Angel (Hebrew: מלאך, Malʼākh) quite specifically means messenger of God. It is also considered somewhat of a general term within secular society for any spiritual being that exists outside of the normal boundaries that we call space and time. Within classic biblical Christian tradition these messengers of God, or angels were created by God during the creation week.
The will of angels is that in accordance with the Lord's which can be implied from Psalm 103:20 . Having said that, God's will is the salvation of mankind thus communication. In most cases angels are used as messengers that help God communicate to people (good or bad). For example within the New Testament book of Luke 2:8-20 an angel foretells the coming of the Messiah. Also within Genesis 18 angels announce that Sarah will have a son, and the destruction of Sodom.
- 1 The Background
- 2 Angelic Names
- 3 The Capabilities
- 4 Hierarchy and Types
- 5 Fallen Angels
- 6 Angelic Interactions
- 7 Service Role
- 8 Symbolized as trees
- 9 In Literature, Culture, Drama and Motion Pictures
- 10 Gallery
- 11 References
- 12 External links
- 13 See Also
For basic background, the Creation is a completed architecture Genesis 2:2 . In using natural forces to bring about miracles (wind driving back the Jordan and the Red Sea, the Great Flood), God has shown that the creation itself has built-in laws to support what He does in history and future. God does not "bend" or "set aside" his laws to affect miracles. The capability to execute the miracles is "built-in" to the Creation.
Angels are a part of this created architecture and were complete in their creation (as a finite host) prior to the end of the 6th day. They live in the same physical space/matter/time as all humans and animals. Just as ultraviolet or gamma rays are also part of the creation but invisible to the human eye, so angels exist in a higher plane of energy (In Scripture, they often present themselves in energetic forms). Many times in Scripture, humans are allowed to see angels when God "opens" their eyes: Numbers 22:31 2 Kings 6:17 . Note that God had once placed Cherubims at the Garden to guard the way to the Tree of Life Genesis 3:24 . The Israelites were commanded to fashion cherubims on the Ark of the Covenant and other Temple artifacts Exodus 25:18 , so clearly knew what these creatures looked like.
Mankind has apparently lost the capacity to see angels. Genetic Entropy, the generational loss-of-function in the human genome, may be the cause of this, and why God could so easily restore temporary sight by "opening" the human eye.
For the angels with names mentioned in Scripture, each name is suffixed with the designation "el", the name of God
- Daniel 10:3 - Mikya-el, or Michael, the only angel specifically designated as an "archangel"
- Daniel 9:21 - Gabriy-el, or Gabriel, God's primary herald to mankind
- Isaiah 14:12 - Heyl-el, or Lucifer, the son-of-the-morning, a cherubim angel
- The angels have space/matter/time physicality Daniel 10:13 , in this case an angel was delayed for 21 days and had to fetch Michael to help him proceed. Per the above, as angels exist in the same physical plane as humans, but with higher energy, some physicality is expected.
- Spiritual time vs heavenly time - Scripture declares that an heavenly day is equivalent to a thousand earthly years (2 Peter 3:8). If we divide a day into twenty-four hours, this translates to roughly forty-two years for each heavenly hour. In perspective, the twenty-one days of Daniel's angel would translate to 0.00005475 heavenly seconds.
- Angels appear in male form, never female form. The "sacred feminine" is an ancient heresy that attempts to supplant the creation story with the notion that Adam was born of a woman named "Lilith", and that the female form is the ultimate spiritual form. Presenting angelic beings in female form aligns with this heresy.
- Angels never accept worship. In the many times they appear to humans where the human will fall down flat in prone or worship position, the angel will adjure the human not to worship Revelation 19:10 ,Revelation 22:9 ,
- Angels are apparently made of a higher energetic form than humans. We are told that mankind is made "a little lower" than the angels, so that the disparity between angelic and human existence, from God's perspective, is much smaller than from a human perspective.
