What Does The Bible Say About Angels

Angels, the heavenly servants of God featured in various passages of the Bible, have long captivated human curiosity. The holy scriptures provide many insights into just what is meant when discussing angels and their purpose.

The subject of angels is discussed in both the Old and the New Testament. The Hebrew word for angel, mal’akh, appears over two hundred times in the Old Testament and is translated as a messenger, representative or agent of God. While angels are repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament, they are given greater prominence and attention in the New Testament. The term aggelos appears over one hundred times in the New Testament and can often be translated as the English word ‘angel’.

Angels are typically described in the Bible with highly impressive physical attributes. The Gospel of Matthew reveals that the angel which told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus, ‘shone with a great light’. The Book of Daniel elaborates to describe a figure as having hair like that of a woman and eyes like lightning, although when humans experienced the direct presence of angels, either the face or form of the angel were often revealed as that of a man.

The Bible makes clear that angels are powerful and wise creations of God; they do not have the same mortality as human beings, and possess abilities and understanding that surpass the capabilities of us mere mortals. The book of Joshua records an occasion where the sun sets, possibly due to the intervention of an angelic messenger. In addition, the Psalmist wrote: ‘Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word’.

Angels in the Bible have set roles and responsibilities. For example, they have acted as guardians, protectors and messengers of the Lord. An angel appeared to Noah, to warn him of the coming flood and it was an angel who revealed the Word of God to the prophet Zechariah. The Book of Acts does not shy away from describing occasions where angels assisted the apostles.

It is also important to consider that although angels can act as servants of God, the Bible does not extend the same reverence for angelic messengers as for the almighty himself. As the text of Hebrews goes: ‘Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it’.

Angels in Judaism

Judaism has a rich tradition of angelology, with a wide array of unique explanations related to the idea of angels. Much of the source material comes from the Talmud and other such works; they are presented as an alternate explanation alongside the scriptures.

One of the most famous accounts in Jewish angelology is the ‘War in Heaven’ as described in the book of Revelation. Jewish literature continues to discuss and elaborate on this tale with writings such as the Sefer ha-Peliah, in which it is said ‘all the heavenly host wars against him’. In other Jewish texts, angels emerge as the physical representatives of God rather than just messengers.

In particular, Judaism often views angels as mysterious forces that bring about miracles in the world and provide God’s will to His people. For example, several traditions in Talmudic writings describe angels as the factors behind miraculous events, such as the parting of the Red Sea, and also working in miraculous ways on Earth to bring about God’s will.

Finally, angels have a unique place within Jewish theology. Besides fulfilling the roles of messengers and guardians, they are sometimes viewed as a bridge between the heavenly world and earthly humans. Angels can thus be seen to serve as intermediaries, who can provide both spiritual counsel and material assistance.

Angels in Islam

In Islam, angels are viewed as powerful beings, created from light and given the task by God to serve as the bearers of his divine will. While Muslim culture does not provide a definitive set of beliefs about angels due to the limited scriptural accounts, general consensus exists on several key points.

Angels are regarded as having been created before humans, and they are undying. Most agree that they exist in a hierarchal order, with the highest level of angels, including Jibril (Gabriel), having access to a much higher form of knowledge than those beneath him.

Angels have many roles in Islam and have been given significant attention in the Qur’an. They are described as the bearers of the divine message to humans, appearing directly to the prophets and bringing revelation. Additionally, Muslims believe that all deeds are observed by the angels and ordained by God, and that each one has a personal angel to record their deeds, who will present them when the soul comes before God.

Angels are also seen as the servants and protectors of God, entreating Him and fulfilling his commands. Muslims believe that angels obey God unequivocally, and carry out the will of their creator. There are several verses in the Qur’an which illustrate this point, including the following: ‘Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel-for he brings down the revelation to thy heart by God’s will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe’.

