safeguard their entrance into heaven. We may not even think about them very much or realize their importance, but they still watch over us — and we should thank God for them.

The Bible says, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).

The angels' work on our behalf should remind us of God's love for us. At the same time, we are not to worship the angels or give undue attention to them. Christ alone is our savior, and he alone is the one to whom we should look for our salvation. Have you put your faith and trust in him?


Q: I was in a bad car wreck several months ago, and the doctors didn't give me much hope of survival. But I made it, and I'm almost completely healed now. I've never been religious, but did God have something to do with this? — K.D.

A: God has certainly been with you throughout this situation, not only preserving your life but also restoring you to health. You can say with the writer of the Psalms in the Bible, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life" (Psalm 138:7).

My question to you, however, is this: Why did God do this for you? The reason, I believe, is so you could come to know him in a personal way and commit yourself to his plan for your life. God loves you — whether you love him or not, or whether you even believe in him or not.

Your accident was a tragedy, but an even greater tragedy would be for you to forget God's goodness to you and spend the rest of your life apart from him.

God has been good to you, delivering you from death or serious disability. But God has been good to you in a far greater way by sending his son into the world to take away your sins and make you part of his family forever.

We are separated from God because of our sins, but when Jesus died on the cross, all our sins were transferred to him, and he took the judgment we deserve.

Take time to thank God for being with you during these months. But most of all, thank him for sending Jesus Christ into the world so you may be cleansed of your sins and given a new reason for living. Commit your life to him today.

(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

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