Angel and Angels - Guardian Angels and Archangels

What is an Angel?

An angel (Greek: angelos, "messenger") is a celestial being believed to function as a messenger or agent of God. In the Old Testament, angels are called "messengers," "men," "powers," "princes," "sons of God," and the "heavenly host." They either have no body or one that is only apparent. They come as God's messengers to aid or punish, are assigned to individual persons or nations, and often have a name (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel). Angels, for example, announced Christ's birth (Luke 2) and resurrection (Matt. 28).


Angel is a word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a "messenger," and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to execute his purposes. It is used of an ordinary messenger (Job 1:14: 1 Sam. 11:3; Luke 7:24; 9:52), of prophets (Isa. 42:19; Hag. 1:13), of priests (Mal. 2:7), and ministers of the New Testament (Rev. 1:20). It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the pestilence (2 Sam. 24: 16, 17; 2 Kings 19:35), the wind (Ps. 104:4). But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly intelligences whom God employs in carrying on his government of the world. Angels never die (Luke 20:36). They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power (Mark 13:32; 2 Thess. 1:7; Ps. 103:20). They are called "holy" (Luke 9:26), "elect" (1 Tim. 5:21). The redeemed in glory are "like unto the angels" (Luke 20:36).

As to their nature, they are spirits (Heb. 1:14), like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as "like the angels" (Luke 20:36), and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form (Gen. 18:2; 19:1, 10; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10), and the titles that are applied to them ("sons of God," Job 1:6; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; comp. 28) and to men (Luke 3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between them and the human race.

Ancient and medieval peoples widely accepted the influence of good spirits, or angels, and evil spirits, or fallen angels. During the Middle Ages, theologians developed a hierarchy of angels. They were classified in the following nine ranks (beginning with the lowest): angels, archangels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominations, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim. Angels are a popular subject in folklore, literature, and art.

Pope St. Gregory the Great distinguishes between angels and archangels: ”Those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.” A catechism explains: ”From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. 'Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.' [Quoting St. Basil in Adv. Eunomium III, I.] Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.”

All Archangels end with the ”el” suffix, (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel). ”El” meaning ”in God” and the first half of the name meaning what each individual Angel specializes in. Archangels are able to be in many places at one time. You never have to feel that your ”problem” isn't important enough to bother them with. That is what they're there for, to help you grow in faith. The most popular Archangels are Michael, Raphael and Gabriel who are depicted in the Christian Bible.

Characteristics of Angels

Angels are intelligent and wise (2 Samuel 14:20; 19:27; Matthew 24:35). Angels are patient (Numbers 11:22-35). They are meek (2 Peter 2:11). They can be joyful (Luke 15:1-10). Angels are modest (1 Corinthians 11:10). They are holy (Mark 8:38). They are glorious (Luke 9:26). Angels are immortal (Luke 20:36). They are mighty and powerful (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, Revelation 18:1). Angels are obedient (Psalm 103:20; Matthew 6:10). Angels have wills (Isaiah 14:12-14). Angels are referred to as male (Judges 13:6; Daniel 10:5-21). They have spirit bodies with limbs, eyes, voice, etc (Hebrews 13:2; Judges 13:6; Revelation 15:1-6). Angels don’t seem to need rest (Revelation 4:8). Angels can eat food (Genesis 18:8; 19:3; Psalm 78:25). They can be visible or invisible to us (Numbers 22:35; John 20:12; Hebrews 13:2). Angels can operate in our physical realm (Genesis 18:1-19, 24; 2 Kings 19:35). They can travel at incomprehensible speed (Revelation 8:13, 9:1). Angels can ascend and descend between heaven and earth (Genesis 28:12; John 1:51). Angels can speak languages (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Angels are personal spiritual beings who have intelligence, emotions, and will. This is true of both the good and evil angels (demons). Angels possess intelligence (Matthew 8:29; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 1:12), show emotion (Luke 2:13; James 2:19; Revelation 12:17), and exercise will (Luke 8:28-31; 2 Timothy 2:26; Jude 6). Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) without true physical bodies. Although they do not have physical bodies, they are still personalities.

