When soldiers fight powerful enemies in battle, they may have even more powerful forces helping them: angels.
Throughout recorded history, many people at war have prayed for needs such as courage, strength, protection, comfort, encouragement and guidance. Sometimes, soldiers have reported, angels appear to help meet such needs in wartime. Here's a look at some of the most famous angelic reports from battle:
1. An Army of Angels
Photo © public domain, from Petrus Comestor's "Bible Historiale," France, 1732
and the Bible
say in the sixth chapter of 2 Kings that the prophet Elisha gained confidence during war because an invisible army of angels was protecting the Israelites. When one of Elisha’s servants who couldn’t see the angels at first saw the enemy’s army surround the city where they were staying, he panicked and asked Elisha what to do. Verse 16 reports that Elisha replied: “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Elisha prayed that God would open the servant’s eyes, and then the servant was able to see a whole army of angels with chariots of fire in the hills above the city.
2. Invincible Power
Photo © public domain of a painting from an unknown artist around 1520 to 1530
In the Bhavagad Gita
, Lord Krishna (an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu) says that divine beings sometimes help humans fight for righteousness. Comparing his spiritually empowered army to the enemy’s army before the battle of Kurukshetra, Krishna declares in chapter 1, verse 10: “Our army is invincible, while their army is easy to conquer.”
3. Flaming Swords
Photo © public domain of Raffaello's painting "The Meeting Between Leo the Great and Attila."
When notorious warrior Attila the Hun and his massive army tried to invade Rome during the year 452, Pope Leo I met with Attila to plead with him to stop threatening Rome. Many people were surprised that, in response, Attila immediately withdrew his army from Rome. Attila said he left the city because he saw two imposing angels wielding flaming swords standing beside Pope Leo I while he was speaking. The angels threatened to kill Attila if he proceeded to invade Rome, Attila reported.
4. Voices Calling Out
Photo © Eugene Thirion
Joan of Arc
, a devout French girl who lived during the 1400s, reported that she heard angelic voices calling out to her to help drive the English army out of France during the Hundred Years War. Between ages 13 and 16, Joan said, she heard and sometimes saw angels urging her to meet with Charles, the French Dauphin, and tell him that he should let her command the French army. Charles eventually did give Joan permission to lead the army, despite her lack of military experience. Joan successfully led the charge to drive the English invaders out of France, and her many startling predictions about various future
events (based on information she said the angels gave her) came true.
5. Vision of a New Nation
Photo © U.S. Post Office
General George Washington told his military aides at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War that a female
angel had visited him there to present a dramatic vision of America’s future. The angel commanded him to “look and learn” while watching the vision she showed him of future wars America would fight with other nations, and the hardships and victories that would result. As the vision concluded, the angel declared: “Let every child
of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land and the Union.” General Washington told his aides that he felt as if the vision had shown him “the birth, progress and destiny of the United States.”
6. Angels on the Front Lines
Hulton Archive / Getty Images
The World War I battle that took place near Mons, Belgium in 1914 became famous for its accounts of an army of angels that stood on the front lines between the two warring sides: the British and the Germans. Over six days as the battle raged on, many soldiers and officers from both sides reported that angels dressed in shining white clothing appeared during fierce fighting, sometimes floating in between the two armies or stretching out their hands toward the men.
7. Guarding Children from a Rebel Army
Photo © Jake Choules
During the Jeunesse Rebellion in the Republic of Congo in the 1960s, a rebel army planned to attack a boarding school that was home to about 200 children. But despite multiple attempts to storm the school over three days, the army never actually got inside the school. Every time the army approached, the soldiers would stop suddenly and retreat. Finally, they gave up entirely and left the area. Why? A captured rebel said that his army saw an angelic army appear whenever they approached the school: hundreds of angels standing guard