One of the most popular topics of speculation in recent years has been the subject of angels.
Many books have been published that claim to offer first-hand accounts of experiences with angels.
But as always, the Bible must remain our authority on the supernatural.
By nature angels are spiritual beings (Hebrews 1:14Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?).
Their nature is superior to human nature (Hebrews 2:7You have made him [a]a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.),
They have superhuman power and knowledge (2 Sam. 14:17, 20; 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.’
20:To bring about this change of affairs your servant Joab has done this thing; but my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of the angel of God, to know everything that is in the earth.
2 Pet. 2:11whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.).
They are not, however, all-powerful and all-knowing (Ps. 103:20 Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.
2 Thess. 1:7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,)
Furthermore, artistic portrayals of angels as winged beings are generally without basis in the Bible (except for the cherubim and seraphim mentioned in Ex. 25:20; Is. 6:2, 6; Ezek. 1:6 and Rev. 4:8).
The Bible presents angels as real beings and provides limited information about them but for the most part leaves them veiled in mystery.
However, God sometimes lifts the veil and allows humans to catch a glimpse of the spiritual activity and warfare taking place around us.
Daniel saw some of that reality and found it overwhelming and troubling (Dan. 7:15; 8:27; 10:15, 16).
On the other hand, Elisha experienced it and found it reassuring (2 Kin. 6:16, 17). Angels were created by God (Ps. 148:2, 5) and were present to rejoice when He created the world (Job 38:4–7).
In their original state they were holy, but before the creation of the world some of them rebelled against God and lost this exalted position.
The leading angel in this revolt became the devil, also known as Satan (Gen. 3:4, 14; Rev. 12:4, 7–9).
Two of the vast company of angels are named in the Bible.
They are the archangels Michael (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7) and Gabriel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26).
Michael has the special task of caring for Israel, and Gabriel communicates special messages to God’s servants.
Angels are never known to appear to wicked people—only to those whom the Bible views as good, such as Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Jesus, Peter, and Paul.
They are charged with caring for such people and serving them in times of need (Ps. 91:11, 12; Heb. 1:14).
This task is illustrated by the role the angels played in God’s giving of the Law to Moses (Acts 7:38, 53; Heb. 2:2).
Sometimes their guidance comes through human dreams (Gen. 28:12; 31:11).
Angels also protect the people of God (Ex. 14:19, 20; Dan. 3:28; Matt. 26:53).
They meet a wide variety of human needs, including relieving hunger and thirst (Gen. 21:17–19; Mark 1:13) and overcoming loneliness and dread (Luke 22:43).
They sometimes deliver the people of God from danger (Acts 5:19; 12:6–11).
Although they are not the objects of salvation, angels are interested in the salvation of human beings (Luke 15:10; 1 Cor. 4:9).
They also were particularly active in the events surrounding the birth and resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 1:20; 2:13, 19; 28:2; Luke 1:11–38; 2:9–15; 22:43; 24:23; John 20:12).
The frequency with which angels participate in human affairs has diminished since Pentecost, probably because of the larger role played by the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians since then. Jesus spoke frequently of angels, both good and bad (Matt. 13:41; 26:53; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:8, 9).
Angels are quite real, and they play a vital part in God’s plan for the world.
As you develop your understanding and beliefs about angelic forces, good and evil, cosmic battles in the heavens, and other topics of the supernatural, be sure that they accord with Scripture.
Sensational stories and wild speculations may make for interesting reading, but ultimately truth is at stake.
God’s revelation in Scripture can help you sort it all out.