With a blog that focuses on seeing the world through spiritual eyes I thought it might be good to share a recent study our church did on Angels. In this article I’ll focus on the Holy Angels, the ones aligned with God and carrying out His plan and purposes. I’ll leave the fallen angels for a future study. The intent of this study is not to cover all aspects of these spiritual beings. Neither does it intend to be the ultimate authority on Angels. My heart is to share verses that speak of these beings, and hopefully give you a better understanding of what and who they are.
There are a ton of books and movies written on this topic. Some contain great information, but many are misleading, and some just made up. As I work through this article, I’ll try and build a Biblical case for what angels are like. As a Spirit filled believer and pastor, I’ll stick strictly to the 66 books of the Protestant Bible. Much angelology is built from apocryphal books like Enoch or Jasher. Books like these are interesting to read, but we must remember they do not carry the same weight as scripture. And some of the claims they make are far fetched. They were left out of the cannon of scripture for a reason. One place in Enoch says the Watchers (fallen angels) were 4,500 feet tall. That is truly a tall tale.
This blog is dedicated to seeing through spiritual eyes. Check out these two fictional stories about how angels interact with human lives
- Momma’s New coat – Story of a single mom, struggling financially during the Christmas season in a nation with an unreliable supply chain. God sends two angels two interviene.
- Angel’s Wings – Story of God sending two angels to keep a family safe through a horrific car accident.
There are several words for spiritual being in the Bible, but malach in the Old Testament and angelos in the New Testament are most often used to describe angel, messenger, or ambassador. Sometimes they refer to human messengers and other times they are used to speak of spiritual messengers.
- Old Testament (מַלְאָךְ, ‘malach’) – Translated Angel or messenger or ambassador
- Gen 16:7-11 – Is speaking about a spiritual messenger (Angel)
- Numbers 20:14 – Same word to reference a human messenger.
- New Testament (ἄγγελος, ‘angelos‘) – Translated Angel or messenger or ambassador
- Luke 1:18-20 – Is speaking about a spiritual messenger (Angel)
- Luke 7:24 – Same word to reference a human messenger.
Below are a few other phrases used to describe angels:
- Holy Angels
- ministering spirits (Ez 10:1-3)
- Angels of God
- Jesus’ Angels
- Angels in Heaven
- Mighty Angels
- Host of Heaven
- Sons of God (In the Masoretic Text this phrase can also can mean humans. The Septuagint properly distinguishes angels from Godly men)
- Sons of the mighty
- Holy ones
- Watcher (Dan 4:13)(waking, watchful, wakeful one, watcher, angel)
- The Elect
There are only a few named angels in the Bible
- Gabriel (Daniel 8:15-16)
- Michael (Rev 12:7)
- Lucifer (Is 14:12)
- Only in KJV & NKJV.
- A transliteration
- Abaddon (Apollyon) (Rev 9:1-3, 11) (Might be Satan)
- Angel of the Lord (This could refer to the Holy Spirit, Jesus before His incarnation, or an unnamed angel)
The Bible speaks of several different types of angels:
- Seraphim (Is 6:1-3)
- Cherubim (Ez 10:1-22)
- Living Creatures (Rev 4:6-8)
- There could be many more
Scripture also mentions that angels have ranks.
- Archangel (Jude 1:9) (ἀρχάγγελος , ‘archangelos‘)
- (1 Thes 4:16) – archangel’s call
- There could be many more
- Some have also suggested the following hierarchy, but I think the following takes scripture out of context.
- Highest orders (Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones)
- Middle orders (Dominions, Virtues, Powers)
- Lowest orders (Principalities, Archangels, Angels)
Here are a few more angel facts:
- God created them (Col 1:16)
- They are not the spirits of dead humans
- They saw the creation of the world (Job 38:4-7)
- They are not omnipresent
- Gabriel was sent from God to Daniel
- We don’t know for sure how many exist
- Revelation 12 hints that 1/3 of them are fallen (swept away)
- Rev 12:1-5 may suggest there are lots of them
- thousands of thousands = a million
- myriads of myriads = 100 million
- Some individuals may have guardian angels
- Matt 10:18 – Perhaps all children?
- Angels do not marry (Matt 22:30)
- Angels are very powerful (2 Pet 2:10-12, Matt 28:2 – a severe earthquake)
- Angels carry out God’s plans
- Ministered to Isaiah under the juniper tree
- Ministered to Jesus after fasting
- Brought God’s message to Daniel & Marry
- Angels glorify God
- lots of accounts of them worshiping God around the throne
- Angels are not to be worshiped
One final thought about Angels. In scripture they are never the main focus of the story. They are messengers of God. They are helpers of God. The Bible is the revelation of God to humans and angels just play a small part. In the story of the Bible, God is the subject and you are the object of His story.