Not plump, rosy-cheeked babies...
|Angels are God’s messengers, living in a supernatural realm which overlaps both heaven and earth.
The Bible says there are many kinds—cherubim and seraphim, for example—and there is a hierarchy, with archangels above lower orders, and the Archangel Michael over all. They are also beyond number, making up the heavenly host.
In the Bible, they appear in a series of different situations, roles and even guises. Don’t imagine cutesy baby cherubs, though: think of immensely tall, dazzling men in glowing robes. Scary-looking, beast-like creatures with wings. Fierce warriors with flaming swords. And even appearing ‘deglorified’, looking just like humans, walking among us on earth.
(Satan, the devil, has his own angels—called demons. While still in heaven they tried to mount a coup against God. It failed, of course, and they fell into hell. They’re great deceivers, whose lives' work is to turn you away from God!)
It’s a little confusing that many references in the Old Testament refer to the ‘Angel of the Lord’—which usually means the appearance of God himself.
In the Bible, angels protect people, warn them, comfort them, bring good news, spring them from prison, and are a holy warring army—even spreading plague over 70,000 of God’s people (2 Samuel [OT]). Mostly, though, they are messengers. Angels do whatever God commands (think of them as his task-force), and our prayers and testimony empower them.
Psalm 91 (OT)
tells us ‘He shall give his angels charge over you... In their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” The book of Hebrews (OT) says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” So if you ever wonder how you blew out a tyre on the motorway and somehow survived, or how babies can fall from sixth-story balconies and just ‘bounce’, perhaps an angel was involved?
A quick Google search, or a trip to a bookshop, shows how much interest there is in angels. But be careful: much of what is said in those pages is wrong, going directly against God’s teaching. Some offer rituals for seeking out your personal angel or ‘spirit guide’ (spirit guides are not a Christian concept, and are totally unconnected with holy angels), for trying to get in touch with your angel, or even that your angel should be worshiped.
But angels are created lower than God, and only God is worthy of worship. We shouldn’t communicate directly with angels—that’s going behind God’s back, and cutting him out the loop. They work for him, not you, so don’t try giving them stuff to do! Deal direct with the boss.
We don’t turn into angels when we die; angels are a separate species. They care deeply about us, though, celebrating when we turn to God. Jesus said: “I tell you… there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Watch the music video of the Newsboys’ Entertaining Angels
See angels in art (but remember they’re probably not realistic depictions!)
Look up angels in Wikipedia
Search the Bible for the many instances of angels
Read the book Angels: God's Secret Agents by Billy Graham
Read the book Angels: True Stories of How They Touch Our Lives by Hope Price
Read accounts of the key instances of angels in the book Angels by Adrian Roberts
Read Frank Peretti’s gripping novels about the battles between angelic and demonic activity on earth
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