What is an Angel?

What is an Angel?

The Word “angel” tells us something about what angels do (in the sense that they are “messengers”) but does not really tell us what they are. An observation of Scripture concerning the question, “What is an angel” gives the following responses.

(1) Angels are spirit beings (Heb. 1:7, 14). See Colossians 1:16. The flesh and spirit contrast often is set forth in the Bible. God is referred to as “Spirit” in John 4:20-24. The Bible often uses the word “spirit” to refer to nonphysical entities–and this is its significance regarding angles. See Psalm 104:4, where God’s words says, “He makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire” (ESV). Both fire and wind are powerful forces that can move swiftly and are bodiless. Angels swiftly and powerfully move about in service to God. As spirit beings they do NOT intrinsically possess bodies – composed of “matter’ – having weight and taking up space, etc.

(2) Angels are superhuman beings – at least in the sense they have far greater abilities in a number of ways than do humans. They open doors to release people from prison (Acts 5:19; 12:5-11). They reveal messages from God (Act 10:3-4; 23:9; 27:23). They brought judgment upon the wicked (Acts 12:23; Gen. 19:10-11).

(3) Angels are personal beings. They have intellect, emotion and will. See 1 Peter 1:10-12; Luck 15:7, 10; Revelation 22:8-9; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6. While angels are spirit beings, they also exhibit personhood.

(4) Angels are holy beings. See Daniel 4:13, 17; 1 Thess. 3:13; Jude 14; Revelation 14:40. Although clothed with glory and splendor (Luke 2:9; 24:4-5) and with access to heaven itself (Luke 3:13-15; John 1:41), their holiness comes from God. God alone is inherently holy.

(5) Angels are created beings. John 1:1-3; Ephesians 3:14- 15; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2-5; Colossians 1:15-16; Job 38:4-7. See also Psalm 103:20-21. The best we can say is that angels were created by God, but exactly WHEN – we cannot say. This is one of many areas were the words of Deuteronomy 29:29 ought to be respected.

(6) Angels are NOT Deity. They are not lesser gods. The Bible does NOT teach polytheism – the view of many “gods” (cf. Matt 4:9-10; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9). There is no evidence angels possess God’s attributes of eternality, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, etc. They are not to be worshiped.

The study of angels is a fascinating study, but the study of God is far more fascinating. And HE is the ONE the angels of heaven praise and talk about!


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