Angels: Who Are They?

Powerful beings

Probably more is said and sung about angels in the month of December than any other time of year. Numerous books have been written about these celestial beings. Each book must be judged on its own merits and carefully compared with the Scriptures.

In spite of how Clarence the angel is depicted in the popular classic It’s a Wonderful Life, angels are not the spirits of the dead striving to “earn their wings.”

We know the names of only two angels in the Bible: Gabriel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:8-38) and the archangel Michael (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7).

But of course the Bible speaks of countless unnamed angels, including the passage which refers to the number of angels around God’s throne as “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands” (Revelation 5:11).

“Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word!” (Psalm 103:20-21).

In the Bible angels delivered messages from God—in fact, the word angel means messenger. They also powerfully wage war against the forces of evil, and they serve God’s people.

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).

But not divine

But the same chapter makes it very clear: Jesus the Son of God is far superior to angels. It is sinful to worship angels (Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9).

While angelology can be a profitable study, we must never lose our focus on the One whom the angels serve.

Angels have a highly important place, but it was Jesus whom “God highly exalted . . . and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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