People today are fascinated by the concept and study of angels, called “angelology.” Angels are depicted in everything from jewelry and Christmas decorations to movies and television programs. Many Christians also believe they have the authority to command angels to do their bidding, while others believe they can command angels (and even demons) in the name of Jesus.
There are no instances in Scripture where humans were able to give angels commands, either in their own name or in Jesus’ name. There are no passages where man has control over the work of the angels. We do know that they are beings of higher rank, since Jesus had to make Himself “lower than the angels” in order to be born and suffer as a man (Hebrews 2:7-9; Psalm 8:4-5).
The teaching that believers have control over angels is false. The following biblical principles show that angels do not obey the commands of men:
• Moses spoke of when the children of Israel “cried out to the LORD, he heard our cry, and sent an angel, and brought us out of Egypt” (Numbers 20:16). The Israelites did not command an angel to come to them. They appealed to God, under whose command the angels function.
• Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Daniel 3:17-18). God in His mercy “sent his angel and rescued his servants!” (Daniel 3:28). The three Hebrews did not summon the angel of the Lord. God sent him. God later “sent his angel” to deliver Daniel from the mouths of the lions in their den (Daniel 6:22).
• The church in Jerusalem prayed for Peter when he was in prison (Acts 12:5). When Peter was delivered, he testified, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating” (Acts 12:11). The Christians praying for Peter were so surprised when he came to their door that they almost did not let him in. Certainly, they had not commanded any angel to rescue him.