What does the Bible say about angels? How many are there? Do I have a guardian angel? Are they male or female? In our last series we examined evidence God exists, now let’s move into the spiritual realm, the heavenlies, as the Bible says.
For we are humans with limited physical bodies. We are tied to this Earth as we were made from it, from mud, from dust and go back to dust when we die. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and angels are not tied to the Earth as we are and live in a spiritual world that plays out here in the flesh. Underlying point being, it is hard for us to understand this world because we cannot see it with our human eyes. But that does not mean it does not exist.
The Bible does not spell out the angelic world in detail, but does leave us pieces. Let’s explore what it does say and leave the rest a mystery as it is not integral to our salvation. That relies fully upon Jesus!
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This is a 3-part series
I believe this series to accurate, but I am a human and unfortunately quite fallible. I pray this is just a starting point for you and you will search out the verses and read them for yourself. God, I pray this will bring you honor and glory.
What does the Bible say about angels?
First of all, angels are not plump babies with rosey cheeks and wings! Instead, the angels of the Bible are powerful and mighty. The Greek word “angelos” means messenger. Angels are God’s messengers and do his work. (Heb 1:14).
They are spiritual beings, meaning not of flesh and blood, though sometimes they appear as human (Heb 13:2, Luke 24:39). They are loyal and worship the Lord endlessly (Psalm 103, Rev 7). They have a will, intellect and emotion. (Jude 1:6) They have duties and a chain of command. (Dan 8:11)
They are such a vision that when an angel appears to a human in the Bible, the first words out of the angel’s mouth are usually “do not be afraid.” (Luke 1:26-33) They are glorious beings, but they are not to be worshipped or prayed to.
John encountered an angel in a vision and fell at his feet to worship him. “But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!” (Rev 19:10)
How long have angels lived?
Angels are created beings; they have not always existed. (Neh 9:6). They were created through Christ for Christ. (Col 1:16) The Bible says they were created before the earth was formed. In fact, they shouted for joy! (Job 38:7)
Do angels have wings?
Angels are spirits, not humans with wings. (Heb 1:14) Spirits are not of flesh and blood, and do not have need physical body parts as we do; therefore, they would not require wings as a mode of transportation.
However, some angels appear in the Bible with wings, namely the cherubim and seraphim. “Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.” Isaiah 6:2
Most verses describe angels taking human form, without wings, so it seems they can change appearance. Physical properties do not apply to them. The angel who broke Peter out of prison in Acts 12 was able to move through walls and disappear into thin air.
In fact, the writer of Hebrews tells us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” We could interact with an angel and not even know it!
How many angels are there?
We don’t know an exact number, but there are “innumerable angels.” (Heb 12:22) Daniel said about God on the throne: “a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.” (Dan 7:10) That’s 100 million right there!
- The Lord came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran; he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, with flaming fire at his right hand. Deuteronomy 33:2
- The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary. Psalm 68:17
- Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands. Revelation 5:11
Are angels male or female?
Angels are masculine in every single Bible reference. The pronoun “he” is always used for them (Rev 12:7, Luke 1:29, Judges 6:21, Zechariah 1:19, Rev 10:1) and they appear dressed as men. (Gen 18:2, 16; Ezekiel 9:2)
Some people think they are neither male nor female based on what Jesus says about resurrected humans in Matthew 22:30: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Others argue that this simply means angels do not marry or procreate.
The long story short is: We don’t know!
Can people become angels?
“Heaven gained another angel,” you might hear someone say when someone has passed, but people cannot become angels. (Genesis 1:26) There are set number of angels and angels do not procreate. (Matt 22:30) Angels are neither born nor die, they are a separate entity, a separate order from humans. (Neh 9:6) Angels, in turn, cannot become human.
Here is a PDF of the discussion guide if you would like further reflection or to do it as a group.
Next: What do angels do? >>
Angels have many roles, let’s take a look at the highlight reel and see them in action. You may have never thought of angels this way before!