Christmas is a time of miracles and of angels. It was the angel Gabriel who announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Christ-child, if one believes Luke 1:26-28 in the Bible. It was Gabriel who also told Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, that his aging wife would bear a son and that his unbelief would render him mute until the birth. It was a choir of angels that sang of the birth to shepherds in the field at night.
But most don’t know much about angels. Largely, the main source of information about angels, the Bible, doesn’t say a lot about them. They are listed throughout the Old Testament from Genesis through Revelation. But what are they? Below are some answers.
What Does An Angel Look Like?
Isaiah had a dramatic vision of the angels honoring God, writing they had the face of a human, but with four faces, four wings, cloven hooves and area shiny bronze. However, all other cases listed in the Bible describe angels as looking just like a human. In fact, many people they interacted with thought they were people – at least at first. Scripture from Hebrews 13:2 exhorts to be kind to strangers because you could be entertaining an angel and not be aware of it.
There are angels with a masculine look and others who look like women, as in Zechariah 5:9.
Where did Angels Come From?
God created them. According to Scripture, God created everything so that would include angels. If you believe Scripture, God created angels with a will. The Book of Daniel writes of angels being cast out of Heaven for rebellion against God. They decided to rebel, so they had a will.
What is the Purpose of Angels?
God created angels for three basic purposes: to glorify Himself, to give messages to humans, and to serve and protect humans. Isaiah writes of seeing angels in Heaven praising God. Angels gave messages to Abraham that he would have a son by Sarah as well as Mary in the New Testament.
Angels have helped humans, according to Scripture, by comforting Hagar, the slave of Abraham and Sarah when she is cast out by Sarah. They also helped to protect Lot and his family prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, issuing him a warning and telling him they needed to leave. A fourth person was seen by palace officials in the burning oven with the three Hebrew men known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were released unharmed.
One purpose of angels is as warriors to fight for us spiritually. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 6:12 saying the real battle is in the spiritual realm. Hebrews 12:22-23 states the church (the general concept of believers) has a multitude of angels watching over it.
Do Angels Have Names?
Yes, but the only two mentioned in the Bible are the two archangels Michael and Gabriel. Raphael is also considered an archangel in the major faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but is not directly mentioned in the Bible. Some think Raphael is the angel mention in the Gospel of John at the healing pool of Bethesda. Because of this, this angel is typically believed to be a healing angel.
Do Angels Have a Hierarchy?
Yes, there are clearly archangels and other lower angels. All information from the Bible and other faiths indicate angels operate much like an army, each with specific duties and particular geographic areas of work, under God’s command.
Do Angels Help Us Today?
Yes. The Bible indicates angels are eternal and are meant to continually help humanity, so there is no reason they wouldn’t still guard and protect us. Noted author Doreen Virtue certainly believes that as she has written numerous books on guardian angels, deciphering messages from angels, and how the archangel Gabriel has interacted with humans in modern day.
Does Everyone Have a Guardian Angel?
While the term “guardian angel” is not mentioned in Scripture, the Bible clearly states they are all around. The Psalms state that God commands angels to “encamp all around us” and King David wrote in that book that angels keep humans from getting hurt and have always been with us, strengthening us and ministering to us.