I’ve never seen an angel. Have you? Are they real? Do they still interact with humans? I’ve never seen Delaware, but I’m sure it exists. Likewise, I’m sure angels exist. This week, let’s see what the Bible says about angels.
The Hebrew word translated “angel,” which means “messenger,” is found two-hundred-thirteen times in the Old Testament. The Greek word “angelos,” most often translated “angel,” which also means “messenger,” is found one-hundred, seventy-five times in the New Testament. Additionally, cherubim and seraphim are mentioned almost one-hundred times. The Bible has a lot to say about these mysterious creatures.
What do we know about angels? First, they are created beings. “All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created” (John 1:3). The Psalmist sang, “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly armies... Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 148:1-2, 5).
They are not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent. They are not God, but are servants of God, so they are not to be worshipped (Exodus 20:3-6; Revelation 19:9-10). After John had been given the great Revelation, he wrote, “When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me. But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’ ” (Revelation 22:8–9).
Only two angels are named in the Bible: Michael and Gabriel. In the Old Testament, Daniel mentions both (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; 10:13, 21; 12:1). In the New Testament, Gabriel announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah and the birth of Jesus to Joseph (Luke 1:19, 26). Michael is called the archangel in Jude 9. In Revelation 12:7 he leads the battle against Satan and his evil minions.
Michael and Gabriel are two among myriads. There is “a multitude of the heavenly host”(Luke 2:13), an “assembly of the holy ones” (Psalm 89:5), a “congregation of the mighty”(Psalm 82:1, NKJV). In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus told Peter to put away his sword, He told the disciple that if He desired, He could “call more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53), or seventy-two thousand. John saw “many angels around the throne... Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands” (Revelation 5:11).
The first mention of an angel comes after the first sin and its requisite judgment. God “stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). Isaiah saw an angel with six wings (Isaiah 6:2). Abraham and Lot saw angels who were very human-looking (Genesis 19:1). At the ascension of Jesus, the disciples saw two men in white clothing (Acts 1:10).
The writer to the Hebrews makes a strange comment. “Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). Is it possible that you have seen an angel, met one, or entertained one? Maybe.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.