The Angels – what do we know about them?

Abraham Meets 3 AngelsThere’s a lot of misinformation about Angels.  Who they are, what they do and the very characteristics of their bodies which are very different from us.

Misunderstanding the capabilities and characteristics of the angels is a very big problem for people who want to understand the truth, because the attributes of the angels are the promise of God to us, as to what we will become when we are accepted into his kingdom.

The common understanding of the angels by the churches of the world, undermines all of the wonderful aspects of the angels of God, and reduces them to being super sinful men, instead of the glorious creatures they truly are.

Jesus was asked a question by the Sadducees, and the reason he was asked the question was because the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection or the existence of angels (you can find that in Acts 23:8).  They believed that God rewarded you in this life for your righteousness, and their doctrine was very popular with the wealthy, who felt their wealth was a blessing for their righteousness.

The purpose of the question they asked him was to mock the belief in the resurrection.  The result of asking the question, was that the Sadducees got schooled by Christ in the reality of the resurrection, the existence of Angels and the Hope of Israel.

Luke 20:27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, 28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. 31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.

34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

In verses mentioned, Jesus made it clear that those who were accounted worthy to obtain that world (referring to those who pass the judgement seat of Christ) that they will be equal to, or likened to, the angels.

What are the angels of God, what do they do?

Angels appear all throughout the bible.  Their first mention is in Genesis 1:1 where it says:

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

The word “God” in this verse is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word “Elohim” which literally means “mighty ones”.  The mighty ones being spoken of are the angels, and they are the creatures God has tasked with bringing warmth, life and light to a cold dead planet earth.

There are multiple verses in the bible that describe angels in action.  We know that they dwell around faithful believers in God to protect them from harm:

Psalms 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

We know they fight God’s battles:

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Exodus 14: 13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

And we should also know that Angels of God represent God himself when speaking to man.  In all cases in the bible, where a man is referred to as speaking to God, he is in actuality speaking to an angel of God, who is giving him the message God wants delivered.  An example of this is Exodus 3:1.

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.  2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.  3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.  4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

Notice how the Angel of the LORD is referred to, as speaking to Moses out of the bush, yet later verses describe God talking to Moses from the bush.  This is because God always speaks to man through the angels.  This is a consistent pattern throughout all scripture.


Mistaken Understanding of Angels

There are many mistaken understandings of angels based upon ignorance of the bible.  There are also misunderstandings of angels caused by the merging of the pagan religions of the world with Christianity.

For example, some believe that angels can sin and rebel against God

This misunderstanding is based upon a couple of verses, one of which is:

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (please note this prophecy is of things to come prophetically during John’s lifetime and after (see Rev 1:1 …shortly come to pass), not from the beginning of the world.  These verses are referring in symbolic language to Charlemagne’s conversion of the pagan Roman empire, to Christianity and the ascendency of the Roman Catholic Church, not to the emergence of a super-powerful evil angel).

Another verse used to show the supposed downfall of an evil angel to rebel against God is:

Isaiah 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Note that verse 4 clearly states that this prophecy is directed to “take up this proverb against the king of Babylon” – This verse has nothing to do with a super powerful angel, it has to do with God’s punishment on a vain pagan king who thought to make himself equal to God.  The word “hell” in this verse is from the Hebrew word “sheol”, which means the pit or the grave.  Just as a warning, sometimes we find translators translating a word to fit what they think is going on in the vers,e instead of literally translating from Hebrew or Greek to English).

Some believe that angels can have sexual relations with mortals and produce children that were taller and more powerful than regular people.  This is based on a faulty understanding of:

Genesis 6: 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.  3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.  4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (The fact is that the term “Sons of God” in this verse is not referring to angels, Romans 8:14 makes this clear when it says “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”, meaning that the term “sons of God” does not refer to sinning angels, but rather to servants of God who have fallen away from serving him, by marrying spouses who don’t serve God).

Last of all, it is commonly misunderstood that Angels of God are the souls of loved ones who have passed away and are watching over those they love.


So, what exactly are angels?

Few verses in the bible directly describe the attributes of the angels.  To find out about them, we must research the matter as God declares in:

Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

God expects us to study his word to understand the truth.  To understand the nature of the angels, we start out with a quote by Jesus Christ, who said:

Luke 20:34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

Matthew 22:30 says “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

These verses tells us a few things.  They tell us that angels do not marry and have children.  That they are immortal, that is they cannot die.  More importantly, it tells us that when we are accepted by Christ into his kingdom, we will be given a body with the powers and attributes that the angels now have.

So, all we have to do is find bible verses that describe the changes that will happen to us, and we will know, that is the way angels are now and have always been.

What will we be like?  In 1 Corinthians 15:51, we are told:

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

This verse tells us that we will put on incorruption and immortality when accepted by Christ, and this means that the angels are now immortal and incorruptible.

What is immortality and incorruption?

Immortality is to be incapable of death, and incorruption is to be incapable of sin.

You can’t be one without the other.  You can’t be a sinner and live forever because God’s law is that sinning leads to death, as shown by

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

This is why common understandings of angels being capable of sin is contrary to the teachings of scripture.  They can’t die, because they can’t sin.