Hierarchy and Types
The Bible reveals the existence of a multitude of spirits, and even the existence of a spiritual hierarchy. Within the ranks of hierarchy, the Bible refers to archangels, seraphim, cherubim, principalities, powers and authorities as well as angels. There are beings known as the sons of God, who, from the context, are clearly spiritual beings. In limited human understanding, we have the physical world and the spirit world. The members of the spirit world are collectively called "angelic" or "angels" and exist in a predefined hierarchy or ordered rank.
The Angel of the Lord
- Main Article: Jesus Christ
At various places, the Bible refers to the Angel of the Lord who seems to be more than an ordinary angel. This name is generally taken to describe a christophany (appearance of Jesus) within the times of the Old Testament. This angel only appears in the Old Testament and is distinct from "an" angel of the Lord in the New Testament. The Angel of the Lord receives worship, something that no ordinary angel will do Exodus 3:2 , Numbers 22:31 .
Sons of God
- Main Article: Benei Ha'Elohim
- The Benei Ha'Elohim are a group of beings mentioned in the Old Testament book of Genesis 6:4 .
- In Job 1:6 Job 2:1 , it states that one day, the "Sons of God" (Hebrew "ben 'elohiym") came to present themselves before God, with Satan among them.
- The phrase is also used in Job 38:4-7 where it states that when God laid the foundations of the earth, the morning stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy.
- In the Aramaic, the phrase is used to describe a fourth person in the fiery oven with the Israelite captives Daniel 3:25
- In addition, the genealogy of Christ places Adam in the lineage of God as a "son" Luke 3:38
The phrase is associated with Christ in the New Testament but has some application from the Old Testament, in the sense that the context of a Benei Ha'Elohim is a being that is the result of a direct creative act from God, not a product of common human procreation. The physical form of Jesus Christ is likewise not a product of common human procreation even though his physical form otherwise follows the basic mechanics of human procreation (supernatural fertilization of Mary's ovum, followed by gestation and birth). However, a gnostic heresy (now promoted by the Jehovah's witnesses) is that Jesus was created by God rather than being God in person. For clarity, the mechanism of fertilization of Mary's ovum is the means by which God intended to enter his own creation. The physical form that he took while walking the earth is who believers commonly refer to as Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Jesus is called the "express image of God" (Hebrews 1:3).
The created architecture also has specific provision for the redemption of mankind through a human Redeemer Genesis 3:15 provided for as a foundation of the Creation itself Revelation 13:8 . Mankind was specifically created with an eternal soul Genesis 2:7 and the capacity to understand the continuum of time, history and eternity Ecclesiastes 3:11 . The human procreation mechanism (DNA) is a core part of bringing about the Redeemer, and the act of God's Spirit impregnating Mary is Luke 1:35 is a core capability of the created architecture.
- Michael is the only angel ever called an archangel Jude 1:9
- Daniel encountered an angel who claimed to require assistance from Michael, called "one of the chief princes" Daniel 10:13 .
- An archangel (we presume Michael) will precede the Second Coming of Christ in the Rapture event 1 Thessalonians 4:16 .
Theologians commonly accept that there may be other angels as powerful as Michael (the chief princes) but commonly accept that Michael is the chief of all the angels, hence the special designation of "Archangel". He is represented in literature as a "warrior" angel or a general of an angelic army. His role is one of conflict or war (e.g. he contends with Satan in the book of Jude). The angel Gabriel is always depicted as a messenger or a bearer of good tidings.
Cherubim is the translation of the Hebrew word, "k@ruwb", pronounced "ker-oob", and is used 91 times in the Old Testament. While Cherubim appear to be Angels, whether they are a distinct species of them is uncertain. The following traits about them are known, however:
- Are not "baby angels", but are fierce, ominous and hideous.
- Four faces Ezekiel 1:5-6 ; a man, lion, ox and eagle.
- Peculiar relationship with physical space and time (e.g. simultaneity) Matthew 8:10 , are able to guard over children in one frame of reference while one of their faces always beholds the Father in another frame-of-reference.
