All about Angels

I was recently doing a Bible Study where I was given a passage and asked the question, “How does it make you feel to know that you have an angel?”  This took me quite by surprise as although I had read of angels in Scripture, I had never really pondered this further than the scope of these particular verses.  To discover more, I decided to have a little Bible Study of my own and the result of this is what I share with you today!   

When you think of angels in Scripture, an image most likely to come to mind is that of Gabriel bringing the good news to Mary, Luke 1:26-38.  This scene is recreated in nativity plays worldwide but what I have always found interesting is that Gabriel is always played by a little girl!  I wonder if Gabriel feels as though he has been misrepresented somewhat!

There are a multitude of passages regarding angels throughout the Bible but for the purposes of this blog I have chosen passages from the New Testament only.  There were just too many to include so you will find additional verses footnoted at the bottom of the page.   

I have also added some Old Testament passages at the end of the blog so that you can peruse these at your own leisure.

So, let us try and answer some questions we may have about angels! 

How many angels are there?

  • There are thousands upon thousands.
    • Matt 26:53 “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” [1] – A legion is said to consist of approximately 6000.   

What form do angels take? 

  • Angels can look like men but have the appearance of lightning.
    • Luke 24:1-8 “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.” [2]
  • Angels can look like you and me!
    • Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
  • Angels are powerful and strong.
    • 2 Peter 2:11,  “yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord.” [3]
  • There is a hierarchy:
    • Jude 9 “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”” [4]
    • Only 2 angels are named (Lucifer was also named prior to his fall whereafter he became known as Satan).
    • Luke 1:19  “The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.” [5]

Examples of angels appearing to man

  • To Peter and John,
    • Acts 5:19-20 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.” [6]
  • Philip,
    • Acts 8:26-27  “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So, he started out, and on his way, he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
  • Paul,
    • Acts 27:21-26  “After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside meand said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So, keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
  • John,
    • Rev 1:1 “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.”
  • Zechariah,
    • Luke 1:8-20 “Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

What is the role of angels?

  • To minister,
    • Hebrews 1:14  “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
  • To bring messages,
    • Acts 8:26 “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
    • Acts 27:23-24 “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside meand said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’”
  • To carry out God’s judgements,
    • Acts 12:23, “Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.”
  • To carry out war with demonic forces,
    • Rev 12:7-8, “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.”
  • To facilitate God’s will on earth,
    • Matt 2:13 “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
    • Matt 2:19-23“After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.”[7]

Are angels still active and what are they doing?

  • Speaking with God
    • Luke 12:8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.”
  • Playing music as they will at the coming of Jesus
    • Matthew 24:30-31 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.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.”
  • Rejoicing
    • Luke 15:10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’”
  • Taking instructions and power from God
    • Rev 7:1,2 “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:”
  • In the future they will come into the world with Jesus.
    • 2 Thessalonians 1:7 “and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” [8]

How do angels minister to people?

  • Angels are examples to us,
    • Matt 6:10 “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
  • Angels model worship,
    • Revelation 5:11-12 “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!””
  • Angels comfort,
    • Mark 1:11-13“And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness,and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.”
    • Matt 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

Do we become angels in heaven?

No, although we will be like angels, we will not be identical.  We will have a different role.

  • Matt 22:30 “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:3 “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”

Can angels’ sin?

Yes, and they did.  These have become the fallen angels of which Satan is one. 

  • 2 Pet 2:4 “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;”
  • Jude 6 “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling – these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.”
  • Rev 12:7-8,  “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.”

What has stood out to me during this study has been the sheer power the angels hold, the ability to hold back the wind, the strength to move a gravestone!  The fact they look like you or me and the example of worship and love they provide for us.

What a comfort to us to know that we have angels there to strengthen us in order that we may carry out God’s will and what a lovely imagine to behold of the angels rejoicing, singing and playing music all because one little human like you or I has come to join the church family.   

A word of warning as we discover all about angels is that they, themselves, are not to be worshipped, they are under the direct command of God, just as we are and therefore we are not to address them directly, but through God He will send them to our aid if necessary. 

Lastly,  I will finish with a verse which I find of huge comfort.  As Jesus prays His most desperate prayer, as He faces His death, an angel comes to strengthen Him.  Just as He feels He cannot go through with God’s will.  As Jesus trembles in fear of what awaits Him, an angel comes to comfort Him and help Him to continue in His Father’s will.  What an encouragement for us and what a comfort.    

  • Luke 22:39-44“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”

Love and Blessings

Louise x

Additional Old Testament Scripture

Genesis 18:2-15, 19:1-22

Joshua 5:13-15

Judges 13:6-21

2 Samuel 24:16

Psalms 78:25, 78:49, 91:11, 103:20

Job 38:1-7

Zechariah 2:3

[1] Revelation 5:11, Hebrews 12:22

[2] Matthew 28:1-7

[3] Matthew 28:2

[4] 1 Thessalonians 4:16

[5] Jude 9

[6] Acts 12:6-15

[7] Luke 2:8-15 and Matthew 1:24-25

[8] Matthew 13:49, 25:31-33, Luke 9:26, 1 Thessalonians 4:16

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