Do You Know the Truth About Angels?

Posted on 12/03/15 by Jim George


Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53).

If you are like many people, when you think of angels, your mind immediately thinks about the figure often placed on the top of a Christmas tree. Perhaps we are inclined to respond this way because the Christmas story in Luke 2 mentions angels who spoke to the shepherds. 

The English word angel comes from the Greek word angelos, meaning “messenger.” So in Scripture, an angel is essentially a created being whose task is to be a messenger from God.

Angels Fall into Two Categories—Good and Bad 

Good angels: This category is made up of holy angels or angels of God. Jesus also spoke of “his angels” as those who could be called upon to provide assistance (Matthew 24:31). 

Even within the category of good angels there are different kinds of angels:

- Cherubim—The first kind of angels mentioned in the Bible are cherubim (plural of cherub). They were celestial beings sent by God to guard the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24). They were represented symbolically on the ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:18-22), in the tabernacle (Exodus 26:31) and temple (2 Chronicles 3:7), and seen by the prophet Ezekiel in a vision of the restored Jerusalem (Ezekiel 41:18-20). 

- Seraphim—These angels have their ministry in heaven. They were seen by Isaiah in a vision as hovering above the throne of God and described as having six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew (Isaiah 6:1-3).

- Guardian angels—These are sent by God to minister to all believers (Hebrews 1:14), and to those angels who guide the affairs of nations, also called “the chief princes” (Daniel 10:10-14).

- Rulers and authorities—These terms are used by Paul to describe different orders of angels, but their specific functions are unclear (Ephesians 1:21).

- God’s messengers—These good angels announced and heralded the birth of Christ. They also tended to Jesus in the wilderness and in the Garden of Gethsemane. They were present at the empty tomb of the resurrected Lord and at His ascension into heaven. In the future they will proclaim God’s messages of judgment (Revelation 14–17) and, as messengers, will execute God’s judgments (Revelation 20:1-3).

Bad angels: This category of angelic beings consists of “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). They formerly resided in heaven, but they were unfaithful to God and were driven out of heaven and cast down to Earth by the holy angels. Satan is the chief advocate of evil and wickedness in this group of fallen angels. 

What Does This Mean for You?

There is a war going on, but it is not a war you can see. It’s spiritual warfare. Although God and the devil are in battle, you don’t have to wait until the end to see who will win. God has already defeated Satan, his angels, and the power of sin and death with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.


Learn more about angels and other significant biblical topics in The 50 Most Important Teachings of the Bible.

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