Questions about angels answered!
A while back I did a Sunday School series on angels — what they are, what they do, and how we should react to them — and I thought I would share those notes in today’s post.
How important are angels?
- There’s a WORLD of difference between the pop culture view of angels and what the Bible says about angelic beings!
- The word for angels occurs more in the New Testament than the words for sin or love.
- The Bible has 250 references to angels.
- The Bible says that angels travel among us hidden in plain sight: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for some have entertained angels without knowing.” (Heb. 13:2)
So what is an angel?
- Angels are the “other” created personal beings that are a spirit rather than a physical being. God created angels and God created humans.
- Angels are sometimes called “sons of God,” but this is not the same as Jesus’ designation as the Son of God
- There are lots of angels: “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.” (Rev. 5:11)
- Angels are glorious, radiant strong, and powerful.
- Angels don’t have gender but are referenced in the masculine (“he”).
- Angels are intelligent, moral, wise, without physical bodies (spirit beings), and are normally invisible to us but can make themselves seen.
- Angels do not marry and do not physically die: “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30)
- Angels live in heaven: “For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 18:10)
What do angels look like?
- Isaiah 6:2: “Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.”
- Daniel 10:5-6: “I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.”
- Matt. 28:3: “[The angel’s] appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.”
- Rev. 4:6-8: “In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’”
Do angels have names?
- There are only two named angels in the Protestant Bible.
- Michael is an archangel and “chief prince” of angels (Jude 9) who delivers a message to Daniel, argues with Satan, and leads the angelic army against the dragon in Revelation 12:7.
- Gabriel is a messenger of God who speaks to Daniel, Zacharias, and Mary.
- Angels are also referred to as “thrones or powers or rulers or authorities” in Colossians 1:16.
Can angels sin?
- Yes, angels can sin, although that places them among the fallen angels (demons).
- “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment…” (2 Peter 2:4)
Are angels and Jesus equal?
- No. While Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus is actually Michael the archeangel, the author of Hebrews makes it very clear in chapter 1 that Jesus is divine and superior to all angelic beings.
- “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” (Hebrews 1:3-4)
What are angels to us?
- We were originally made to be a little less than the angels: “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” (Psalms 8:5)
- But one day we will be placed above them and will judge them: “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:3)
- Matthew 18:10 suggests that some people have angels assigned to them (“their angels”), which is where the idea of “guardian angels” arises.
What do angels do?
- Angels spend much time praising and worshiping God in heaven: “Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.” (Ps. 148:2)
- God does send angels out on missions to help us: “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)
- Like us, angels continually learn more about God: “Even angels long to look into these things.” (1 Peter 1:12)
- Angelic choruses often sing about God’s greatness: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
- Angels guard believers: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” (Psalms 34:7)
- Angels deliver punishment: “And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem.” (1 Chr. 21:15)
- Angels deliver messages from God (angelos means “messenger” in Greek).