There have been myths, legends, stories, and superstitions surrounding angels for centuries. Artists have often portrayed angels as winged beings with harps and halos who do little more than sit on clouds soaking up the sun. While these ideas and depictions of angels can be fun and harmless, how true are they? To find the truth, we have to go to the source and discover what the Bible says about angels.
Angels are not God and have not always existed. God created angels as part of the universe He created. Paul tells us, in Colossians 1:16, God created all things “visible and invisible”. Paul includes the creation of angels when he speaks of principalities and dominions. The fact that God created all things ensures us that the angels, along with everything else, were created by God.
How Many Angels Exist?
Just how many angels are there in heaven? The truth is that no one here on Earth knows, but there are some hints in the Bible that there is a large number of angels in heaven, and could be a number beyond counting. In Matthew 26:53, Jesus says, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” Some experts suggest that one legion of angels is 12,000. God is a big God, and God doesn’t do anything small or halfway, so the number of angels in heaven may be beyond our comprehension, just as the number of stars in the universe or grains of sands on the beach.
There are Only two Angels Named in the Bible
Some theologians and others who study angels and the bible believe all angels have names, and movies and books often give angels names. But strictly from a biblical perspective, there are only two angels named explicitly in the Bible: Michael and Gabriel. The archangel Michael is mentioned in several scriptures including Revelation 12:7–8, and Daniel 10:13. Gabriel is named several times in the Bible and appears as God’s messenger in Luke 1. Luke 1:26-27 says, “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27: to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” Since we know that two angels have names, we can infer that all angels have names. However, the Bible does not tell us this for certain, nor does it name any other angels.
Angels Possess Mighty Powers
Angels are God’s servants and soldiers. Angels in the Bible perform all types of powerful acts and deeds. Revelation 12:7 Speaks of the war in heaven and how the angels fought against the dragon. Angels are also here to help us. Hebrews 1:14 “Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.”
There are Different Types of Angels
Some experts consider seraphim, cherubim, thrones, domination, virtues, powers, principalities, and archangels all to be angels in heaven, but the Bible only speaks of cherubim, seraphim, and living creatures as heavenly beings. Here are the three types of angels in the Bible.
Cherubim are mentioned in several scriptures throughout the Bible, and they were charged with guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24).
God uses them as transportation or rides on them as suggested in Psalm 18:10.
From these scriptures, we can infer that cherubim act as guards and possibly a means of transportation, but like other angels, they do whatever God requests or assigns them to do. Artists often depict cherubs of chubby children with wings, but the Bible tells us that angels do not have bodies like us.
Seraphim are celestial beings mentioned in Isaiah 6:1-3. This scripture tells us that the seraphim continually worship God and have two or three pair of wings. Some believe that seraphim act as guardians of God’s throne. Texts also describe seraphim as having a strong passion for doing God’s work.
Ezekiel and Revelation speak of heavenly beings known as “living creatures” that stay or live around God’s throne (Ezekiel 1:5–14, Revelation 4:6–8). These “living beings” appeared in different forms to Ezekiel resembling certain animals on Earth, and they worshipped God day and night. However, the Bible never calls these beings angels specifically, but we can infer that they are angels since they are heavenly beings.
What do Angels Do?
What angels do is pretty simple to understand when you read the Bible. Angels do God’s will. Angels do what God tells them to do without hesitation or question and in complete obedience. In Revelation, the angels will pour out their cups and unleash the disasters that will signal the end of days. Angels kill, destroy, help people, bring plagues, or anything else God requires them to do for our greater good and His glory.
2 Kings 19:35 (NIV) says, “That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies.”
When angels do God’s work, they trust Him completely and understand that God is above all. The angels are an example of how we should be when it comes to trusting God and being completely obedient.
Verse to Remember: 1 Corinthians 6:3 “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” This scripture gives us hope because one day after Christ’s return, God’s Children will be above the angels.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, help me to understand your will for my life and grant me the courage to be obedient to your desires for me. Let me put my whole trust in your love and direction for my life. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.