Can Men Command Angels?
We all know that angels are to minister to us, but can we give them instructions directly or do we give them instruction through the name of Jesus?
Though angels are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Hebrews 1:14), I know of no Bible instances where humans were able to give them instructions either directly or through the name of Jesus. On the contrary, we have no control over the work of the angels. We know that they are above us since Jesus had to make Himself lower than the angels in order to come down and be born and suffer as a man (Hebrews 2:7-9). Hebrews also speaks of those who had entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2). That is, men were not aware of their presence--even when they are visible as men.
Even in the Old Testament, where we see angels actively working with men, they are not at the bidding of men. The angel refused to reveal to Manoah, the father of Samson, his name. Though the angels who came to deliver Lot cooperated with Abraham and Lot, they certainly did not accept orders from them. When Lot failed to leave Sodom in a timely manner, the two angels forcibly took Lot and his immediate family out of town (Genesis 19:15-16).
The biblical way for the commanding of angels is found in several places. It is this: the people of God pray; the Lord hears their prayer; the Lord sends His angel or angels to do a work. Believers on earth do not have control over the angels. That is a myth made up by those who want to claim some great power over the spirit world that they do not have. Here are some examples:
- Moses spoke of when the children of Israel "cried unto the LORD, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt" (Numbers 20:16).
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's image not knowing what God would do (Daniel 3:17-18). But God in His mercy "sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God" (Daniel 3:28). The Hebrew children did not order up the angel of the Lord, God did it.
- God "sent his angel" to deliver Daniel from the mouths of the lions in the den of lions (Daniel 6:22).
- The church in Jerusalem prayed for Peter when he was in prison (Acts 12:5). But when Peter was delivered, he testified that "the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews" (Acts 12:11). The Christians praying for Peter were so surprised when he showed up at the door that they almost did not let him in. Certainly, they did not command any angel to go get him.
All these passages and others show that men do not command angels and angels do not obey the commandments of men. They are God's "holy angels" (Matthew 25:31; Revelation 14:10). Men are sinful by nature and have dwelling in their flesh no good thing. How could men have the right or the authority to command these holy ministers of God Almighty? Certainly, we cannot.