What Else Does the Bible Say About These Heavenly Messengers?
Let's look at some fascinating facts about angels (heavenly messengers) from the Bible.
- Angels are invisible spirit beings (Numbers 22:22-31) but can take on human form (Genesis 18:2-8).
- Angels are strong (I Chronicles 21:16; Revelation 18:21) and powerful (Psalm 103:20; II Peter 2:11; Revelation 10:1, 18:1).
- Angels are radiant from being in God's presence (Judges 13:6; Luke 2:9). They behold the face of God (Matthew 18:10).
- Angels are not all-knowing (Matthew 24:36; II Thessalonians 1:7) but they are wise (II Samuel 14:17, 20).
- The Bible always speaks of angels in the masculine gender. Angels in heaven are not given in marriage (Matthew 22:30).
- Angels are immortal: they do not die (Luke 20:36; Hebrews 2:9, 15-16).
- Angels are holy (Matthew 25:31).
- Angels do not need rest (Revelation 4:8).
- Angels protect God's people (Psalm 34:7, 91:9-13).
- Just one angel killed 185,000 men of the Assyrian army in a single night (Isaiah 37:36).
- Angels speak their own language (I Corinthians 13:1).
- Angels ascend and descend from heaven (Genesis 28:12; John 1:51).
- Gold cherubim (angels) on the mercy seat represented the presence of God (Exodus 37:7-9; Numbers 7:89).
- Angels experience joy when one sinner repents (Luke 15:10)!
- Angels learn the wisdom of God by observing God's people (I Corinthians 4:9; Ephesians 3:10).
- Angels desire to look into the things of salvation (I Peter 1:10-12).
- Angels are awesome in appearance (Judges 13:20).
- Angels are sometimes referred to as stars and the host of heaven (Judges 5:20; Job 25:5, 38:7; Revelation 1:20).
- We are to entertain strangers, for some have entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).
- Angels will be judged by humans (I Corinthians 6:3).
- Angels will gather the elect at the end of this age (Matthew 24:31).
- The angels of God are innumerable; there is no equal to the armies of heaven (II Kings 6:14-17; Psalm 68:17; Jeremiah 33:22; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11).
Angels possess intelligence superior to that of humans (II Peter 2:11). They are not limited by an earthly body and can move instantly through space. In fact, in a single instant, an angel can come from the highest heaven down to earth or go from one end of the universe to the other.
These powerful beings stood by, ready to assist Jesus Christ when He faced the agony of a tortuous death. Jesus said, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
Angels are completely subject to Jesus and "all the angels of God worship Him"
(Hebrews 1:6). In fact, ever since Jesus ascended into heaven and sat on the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers became subject to Him (I Peter 3:22).
What Do Angels Do?
As ministering spirits, angels carry out the commands of God pertaining to the heirs of salvation. This involves warning, guiding, protecting, comforting, providing, and delivering the children of God according to His perfect will. "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them"
(Psalm 34:7; also see Psalm 91:11).
How did angels attend to the needs of people in the Bible?
- An angel provided water for Hagar and her son in the desert (Genesis 16:7-11, 21:17).
- Angels rescued Lot and his family from wicked Sodom (Genesis 19:1).
- An angel went before Abraham's servant in finding a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:40).
- Angels appeared in Jacob's dream of a ladder reaching to heaven (Genesis 28:12).
- The Angel of God guided the nation of Israel (Exodus 14:19, 23:20; Judges 2:1-4). Israel also ate the food of angels — manna from heaven (Psalm 78:25)!
- The Old Testament Law was given to men by angels (Galatians 3:19).
- An angel instructed Manoah and his wife on rearing their son, Samson (Judges 13:3-21).
- An angel brought food and water to Elijah and encouraged him (I Kings 19:5-7; II Kings 1:3, 15).
- God's angel shut the mouths of lions to protect Daniel (Daniel 6:22).
- Isaiah saw angels when he encountered God (Isaiah 6:2-6).
- The angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias about the birth of his son John (Luke 1:11-19).
- Gabriel also appeared to Mary about the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).
- Joseph received guidance and warnings from an angel in his dreams (Matthew 1:20, 24, 2:13, 19).
- Angels proclaimed Christ's birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:9-15).
- Angels stirred the waters at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:4).
- An angel appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other women at the tomb (Matthew 28:2, 5).
- An angel released the apostles from prison (Acts 5:19).
- An angel directed Philip to the path of the Ethiopian eunuch so he could lead him to Christ (Acts 8:26).
- Cornelius received warning from an angel (Acts 10:3, 7, 22).
- An angel released Peter from prison (Acts 12:7-11).
- An angel assured Paul that no lives would be lost in the shipwreck (Acts 27:23).
- An angel was involved in bringing a revelatory vision to John (Revelation 1:1, 22:8-9).
It is intriguing to read biblical accounts of angelic interaction with humans, and it is especially interesting to note how people responded. Were they afraid? Terrified? Did they even know it was an angel who was speaking to them? Regardless, whether angels appeared in dreams, visions, or in human form, the result was miraculous protection and provision.
Here we encounter a question that many of us ask at one time or another: When tragedies happen, where are angels? And, where is God when the wickedness of man causes innocent people to die? The answer is that we cannot see all the warfare that goes on in the spiritual realm. There are, in fact, angels unseen
even in such painful times, bringing assurance, protection, comfort, and guidance to certain ones as directed by the wisdom and sovereignty of God. We can trust our faithful Creator to make all things right in the end.