President Nelson Shares Deep Insights into What Mormons Know About Angels


The word angel is very meaningful. It comes to us from the Greek language. The Greek word, ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ, means “messenger.”1 This same noun is centered in the Greek word for gospel, which is ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ. Its literal meaning is “good message” or “good news,” with an implication of a heavenly or angelic source. ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ is the very first word in the Greek New Testament (“Gospel According to St. Matthew”).

At Christmastime, we speak of angels when we review the sweet story about shepherds who were tending their flocks by night: “And the angel [of the Lord] said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”2

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The King James translators used five words, “I bring you good tidings,” to express in English the meaning of a single word in the Greek text. That one Greek word is ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΖΟ, which literally means “I announce good news.” That good news is the gospel. That good news is Jesus Christ! He has come into the world. Notice in the center of the word ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΖΟ is the root, ΑΓΓΕΛ, from the Greek word, ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ, for heavenly messenger, or angel.

Do We Believe in Angels?

Do we believe in angels—heavenly messengers? Absolutely. Those shepherds knew. Angels provided comforting reassurance to them. . . .

That specific angels participated in the Restoration is evident from section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants. There we read about “the voice of God . . . and the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time.”3

Those diverse angels—or heavenly messengers—could include John the Beloved, who did not die, but was allowed to tarry on earth as a ministering servant until the time of the Lord’s Second Coming.4 The three Nephites could likewise be in that same category. Their desire to tarry until the Second Coming was also granted.5 “They are as the angels of God, and . . . can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good.”6 . . .

Other angels are also at work. Often our members are “angels” to neighbors in need. Home teachers and visiting teachers, as ordinary people, frequently render service that seems angelic to grateful recipients. Young people who quietly leave homemade goodies on a doorstep or two experience the joy of anonymous service to others. And I am among the many who have often referred to the loving acts of an “angel mother” or an “angel wife,” or the priceless love of “angel children.”

Angels Unto Others

While discussing the miracles that led many to join the Church in Russia as well as the pioneers of the faith in that land, President Nelson shared this story that testifies of everyday angels:

Another woman who had temporarily left Leningrad found the Church in a miraculous manner. This beautiful young mother, Svetlana, had importuned the Lord in prayer to make it possible for her to obtain a Bible written in the Russian language. Such a Bible was rare, precious, and very expensive. In the fall of 1989, with her husband’s encouragement, she went to Helsinki with their young child in quest for a Bible. While walking through a park in Helsinki, she stepped upon an object hidden beneath the ground cover of autumn leaves. She picked it up and found it to be the answer to her prayers. It was a Bible written in the Russian language. So excited was she that she joyfully recounted the story of this great discovery to another mother who was also in the park with her youngster. The second mother then replied to Svetlana, “Would you like to have another book about Jesus Christ, also written in the Russian language?” Svetlana, of course, answered in the affirmative. The other mother then provided Svetlana with a Russian copy of the Book of Mormon and invited her to church. This other mother was Raija Kemppainen, wife of Jussi Kemppainen, then president of the Baltic District of the Finland Helsinki Mission. Shortly thereafter, Svetlana joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having returned with her child to Leningrad. . . .

Do we believe in angels? Yes! We believe in angels—heavenly messengers—seen and unseen; and earthly angels who know whom to help and how to help. Gospel messengers, or angels, can include ordinary people like you and me.

1. The two gammas together (Γ Γ) are pronounced as “ng.”
2. Luke 2:10–11.
3. Doctrine and Covenants 128:21.
4. See 3 Nephi 28:6–7; Doctrine and Covenants 7:1–8.
5. See 3 Nephi 28:1–6.
6. 3 Nephi 28:30.

Get more powerful insights from President Nelson in Accomplishing the Impossible.

In the Lord's plan for His children, this is the final dispensation. Many important things need to be done to prepare the earth for the Savior's Second Coming. From preaching the gospel in every nation to sealing our families throughout the generations to becoming ever more like our Savior, Jesus Christ, we as Latter-day Saints face many tasks that may seem impossible from a worldly standpoint.

But ours is an eternal perspective, and our mandate comes not from the world but from the Lord, who gives no commandment without preparing a way for it to be accomplished (see 1 Nephi 3:7). In fact, as President Russell M. Nelson points out, His pattern is one of "using the unlikely to accomplish the impossible." From David and Goliath to Moses to Joseph Smith, the history of His people is a story of accomplishing the impossible.

We too can become a part of this grand pattern as we strive to learn and to do His will. This insightful book explores some of the means God gives us—such as angelic help, prayer, and gifts of the Spirit—to help us accomplish the impossible. It then shows what we can do to take our place in fulfilling the destiny He has planned for us. As we become partners with the Lord, impossible things really can become a reality!


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