Creatures with wings and harps, babies with a bow and arrow, and halo-singing children are some of the popular images of angels in our world today. Some images are accurate (as far as the Biblical record goes: some do have wings), and some images are downright strange. But the truth is, angels fascinate people.
According to author, Ron Rhodes, "angels have infiltrated the popular culture big time. Indeed, interest in angels is virtually soaring across the religious spectrum in North America—from mainline Christians to New Agers who seek comfort from these heavenly helpers in a troubled and often chaotic world."
Case in point: soccer legend and megastar, David Beckham, has a couple of large angel tattoos on his back and arm. And by last count, there are dozens of movies portraying angels: from the 1946 classic, It's A Wonderful Life, to the 2015 Fallen (highlighting a dark angel).
The cultural fascination with angels has a root in reality. The Bible is firm in its proclamation that the supernatural world, angels included, is real.
Angels are mentioned 196 times in the Bible. 103 references are found in the Old Testament, 93 from the New Testament. In all, angels are mentioned in 34 books of the Bible. The Hebrew word for angels is mal'ach; the Greek is angelos. Both words mean "messengers."
Here are a few other things to know about angels:
1) God created angels. Angels are part of God's created world. Though supernatural, angels are not like God; they are not all-knowing and all-powerful. In certain ways angels are more like human beings: They are created beings and have a free will. Angels can talk, fight and they worship God. The Bible even conveys some angel names: Michael and Gabriel, as an example. In time past, some angels rebelled against God—led by Lucifer (see Ezek. 28 and Is. 14)—demonstrating that angels have a will and choice.
2) Angels do not have a physical body like humans. Angels are of a different created order than humans. People do not become angels when they die. Angels are called "ministering spirits" in the Bible (Heb. 1:14), and usually cannot be seen by the human eye, existing on a supernatural, transdimensional level. Though, at times, God has allowed angels to enter in our time dimension for us to interact with them (see Luke 2). Jesus tells us that angels are not given in marriage (Luke 20:34), which may mean that they do not have family relations or the ability to procreate.
3) Angels have a job. The Bible teaches that angels have three main jobs. One, angels enact the will of God. They are messengers and ambassadors for God, doing what the Lord asks them to do. Two, they minister to Christians, the children of God (Ps. 91:11-12, Matt. 18:10; Heb. 1: 14). Three, angels worship and surround God in heaven (Rev. 4:8).
4) Types of angels. We do not know how many angels there are, but the Bible tells us that there are different types of angels. Besides those referred to simply as angels, there are Archangels such as Michael (Jude 9), there are Cherubim (Gen. 3:24, Ezek. 1:5-25 and 10), and finally there are Seraphim (Is. 6:2-3 and Rev. 4:6-8).
5) Arbitrators of Judgment. One last thing about angels is that they will be the ones to administer God's judgment at the end (see Rev. 15).
Though angels are fascinating and powerful, angels are not to be worshipped. Furthermore, we are not to seek out information or spiritual agendas from angels (Gal. 1:8), keeping our focus on Christ and what is taught in the Bible.
However, we can be thankful that God has created them, and that He uses them as ministers to us and for His glorious purposes.
I don't know about you, but I'm interested to know that God created beings other than life on earth. It is an interesting thought to think of what may be out there in the cosmos, supernatural or otherwise.
Angels are truly amazing creatures, showing the awesome nature of our Creator God.
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