- Guards: They guarded the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were cast out. (Genesis 3:24 ) They were always used, even in statue, to show the guarding of God's Mercy Seat.(Exodus 25:18-22 , Exodus 37:7-9 , 1 Samuel 4:4 , 2 Samuel 6:2 )
- Winged: They are described as having huge wings which they used to cover the Mercy Seat. (Exodus 25:20 , Exodus 37:7-9 ) Their wings were also used to cover the Ark of the Covenant. (1 Kings 8:6-7 , 1 Chronicles 28:18 , 2 Chronicles 5:7-8 ) The wings appear to make sound volume comparable to a helicopter, being heard from far away.(Ezekiel 10:5 )
- Transporters: God used them to get around, riding on them as winged vehicles. (2 Samuel 22:11 , Psalms 18:10 , Ezekiel 9:3 )
- Huge: Likenesses of them were made ten cubits tall, and with outstretched wings that made them ten cubits wide. (1 Kings 6:23-27 , 2 Chronicles 3:10-13 ) Egypt also used the cubit as a standard of linear measurement, and it was approximately 1.5-2.0 feet long, making them at least 15-20 feet tall and equally wide when their wings are outstretched.
- Close to God: God sits between two Cherubim. and they likewise sit in a position of guardianship of the throne.
Seraphim is translated from the Hebrew word "saraph", pronounced "saw-rawf", a word roughly translated meaning "burned" or "to burn", and is only used 9 times in the Old Testament.
Two of these usages occur in Isaiah 6 , verses 2 and 6, where it states that the Seraphim had 6 wings, 2 to cover their faces, 2 to cover the feet, and 2 with which to fly, while they proclaimed, "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."(KJV) They are also said to have hands in verse 6, with which one used tongs to take a coal from an altar.
Although all spirits were created by God and therefore were originally good, at some point in time a large number of them rebelled against God and became evil, which is the implication regarding Matthew 25:41 . Biblically, the angels which did not keep their first estate and took human wives, God cast into Hell and has reserved in eternal chains under darkness until the great day's Judgment. Other fallen angels, including Satan, remain free to walk the earth (Job 1:7 , (Jude 1:6 , 2 Peter 2:4 )
Given the account of this in Judges 9:8-15 and Ezekiel 31 , 'Eden' was not only a garden for the creation of mankind, but the original dwelling place of the angels (Ezekiel 28:13 , Ezekiel 31 9 ), with a rebellion that began by many of the angels seeking a king to reign over them. The Fig Tree, Olive Tree, and Vine, each symbolizing an angel or type of angel, refused, while the bramble, Satan, became their leader. Sometime after the fall of the angels, Eden was destroyed and turned into a "desolate wilderness". (Ezekiel 36:35 , Joel 2:3 )
The ultimate fate of the fallen angels, including Satan, is the lake of fire Revelation 20:10
- Main Article: Satan
Satan is the highest ranking of the angels who rebelled against God. He took with him a third of the angels (Revelation 12:4 ). These became demons and unclean spirits, according to the Bible. Satan, as Lucifer (Hebrew Heyl-el) was called "The Anointed Cherubim Who Covers". He was on the holy mountain of God, and walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. He was perfect in all his ways until iniquity was found in him, after which he was cast as profane from the mountain of God. (Ezekiel 28:14-16 ). His appearance is beautiful, covered with precious stones all over his body, and his body also has built-in musical instruments (tabrets and pipes). His role in heaven was clearly to lead worship toward God and this would include praise and music.
Satan has direct access to the throne of God, but also walks the earth (Job 1:6-7 ) He is physically bound to the same space/time/matter existence as humans and is presumed to be extremely intelligent.
- Hates mankind (1 Peter 5:8 )
- Seeks to be equal with God (Isaiah 14:12-15 )
- Will ultimately be thrown into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:10 ).
Before the Flood
In Genesis 6:4 the Sons of God are clearly distinguished from the daughters of men. In the New Testament we are told that these angels were especially grievous to God 2 Peter 2:4-5 such that they were placed in chains in the Abyss(Tartarus/Abaddon/Destruction) the prison reserved for fallen angels, also called out in Jude 1:6 .
As a note, at one point God told Moses to strike a rock to bring forth water Exodus 17:6 and later to only speak to it Numbers 20:8-12 , but when Moses struck the rock again, God told Moses that he would never enter the promised land. This "spiritual picture" was about Jesus Christ, who would be struck only once to deliver living water, and thereafter would only need to be spoken-to.
These spiritual pictures, types or models in Scripture are on every page and weave a grand tapestry that all point to or describe some facet of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
This is what makes the offense by the pre-Flood sons-of-God more egregious. They came to Earth and pre-empted the arrival of Jesus Christ by doing with human women what the Spirit would do with Mary. Their progeny, however, were grotesque mutants. This multiplied the offense because Jesus Christ would align with sacrificial requirements and be unblemished Exodus 12:5 . A genetic mutation like the Nephilim is an insult to this protocol.
The Bible also says that the Nephilim became mighty men of old, men of renown, then begins to describe escalating violence. Going back to the promise of a human Redeemer, the Nephilim would follow the desires of their demonic fathers and focus their hatred on mankind. If mankind is annihilated, no human Redeemer is possible. The Ark, therefore, is an act of salvation (of the righteous remnant of mankind) and the preservation of God's promise to mankind to provide a human Redeemer.
All these things assert that the Nephilim were not accidental mutations, but deliberate mutations toward the goals of (a) defiling the spirit-to-man capability of human procreation that was reserved for Christ's conception alone (b) the biochemical mutations that would make defiled (blemished) human offspring that were unacceptable to be the Redeemer (c) natural, extraordinary strength and capacity to both elicit human awe and execute human genocide.
There are a number of occasions in the Bible where angels become visible and interact with the physical world. Several Biblical references suggest that they may take on the physical form of humans so as to be virtually indistinguishable.
Angels gather in the sky to announce the birth of Christ Luke 2:13-14 , announce the resurrection Matthew 28:6 , confirm the great commission Acts 1:11 , assist the evangelists Acts 12:17 , gather in the sky and proclaim the "everlasting gospel" Revelation 14:6-7 to all mankind.
In Genesis 32:22-32 , Jacob wrestled with an angel. This angel could not win against Jacob, so he dislocated Jacob's thigh; still Jacob held on and refused to release the angel without a blessing. The angel did deliver a blessing, and declared that from that day forward, Jacob's true name would be Israel ("he struggles with God"), because he had actually struggled with a messenger of God and won.
As spirits, the angels are considered a finite host that do not reproduce (procreate) more angels. They have no DNA and are not a created kind (e.g. male and female with a 'seed within themselves'). Several passages of Scripture point to a time when the angels initiated procreation with human women.
However some use Matthew 22:30 to support that angels do not reproduce - At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. A response to this is that the angels "who keep the law" do not marry, but the angels of Genesis 6 had "left their first estate" so had forsaken the law. Also that they "took" wives of their own selection, the Hebrew meaning is "seized", but does not say they entered into a marriage covenant.
The operant problem however, is how they were able to procreate with humans.
In the above section on "Before the Flood" we note that a core capability of the laws of the creation was to provide a means for a spirit (The Holy Ghost) to procreate a human through a human woman (to bring about a human Redeemer), a capability that God would personally leverage to enter history himself through the virgin Mary. The fallen angels perverted this capability, insulting God with mutant offspring (not in the image of God) and defiling the sacred process through which God himself would enter history.
Therefore, the Nephilim are not simply an aberration of errant angels, they are a deliberate act of defiance and defilement, the antithesis of Christ in spirit and body. Their campaign on earth would be a precursor to the "spirit of the anti-Christ" which will rise in the times prior to Christ's coming. Christ himself said that the time before his coming would be as the days of Noah. Christ also said it would be like the days of Lot in Sodom, where people were also perverting the procreational capabilities of mankind.
Generally speaking, the roll of Angels is to do the bidding of the Lord Psalm 103:20 . On occasion, they have served as messengers in carrying news of coming destruction, birth,
Psalm 148:2 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
The angels ordained the law of Moses Galatians 3:19 and as such are enforcers of it.
The angels proclaim the Creator Revelation 14:6-7 and his work as the "everlasting gospel".
The angels are judiciary witnesses Luke 12:8 as Christ personally confesses people before them.
The angels are human executioners Matthew 13:39 , "reapers" who claim the souls of humans "all at once" at the end of the age.
