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What Does the Bible Teach About Angels?

As human beings, we are always fascinated by angels and angelic beings. Though often unseen, they are all around us, watching over us.

When and why were the angels created? What are they? What do they do? Why did some of them fall away?

There are 273 references of angels in the Bible. Not citing every occurrence, this article will attempt to answer some basic questions concerning angels.

When were angels created?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Before the creation of the heavens, there were no angels. After the creation of the heavens, God created the angels.

God is not a God of disorder. He created the heavens and then the angels. Likewise, He created the earth and then Adam and Eve. Our Creator created and prepared the place first before placing the person therein.

John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 2:1
Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

Colossians 1:16
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

John 14:3
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

After God created the heavens, He created the earth. Angels were present when God created the earth. They sang and rejoiced when God laid the foundations of the earth and determined its measurements.

Job 38:4-7
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

Why were the angels created?

Angels were created to glorify and worship God.

Hebrews 1:6
But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

Revelation 4:8
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within.
And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

Angels are ministering spirits. They are God's ministers or servants. They help people as they minister to them. They serve God and mankind. They do the will of God.

Psalm 104:4
Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.

Hebrews 1:13-14
But to which of the angels has He ever said:
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

During their ministry and service, the angels will present themselves and report back to God concerning the matters of mankind.

Job 1:6
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.

God will communicate with the angels in His holy presence concerning the matters of mankind. He is our God who cares for us, and desires the very best for us. He sends His angels to minister and help us. And the angels will report to Him every detail concerning us. God will also share with the angels His thoughts about us. A holy assembly of angels seeking godly counsel of their Creator and God.

Job 1:7-8
And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

Luke 12:8-9
“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God."

1 Corinthians 4:9
For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

1 Timothy 5:21
I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.

What are the angels?

Angels are spiritual beings.

Psalm 104:4
Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.

They do not die.

Luke 20:36
...nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

They do not marry.

Matthew 22:30
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.

They are wise and intelligent, able to discern good and evil and able to give insight and understanding.

2 Samuel 14:17
Your maidservant said, ‘The word of my lord the king will now be comforting; for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king in discerning good and evil. And may the Lord your God be with you.’”

Daniel 9:21-22
... while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding."

Daniel 10:14
"Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

Angels are interested about the affairs of men. They rejoice when people repent and return back to God.

Luke 15:10
Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

They can fly.

Revelation 14:6
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—

Some of the angels are invisible.

Job 4:15-18
Then a spirit passed before my face;
The hair on my body stood up.
It stood still,
But I could not discern its appearance.
A form was before my eyes;
There was silence;
Then I heard a voice saying:
‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
Can a man be more pure than his Maker?
If He puts no trust in His servants,
If He charges His angels with error,...'

Angels are not to be worshipped.

Revelation 19:10
And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Angels are to subject and submit to the authority of Christ.

1 Peter 3:22
...who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

Angels have emotions and desires.

Job 38:7
...while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

1 Peter 1:12
To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

Angels have a free will to choose what to do and what not to do.

Isaiah 14:12-14
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’

Jude 1:6-7
And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode,
He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these,
having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh,
are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

They are not omnipresent, omnipotent or omniscient.

Daniel 10:12-13
Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia."

Jude 1:9
Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Angels are innumerable.

Psalm 68:17
The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
Even thousands of thousands;
The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.

Hebrews 12:22
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels...

Most angels are and remain faithful to God.

Revelation 5:11-12
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

They are sent to be in charge of us and keep all of us in all our ways, protecting us and taking good care of us.

Psalm 91:10-12
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

There are different types of angels. Some are archangels, some are cherubim, some are seraphim, and some are ordinary angels.

Most angels have the appearance and form of a human being. In all of the Bible accounts, angels are described to have a male appearance. Some of them have wings, and some do not have. Some are larger in size than human beings. Some have multiple faces, appearing like a man from one side, a lion, ox, or eagle from another side. Some angels are bright, shining, and fiery while others look like ordinary human beings. Some angels are invisible, and some are not. But their presence can be felt and their voice can be heard.

