By: Steve Shirley
Who and what are angels? What do they do? Television, books, art, etc... today have created an image of angels that are misleading and not supported by the Bible. Some of these teachings are:
1. There are women angels. Nowhere in the Bible are angels shown to be female.
2. People are often led to believe that angels are people who have died. This is false. Angels are created beings that have existed since the foundation of the world to carry out God's will.
3. Angels are shown to minister to the wicked and unbelievers. The Bible does not support this. Instead, it says that angels minister to believers.
4. Angels are sometimes shown to be cute little cherubs. The Bible tells us angels are mighty and powerful.
Angels are mentioned approximately 180 times in the New Testament. What does the Bible have to say about angels?
As stated above, they are sent to minister to believers.
(Heb 1:14) Are they not ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Some of the ways they minister to believers are they:
Protect (Ps 34:7)
Guard (Ps 91:9-11)
Guide (Gen 24:40)(Acts 8:26)
Care for (1 Kin 19:5-8)
Gather the elect (Mt 24:31)
Comfort (Acts 27:23-24)
(Acts 12:7-10) An angel delivered Peter out of prison before execution.
(Dan 6:22) An angel shut the lion's mouths when Daniel was thrown in the lion's den.
(Dan 3:28) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were delivered when thrown in the fiery furnace
(Mt 26:53) Jesus said He could have had legions of angels deliver Him in His time of trouble.
(Gen 18) To Abraham
(Gen 19) To Lot
(Dan 9:20-27) To Daniel
(Lk 1:11-20) To Zechariah
(Lk 1:26-38) To Mary
(Mt 1:20-25) To Joseph
(Acts 27:23-24) To Paul
Take us to heaven at death (Lk 16:22)(Jude 9)
The Bible tells us that there are countless numbers of angels (Rev 5:11) (Dan 7:10)(Heb 12:22), and that God created them (Ps 148:5)(Jn 1:3)(Col 1:16). By looking at different verses we can find out a number of characteristics about angels. Among them, angels:
Are mighty and powerful (Ps 103:20)(2 Pet 2:11)(Rev 20:1-3)
Are immortal (Ps 148:6)(Lk 20:36)
Are holy (Mt 25:31)
Are elect (1 Tim 5:21)
Have wisdom (2 Sam 14:17,20)
Have emotions/joy (Lk 15:10)
Have desires (1 Pet 1:12)
Only God has the power to create. God created angels to be spirit by nature (Heb 1:14), and as such, Jesus said that "a spirit hath not flesh and bones" (Lk 24:39). Angels are also, by nature, invisible (2 Kin 6:16-17)(Num 22:22-31). However, God has allowed angels to take on human form in several places in the Bible i.e. (Heb 13:2)(Gen 18:1-16)(Lk 24:4). When they appear it is often in a bright and shining form (Lk 2:9)(Acts 12:7)(Lk 24:4). They are also shown to have wings at times (Ezek 10:5,8,16,19)(Isa 6:2)(Ps 18:10).
*** (Side note) Satan is a fallen angel (Lucifer) who was cast out of Heaven because of pride (Ezek 28:12-19) and wanting to become like God (Isa 14:12-15). One third of the angels fell with Satan. These angels are called demons. Since only God can create, and angels are by nature invisible, I believe that it is against clear Biblical teaching to say that demons can take on human form apart from God to appear to people as some teachers teach. I do believe, however, they can most certainly inhabit (possess) people who are not in Christ.
A few other random things about angels:
They do not marry (Mt 22:30)
They live in Heaven (Heb 12:22)(Mt 22:30)
They have constant access to God (Mt 18:10)
They worship God (Rev 7:11-12)(Rev 5:11-13)
Finally, remember that you should NEVER attempt to contact angels (Deut 18:10) nor should you worship angels (Rev 22:8-9)(Rev 19:10)(Col 2:18).
Related Question: Do we have guardian angels?