Because they are created beings, their knowledge is limited. This means they do not know all things as God does (Matthew 24:36). They do know, however, all that God wants them to know. Also the fallen angels have a knowledge far superior to that of man. Firstly, because these angels were created as an order of creatures higher than humans. Therefore, they innately possess greater knowledge. Secondly, the fallen angels study the Bible and the world more thoroughly than humans do and gain knowledge from it (James 2:19; Revelation 12:12). Thirdly, fallen angels gain knowledge through long observation of human activities. Unlike humans, angels, good or bad, do not have to study the past; they have experienced it. Therefore, they know how others have acted and reacted in situations and can predict with a greater degree of accuracy how we may act in similar circumstances.

Though they have wills, angels, like all creatures, are subject to the will of God. Good angels are sent by God to help believers (Hebrews 1:14). Here are some activities the Bible ascribes to angels:

They praise God (Psalm 148:1-2; Isaiah 6:3). They worship God (Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:8-13). They rejoice in what God does (Job 38:6-7). They serve God (Psalm 103:20; Revelation 22:9). They appear before God (Job 1:6; 2:1). They are instruments of God's judgments (Revelation 7:1; 8:2). They bring answers to prayer (Acts 12:5-10). They aid in winning people to Christ (Acts 8:26; 10:3). They observe Christian order, work, and suffering (1 Corinthians 4:9; 11:10; Ephesians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:12). They encourage in times of danger (Acts 27:23-24). They care for the righteous at the time of death (Luke 16:22). The greatest thing we can learn from the holy angels is their instant, unquestioning obedience to God’s commands.

Angels: Servants of God

Angels are servants of God that help carry out His commands. Angels are real spiritual beings that are documented throughout the Bible. They are documented in both the Old and New Testaments. While God's angels carry out His commands, the Bible also tells us that there is a supreme, fallen angel who is against God (Matthew 25:41) and other angels that are evil and face God's punishment (Jude 1:6). Angels are also messengers of God. For example, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb, "the angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified'" (Matthew 28:5). They predict his advent (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26-38), minister to him after his temptation and agony (Matt. 4:11; Luke 22:43), and declare his resurrection and ascension (Matt. 28:2-8; John 20:12, 13; Acts 1:10, 11). They are now ministering spirits to the people of God (Heb. 1:14; Ps. 34:7; 91:11; Matt. 18:10; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7; 27:23). They rejoice over a penitent sinner (Luke 15:10). They bear the souls of the redeemed to paradise (Luke 16:22); and they will be the ministers of judgement hereafter on the great day (Matt. 13:39, 41, 49; 16:27; 24:31).

The physical descriptions of angels have also been documented in the Bible and history: "His appearance was like lightening, and his clothes were white as snow" (Matthew 28:3). "I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like Chrysolite, his face like lightening, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of multitude" (Daniel 10:5,6). The Bible also describes angels with wings that can fly. "Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two wings they covered their feet and with two they were flying" (Isaiah 6:2).

Angels: Do they really exist?

Actual accounts of angels have been witnessed and recorded by many people throughout the Bible. Beginning in Genesis 16:7, "The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert…and he said; 'Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?'" Again, in Genesis 22:11, an angel communicates with Abraham, "But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, Abraham! Abraham!" Angels continue to appear throughout the entire Bible, ending with the last book, Revelation. "Then the angel said to me, 'Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the lamb!' and he added, 'These are the true words of God'" (Revelation19:9).

Angels: What are their Powers and Authority?

Angels communicate messages of God to His people. Angels also have powers to perform works for God that are beyond the ability of humans. "But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out" (Acts 5:19). "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it" (Matthew 28:2). Angels have the power to minister to God's people. "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14). As we can observe, the powers of angels are to minister and serve God. Angels, like people, are to worship God, not replace Him. "And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory'" (Isaiah 6:3). In addition, God calls on the angels to worship His Son, Jesus. "…Let all God's angels worship Him" (Hebrews 1:6).

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