Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Angels: Definition and Descriptions
Angels are spiritual beings created by God to help Him carry out His plan. Angels have several duties to perform on earth. They act as attendants, agents, and messengers of God. They are also benevolent celestial beings who often act as intermediaries between God and humans. They protect and guide humans on behalf of God.
Angels are part of the heavenly host who lives in God's presence. They are supernatural, divine beings who were created by God to help Him carry out His work on earth. They live in God's presence and serve as God's messengers. Angels are superior to man in power and intelligence (Hebrews 2:7), but we are not to worship them.
Some people do not believe angels exist. Those who believe they exist also believe myths about them. There should be no doubt about the existence of angels and what they do because they are mentioned throughout the Bible. Thirty-four of the 66 books of the Bible record something about angels.
In the Old Testament, angels are mentioned 108 times. In the New Testament, they are mentioned 165 times. That should be enough to convince doubters that angels are real.
Number of Angels
There are only two angels mentioned by name in the Christian Bible. They are Michael and Gabriel. Raphael and two other angels are named in the Apocrypha.
Michael is the only one in the Bible referred to as an archangel (Jude 1:9). Michael appears three times in Daniel 10:13, 10:21, and 12:1, and he is focused on a lot in Revelation 12.
Gabriel is the messenger angel. He is best known for the Annunciation to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). He also appeared to Joseph four times in dreams and to Zechariah in the temple.
The exact numbers of angels are not revealed in the Bible. Phrases like "thousands upon thousands," "myriad of angels" and "legions of angels" (Daniel 7:10; Matthew 26:53; Hebrews 12:22) let us know there are a countless number of them. The number of angels will never increase because they do not produce after their own kind like humans, and they do not decrease because they do not die as we do. This dispels the myth that children become angels when they die.
According to Hebrews 13:2, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Most of the time, angels work behind the scene in the spirit realm. However, they do appear before people in human form. We don't know when an angel will appear before us. However, the Bible has revealed some things about angels.
- Angels are always men, and never females. That means Della Reese and Roma Downey on Touched by an Angel was a misrepresentation of what the Bible says.
- Angels always come dressed in white. So, if someone comes to you dressed any other way, then he is not an angel.
- Angels never come to frighten people. They say, "Fear not" immediately to put people at ease before they reveal why they are there.
- Angels get to the point with their message without beating around the bush. They appear before us with one agenda instead of a whole list of things.
What Angels Do
Angels perform many functions on earth and some in heaven. They do general work for everyone and specific work for some of God's people. Angels do not work for unbelievers.
- Some angels are watchers (Daniel 4:13, 17, 23). They observe and record the affairs on earth.
- In Daniel 10:5-13, an angel appeared to Daniel with an explanation about his prayer.
- In Luke 1:10-13, Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him that his wife Elizabeth would have a son in her old age.
- In Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel visited Mary and told her she would bear a son and His name would be Jesus.
- In Luke 22:43, an angel ministered to Jesus when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- Some angels are mediators (Job 33:19–24) who protect humans.
- Angels appear before righteous people and serve them in times of need (Psalm 91:11-12).
- Angels set the record straight and do not allow humans to bow down to them. They told John not to do that lots of times in the Book of Revelation.
- Angels do not answer prayers. According to Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3, they get busy and carry the golden bowls of incense representing the prayers of the saints to God.
Angels are assigned to protect the people of God, according to Exodus 14:19-30; Daniel 3:28; and Matthew 26:53. According to Psalm 91:11, Matthew 18:10 and Acts 12:15, humans have special angels assigned to them. We can't see them as they provide protection, but they work in the spiritual realm for us. Who do you think pushed that bus out of your way just in the nick of time to keep it from hitting you?
There are ministering angels assigned to each of us (Hebrews 1:14) and special guardian angels assigned to children. Matthew 18:10 states:
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”
Myths About Angels
There are a lot of myths about angels. We have seen them on paintings, greeting cards, in the movies, and on television. We have heard myths about angels sitting on fluffy clouds with harps. We have heard someone say children turn into angels when they die. Remember angels do not increase to add to the number God has already created. Therefore, that couldn't be true.
Some people believe those myths instead of relying on what is recorded in the Bible. Nothing is written in this article that is not in the Bible. Special care has been taken to give scriptural references to prove that angels do exist and to show the tasks they perform. Also, images of angels are not attached to this article that go against what the Bible says about them.