Many people all over the world believe in angels. Some even worship them. But what does the Bible say about those spiritual beings? Let’s look at 25 Bible verses and what they teach us about those messengers of God.
1. Creation of Angels
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16 KJV)
The Bible states clearly that, as it is with all creatures, God created the angels as well (Nehemiah 9:6). It doesn’t mention which was the first angel ever created, though.
In Genesis chapter 2, before the Bible describes the creation of Adam and Eve, it says that “the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Genesis 2:1 KJV). In a beautiful poetic language, Job 38:4-7 says that the angels (also called “sons of God” and “morning stars” in some Bible versions) “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7 KJV) when the Lord “laid the foundations of the earth” (Job 38:4 KJV).
Therefore, we can assume that they were created before all other living creatures, including human beings. But we cannot determine the precise moment when that happened. Scripture also tells us that God made humans “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5 KJV).
2. Characteristics of Angels
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14 KJV)
The Bible doesn’t give us many details about angels. From what the Bible does tells us about them, we can list a few of their characteristics:
- Angels are spiritual beings (Psalm 104:4, Hebrews 1:14).
- They inhabit the spiritual realm called heaven (Mark 13:32, Galatians 1:8).
- They can be in only one place at a time (Daniel 10:11-14).
- They are immortal. They were created at one point in time, but they don’t die (Luke 20:36).
- They don’t marry (Matthew 22:30).
3. What Angels Look Like
“Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.” (Isaiah 6:2 NKJV)
We know that angels are spiritual beings. They don’t have physical bodies (Hebrews 1:14, Luke 24:39). However, the Bible presents a few different descriptions of angels:
- Angels with human form: Genesis 18:1-3, Daniel 9:21, Luke 24:4-5.
- Angels with wings: Exodus 25:20, 1 Kings 6:27, Isaiah 6:2.
- Some impressive descriptions: Ezekiel 1:5-14, Matthew 28:2-3, Revelation 10:1-6.
- In some cases, even though the angels looked like men, they still struck fear upon those who saw them (Judges 13:6, Luke 1:11-12,30, Luke 24:4-5).
4. Types of Angels
“So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24 KJV)
When the Bible talks about the heavenly hosts, it sometimes uses special words that indicate that there are different categories or types of angels:
- Cherubim: they are mentioned in several texts, such as Genesis 3:24, Ezekiel 10:1-22, Psalm 18:10. There were two golden images of cherubims on the mercy seat, at the top of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-22, 2 Chronicles 3:7-14).
- Seraphim: They are only mentioned in Isaiah 6:2-7. The text describes them like this: “each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew” (Isaiah 6:2 NKJV).
- Archangel: this word is mentioned only twice in Scripture, both in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 4:16, Jude 1:9). Michael is the only archangel named in the Bible (Jude 1:9). Note that this may not be a different type of angel, but a hierarchical position (Revelation 12:7-8).
Most biblical texts simply use the regular word “angel” when referring to these angelic beings.
5. Angels Interact with the Physical World
“But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth,” (Acts 5:19 KJV)
Even though angels are spirits (Hebrews 1:14), they can interact with the physical world. The Bible teaches that:
- They are spirits, so they don’t have physical bodies like we do (Luke 24:39).
- They cannot be seen by humans unless the Lord Almighty allows it (Numbers 22:31, 2 Kings 6:17, Luke 2:13-14).
- They may take a bodily form and interact with human beings (Genesis 18:1-8, Luke 1:11-20,26-38).
- They can affect the physical world when fulfilling a mission from God (Isaiah 37:36, Daniel 6:22, Acts 5:19).
6. The Power of the Angels
“Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” (2 Peter 2:11 KJV)
Scripture tells us that the angels are very powerful (2 Peter 2:11, Revelation 10:1). It says that they “excel in strength” (Psalm 103:20 KJV). The prophet Daniel saw, in a vision, the angel Gabriel “fly swiftly” (Daniel 9:21 KJV). In Isaiah 37:36 and 2 Kings 19:35, one single angel defeated an army of a hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers.
7. The Protection Angels Give Us
“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12 KJV)
The Bible tells us that one of the tasks that God assigns to His angels is to protect those who fear Him (Psalm 34:7, 91:11-12). Here are some examples of angels sent by God to guard His people and His individual servants:
- An angel of the Lord accompanied Israel during their travels from Egypt to the Promised Land (Exodus 14:19, 23:20).
