Throughout numerous stories of the Bible Angels have descended from Heaven to aid and guide people. Sometimes they let their true identities be known and other times they disguise themselves as regular people. In these stories the Angels actively help mankind in some way. Here are three stories from the Bible that depict Angels on Earth:
An Angel Helps Peter Escape Imprisonment
This is the Biblical story of how an Angel rescued Peter from prison after hearing the many prayers of people hoping for Peter’s safe release. Peter’s escape is from Acts 12:1 – 19 and describes Peter’s imprisonment and miraculous escape.
Peter’s story begins when King Herod, the leader of Judea, began arresting, persecuting, and killing early Christians. As one of Christ’s original disciples, Peter was targeted by Herod, thrown into prison, and put under heavy guard. During his imprisonment, the Christian community prayed to Heaven for Peter to be released. An angel heard their prayers and came to Peter’s rescue.
His escape is described in Acts 12:6 -7:
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
The Angel appeared bathed in Heavenly light, which meant this rescue was an act of God. God heard the people’s prayers for Peter’s safety and he answered by sending one of his Holy messengers.
In Acts 12:8 – 9 the Angel continued to lead Peter to freedom, although Peter could not believe he was actually being helped and thought he was seeing a vision:
Then the angel said to him, ‘Put on your clothes and sandals.’ And Peter did so. ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,’ the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.
The Angel continues to lead Peter to safety and back to his home in the city. Once the Angel knows Peter is at a safe place, the Angel disappears.
An Angel Prevents Abraham from Sacrificing His Only Son
In this story from Genesis 22 of the Bible, God tests the faith of the prophet Abraham by asking him to make a great sacrifice. God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, and right before Abraham kills Isaac, God intervenes by sending an Angel to stay his hand. For his strong faith, Abraham and his family throughout the coming generations receive a blessing from God.
In Genesis 22:1 – 18 God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac:
Sometime later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’
‘Here I am,’ he replied.
Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love — Isaac — and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’
As Abraham takes the knife to slay his son upon the altar, the Angel intervenes:
But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’
‘Here I am,’ he replied.
‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’
Abraham sees a ram caught in a thicket and sacrifices it upon the pyre instead of his son.
After this sacrifice, the Angel speaks to Abraham again:
‘I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’
The identity of the Angel in Abraham’s story is not known although many people speculate that it is God himself appearing in Angelic form. This Angel acts differently than most Angels shown in the Bible and presents himself as if he is the God, rather than one of His creations.
An Angel Appears Before Jesus Christ to Prepare Him For Crucifixion
In Luke 22, Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray on the night before his death. As he’s praying an Angel appears, believed to be Archangel Chamuel, to comfort Jesus for what’s to come the next day.
During his time in the garden, Jesus reflects on the pain that he will go through. He struggles with the temptation to save himself rather than sacrifice himself for humanity’s sins. It is at this time that the Angel appears to give Jesus courage to move forward. The Angel reminds Jesus that his sacrifice will allow God and people to experience a closer relationship in spite of their sins.
The Angel appears to Jesus in Luke 22:41 – 43:
He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.'” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
After his talk with the Angel, Jesus’ faith and resolve had strengthened. From Luke 22:44:
And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Shortly after the Angel appears to Jesus, the Roman authorities arrive to arrest Jesus. Due to his faith he goes willing and tells his disciples not to fight. From Matthew 26:52 – 54:
‘Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’
Although Jesus knew that he could call upon God and the Angels to save him, he refused because his sacrifice to atone for the sins of humankind was more important than saving his own life.