The practice of commanding angels is popular within some charismatic teachings but is it a scriptural practice, and should we actually think that angels will obey our commands?

According to the Bible, angels are greater in power and might than people (2 Peter 2:11), and there is not a single example in all of scripture of anyone other than God giving commands to angels. While we have no example in scripture of any human giving commands to angels, we do have examples of angels giving commands to people on behalf of God.

For example, consider that the law of Moses was administered by angels. In his address to the Sanhedrin, Stephen declared the following:

Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. ~ Acts 7:52-53

In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul says the law was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator (Galatians 3:19), and the writer of Hebrews declares, the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward ~ Hebrews 2:2

Angels are God’s servants, harkening to his voice, not man’s: Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. ~ Psalm 103:20

In scripture, we never see any people giving orders to angels, but we do see angels giving orders to people. In Genesis 16:9, the angel of the Lord gave a directive to Hagar. In Genesis 19, the angels who visited Lot gave orders to flee the city of Sodom with his family. In numbers 22, the angel of the Lord gave orders to Balaam.

Consider the words of the angel of the Lord, speaking on behalf of God in Judges 2:

And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord. ~ Judges 2:1-5

Again, angels are God’s servants not our servants, and they do God’s commands not ours.

When Gideon encountered the angel of the Lord in Judges 6, it was the angel who gave directives to Gideon and not Gideon giving directives to the angel. In the New Testament the angel Gabriel caused Zacharias to be speechless until after the birth of his son (John the Baptist) because Zacharias doubted his words.

And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. ~ Luke 1:19-20 

Who had the authority in this exchange? It was Gabriel and not Zacharias.

Throughout the scripture angels are God’s messengers and God’s servants. Not only do angels speak God’s word, they also are the agents who often carry out God’s judgments. One only need to read the book of the Revelation to see that angels involved in God’s judgments.

We could go on, but suffice to say there is absolutely not truth to the idea that Christians have any authority to command angels. There is not a single text which teaches such ideas, nor is there any example of any servant of God in scripture doing this. When God’s people encountered angels in scripture, it was God speaking through the angel to his servant, not the servant commanding the angel to do his bidding.

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