Monday, July 29, 2013

A Quick Biblical Theology of Angels


A Brief Look at Angels in the Bible – an Overview Summary


Angels are created, spiritual beings with moral judgement and high intelligence, but without physical bodies.  (Wayne Grudem)

1. They are created beings – Read Colossians 1:16, Nehemiah 9:6

2. They exercise moral judgement – some sinned and fell from their positions (2 Pet. 2:4)

3. They have high intelligence – they are able to speak to people and sing praise to God.

4. Angels are spirits and do not ordinarily have physical bodies – (Hebrews 1:14, Luke 24:39).  In their ordinary activities of protecting and ministering and worshiping God they are invisible.

However, from time to time angels took on bodily form to appear to various people in Scripture, (Matthew 28:2-5; Hebrews 13:2), this should be regarded as exceptions.
Other names for angels: holy ones, heavenly host, watchers, sons of God, thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities, powers.

How many?  They are innumerable, myriads of myriads, thousands upon thousands.

Do they have names?  Apparently so, but there are only two angels named in Scripture.

            Gabriel – spoke to Daniel, and Mary; Michael – Daniel 10:12-14
                                                                                          Jude 9, Rev. 12:7-8

Do they have ranks?   Apparently, Michael is called an archangel, and chief prince.

The archangel will sound the trumpet at the Parousia, and fights the Dragon and his angels in Revelation. (See also Colossians 1:16)

Are there different kinds of Angels?

            Three other types mentioned:

A) Cherubim -- guard the entrance to Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24);  cherubim figures were on top of the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:22).

B) Seraphim – angels that continually worship God (Isa. 6:2-7)

C) The Living Creatures – Heavenly beings around God’s throne (Ezek. 1:5-14; Revelation (4:8) Their appearance is said to be like a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle.

Do we have Guardian Angels?

There is an idea of general protection (Psalm 91:11-12) and ministering to all God’s people (Hebrews 1:14). There is no overwhelming support for the idea of individual guardian angels. Any assertions about that are extra-biblical speculation.

Angels Do Not Marry

Jesus taught that in heaven, we will be like the angels in heaven, who “neither marry nor are given in marriage.”  (Matt. 22:30; Luke 20:34-36)

Angel Power

Called mighty ones, who have greater might and power than rebellious human beings (2 Peter 2:11), we are temporarily made lower than the heavenly beings (Heb 2:7), the angels do battle against Satan and his demons in Revelation, but when we receive our glorified bodies we will be in a position higher than the angels, for we will judge them (1 Cor. 6:3)


In the OT, there is someone who is at times called “the angel of the LORD,” not “an angel of the LORD.”  Several passages suggest that this angel is God himself taking on temporary form to appear briefly to human beings.

            The LORD appears to Hagar (Genesis 16:10-13)

            The LORD appears to Jacob in a dream (Gen. 31:11-13)

            The LORD appears to Moses in the burning bush as the angel. (Ex. 3:2,6)

“These are instances of the angel of the LORD or the angel of God appearing as God himself, perhaps more specifically as God the Son taking on a human body for a short time in order to appear to human beings.”  (Grudem, 401)

At other times the angel of the Lord seems to be distinguished from God (2 Sam. 24:16; Psalm 34:7; Zech. 1:11-13) and passages that mention “an angel from God” usually indicate an angel sent by God. Context is the key to interpretation.


Angels are heavenly beings created by God to help fulfill his purposes in redemption, they are ministering spirits sent to help us in all our ways, they are powerful warriors against evil, they worship and glorify forever their Creator in holiness. They are glorious in appearance when allowed by God to be seen.

We are commanded not to worship them (Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10), we should not pray to them (1 Tim. 2:5 – only one mediator), the Bible does not command us to seek after them, but rather we should “seek the Lord.” They are more active than we realize, they live forever, and apparently have a unique interest in the salvation plan of God for humankind (1 Peter 1:12).

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