At this very moment there is a vast supernatural reality all around you. Although you cannot see it, this other realm encompasses angelic beings and spiritual powers. Does the Bible have anything to say about this other reality and how it involves us? Yes, it does!
Who are these mysterious creatures that adorn decorations and stir imaginations? What do angels
do, and what is their purpose? The Bible has much to say about angels. It also tells the stories of men and women who encountered them.
Throughout history, angels have protected people or brought them special messages from God. Even today, some of us can recount experiences of angelic encounters at specific times in our lives. But whether we are aware of them or not, angels are continuously doing what they were created to do.
What Is an Angel?
An angel is, by definition, a messenger
. The Bible has over three hundred references to angels, and defines two groups of angelic messengers. Heavenly angels carry out the commands of God, while fallen angels
carry out acts of deceit and wickedness.
The Bible details the job description of God's angels: "Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word"
(Psalm 103:20). The angels of God are always ready and available to obey His commands! They are strong and competent to carry out their next assignment from God's throne. But what exactly are angels assigned to do?
The Lord "maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire"
(Psalm 104:4). These angels are "all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation"
(Hebrews 1:14). In other words, angels are sent out from the throne room of God "because of the ones being about to inherit salvation."
Wow! Our Creator God, who so loved the world, has not only brought salvation to us through Jesus Christ but also made angels to be His ministering spirits for us
, the heirs of salvation!
Angels are heavenly spirit beings created by God, through Jesus Christ. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible...all things were created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist"
(Colossians 1:16-17; also see Nehemiah 9:6). Angels are helpers, guardians, proclaimers of news, and agents of both the mercy of God and the wrath of God.
The Bible is not clear on when
God created angels, but we do know that by the sixth day of creation, "the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them"
(Genesis 2:1). We also know that angels were present when God laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4-7) and they rejoiced to see His creative work.
Scripture is mostly silent on the nature and origin of angels, for such information would distract us from the Bible's theme of God's salvation plan for mankind. But we are told how
angels were created: "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth"