Most men and women today when asked
about angels would give a vague description
of spirit-like, winged creatures, decked with halos, inhabiting
heaven; and many believe that the angelic state is a reward for
those human beings who devote their mortal life to "doing good".
But do we have any definite information
available on angels? Or do we have to rely on these misty ideas
passed down from one generation to another?
What are angels?
As our title suggests, we believe
that the Bible contains authentic information
about angels and so, as angels are undeniably connected with God
in heaven and the Bible is his wholly inspired word, it seems logical
to turn to its pages to find out more about them. In so doing, we
discover the following facts:
Angels are described as "ministering
spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation"
The Psalmist says, "Bless the
LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his (God's)
commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the
LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure"
As "ministers" or messengers
of God (the Greek word translated 'angels' in the New Testament
is "angelos" which means simply a 'messenger' and is in
fact used several times in the scriptures to denote purely a person
sent on an errand - see Luke 7:24: "messenger" = "angelos"),
we find throughout the Bible that their function is to superintend
the outworking of God's purpose on earth.
Whilst invisibly supervising various
developments in the earth, the angels have a specific duty to guard
and guide those men and women who "fear" God (Psalms 34:7),
the supreme example of which, of course, was the Lord Jesus Christ,
of whom is was said that God would "give his angels charge
over thee to keep thee in all thy ways" (Psalms 91:11).
Do angels have wings?
To many this would seem a strange
question to ask as it is almost uniformly accepted that these celestial
beings are appendaged with dazzling white wings to transport them
through the realms of space. But what does the Bible say? The evidence
of the scriptures shows that angels appeared, and were described,
as "men" on several occasions (see eg. Mark 16:5: Genesis
19:1,5) and as such, have been mistaken for mere humans by those
to whom they were sent. So much so that the apostle in Hebrews 13:2
warns believers to "be not forgetful to entertain strangers
for thereby some have entertained angels
What is the purpose of the angel's
It is obvious that God, through
the ministration of his angels, is very much concerned with affairs
on this earth and indeed his son taught us to pray for his kingdom
to come and his "will to be done in earth, as it is (now done)
in heaven," presently, by the angels. Jesus also promised that
"the meek shall inherit the earth" and those whom he accounts
worthy of this inheritance, will then become "equal unto the
angels". This is what Jesus said. "...they which shall
be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from
the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can
they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the
children of God, being the children of the resurrection" (Luke
The Bible has much to say on the
subject of salvation, which consists of a far more concrete hope
than the vague pictures of heavenly, angelic existence commonly
taught today. We have to turn to its pages to unearth the facts
and not rely on mere tradition which, as we have seen, can be far
from Biblical truth.