Bible Question:

Can we command the holy angels? You mentioned that we cannot tell angels what to do. Can you give me a scripture reference for that statement?

Bible Answer:

There is great interest in angels among Christians. Colossians 2:18 warns us to not worship angels; Yet, some believers have had a tendency to do just that. While it is true that angels minister to the saints (Hebrews 1:14), it is not true that we can command them.

The Bible never explicitly states that the angels are not subject to humans. But it does not have to say that since the Bible makes it clear that they belong to God and they submit to Him. Here are some verses that remind us of this truth.

Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Psalm 103:20 (NASB)


The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks . . . Matthew 13:41 (NASB)

For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels . . . Matthew 16:27 (NASB)

. . . the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire. 2 Thessalonians 1:7 (NASB)

Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Matthew 26:53 (NASB)

Jude 8-9 is a very misunderstood passage of Scripture by some Christians. Some have taught Christians can command the angels by quoting these two verses,

Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 8-9 (NASB)

But notice that we are told even Michael the archangel did not rebuke angels. He appealed to our Lord God to rebuke the devil. If Michael did not attempt to command the devil, a fallen angel, we must not do that either.

Why? These passages tell us that the angels obey God and belong to Him. Notice that repeatedly the angels are described as “His” angels. That is, they belong to God and not to us! The Old and New Testaments repeatedly tell us that angels are God’s messengers. They are His servants and under His command.


While the Bible does not say that we cannot tell angels what to do, it is a mistake to assume that we can command them as some teach. The Bible makes it clear that the angels belong to God and they are subject to Him. We do not own them, and scripture never gives us any account of anyone giving commands to angels.

Suggested Links:

Angels - Good & Evil
Do angels have a will?
Is it wrong to want to talk with an angel?
Who takes us to heaven when we die? Do guardian angels take us to heaven?
Will Christians be greater than angels in the future?
Are we equal, lower, or higher than the angels?
Can fallen angels look like humans? – What can demons look like?
Does the Bible say there are male and female angels?