The angels are escorts for the saints to their place of rest Luke 16:22 , whereas prior to the Resurrection no man had entered heaven John 3:13 so were taken to Abraham's Bosom to await their redemption through Jesus Christ Luke 16:22 , but today the saints are immediately in the presence of the Lord at their death 2 Corinthians 5:8 .
- Luke 2:8-20 : angels foretell the coming of the Messiah.
- Genesis 18 : angels announce that Sarah will have and son and the destruction of Sodom.
- Matthew 24:36 : angels do not know the day and hour of Christ's return.
- Revelation 14:6-7 : angels preach the everlasting gospel to mankind.
Psalm 78:49 He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility— a band of destroying angels.
Matthew 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
Psalm 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
Matthew 24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Matthew 4:11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Symbolized as trees
The following are examples where angels (perhaps Cherubim specifically) are symbolized by trees:
- In Judges 9:8-15 it tells a parable of the trees seeking to anoint a king, with the Olive Tree, Fig Tree, and Vine all refusing promotion, and the Bramble accepting, and telling them to put their trust in him or fire will come out to devour the Cedars of Lebanon.
- In Psalms 52:8 David compares himself to an Olive Tree in the house of God who trusts in the mercy of God forever and ever. This is similar also to Psalms 92:12-13 .
- In Isaiah 2:13-14 it speaks of bringing all the proud low, including the Cedars of Lebanon and Oaks of Bashan.
- In Isaiah 14:6-12 it refers to Lucifer the fallen angel (v. 12) and when punished by God, the earth is at rest, with the Fir Trees rejoicing, and the Cedars of Lebanon saying, "since you are laid down, no feller is come up against us."
- In Isaiah 34:4 it is said, "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree." This prophecy is repeated similarly in Revelation 6:13-14 .
- In Ezekiel 17 it speaks a parable of the Cedars of Lebanon, ending in v. 24 by saying that the Lord has brought down the high tree, has exalted the low tree, has dried up the green tree, and has made the dry tree flourish.
- In Ezekiel 31 the entire chapter speaks of Satan as being Pharaoh, who was a mighty Cedar in Lebanon, how his height was exalted above all the other Cedars of Lebanon (v. 5), and how no other trees were like him in beauty (v. 8) so that they envied him (v. 9). Because of this, he lifted himself up in height and became proud (v. 10) so that God delivered him to the mighty of the gentiles (v. 11). The result is to be that none of the trees will exalt themselves, and are delivered to death, and sent down to the lower parts of the earth and the pit (v. 14). When he went to the grave, God caused a great mourning and mourning among Lebanon, with the trees of the field fainting for him (v. 15). In verses 9 and 16-18 it calls them the "trees of Eden", including Satan among them.
In Literature, Culture, Drama and Motion Pictures
The vast majority of depictions of angels, both as statues and in common church-level passion-plays, are as kind and beautiful females. This aligns with the heresy of the "sacred feminine", that the original human form was a woman named "Lilith" and not Adam. The "Lilith" character has been popularized in horror and vampire lore, both in the Blade movies and the True Blood series, among others. Angels only appear in male form. They have no gender.
The Mormon church believes that Joseph Smith encountered an angel named Mormon, who gave Smith special revelation about cosmic truths.
The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus Christ is an angel, not the Son of God or the Creator, and have rewritten their Bibles to reflect this assertion.
Milton depicted angelic beings in Paradise Lost.
Hollywood has produced a wide variety of movies depicting demonic possession, including The Exorcist, The Conjuring, Fallen, each of which attempts to align the demonic presence with a Scriptural definition. Yet others simply depart from the proper depiction of the demonic world, especially misrepresenting Satan, including End of Days, The Omen, Constantine, Devil's Advocate and The Passion of the Christ.
Some prolific writers in the "signs and wonders" movement have professed to have walked with and interacted with angelic beings, and some iwth Jesus Christ himself. Their lives and ministries however, do not align with the behavior of someone who has been in the presence of an angelic being, much less the Lord.
Abraham and the Three Angels. By Gustave Doré
- Angel by Wikipedia