Are angels the souls of dead believers?

Many people believe that when they die, if allowed to heaven, their departed souls become angels living a life of happiness above the clouds and watching over their loved ones left behind.

The bible actually teaches that the dead are not living another life, but are unconscious in the grave, and if baptized, in a state of what is metaphorically referred to as sleep, awaiting the resurrection to be raised back to life and consciousness.

What the bible teaches about death makes it clear that we do not become angels at death, we are unconscious in the grave.  We will be likened to the angels only if we have been baptized and after Jesus has raised the us and approved of us at the Judgement seat of Christ as is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:10:

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Here are some verses referring to death being a state of unconsciousness:

Death is unconsciousness

Psalms 146:2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

In these verses, death is referred to as sleep

Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Luke 8:52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.

John 11:11-14 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.  12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.  13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.  14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

1 Corinthians 15:16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.  18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

To rephrase, what the bible teaches about death makes it clear that we do not become angels of God at death, we are unconscious in the grave until the resurrection.  There are angels, and they do watch over us, but they are not our beloved departed relatives.


Do Angels have wings?

In pagan religions, gods are many times shown as having wings.  This is the basis for the belief that angels have wings, because there is no place in the bible where angels are referred to as having wings.  In fact, many times when people saw angels, they thought they were normal men.  In:

Genesis 18:2 Abraham looked up and saw three men

Judges 13:16 Manoah did not know he was an angel of the LORD

Genesis 32:22 Jacob wrestled with an angel, and he didn’t know it was an angel

There are bible creatures called Cherubim that are referred to as having wings, but these are not angels.  Cherubim are a symbolic but also literal creature that is referred to as the chariot of God having wings and multiple heads of a man a lion, an ox and an eagle.  Definitely not an Angel.


Do angels ever reflect a divine glory to men?

Sometimes, angels show a side of the divine glory in which they are invested.  A glory so beautiful, so bright and so powerful that mortal men quake in their presence.  This appears to be the natural reaction of flesh to the unrestricted display of glory by angelic beings.  In the example of the day that Christ was raised, angels of God reflecting their full glory roll back the stone of the tomb.

Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.  2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.  4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

 The glory of the angels was so great, mortal men are terrified into complete inaction, and hardened soldiers of war flee for their lives.

The list of other misunderstandings and mistaken perceptions of angels go on and on if we look at the internet.

  1. Scantily clad women (angels are neither man nor woman – they are not sexual creatures like we are)
  2. Flying babies with bows and arrows named after Cupid the pagan God of desire (who incidentally had wings, look at the Wikipedia article). Angels are always referred to a young men in their appearance – not babies.
  3. And yes, some people think that even animals can be angels.  This is a supposition that has no support in scripture whatsoever.

The list of foolishness goes on and on.  Angels are none of these things.


Let’s summarize here

Angels are immortal, incorruptible servants of God who perfectly perform his will all throughout this planet.  They are not like mortal men in that they are not sexual creatures, they have been perfected to an essence of flesh and bone

Luke 24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

This is the only place Christ ever referred to himself as flesh and bone, instead of flesh and blood and it is after his resurrection.

Angels are immortal, incorruptible servants of God who perfectly perform his will all throughout this planet.  They are not like mortal men in that they are not sexual creatures, they have been perfected to an essence of flesh and bone

They are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to execute God’s commands, and living eternally in a body relieved of the effects of sin, pain, sickness, old age and death.

They are probably the saints of past creations, and as such, know the sadness and terrors of living in mortal bodies in a sin-filled world, just like us.  Just like our Mediator Jesus Christ.

For those who attain to be likened unto the angels, they have finally been given the character and attributes for which they struggled against the flesh their whole lives.  A body that is relieved of the temptation to sin and a mind that is perfected to perfectly serve God.  Rebellion is as impossible to them as death is.  God has made both impossible.

Some, may find the attributes of the angels to be unnatural and horrible.  They can’t imagine living life without the lusts of the flesh and the ability to do as they please, even when God forbids it.  This spiritual nature and the kingdom of God is offered to all men, but many have no interest in it, or God’s conditions that make it possible.  Jesus made this clear in:

Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

This nature we have been offered, this hope that we have, is worth all the pain and suffering we can go through in this world.  It is worth the loss of all worldly possessions and all the sadness and loneliness we will have to endure as true servants of Jesus Christ.

To transverse the heavens in an instant, to rescue and protect the faithful brothers and sisters of future creations and their children, To be free of a sin nature, to never again see someone we love die, or feel the persistent pain of aging bodies.  To have our bodies coursing with the limitless power of almighty God.  There is so much God offers us.

Will you be a part of this great hope?  Will you be likened unto the angels?

You make the decision today.   Start your journey today of learning the truth of the bible, the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the hope promised by God to Abraham Isaac and Jacob.  Promises that are offered to you if you become servants of Jesus Christ:

Galatians 3: 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

About the author

Webmaster for several Arkansas companies.
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