What is an Angel?

The word "angel" simply means "messenger". The Greek term "angelos" is a generic term that pertains to a special order of spiritual beings, and is also used as a title, describing an office. It is not a personal name. The word "angelos" in Greek, or "Malak", in Hebrew has been translated as "angel", "ambassador", "messenger," "deputy", and "minister", and always referred to in the masculine gender. Angels, as spiritual beings, were created by God to serve Him. There are two types of angels, good or holy angels, and fallen angels or demons. The good angels remained obedient to God, while the fallen angels disobeyed, and fell from their holy position. The fallen angels are now active in opposing the work and plan of God. These beings are often referred to as fallen angels, or demons, as we will see.

In addition to spiritual beings, there are several other ways the bible uses the word messenger. Luke uses the term for human messengers, as from one human to another human in Luke 7:24. In Haggai 1:13 we see the term used for human messengers that bring a divine message. In Matthew 12:24 the word is used for demons without bodies, and note that devils are fallen angels, or demons. In Revelation 2:1, the term is used for Bishops or Preachers. The term is also used for impersonal providence. The Bible, in 2 Corinthians 12:7, doesn't say what the thorn in Paul's side was, but it could have been some type of physical deformity. The term is also used in Exodus 3:2 for the One Pre-eminent Angel, the Angel of the Lord.

bible refs

The Creation of Angels

The angels were created beings - thus, they had a beginning. However, from that beginning, they were created to live forever. Contrary to photos depicting angels as female and having wings, the bible gives no hint of female angels. However, they are not sexless, as they are always referred to, and appear, as males.

Some have imagined that angels are the spirits of departed loved ones or glorified human beings. However, the Bible makes it clear that angels were created prior to mankind, or the creation of the world, Job 38:4-7. God commanded, and angels were created, Psalms 148:1-5. We are told in Colossians 1:16 that Christ created all things, and this would include the angels.

God created angels as a host to be His ministers or messengers. However, some of the angels rebelled against God and followed Satan. From that point on we have the good or holy angels, and the fallen angels, the angels that rebelled. It should be noted that angels are not a race, but a host. Each angel is a direct creation of God, Psalms 148:2-5. Paul tells us in his letter to the Hebrews that this host are innumerable (Hebrews 12:22). Because this host of angels was created by God, they are not sons of other angels, they are all called sons of God, Job 1:6. God created each angel, but for mankind, God created only Adam and Eve, and all others are the descendants of Adam and Eve, or we might say sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.

The Bible doesn't give us an exact time for the creation of angels, but we do know they were created before the foundation of the earth was laid (Job 38:4-7). We do know that angels were created before man, since Satan, a fallen angel, was already in the Garden of Eden.

Angels were not created as glorified human beings, but as ministering spirits who will one day be judged by men, 1 Corinthians 6:3. Since angels were created as a host, they do not procreate as mankind does, nor are they subject to death, therefore, their number remains stationary, Luke 20:36; Matthew 22:30. How many angels did God create? The Bible doesn't make this clear, except to say that they are innumerable, Hebrews 12:22. Luke 20:36 let's us know that the angels were created to never die, to live forever.

It is important to note that God is the only being that is Omnipotent (all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing), and Omnipresent (present every where, at all times). The angels were not created in this manner. Angels are created stronger than mankind but are not omnipotent, 2 Thes. 1:7, 2 Peter 2:11, Psalm 103:20; 2; Psalm 103:20. While angels were created with super-human intelligence, they are not omniscient, Ephesians 3:10-11; 2 Samuel 14:17-20; Matthew 24:36. While mankind was created subject to limitation, or space, Acts 17:26, the angels were not but they are not, omnipresent.

bible refs


The Nature of Angels

Since angels are spirit beings, they are not usually seen by mankind, Psalms 104:4. Throughout the Bible, mankind has been given the ability to see them on certain occasions. Each time they appear as real human beings, not as ghosts or creatures with wings, and were often mistaken to be men, because they appeared as men. The angels appeared as youthful, or mature men, and never as old men, Mark 16:5.

Some literature describes angels as having wings, or as a combination of man, beast, and bird. Such can be seen in Ezekiel 1:5 and Isaiah 6:6, but these are visions and not actual appearances. An angel has never appeared to man in such a form. The cherubim and seraphim are mentioned as having wings, but there isn't a specific reference that angels, as a whole, are winged.

Although angels are spirit beings, they appear with human bodies and do perform bodily acts as seen in Genesis 19:1-3. Angels are deathless. They will never die, never grow old, and never cease to exist, Luke 20:35-36. Angels are created beings, and therefore they are creatures of God. They are not divine and are not to be worshipped, Revelation 22:8-9.

bible refs


The Good Angels

When Satan fell from heaven, he took one third of the angels in heaven with him. The angels were divided into the good, or holy angels, and the fallen angels, often referred to as devils or demons. Satan is a created being, and was perfect when he was created. Then, because iniquity was found in him, we see his fall, Ezekiel 28:13, 15. The apostle John identifies Satan as a fallen angel who will be cast out of heaven, along with other disobedient angels, Revalation. 12:7-9. These verses tell us that Satan and Michael are angels, Michael is the leader of good angels, and Satan has the fallen angels under his command.

All angels, good or evil, were originally created to worship God (Hebrews 1:6), and the Bible makes it clear that mankind is not to worship angels (Colossians 2:18). Angels have the ministry of carrying out the will of God to man, and are known as God's messengers (Hebrews 2:2; Psalms 103:21, 22). It is through prayer that believers can obtain the ministration of angels (Matthew 26:53; Acts 12:5, 7). The good angels, also known as the holy angels and God's messengers, have been active throughout history, and will continue to be.

The good angels:
--ministered to Christ by predicting His birth (Luke 1:26-33).
--announced His birth (Luke 2:13).
--protected Him as a child (Matthew 2:33).
--strengthened Him after His temptation (Matthew 4:11).
--prepared to defend Him (Matthew 26:53)
--rolled away the stone and announced His resurrection (Matthew 28:2,6).
--were at the ascension and announced the second coming of Christ (Acts 1:11).
--announced the conception of John the Baptist (Luke 1:13, 36).
--will return with Christ at His second coming (2 Thessalonians 1:7).
--spoke to Zacharias (Luke 1:11-20)
--spoke to Mary (Luke 1:26-38)
--spoke to Joseph (Matthew 1:20-24)
--spoke to the shepherds (Luke 2:9-15)
--spoke to Cornelius (Acts 10:3, 7, 22)
--spoke to Paul (Acts 27:23)
--spoke to John in Revelation
--The good angels (holy angels) are sent to help believers (Hebrews 1:14).

--are involved in answering prayer (Acts 12:7).
--are sent to give encouragement to believers (Acts 27:23-24).
--are guardian angels (Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 18:10).
--observe the experiences of Christians (1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Timothy 5:21).
--are interested in the evangelism efforts of mankind (Luke 15:10; Acts 8:26).
--care for believers at death (Luke 16:2; Jude 9).
--are sent to deliver the child of God (Acts 5:19, 20).
--have charge of believers (Psalms 91:11).
--watch over those that fear him, and the little children, and protect them (Psalms 34:7; Matthew 18:10).
--have joy when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7, 10).
--guard the dead (Luke 16:22).
--watch over rulers and nations (Dan. 4:17).
--seek to influence the leaders of nations(Dan. 10:21; 11:1).
--will be God's agents in the tribulation and will pour out His judgments (see Rev. 8-9 and 16).
--take vengeance upon those that do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
--will bring punishment to the unbelievers (Acts 12:23).
--will separate believers and unbelievers, and gather them up in the harvest at the end of the age (Matthew 13:30).

bible refs


The Fallen Angels

Some have imagined fallen angels as the souls of wicked men who have died. The angels were created as a host, so they are not the souls of wicked men. The Bible tells us that Satan fell from heaven and took one third of the angels in heaven with him. The angels that followed Satan are referred to as fallen angels, devils, or demons. Two thirds of the angels did not rebel but stayed with God. The angels that stayed with God are called the good angels, or holy angels.

These fallen angels are evil spirits; seductive, unclean, demons (Matthew 8:28). The lake of fire was prepared for Satan and these fallen angels, Matthew 25:41. Some of these fallen angels are chained, 2 Peter 2:4, while others are free. The free angels are roaming the earth today, and obtain possession of the bodies of men, Luke 8:36, and they can voluntarily leave the bodies of men.

Are demons, fallen angels, real? Without a doubt they are not only real, they are individual spirit beings with a personality and knowledge about God and human beings, James 2:19; Acts 19:15.

What about salvation for fallen angels? To answer this we have to begin with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were created and placed in the Garden of Eden. They could have remained obedient to God and been confirmed in righteousness, or they could have been disobedient. Their choice was disobedience, so mankind fell and was lost. The human race descended from Adam and Eve, with Adam being the head of the race. Mankind can be saved through a federal head, or representative. The first Adam was the head of the human race, but there is a second Adam, who is Christ, referred to in Romans 5:12ff and 1 Corinthians 15:22. Christ, the second Adam, redeemed mankind, died as the representative of mankind, providing a way for them to be born again.

The problem of salvation is different for angels. They were not created to procreate, God made each one, so there is no federal head. Therefore, to save any angel, Jesus would have to die once for each separate lost angel. Jesus only died as a representative of mankind. The fallen angels are aware there is no salvation for them. That is why, in Matthew, the devils (fallen angels) asked Jesus if he had come to torment them before their time, Matthew 8:28-29



bible refs



bible refs



bible refs


Cover

bible refs








Back to Top