ANGELS. Do you believe in angels? As a believer, do you believe that you have been designated your own guardian angel? Ever wondered what angels look like? Are you familiar with ‘Archangels?’ Or, have you even thought much about the existence of angels?
Friends, these are all very good questions don’t you think? The mention of angels is wide-ranging in scripture. Depending on the Bible translation searched, these celestial beings are referred to from 294 to 305 times in the Bible. References to angels occur at least 116 times in the Old Testament and 175 times in the New Testament. Did you know that!
These many references are found in at least 34 books from the very earliest books (whether Job or Genesis) to the last book of the Bible (Revelation).
Finally, there are numerous references to angels by the Lord Jesus, whom Scripture declares to be the creator of all things, which includes angelic beings. Paul wrote, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities (a reference to angels)—all things have been created by Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).
The Bible will be the authority for this reading and not the speculations of men nor their experiences nor what people think sounds logical. Amen
Angels. What are angels? They are servants of God, described by the writer of Hebrews as, “ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” Note Matthew 4:11. Angels are spiritual beings created by God to serve Him, though created higher than man. Some, the good angels, have remained obedient to Him and carry out His will, while others, fallen angels, disobeyed, fell from their holy position, and now stand in active opposition to the work and plan of God.
What do they look like? Angels appear in different forms depending upon their order of creation. For example, God’s messenger angel Gabriel, has the appearance of a man (Dan. 9:21). From Ezek. 28: 13, 14 we learn that cherubim (plural for "cherub") are exotic and beautiful-covered with precious stones. Ezek. 1:23 tells us that cherubim have four wings, while seraphim (plural for "seraph") have six wings-two that cover the face, two that cover the feet, and two with which to fly (Is. 6:2).
< Angels do not look like this.
GUARDIAN ANGELS watch over us. Psalm 91:11, 12
Each of us has our own private guardian angels. Hallelujah! Are you happy about that revelation? Dr. Billy Graham, observing the plural in this text, concluded that each believer must have at least two angels who assigned duty it is to protect them. Ps. 91:4 speaks of God covering us "with his feathers" and mentions that we are "under his wings."
Since God has no feathers or wings, some have suggested that these feathers and wings speak of our guardian angels wings which protectively cover us to keep us from falling, getting lost, or stumbling into unknown dangers in the unseen realm of the spirit.
THE NATURE OF ANGELS
ANGELS ARE CREATED BEINGS
The fact of their creation is brought out in Psalm 148. There the psalmist calls upon all in the celestial heavens, including the angels, to praise God. The reason given is, “For He commanded and they were created” (Ps. 148:1-5).
The time of their creation is never stated, however, we know they were created before the creation of the world. From the book of Job we are told that they were present when the earth was created (Job 38:4-7) so their creation was prior to the creation of the earth as described in Genesis one.
The agent of their creation is specifically stated to be Christ as the One who created all things
(cf. John 1:1-3 with Col. 1:16).7
The nature of their creation is as a host or a company, simultaneously. Unlike human beings and the animal kingdom created in pairs and who procreate, angels were created simultaneously as a company, a countless host of myriads (Col. 1:16; Neh 9:6). This is suggested by the fact they are not subject to death and they do not or were not to propagate. They are nevertheless an innumerable host created before the creation of the earth (cf. Job. 38:7; Neh. 9:6; Ps 148:2, 5; Heb 12:22; Dan 7:10; Matt 26:53; Rev. 5:11; with Matt. 22:28-30; Luke 20:20-36).
ANGELS ARE SPIRIT CREATURES
(1) Angels are spirit beings.
Though at times they have been given the ability to reveal themselves in the form of human bodies as in Genesis 18:3, they are described as “spirits” in Hebrews 1:14. This suggests they do not have material bodies as we do. Hence, they do not function as human beings in terms of marriage and procreation (Mark 12:25) nor are they subject to death (Luke 20:36). Mankind, including our incarnate Lord, is “lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:7). Angels are not subject to the limitations of man, especially since they are incapable of death (Luke 20:36). Angels have greater wisdom than man (2 Sam. 14:20), yet it is limited (Matt. 24:36). Angels have greater power than man (Matt. 28:2; Acts 5:19; 2 Pet. 2:11), yet they are limited in power (Dan. 10:13).