Way of Life

The manner of angels is also discussed in the Bible. Daniel remarked to king Nebuchadnezzar: ‘the holy one in heaven relaxed his spirit in that holy ones’. This verse gives us an insight into the way of life of angels; not only is it peaceful and revered, but they are in a constant state of rejoicing and praise, living in the holy presence of their maker.

In addition to living in accord with God’s will, angels possess far greater physical faculties than humans. Some biblical texts indicate that angels are able to fly, as Isaiah records on hearing an angel crying: ‘Their wings were lifted up above’. The Bible even suggests that angels could be capable of greater feats: ‘Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the paws of a calf and they sparkled like burnished bronze’.

Moreover, a unique characteristic of angelic beings is that they have no gender. Whilst many passages in the Bible refer to angels as male, there are also many examples which could be interpreted as female, suggesting a lack of gender in angelic nature. This view is challenged in Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas’s writings, in which he surmised that angels may possess twofold gender, but this remains a subject of debate.


The role of angels as messengers and guardian in the Bible has been explored for many centuries. In addition to the additional accounts of angels found in Jewish and Islamic scripture, the biblical accounts are richly detailed and pieced together by numerous commentaries. Consequently, a wide array of perspectives on angels have been presented both by theologians and clergy throughout the centuries.

The Bible’s accounts of angels grant us an insight into the power and purpose of these heavenly beings. Their mission as intermediaries between the earthly and heavenly realms, providing aid and guidance to those whom they encounter on their journey, illustrates the incredible nature of God’s creations.

Sinful Nature

Angels are not perfect. Whilst they are created to spread the divine will, the Bible is unequivocal in its passages condemning the fallen angels who, through their ungodliness, have become enemies of human kind.

The Book of Revelation informs us of an ‘angel of the Abyss’ who, in attempting to take the throne of God for himself, was cursed for his vanity. Similarly, the book of Genesis informs us of an angel named Lucifer, who, due to his sin and pride, was cast from the abode of heaven. This gives a greater understanding into the nature of angels and how their power ought to be respected and channelled within the will of God.

On the other hand, angels are still traditionally viewed in a positive light, even when they do possess a sinful nature. For example, a Qur’anic verse makes acceptance of the fallen angels by a superior angel: ‘My Lord, these are a people who do not believe’ – to which a reply was given ‘Then bear with them, O Gabriel’.


Eschatology is an area of belief within the faith that deals with ‘the last things’: death, judgement, and the ultimate destiny of humankind. Some parts of the Bible describe a time when angels will come to judge the deeds of men and deliver judgement as commanded by God.

The Book of Revelation records numerous references to this idea, notably speaking of four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. The first angel who blows his trumpet commands the destruction of human cities, saying ‘Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great’, whilst the seventh angel who sounds his trumpet announces the coming of the new kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus said, ‘‘No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father’, suggesting that even the activities of the angels will be subject to God’s timing. This provides further evidence of the faith we should have in God and the authority which angels hold in delivering his will.

Spiritual Guides

Angels are not just messengers, but also guides and teachers, offering wisdom and comfort to those in their presence. In the book of Hebrews is written ‘Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?’, hinting at their functional relationship to humans.

The Bible further records an instance of an angel instructing Elijah in the midst of a spiritual crisis. It reads ‘An angel touched him and said: ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ At that the angel of the Lord had come a second time and touched him and said: ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’’ On a deeper level, this story speaks to the capacity angels have for providing spiritual counsel as well as physical protection.

The Bible also reveals that angels are with us during moments of prayer, worship and contemplation. In the Old Testament we read: ‘Crying out, he said, ‘What have I to do with you, Jesus, the Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me!’ For he was commanded by the angel of the Lord to keep the Lord’s words.’ It appears that angels are not just sent messengers, but individuals with their own insights and moral authority.


While angels may have blurred the boundaries between Church and state, they have captivated the imaginations of many theologians and scholars. From prophets to spiritual guides, angels have followed humanity through history, providing direct

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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