Can we command angels?



Question:  “Can Christians command angels to do their bidding?”



Bible Answers

To command angels, we must either own them or have the owner’s authorization.  Since God is the creator and owner of angels (Colossians 1:16), then we must have God’s specific authorization to command His angels in a similar way that He specifically authorized us to command Satan and his demons (Luke 10:19, Mark 16:17).  Having God’s authorization is the key to this question.


While the teachers of this doctrine admit that there are no direct scriptures to support that humans can command angels, they offer the following to support their doctrine. Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14)?  They imply from this passage that God sent His angels to do our bidding and to be our agents to collect on the promises God has made to us.

While God has sent His angels to render service, it is at God’s command, not our command.  This passage says nothing about God giving us authority to command angels.


A second verse that is often given to support this doctrine is Psalm 103:20.  Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word.  From obey the voice of His word they maintain that angels must “obey man’s voice speaking God’s word”.

However, this passage says nothing about man nor does it give man any authority to command angels.


What is the content of this verse? It appears to be directed at the relationship of angels and the Lord.  The content being:

Angels bless the Lord,

Angels belong to the Lord,

Angels are mighty,

Angels perform the Lord’s word, and

Angels who obey His word.


The end of this verse is often interpreted,

Angels listen for the voice of the Lord speaking.


Why is “listen” rather than “obey” used? Like English words, Hebrew words have more than one meaning and its use is often dictated by the content of the sentence.

Both listen and obey came from the same transliterated Hebrew word, “shama” and is defined - hear, listen to, to list, to be heard, and obey.  Word meaning is usually listed from the most likely to the least likely.  About 50% of all Bibles, mostly older Bibles such as KJV use hearken (listen) and the others use obey.


Most Interlinear (printed from different languages - in this case from Hebrew to English) interpret the Hebrew word for shama to mean “hearken - listen” rather than “obey”.


Strong's Concordance, #8085, also defines Shama as primarily meaning hearken or listen.  As such, the correct translation appears to be “hearken (listen) to the voice of His word”.   


“Hearken to the voice of His word” does not appear to provide any support for the idea of commanding angels or that God has given us any authority to command His angels.


Additional points of consideration

1.  A number of times in the Gospels, Jesus clearly gave authority and instructions to His disciples and followers regarding coming against Satan’s evil spirits (Mat 10:1-14, 28:18-20, Mark 6:7-11, Luke 9:1-5, 10:19). For example, in Matthew 10:1, Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. But nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus ever mention giving us authority to command angels.  He warned them that representing Him would likely lead to persecution and death, but what did He tell them to do when persecuted? Did He tell them to call their angel(s)?  No, He said, When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another (Matthew 10:23).  If we had the authority to command angels, wouldn’t this have been a perfect time to say so?


2.  The King James Bible has 283 occurrences of the words angel and angels.  In these verses, we see angels obeying God’s instructions to deliver messages and instructions, to answering questions, to bless, to protect, and to destroy, but not once in all these occurrences do we ever see man commanding an angel.


3. In Hebrews 2:6-7 and Psalm 8:5, we are told that mankind was made lower than the angels.  What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You have made him for a little while lower than the angels (Hebrews 26:7) and For you have made him [man] a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5). Man is lower than angels. The order of power and authority is God, then angels, and then man. Man does not appear to be in a position to command angels any more than he is in a position to command God.      


4. Jesus said to one of His disciples, …do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:52-53). Jesus, as the Son of God is our example to follow. Jesus said that He could ask His Father and His Father would send Him angels.  If Jesus didn’t command angels, how can we possible presume that we can command angels?


5. I would submit that God would never give authority to mankind or Christians to have control over anything as powerful as angels.  In just one night, one angel killed 185,000 Assyrian solders (2 Kings 19:35).  Mankind just does not have the needed wisdom or self-control to possess authority over such powerful beings as angels.


6. The Bible says, For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11). It is God who commands His angels.


7. With the doctrine of commanding angels, we must ask, what of God’s will and God’s timing. As the doctrine is presented, it has no limits, as no mention of God’s will and timing is provided.  Without limits, we could command our angel(s) to fetch our 3,000 plus promises mentioned in God’s Word, or all the power in the world, or even to kill our enemy.  But if a supporter of this doctrine claim that the doctrine includes God’s will and timing, then angels are not able to obey our spoken commandments without God’s permission, shifting the doctrine back to “we need to ask God”.


8. Imagine the confusion if one Christian commanded his angels to bring rain today and another Christian commanded no rain today.  Now consider the chaos if this scenario was multiplied by a few hundred million more conflicting commands.  God would never permit man to have such unlimited power.


9. God made everything in the universe for His pleasure and blessing.  God made man to have a relationship with Himself.  Over and over again we are told to come to God with our prayers, our problems, our heart’s desire and that it is His good pleasure to answer our prayers.  Would God get pleasure and blessings by His children bypassing Him and going to His created angels with their desires?  


Three alternatives

1.  The first alternative is that we have the power to command angels. “Angels go and stop the rain.”  In this situation, we are commanding by our own authority.


2.  The second alternative is that there is no indication anywhere in the Bible that man has ever been given any authority to command angels.


3.  The third alternative is a combination of the other two alternatives.  That we can command, but in the name of Jesus. “Angels go and stop the rain, in the name of Jesus.” However, this is not a command in our own power, but a prayer, in which like any other prayer, we ask in the name of Jesus, subject to the will and direction of God.


Do not falsely believe you can command angels in your power, but if you command, be sure that you ask in the name of Jesus, being always submissive to the will of God.


Summary

Throughout scripture, God makes it clear that we are to come to Him with our requests, our problems, our relationship, and our love. Not a single verse indicates that we should be taking our problems and concerns to God’s angels.


Jesus never hinted at commanding angels but clearly said

Do you think I cannot pray to my Father, and he will at once give me more than twelve legions of angels (Matthew 26:52)? Jesus could ask the Father to send Him angels, and so should we.  If we believe we need angelic help, follow Jesus’ example and ask the Father.



In the next section - How can we effect angels?

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