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Real Angels According To The Bible

How To Tell If You’re An Angel From The Bible: A blog about how you can tell if you are an angel from the Bible.

In the Bible, an angel is a spiritual being that God created. Angels are typically described as messengers who serve the will of God and act on his behalf.

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Real Angels According To The Bible

The Hebrew word for angel is malach, which comes from the root word meaning “messenger”. The New Testament translates this word as angelos (“messenger”). Angels are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In the Hebrew Bible there are only two angels who are named: Lucifer (the fallen angel) and Gabriel (the messenger angel). In the New Testament, however, there are many references to other specific angels such as Michael (archangel), Raphael (healing angel), Uriel (fire-breathing angel), Jehoel/Jehudiel (“God’s prince”), Barbiel/Baruchiel (“God’s ineffable name”), Hanael (“grace of God”), Metatron (“the lesser YHVH”), etc.

In most traditions of Christianity there are three types of angels: archangels, guardian angels and cherubim. Most Christians believe in guardian angels but not in cherubim. Some Christians believe that each person has their own guardian angel while others believe that all people have one single guardian angel for all mankind

when people think of Angels, they mostly picture a majestic human-like winged being. Cherubs, which are a type of angel also mentioned in the Bible, have been reimagined to fit the image of Cupid — cute babies with tiny wings.

However, these conceptualizations aren’t entirely accurate. Angels, according to the holy text, are a bit more bizarre.

According to the Bible, there are different types of angels which surround God. Maimonides, a Jewish scholar from the 12th century, ranked these beings in terms of importance in the hierarchy of Heaven. What arises is a description of four beings from that hierarchy that have been explained in detail in scripture, and the historical circumstances around their conceptualization.

Cherubim

The Cherubim, later shortened to Cherub, is the lowest in rank among the four. The Bible describes these beings as animal-human hybrids, tasked with guarding the garden of Eden against humankind.

In the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet’s vision depicts them as having four faces: that of a lion, an ox, an eagle, and a human. They have straight legs, four wings, and bull hooves for feet that gleam like polished brass. One set of wings covers their body, and the other is used for flight.

This description is far from how we imagine the Cherub now. While scholars credit its modern-day image to Greek and Roman deities like Cupid, they attribute the detail in the Bible to cultural exchanges with ancient Babylonia, Syria, and Egypt. The Cherub’s function of guarding sacred places and their mixed appearance is similar to that of the Babylonian Lamassu, Egyptian Sphynx, and Hittite Griffin.

Malakim

The term Angel comes from the Greek word Angelos, which originated from the Hebrew word for messenger, Mal’ akh. The Malakim are messengers of God and are the closest looking to us humans. They are third in rank among the four.

In the Old Testament, they acted on God’s behalf, as did the angel of death in the Passover story or Michael, the archangel who protects heaven. In the New Testament, they often acted as messengers, like Gabriel, who told Marry of her immaculate conception. These named angels are often the ones people think of when asked to imagine one.

However, while the Malakim looked like human beings, there was no mention of them having wings in the Bible.

The earliest known Christian image of an angel from the mid-third century was without wings. It wasn’t until the late fourth century that artists reimagined angels with the possession of wings. According to some researchers, this was done to represent their sublime nature, despite artists knowing that scripture did not describe them as having wings.

Seraphim

According to the prophet Isaiah, the Seraphim is an angelic being that surrounds the throne of God singing “holy, holy, holy” in unison to God’s approach. The prophet describes them as having six wings, two of which are for flying, while they use the rest to cover their heads and feet. Seraphim are second highest in rank according to Maimonides’s angelic hierarchy.

One may trace the historical influences for the Seraphim from its name. Seraphim derives from the Hebrew word “Seraph,” which means “to burn” in English. Digging deeper, the Hebrew word “Saraph” means “venomous desert snake”. In ancient Egypt, people referred to the cobra as “the flaming one.” Its icon was called Uraeus, and it usually adorned the Pharoah’s headpiece.

Several historians speculate that the authors of the Old Testament derived Seraphim’s wings and flames from Egyptian imagery and associations with the cobra.

Ophanim

The Ophanim, or “the wheels,” is arguably the most bizarre being in the Bible. Ezekiel’s account in the Bible describes them as beings made out of interlocking gold wheels with each wheel’s exterior covered with multiple eyes. They move by floating themselves in the sky. As the highest in Maimonides’s hierarchy, they are tasked with guarding God’s throne.

There is no exact historical origin for the Ophanim. Josef F. Blumrich, a former NASA employee, theorized that Ezekiel’s vision of the wheels and other angels might have been a UFO sighting. However, critics label him as a conspiracy theorist.

Nevertheless, other authors claim that an ingested psychedelic substance caused the prophet’s vision. Scholars have also proposed that the image was merely a metaphor for God’s mystery.

What Does the Bible Say About Angels?

