Angels are kind of a big deal. When a loved one dies, you might hear people say, "Oh, he or she is an angel now," but that simply is not biblical. Angels and humans are two different creations and neither can cross over to be the other.
So, what does the Bible say about angels? Let's jump in and take a closer look.
First, the Bible tells us they are created beings. In Nehemiah 9:6 we read, "You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." The Hebrew word in this passage for host is ṣāḇā' (tsaw-baw) which means: army, host, host of angels, etc.
Also, in Colossians 1:16, Paul tells us that "...all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him." This includes the angelic hosts.
Second, angels are spiritual beings who in some instances, have taken on human-like form to carry out God's work. The writer of Hebrews described them as ministering spirits who serve those of us here on earth (Hebrews 1:14). They are rarely seen, yet there are a number of biblical occasions when the angel or angels were visible to the naked eye and even presented human-like actions or characteristics.
Take for example, in the Gospel of Matthew, the apostle gives us an account of an angel who rolled the stone back from the door of Jesus' tomb and sat on it. He then talked with the women who had come to prepare Jesus' body telling them that Jesus was not there, but had risen (Matthew 28:1-7). From this passage alone, we see an angel rolling a stone, sitting, talking, and reasoning.
Third, they serve God. In Psalm 103:20 we read, "Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word."
Further, in Revelation 22:9 an angel rebukes John after the apostle had fallen at his feet to worship, "But he said to me, 'Don't do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!'" Angels are present to serve not to be worshiped.
Fourth, angels praise and worship God. In Psalm 148:1-2 we see the angels praising God and in Hebrews 1:6 we read, "...Let all God's angels worship Him." The Old Testament prophet Isaiah had a vision of seraphim (a type of angel) encircling God and His throne and "calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty...'". This praise continues on both day and night forever.
Finally, it is believed that angels have a hierarchy. Though the Bible does not state specifically about a hierarchy in place, there are a number of different types of angels mentioned who have unique roles:
Seraphim - Mentioned in Isaiah 6:1-4, are fiery bright creatures who have six wings and proclaim God's glory.
Cherubim - Mentioned numerous times throughout (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 25:18-20; 1 Sam. 4:4; Ezekiel 10, etc.) and had various jobs: guarding the garden, adorning the Ark of the Covenant, carrying the throne of God, etc.
Archangel - Only one mentioned by name (Michael) in Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7, etc.
Other noted angel - Gabriel was mentioned by name in Daniel 8:16; Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26-38, etc.
Guardian angel - Though not specifically named, it could be noted in Matthew 18:10 which says, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
Fallen angels - This would include Satan and his demons.
Angels were created for a specific purpose. They are completely different from humans, for they do not have a body of flesh and blood; they do not die; they do not become sick or in need of healing; but they do worship God and dwell in His presence; they do God's work and aid in His protection of humans; are His messengers; often aid in the winning of people to Christ; are called upon to be heavenly warriors; care for believers in their time of crossing over from death to life; appear before God, and so much more.
We are definitely blessed to have these ministering spirits at our aid, but may we always keep them within their proper place, and God front and center.
Until next time,