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Studies in Matthew 18 – Study 3


Studies in Matthew 18 – Study 3


Text:  Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

There is so much superstition around angels.  The ‘Angel on My Shoulder’ brooch, the new age, Roman Catholic superstition – all of these are reasons why orthodox Christians avoid the subject of angels – we seem to avoid it like the plague. Yet angels appear in the Scriptures, over and over again, and Jesus believed in angels, and was ministered to by angels, and spoke about angels, so we need to know about them, and be able to have a proper, biblical understanding of who they are and what they do.   In this verse, Jesus speaks about angels, so let’s look at the verse, and see what we can come up with.

But first…

  1. Don’t despise other Christians. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones

Take heed!  That’s a very strong introduction to the verse.  If we are to beware of other Christians placing stumbling blocks in our way, causing us to be tempted to sin, then we too must be careful that we ourselves are not the cause of stumbling.   See:-

* The instruction. despise not one of these little ones.  What’s our attitude to other believers?  Is it one of encouragement, and help and compassion, or are we plotting revenge against them, determined to make them pay, getting our own back?  Once again we are taught to apply the gospel to our lives and relationships. Paul wrote: Ephesians 4:31-32  

* The emphasis.  for I say unto you.    Hendrickson points out here that this is a heavy emphasis. This is a direct command from God, related to the phrase which follows…


  1. Do be aware of angels. That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

So what is Jesus teaching us about angels?

  • What these angels are NOT.
    • The objects of superstitious adoration, good luck charms etc. Google angels and see what you get. A lot of it will be pagan superstition. Angel appearances, angel statues, angel orbs, angel healings etc
    • Dead babies. Or dead people in general. There is a modern myth that when people, particularly babies die, they become angels. You’ll hear it frequently at funerals. There’s no biblical warrant for that belief.  
    • Guardian angels. Lots of people read this verse and come up with the idea that every Christian must have his or her own personal angel, whose task it is to personally take care of them. No – this verse is not any justification for this belief.  We do not have a personal angel!
    • Local pastors and shepherds. In the book of revelation, chapters 2&3 we can read letters to the 7 churches in Asia Minor written to their ‘angel.’   The very great likelihood is that the person in question is the church leader -the ‘announcer or messenger’ – the angelos. In the OT the Heb for angel is ‘Malik’ – and in the book of Malachi, the prophet is God’s messenger … his ‘malik’. This is NOT what is meant here.  There are situations of temptation where pastors and elders can be very helpful, they can encourage you and advise you and counsel you, but they can’t make the nasty temptation go away for you.
    • Heavenly intercessors. Do angels pray for us?  After all they are ‘beholding the face of God’. – No. Our intercessor is Christ himself. Not saints or angels.


  • What they ARE.

Angels are…

  1. The servants of Christ. 2 Thess 1:7  He is their king, and they owe allegiance to him.  Eph 1:22-23, Col. 2:10
  2. Announcers of the gospel news. Luke 2: Luke 24:4  1 Timothy 3:16 
  3. Heaven’s choir. Luke 15:10    Revelation 5:11-12.  
  4. The defenders of the elect.
    1. In the Psalms: Psalm 91:11
    2. In the Lion’s Den. Daniel 6:
    3. In the very early church. Acts 5:19
    4. In the future. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10  
  5. They are examples of obedience. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is speaking about the created order, and natural orders of headship, both in the world, in the home and in the church, and he points us to the angels as examples of obedience. V7  
  6. They are Interested in US! They watch over us, – and serve us, in many different ways, defending us from our enemies and avenging us when we are wronged. Matthew 13:41   Matthew 25:31-32 Luke 15:10  Luke 16:22    Hebrews 1:14   

But be aware that redeemed believers outrank the angels, and will one day judge them!  1 Corinthians 6:33   


So, when we are tempted, remember that there is a whole army of angels, standing by to defend us from those who would lead us into temptation, and try to trip us up.

© Bob McEvoy


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