Q: “There are some people who believe that we can command angels. I am not comfortable with such a concept, but I was wondering what your understanding is concerning this matter.”
A: I understand how you might be uncomfortable with this concept because there is no Scriptural backing to it. Psalm 91:11 states, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” We see the Lord promising to send His angel before His servants, to not be commanded by them, but to prepare the way for them to complete their spiritual journey and mission (Genesis 24:7, 40; Exodus 23:20). It is clear who is in charge of angels and it is not man, and it is also clear by Psalm 91:11 that the angels have charge over us and not the other way around.
The fact that angels have more status than man is brought out in Hebrews 2:7-10. We are told that when Jesus, who is our Creator, took on humanity, He was made lower than the angels. It tells us that God had not put the world to come in subjection to the angels; rather it will be subject to Jesus.
The word, “angel,” means “messenger.” The angels are messengers of the Lord and not our personal couriers to execute a matter or respond according to our whims. They carry out the Lord’s message and His orders according to His plan. We must remember in the flesh we see through a glass darkly, but God sees the whole picture; therefore, how can we even consider that we have any authority and power to effectively command the heavenly to carry out what is part of God’s eternal plan?
In Joshua 5:13-15, Joshua, encountered the Captain of the LORD’S host. This implies that there is a clear military leader over angels and that they make up a congregation. Psalm 68:17 confirms this, “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels, the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.” Chariots not only imply angels are swift in carrying out a matter but they also confirm that they make up an army that takes on the kingdom of darkness as pointed out in Daniel’s case when it took the messenger three weeks to break through the demonic force (Daniel 1:14). The fact that Joshua worshipped the Captain in his encounter with Him in Joshua 5, points to the fact that He was deity, and many believe it was the Word, Jesus before He became flesh. (Note Matthew 4:10 and Acts 14:8-17.)
We know that certain angels have ranks. For example, Michael is considered an archangel, which is the highest-ranking angel. Other angels are responsible to carry messages to certain groups of people. For example, Gabriel visited both Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, and Mary, the mother of Jesus with prophetic messages about John as the Voice in the wilderness and Jesus, the Promised Messiah. (Luke 1:19 and 26). Other angels are responsible to worship Him around the throne such as the seraphim were doing in Isaiah 6 and there are cherubim which are associated with the happenings of Zion, the temple and the moving of the Spirit in Ezekiel 10. We know that angels are used to execute God’s judgment as in the case of David counting the people in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21, and they are going to separate the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 13:49-50).
It is also believed that Jesus was the “Angel of the Lord” who led the children of Israel through the wilderness. He was also represented by the rock in which the water flowed from (1 Corinthians 10:2-6).
I do understand why some people may get confused by this subject. We have authority in Christ to overcome the enemy, but there is no indication that this authority allots us the position to command angels. We know greater is He, the Holy Spirit, that is in us than he who is of the world, Satan. However, the Holy Spirit empowers us to walk out the Christian life and to stand in the authority of Jesus when in conflict and it is the Lord who will bring our enemies under our feet. We also know that we will judge the angels, but that happens after we leave this age. (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:3; 1 John 4:4).
I once was allowed to see into the heavenly realm. What I witnessed lined up to Scripture. I saw a circle of angels, heads bowed, surrounding the Son of God while two very tall angels stood guard. It was clear that the angels’ attention was strictly towards the Lord and they were humbly waiting for His command. If anyone can show me a Scripture where we are to command angels, I will accept this belief, but otherwise, I must consider it to be heresy.