Anyone who accepts the Bible cannot question that angels exist. Angels are mentioned over 100 times in the Old Testament and over 160 times in the New Testament. We need to remember that the Bible is not primarily concerned with angels so there is far less on angels than we might wish.
A Christian, looking at angels, must avoid the danger of getting into the cultic aspect of angels. In recent years there has been widespread interest in angels, especially by those into transcendental meditation. There are books telling us how to contact angels, communicate with them, and get guidance from them. Some books purport to tell one how to draw upon angel power to achieve anything in life by aligning one’s energy field with that of the angels. None of that is Christian.
Elevating angels to the place where one worships them is forbidden by the 1st of the 10 Commandments. Read Colossians 2:18 and Revelation 22:8, 9
We are forbidden to worship angels and we do not go through them to get to God in prayer. Read I Timothy 2:5-6. One can buy an angel to mount in a car that says, “Protect me, my passengers, and all who I pass by with a steady hand and a watchful eye.” A prayer like that to an angel is against the teachings of Scripture.
What does the Bible teach us about angels? First, angels were all created by God prior to the creation of man, although we have no idea when. We know that angels were created by God because we are told that everything that is came from His creative hand. God and God alone is eternal! He, and He alone, has neither beginning nor end. Everything else has been created by Him.
We have no idea how many angels God created. Read Revelation 5:11, 12 The word “angel” carries the idea of “messenger” and that gives us some insight into how both the Jews and early church viewed their ministry.
Second, angels are spiritual beings. They dwell in the world of the spirits, not in a material world such as we live in. It is not accurate to say they have no bodies, but their bodies are very different from ours. Because they have some form of body, they are limited to one place at a time and are, therefore, are subject to that restraint. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15 of different types of bodies including spiritual bodies that we will one day have. Occasionally angels have been given material properties so that they can be seen but for the most part they are invisible to mankind. Read II Kings 6:8-17.
In addition to good angels, there are fallen angels. The demonic world is made up of those angels who followed Lucifer in his rebellion against God. The Bible classifies angels as either “holy” or “evil” with the “evil” ones being grouped with “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41) and “the dragon and his angels” (Revelation 12:7)
All angels, both good and evil, are created beings and therefore limited. They are limited by space. We must never assume that since they are spirit beings they can be in more than one place at once. Only God is omnipresent. All the rest of creation is limited by space.
They have limited knowledge. They certainly know things we do not know, especially about the nature of God, but they do not have all knowledge and in fact cannot fully understand redemption. God alone is omniscient.
They have limited power. Not only do they not have all power, they are responsible to God for their power. God alone is omnipotent. Demonic angels are more powerful than mankind so having on the armor of God is important, as is depending on God to help us in times of temptation.
Angels do not procreate. There are no “baby” angels. From all we can tell all the angels, however many that may be, have already been created. Their number does not increase or decrease.
All angels, both good and evil, continue in what theology calls a “nonviolable” condition. That is their current condition will never change. Angels were apparently created with the freedom to choose between good and evil, to choose between God and an alternative, which in time Lucifer, presented to them. Having made that choice in history before time, their fate has been forever sealed. Those who are good will always be good, apparently with no additional freedom to choose wrong. Those who rebelled are lost forever with no apparent opportunity to be redeemed. Satan and all who joined him in rebellion are ultimately consigned forever to the Lake of Fire.
Classification of Angels: God has organized His angels into groups for His purposes. See Ephesians 6:21. We would expect that from a God of design and order. A common title for a group of angels is “host.” Read I Kings 22:19 and Luke 2:13.
Cherubim seem to be the highest order of angels. They are first mentioned in Genesis 3:24 where they are given the responsibility of guarding the Garden of Eden so that sinful man could not re-enter it. They stood there as a reminder that sinful man cannot be in paradise. They appear in the tabernacle as golden images on the mercy seat (Exodus 25:17-22), again as a reminder that God is holy.
Seraphim or as the NIV calls them Seraphs are mentioned only in Isaiah by name although Revelation 4:6-8 seems to be referring to them where they are called “living creatures.” They are worshipping angels who are also charged with protecting the throne of God from any invasion of ungodliness.
Only 2 good angels are given specific names in the Bible. One name is Michael, who is designated in Jude 9 as the archangel and is also mentioned in Revelation 12:7. His name means “Who is like God.” Read I Thessalonians 4:16.
A second named angel is Gabriel, meaning “mighty one.” Read Daniel 8:16 and 9:21 and Luke 1:19 and 1:26. His primary function is to deliver messages from God.
The Bible gives us a few pictures of the role of angels in reference to God. The first and most obvious function of angels is that of worshipping God. Read Isaiah 6:1-7.
Angels were also created to serve God and a major part of that service became apparent when God created our world and man. Angels were present at creation (Job 38:7) and at the giving of the Law (Acts 7:35). They reveal God’s will to individuals (Daniel 10:10-15) and God’s plan (Luke 1:11-38). They are going to be very active in the last days according to Revelation.
Angels are often God’s agents in judgment. Read Matthew 13:41, 42. On occasion angels announced the coming of judgment and on other occasions carried it out.
What can we learn from angels that is important to us today? First, we need to remember the importance of defending the holiness or glory of God. That we do by being obedient to Him, by being very careful not to take His name in vain, and by taking a stand against sin in our society.
Second, we need to remember it is important to worship the Lord, not just on Sunday but daily in our devotional time and throughout the day as we praise Him for who He is and all He does for us.
Third, angels remind us that we were created not only to have fellowship with God and worship Him but to serve Him. We are called upon as His hands, His feet, and His mouth so as to display God’s love in a hurting world.