Another purpose for angels appearing to man is shown in the angels words that nothing would overthrow the church except the transgression of the people (v. 13). Angels may be sent to protect the church from apostasy. Alma, son of Alma, was told to quit trying to destroy the church even if he would destroy himself (v. 16). Alma had his agency, but there were enough righteous people in the church for the Lord to send a protector for them.
Angels show “themselves unto men of strong faith” (Moroni 7:30). In this case it was the faith of Alma, the first, that brought the angel (Mosiah 27:14). The father’s prayers were for the son to “be brought to a knowledge of the truth” (v. 14). He did not ask for the Lord to send an angel, but the Lord selected the way to answer the prayer. God knows how the people will respond, and that some people are not capable of enduring an angel’s presence. The angel’s words were brief, to the point and affective. Alma son of Alma learned of the power and authority of God from this experience.