Some of the angels are named in the Bible like Michael the Archangel, Gabriel and Lucifer.

Why did some angels fall away from God?

All of the angels are ministers or servants in God's spiritual service. They are messengers announcing the birth of Christ and bringing glad tidings. Or they are messengers announcing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and bringing gloomy news! They are God's heavenly army. They are also called the sons of God.

But some of the angels did not desire to serve God and do His will. They rebelled against God!

There was a beautiful, powerful and anointed cherub named Lucifer. He was perfect till iniquity was found in him.

Ezekiel 28:11-19
11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him,
‘Thus says the Lord God:
“You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
16 “By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;
I cast you to the ground,
I laid you before kings,
That they might gaze at you.
18 “You defiled your sanctuaries
By the multitude of your iniquities,
By the iniquity of your trading;
Therefore I brought fire from your midst;
It devoured you,
And I turned you to ashes upon the earth
In the sight of all who saw you.
19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you;
You have become a horror,
And shall be no more forever.”’”

Lucifer was the perfection of wisdom and beauty. He was in Eden, the garden of God, clothed with every precious stone and all the beautiful settings of finest gold. They were given to him on the day he was created.

God appointed him to be the anointed guardian angel, having access to the holy mountain of God. He walked among the stones of fire. He was perfect in all he did from the day he was created until that time when sin was found in him.

Adam did not sin on the first day he was created. So did Lucifer. Lucifer was perfect until his heart became puffed up with pride because of all his beauty. He corrupted his wisdom to gain the worship of other angels. He defiled the holy sanctuaries lusting for ungodly gain; and engaging in illegal trades - trading glory and power! He became violent, seeking to be worshipped and to be adored!

Therefore, God casted him down to the ground and exposed him. God brought forth holy fire, and let it burn Lucifer to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all the angels. All who knew him were astonished at him. He had become an example of horror; and he shall be no more forever.

Isaiah 14:12-14
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.

Lucifer had fallen from heaven. He who brought down the nations was now brought down by God. Why? Because he became puffed up with pride and said to himself, “I’ll climb to heaven and place my throne above the stars of God. I’ll sit there on the farthest sides of the north. I’ll be above the clouds. I will be like God the Most High.” In doing so, he was brought down to the lowest depths of the Pit.

Lucifer was created to guard over Adam and Eve. He was to look after the matters of mankind to minister to their needs and serve God.

Instead he traded for something else. He didn't want to serve God and others. He wanted others to serve him and worship him. He rebelled violently against God! His own sinful actions brought about his downfall! He did not have the character and humility of Christ!

Matthew 20:27-28
And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Lucifer was later named the devil or Satan. He became a thief, coming to steal, kill and destroy. Instead of leading people to salvation, he leads people to sin and rebellion against God. Instead of telling the Truth, he became a father of lies.

John 10:10
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 8:44
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.
He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth,
because there is no truth in him.
When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources,
for he is a liar and the father of it.

Instead of watching over Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, Satan tempted and deceived Eve by convincing her to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which God instructed not to. She believed in Satan's lie that she would become like God. Sadly, Adam followed suit and disobeyed God too.

Instead of repenting of his sins, Lucifer convinced some angels to do the same and rebel against God. They left their positions of authority and abandon their proper dwelling places. They were all cast out from heaven.

Jude 1:6
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.

Revelation 12:3-9
3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

In conclusion, God created angels to take good care of us. Our LORD is good to us and has good thoughts towards us. He desires us to have life, and to have it more abundantly.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Thus let us also have the mind of Christ - loving God by serving others in humility and love. Let us not become selfish and proud, looking into our own interests and agendas only.

Philippians 2:1-16
1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,
15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Let us know our position in Christ, submit to God and resist the devil so that we can withstand his temptation and accusation. We will overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony as we do not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.

James 4:6-8
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Revelation 12:10-11
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

Finally, let us walk humbly before the Lord and not being puffed up with pride lest we fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover we must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest we fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

1 Timothy 3:6-7
.....lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Written on 16 May 2014