What do angels look like? Why were they created? And what do angels do? Humans have always held a fascination for angels and angelic beings. For centuries artists have tried to capture images of angels on canvas.

It may surprise you to know that the Bible describes angels nothing at all like they are typically depicted in paintings. (You know, those cute little chubby babies with wings?) A passage in Ezekiel 1:1-28 gives a brilliant description of angels as four-winged creatures. In Ezekiel 10:20, we are told these angels are called cherubim.

Most angels in the Bible have the appearance and form of a man. Many of them have wings, but not all. Some are larger than life. Others have multiple faces that appear like a man from one angle, and a lion, ox, or eagle from another angle. Some angels are bright, shining, and fiery, while others look like ordinary humans. Some angels are invisible, yet their presence is felt, and their voice is heard.

21 Fascinating Facts About Angels in the Bible

Angels are mentioned 273 times in the Bible. Although we won’t look at every instance, this study will offer a comprehensive look at what the Bible says about these fascinating creatures.

1 – Angels were created by God.

In the second chapter of the Bible, we are told that God created the heavens and the earth, and everything in them. The Bible indicates that angels were created at the same time the earth was formed, even before human life was created.

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. (Genesis 2:1, NKJV)

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:16, NIV)

2 – Angels were created to live for eternity.

Scripture tells us that angels do not experience death.

…nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36, NKJV)

3 – Angels were present when God created the world.

When God created the foundations of the earth, the angels had already been in existence.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “…Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? …while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:1-7, NIV)

4 – Angels do not marry.

In heaven, men and women will be like the angels, who do not marry or reproduce.

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30, NIV)

5 – Angels are wise and intelligent.

Angels can discern good and evil and give insight and understanding.

Your maidservant said, ‘The word of my lord the king will now be comforting; for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king in discerning good and evil. And may the LORD your God be with you.’ (2 Samuel 14:17, NKJV)

He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.” (Daniel 9:22, NIV)

6 – Angels take an interest in human affairs.

Angels have been and will forever be involved and interested in what is happening in the lives of human beings.

“Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10:14, NIV)

“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10, NKJV)

7 – Angels are faster than humans.

Angels seem to have the ability to fly.

… while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. (Daniel 9:21, NIV)

And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. (Revelation 14:6, NLT)

8 – Angels are spiritual beings.

As spirit beings, angels do not have true physical bodies.

Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. (Psalm 104:4, NKJV)

9 – Angels are not meant to be worshiped.

Angels are sometimes mistaken for God by humans and worshiped in the Bible, but reject it, as they are not meant to be worshiped.

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10, NKJV)

10 – Angels are subject to Christ.

Angels are Christ’s servants.

… who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (1 Peter 3:22, NKJV)

11 – Angels have a will.

Angels have the ability to exercise their own will.

How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
…You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14, NIV)

And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (Jude 1:6, NIV)

12 – Angels express emotions like joy and longing.

Angels shout for joy, feel longing, and show many emotions in the Bible.

… while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:7, NIV)

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Peter 1:12, NIV)

13 – Angels are not omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient.

Angels have certain limitations. They are not all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere present.

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (Daniel 10:12-13, NIV)

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9, NIV)

14 – Angels are too numerous to count.

The Bible indicates that an incalculable number of angels exist.

The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands … (Psalm 68:17, NIV)

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly … (Hebrews 12:22, NIV)

15 – Most angels remained faithful to God.

While some angels rebelled against God, the vast majority stayed faithful to him.

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:11-12, NIV)

16 – Three angels have names in the Bible.

Only three angels are mentioned by name in the canonical books of the Bible: Gabriel, Michael, and the fallen angel Lucifer, or Satan.

  • Daniel 8:16
  • Luke 1:19
  • Luke 1:26

17 – Only one angel in the Bible is called an Archangel.

Michael is the only angel to be called an archangel in the Bible. He is described as “one of the chief princes,” so it is possible that there are other archangels, but we cannot be sure. The word “archangel” comes from the Greek word “archangelos” meaning “a chief angel.” It refers to an angel ranked highest or in charge of other angels.

18 – Angels were created to glorify and worship God the Father and God the Son.

  • Revelation 4:8
  • Hebrews 1:6

19 – Angels report to God.

  • Job 1:6
  • Job 2:1

20 – Some angels are called seraphim.

In Isaiah 6:1-8 we see a description of seraphim. These are tall angels, each with six wings, and they can fly.

21 – Angels are known variously as:

  • Messengers
  • Watchers or supervisors for God
  • Military “hosts”
  • “Sons of the mighty”
  • “Sons of God”
  • “Chariots”

Final ThoughtsIt’s interesting to take a step back and observe the conception of these beings from a secular standpoint. Centuries of culture, geography, and history have shaped what we have collectively forgotten and re-imagined as angels.

The otherworldly nature of these beings is also of note to believers in Christian and Jewish scripture. If they are worthy, they’ll be spending an eternity in Heaven with God — alongside these bizarre beings.

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