Angels, however, have limitations compared to man, particularly in future relationships. Angels are not created in the image of God, therefore, they do not share man’s glorious destiny of redemption in Christ. At the consummation of the age, redeemed man will be exalted above angels
(1 Cor. 6:3).8 This also means they are not omnipresent. They cannot be everywhere at once.
(2) All angels were created holy, without sin, and in a state of perfect holiness.
Originally all angelic creatures were created holy. God pronounced His creation good (Gen. 1:31), and, of course, He could not create sin. Even after sin entered the world, God’s good angels, who did not rebel against Him, are called holy (Mark 8:38). These are the elect angels (1 Tim. 5:21) in contrast to the evil angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God (Matt. 25:41).9
(3) As created beings, they are mere creatures.
They are not divine and are not to be worshipped (see Rev. 19:10; 22:9). As a separate order of creatures, they are both distinct from human beings and higher than humans with powers far beyond our abilities in this present age (1 Cor. 6:3; Heb. 1:14; 2:7). But as creatures they are limited in their powers, knowledge, and activities (1 Peter 1:11-12; Rev. 7:1). Like all of creation, angels are under God’s authority and subject to His judgment (1 Cor. 6:3; Matt. 25:41).
An archangel is an angel of high rank. Beings similar to archangels are found in a number of religious traditions; but the word "archangel" itself is usually associated with the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Daniel 10:13 shows that warring angels have a chief prince, Michael, who is also called an archangel, that is, one who rules over others. Seraphim and cherubim seem to be a slightly lower rank, just ahead of ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14). However, it may also be the seraphim and cherubim fill a leadership role in worship while Michael leads the warring angels.
As to the dark angels, Eph. 6:12 offers insight into the ranks of the evil angelic realm principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. From the information the Bible offers, we can see that the angelic real is a distinctly structured society with different levels of authority of power endowed to each according to God’s creative order.
Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism, Islam, and by most Christians. The Book of Tobit—recognized in the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, but considered apocryphal by Protestants—mentions Raphael, who is also considered to be an archangel. are venerated in the Roman Catholic Church with a feast on September 29 (between 1921 and 1969 March 24 for Gabriel and 24 October for Raphael) and in Orthodox on November 21. The named archangels in Islam are Gabriel, Michael, Israfil and Azrael. Jewish literature such as the Book of Enoch mentions Metatron as an archangel, called the "highest of the angels" and the "heavenly scribe", though acceptance of this angel is not canonical in all branches of the faith. In Zoroastrianism, sacred texts allude to the six great Amesha Spenta (literally "divine sparks") of Ahura Mazda.
Some branches of the faiths mentioned have identified a group of seven Archangels, but the actual angels vary, depending on the source. Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael are always mentioned; the other archangels vary, but most commonly include Uriel as well, who is mentioned in the book 2 Esdras.
Most archangels are considered to be good angels. Satan, sometimes called Lucifer, is also considered an archangel, but one who has fallen from God's grace and is considered evil, leading fallen angels against God in the War in Heaven in the traditions in which such a concept exists.
- Michael in the Hebrew language means "Who is like unto God?" or "Who is equal to God?" St. Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks Lucifer/Satan, and in his left hand a green palm branch. At the top of the spear there is a linen ribbon with a red cross. The Archangel Michael is especially considered to be the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith and a fighter against heresies.
- Gabriel means "Man of God" or "Might of God." He is the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it. He is depicted as follows: In his right hand, he holds a lantern with a lighted taper inside, and in his left hand, a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.
- Raphael means "God's healing" or "God the Healer" (Tobit 3:17, 12:15). Raphael is depicted leading Tobit (who is carrying a fish caught in the Tigris) with his right hand, and holding a physician's alabaster jar in his left hand.
- Uriel means "Fire of God," or "Light of God" (III Esdras 3:1, 5:20). He is depicted holding a sword against the Persians in his right hand, and a flame in his left.
- Sealtiel means "Intercessor of God" (III Esdras 5:16). He is depicted with his face and eyes lowered, holding his hands on his bosom in prayer.
- Jegudiel means "Glorifier of God." He is depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and a triple-thonged whip in his left hand.
- Barachiel means "Blessing of God." He is depicted holding a white rose in his hand against his breast.
- Jerahmeel means "God's exaltation." He is venerated as an inspirer and awakener of exalted thoughts that raise a person toward God (III Ezra 4:36). As an eighth, he is sometimes included as archangel.
...to be cont'd
Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts