Angels are mentioned numerous times in Scripture but often overlooked as to (who they are and what they do or a simple assumption that they are, say, winged creatures in heaven playing the harps of music).
However, there’s far more to them. They’re powerful beings that make a difference in the spiritual world.
Therefore, here are some key points to note about them from Scripture. They’re not exhaustive, in a particular order, and pretty to the point – and more in note format that is bound to evolve.
1. Higher than Humans
In terms of a hierarchy of importance, humans are described as being lower than the status of an angel. This explains why Christ had to come to earth at this lower human level after leaving His exalted position in heaven to successfully be the atoning sacrifice for us (Psalm 8:4-5 and Hebrews 2:7).
However, we are made in God’s image and have a divine connection with Him and made His adopted Children once saved, which angels cant benefit from as created beings.
2. Spirits, With Bodies
Angels are not essentially spiritual beings in heaven with a form of the body and can take on bodily form here on earth, including having features such as wings and eyes, and human functions like eating and drinking (Hebrews 1:7¸ Ezekiel 10:12, and Genesis 19:1-3)
3. We Don’t Worship Them
Angels are not something we bow down to and worship ourselves; this is only for God and Christ. However, there are various examples of people in the Bible who mistakenly do this, for example, John in Revelation, and Lot in the Old Testament (Revelation 19:10 & Genesis 19:1)
4. They Have Duties & Functions
Scripture outlines how God gives angels specific duties and functions to carry out His purpose and will, both on earth and in heaven. Examples include:
• Guarding the Garden of Eden from Adam, after eating from the Tree of Life - Genesis 3:22-24.
• Carrying End-Times messages – Revelation 14.
• Elisha asked for his eyes to be opened, where he saw an army of angels (an army carrying out some form of function) – 2 Kings 6:17-20.
• Gatekeepers in the New Jerusalem
• Controlling the affairs of nations
• Escorting Jesus as He ascended back into heaven
• Moving the stone at Christ’s Resurrection - Matthew 28:2
• Reaping the final harvest of souls
• Revealing prophecy from Scripture, and opening the prophetic book - Daniel 10:21 & Revelation 10:1-10
• Controlling war in the corners of the earth - Revelation 7:1
• To seal believers - Revelation 7:2
• To sound trumpets at the End of Time - Revelation 8:2
• Binding Satan in the bottomless pit - Revelation 20:1
• Releasing the seven last plagues at the End of Time - Revelation 15:1
• A final loud cry - Revelation 18:1-3
• Invitation to the last supper - Revelation 19:17
• Being present when God’s judgement takes place – Revelation 21:12. Daniel 4:13-17, 11:1 & 10:20, Acts 1:9-11, Matthew 13:39 & Revelation 14:15-20 & Matthew 24:31, Daniel 7:9-10
5. Seeing Angels
Sometimes we do see them here on earth; however, we don’t realise that they are, in fact, angels. At other times we don’t see them at all, and God needs to open our eyes to who they are (plus, animals can also see them) - Numbers 22:21 & 23
6. A Spiritual War Highlighted Bad Angels
There are now evil angels, as well as good ones. They follow Satan, a fallen angel Himself originally called Lucifer and the greatest one as a Cherubim over the Mercy Seat where God resides.
This resulted in a war in heaven between Michael (Christ) and His angels, causing Satan and his angels to be cast down to earth (Revelation 12:7-9). At the end of time, His sentence will be Hell, after the Millennium of isolation (Jude 6 & 2 Peter 2:4).
7. Satan Has Powers on Earth
Satan and his angels have NOT lost all their angelic powers now; they have been cast here on earth. This includes the ability to do miracles, disguise themselves as angels of light, worldly control events (Revelation 16:14), and even the weather and life issues (Job 1:12).
8. They’re Very Strong
Angels excel in strength (good ones specifically mentioned) and are strong to accomplish things on earth, with examples including:
• Opening prison doors
• Stopping lions in a den
• Cooking food (1 Kings 19:5-8)
• Running as fast as lightning (Ezekiel 1:14)
• Power over fire (Revelation 14:18)
• Following God’s commandments (Psalm 103:20).
• Attacking armies (2 Chronicles 32:21 and 2 Kings 19:35, Acts 12:23, Acts 5:19, Rev 14:18).
• Killing an army of mighty men (2 Chronicles 32:21)
9. Offering Protection
God sends angels to protect those who fear Him (Psalm 34:7 & Hebrews 1:13-14)
10. They Offer Guidance
They instruct and guide us, including times when they speak directly, with examples including:
• Going before Israel in the wilderness as God leads them to the Promised Land (Exodus 23:20-22)
• To give a specific message to people like Philip in the New Testament (Acts 8:26)
• They’re messengers for God to seven churches in Revelation (Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18, 3:1, 7, 14), and other End Times messages to people (Revelation 14:6-12), and bringing prophecy to John in Revelation (Revelation 1:1-3)
• There are angels of Christ (Revelation 22:6 & 16)
11. Guardian Angels
We each probably have a guardian angel to help us from falling away from God’s protection and provision, who behold God’s face (Matthew 18:10, Ecclesiastes 5:6, and Luke 22:43)
12. Prayer Answerers
They answer our prayers, even if this is delayed, according to God’s direction and answering (Isaiah 37:14-36, and Daniel 9:20-23)
13. Entertaining Like Strangers
By looking after strangers, we may, in actual fact, be doing this to an angel and not being aware of it (Hebrews 13:2)
14. Having Knowledge
Angels know certain things about us and generally, examples being:
• Our names and location (Acts 10:3-6 & Genesis 16:7-8)
• A difficult situation like being barren (Judges 13:13)
• Who are leaders are in a group of people (2 Chronicles 32:21)
There are a different ranking of angels, for example:
• Gabriel who is directly in the Presence of God and the highest rank of created beings (but still below Christ/Michael) (Luke 1:19 & 26-38, Daniel 9:21 & 10:21)
• Seraphims (Isaiah 6:2 & 6)
• Cherubims on the Mercy Seat in heaven which God is between (Exodus 25:16-18 & Psalm 80:1)
• Those over waters (Revelation 16:5)
16. Numerous Angels
There are many numbers of angels, for example, ten thousand times ten thousand (Revelation 5:11 and Daniel 7:10), and when Christ comes (Matthew 25:31 & Revelation 19:14), and being unnumbered (Hebrews 12:22)
They are based in heaven as created beings by God who worship Him and follow His commands – they form a chariot of God in heaven (Psalm 68:7)
18. Michael the Archangel
This main Archangel, Michael, is seen as Christ, although there are other alternatives (some early Protestant Reformers agree with this interpretation, like Charles Spurgeon). Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe this, which has caused suspicion as they then go on to falsely say that Christ is a created being and not divine.
Catholics don’t see this Michael the Archangel as Christ, but rather a leader of death carrying souls to heaven as a guardian of the church; therefore, we’re able to pray to him. Modern Christianity also assumes a ‘normal’ angel, although not necessarily with this additional detail. Mormons then say that it’s Adam in a pre-mortal state.
He is a messenger whose name means “Lord of Hosts” and “Captain of Angels”, or “Chief of”, and “Who is like God?” (in a question form). Therefore, the chief messenger, in this context of being Christ, is bringing a message from God the Father and only doing what He wants to do, as he did in human form on earth (John 12:49).
He is also the chief angel, who leads all others who had created beings, whereas He is still divine and in a Pre-incarnate state of an angel-like being before He came to earth (the Christophany of Christ). Therefore, besides being a superior angel and messenger, He is a ruler of the angels.
He is highlighted in the books of Daniel and Revelation and also Matthew. In Daniel twelve, Michael stands specifically as an intercessor, which of course, is what Christ’s role is for us in heaven. The Lord’s voice raising the dead at the End of Time is also compared to an Archangel (1 Thessalonians 4:16 & John 5:26-29).
As a comparison, Satan is symbolised as a Dragon in Revelation, therefore logically, Jesus is Michael and His opponent in this fight; plus, He has other (created) angels following him (Revelation 12:7). Michael is then against Satan regarding Moses’ body in Jude 9.
There is also reference to an ‘Angel of the Lord’ throughout Scripture, indicating that the Lord is in angelic form, for example:
• Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:2),
• God speaking with Abraham (Genesis 22:15)
• Samson’s parents (Judges 13:3)
• Meeting Jacob (Geneses 32:1)
• Going to Haggai (Geneses 16:7)
In addition, Daniel ten explains how Michael had to come and fight the Prince of Persia, who is seen as Satan. Therefore, this must be logically Christ who wins – also described as a “Prince” here (and Acts 5:30-31).