One of the most interesting thoughts as we ponder spiritual concepts is what do angels look like? Are they cute? Do they glow? What is their purpose? The Bible has angels throughout the scriptures and many descriptions from which we can obtain a clearer picture of the appearance of them. Some of the most popular named angels include Michael the archangel, Gabriel the messenger angel, and let us not forget Lucifer, the fallen angel who became Satan.
Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about angels.
Angels Are Servants
One of the most beautiful verses about angels is Hebrews 1:14, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” A primary job of an angel is not only a servant of God but a servant of believers. They minister to the people of Christ on earth (Psalm 91:11). Think about after Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness how angels came and ministered to Him (Matthew 4:11). Angels are unseen to the human eye but are actively working on earth to bring forth the plan of God (Colossians 1:16). Angels are in Heaven right now serving Jesus (1 Peter 3:22).
Angels Are Not Redeemed
Humanity entering into eternity is said to be similar to angels in that they do not marry (assuming no reproduction), and they cannot die. Luke 20:35-38 says, “But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”
Angels do not have the same opportunity to be redeemed as mankind (Hebrews 2). Hebrew 2:16 says, “For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.” This poses the question, “Why would God choose to redeem us?” Part of the beauty of redemption through Jesus is that God did not restore relationship with angels but actually made a plan to bring us back to Himself (Isaiah 14:12, 1 Peter 1:12, 2 Peter 2:4, Revelation 12).
Who We Refer to as Demons Were Once One-Third of God’s Angels
Satan was previously an angel who fell from Heaven (Luke 10:18). The issue was that Satan wanted to be God. One-third of the angels of the Lord went with Satan against Him. We would now call them demons.
Revelation 12:3-9 is a very informative text about the fall of angels and the battle that kicked them out of Heaven.
It states, “Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”
The dragon represents Satan and his tail swept one-third of the stars, meaning he took a third of the angels to earth with him to be against God. There was a war in heaven and Michael (who we know as the archangel), and two-thirds of the angels of God fought and beat Satan and the one-third fallen angels. These angels abandoned the Lord and their home (Jude 1:6).
I think of the symbol of a tail as following behind. Those who choose to follow the Devil will be led to their destruction, but those who say, “Get behind me Satan” (Matthew 16:23) remember that even though the enemy may follow behind, that they are following Someone much greater in front, the Lord our God who crushes his head (Genesis 3:15).
Angels Worship God
Although many people like to depict angels as singing beings, many of the scriptures imply speaking praises of God (Revelation 4:8, Revelation 5:11-12). These servants obey the Scriptures and do His work (Psalm 103:20). Part of their main responsibility is to bring glory to the Lord.
There Are a Lot of Angels
Angels Are Warriors
There are many Scriptures that share of angels being involved in spiritual warfare (Revelation 12:7, Ephesians 6, Psalm 91). It is great to know that angels are on our side, but also vital for us to remember that Jesus is the one in which we have the victory. Yes, spiritual warfare is real, but we do not need to hyper-focus on it to a point of forgetting that we walk from a place of triumph through Christ.
There are a few different types of angels mentioned in Scripture: cherubim, seraphim, and archangels. The most commonly depicted angels model the cherubim with their two wings. Seraphim look a little more like something you would see in a Sci-Fi film. When Archangels might terrify you if you saw one, due to their warrior-like appearance and responsibilities. Jason Soroski of Bible Study Tools explains, “The six-winged angels that appear to Isaiah are described as Seraphim. The two-winged angels atop the Ark of the Covenant are described as Cherubim. The Bible also lists Archangels, such as Michael, who are thought to be superior to the others and angelic leaders.”
As far as Who is the Angel of the Lord, Soroski also shares “Many believe this to be Christ himself acting in the Old Testament, and there is indeed merit to that argument. This angel appears to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:24-25), to Gideon (Judges 6:11-12), and Abraham (Genesis 22:15).”
Angels look so different in the media because the world is not seeking scriptures for accurate depictions. Cartoons will have one demon and one angel on each shoulder that look nothing like the real beings based on biblical descriptions. However, they also misrepresent the Devil. He is not dressed in red and carrying a pitchfork. He is actually very attractive and referred to as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Sin appears enticing to us, although his true colors might be hideous, Satan is much too aware that this world goes for appeal. Angels look different in the media simply because the media have chosen to create a false representation of a real being that has carried through from generation to generation.
Hope Bollinger from Christianity.com says, “Angels, being spiritual beings, can take on different forms. As we see in Scripture, at times they can appear as humans, to the point where we may not even recognize that we’ve served an angel (Hebrews 13:2). Other times, we get some really bizarre passages, like the one found in Ezekiel 1, where the prophet attempts to describe angels through a series of images, including wheels covered in eyes. The short answer is we don’t have a definitive description for angels, but we can use Scripture to show how they sometimes appear.”
One of the most popular phrases from angels in the Bible is, “Do not be afraid” (Genesis 21:7, Daniel 10:12, Matthew 1:20, Matthew 28:5, Luke 1:13, and Luke 1:30). These accounts span across the Old Testament and New alike and include Hagar, Daniel, Joseph, Mary Magdalene, Zechariah, and Mary the mother of Jesus. This poses the question, what did the angels who appeared look like, and why did they want to comfort the people in which they appeared to?
Part of the thrill in the mystery of the unknown is the search. We will not have all of the answers this side of heaven but may our desire for understanding drive us each into the Bible. Ultimately, may it lead us to a greater appreciation for our redemption through Jesus Christ.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com