An angel is a messenger. The Greek word aggelos (ἄγγελος) is probably derived from the verb agó (ἄγω) which means “to bring,” so an angel is someone who brings a message from God.

Near the beginning of the Book of Mormon, Nephi sees an expansive vision narrated by an angel. (See 1 Nephi 11-14.)

Jacob testified that angels ministered to him (Jacob 7:5).

An important part of King Benjamin’s speech was a message about the atonement of Jesus Christ which he had received from an angel (Mosiah 3).

Alma and the sons of Mosiah were called to repentance by an angel. (See Mosiah 27:11-17, Alma 36:6-9.) Later, that same angel appeared to Alma, instructing him to return to a city that had rejected him. (See Alma 8:14-17.) At about the same time, an angel urged Amulek to help Alma. (See Alma 8:20, Alma 10:7-9.)

An angel gave Samuel the Lamanite a message to deliver to the people of Zarahemla. (See Helaman 13:7.)

Moroni testified that angels will always minister to us if we believe (Moroni 7:36-37).

The Bible Dictionary explains that some angels are spirits who have not yet been born (unembodied), others are the spirits of people who have died (disembodied), and still others are resurrected beings (reembodied). We learn from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland that some additional angels are simply embodied—mortals like you and me. (See “The Ministry of Angels,” General Conference, October 2008.)

Joseph Smith referred to two of these kinds of messengers as he taught Parley P. Pratt how to recognize true messengers from God. Resurrected beings, which he called “angels,” will shake your hand, he said. Disembodied spirits, which he called “the spirits of just men made perfect,” will not, because you wouldn’t be able to feel it. They will simply deliver their message. (See Doctrine and Covenants 129:1-7.)

One way to think about these different kinds of heavenly messengers is that they represent different phases of our eternal progression. Joseph Smith taught, “There are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:5).

Elder Holland testified that messengers from God are a constant in our lives:

My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.” On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.

The Ministry of Angels,” General Conference, October 2008

Today, I will be grateful for messengers from God. I will remember that God never leaves us alone, that His angels are with us, even if we are unaware of them.

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