- God sent an entire army of angels that were ready to defend Elisha and his servant from the enemy’s soldiers (2 Kings 6:17).
- Jesus Christ said that, if He called to His Father, there would be “twelve legions of angels” at His disposal to protect Him (Matthew 26:53 KJV). Of course, He didn’t do it because He needed to die on the cross to fulfill the Father’s plan and to pay for our sins.
We must not forget the example of Jesus, that was tempted by the devil to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple (Matthew 4:5-7). Satan told Him that He should do it because God would send His angels to protect Him, quoting Psalm 91:11-12. Jesus responded: “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7 KJV). So, we need to be careful not to abuse the promises of God and tempt Him.
8. Angels Fight Against Demons
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” (Revelation 12:7-8 KJV)
The Bible tells us that God’s angels fight against Satan’s angels, the demons. Here are a few examples:
- The being identified as the prince of the Persian kingdom (according to many Bible scholars, this title refers to a high-ranking demon) fought the angel Gabriel for 21 days until the archangel Michael arrived to help him (Daniel 10:13-14).
- Michael also fought the devil for Moses’s body (Jude 1:9).
- Michael will lead God’s angels in the final battle against Satan and his demons (Revelation 12:7,8).
9. The Meaning of the Word “Angel”
“And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7 KJV)
The word “angel” is the English translation of the Greek word “angelos” from the New Testament and the Hebrew word “mal’akh” from the Old Testament. Both words mean “messenger,” and they may refer to an angelic or a human messenger.
The Bible also uses the word “angels” when it refers to Satan’s messengers, the demons (Matthew 25:41). For example, it talks about a battle between God’s angels, led by the archangel Michael, and Satan and his angels (Revelation 12:7).
10. The Purpose of Angels
“Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” (Psalm 103:20 KJV)
Angels were created by God to serve and obey Him. You will find more topics in this article that describes specific tasks and responsibilities that God gives His angels. They worship Him (Isaiah 6:2-3), bring messages from Him (Luke 1:11-22, 26-38), fight enemies (Isaiah 37:36), protect and intervene for His people (Psalm 91:11-12), etc. In short, angels are the messengers of God that do what He commands them to, both in heaven and on earth.
11. Hierarchy of Angels
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9 KJV)
The Bible uses a few specific words to refer to what seems like a hierarchical order among angels:
Archangel: In Jude 1:9, the Bible mentions the archangel Michael, who was previously referred to as “one of the chief princes” (Daniel 10:13 KJV). The original Greek word means “chief angel,” which suggests that an archangel is in a leadership or commanding position to other angels (Revelation 12:7-8).
Thrones, dominions, principalities, powers: Colossians 1:16 and Ephesians 1:21 suggest a hierarchy of beings in these categories, but it doesn’t mention the angels explicitly. Ephesians 6:12 suggests that “principalities” and “powers” refer to demons, not the holy angels.
Due to the lack of any explanations about these words in the Bible, it is not possible to determine with certainty if they describe hierarchical positions, types of angels, or other kinds of collective nouns.
12. How Many Angels Are There?
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;” (Revelation 5:11 KJV)
The Bible doesn’t mention how many angels exist, but several references suggest it is a very large number (Psalm 68:17, Daniel 7:10, Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 5:11).
13. Names of Angels
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:” (Daniel 12:1 KJV)
Scripture mentions the individual names of only two angels: Michael and Gabriel. They are both mentioned in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Note that the book of Daniel mentions both angels by name.
Michael is the only archangel named in the Bible.
The Archangel Michael is mentioned in:
- Daniel 10:13,21: He is called a “chief prince” and he helped another angel fight “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” (Daniel 10:13 KJV) and bring God’s message to the prophet Daniel.
- Jude 1:9: He disputed Moses’s body with the devil.
- Revelation 12:7-8: He and his angels will fight against the dragon and his angels.
The angel Gabriel is mentioned in:
- Daniel 8:16, 9:21: He is the angel that brought God’s messages to Daniel.
- Luke 1:19: He told Zacharias that he and his wife Elisabeth were going to have a son (Luke 1:11-13).
- Luke 1:26: He told Mary that she was going to have a child, “the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32 KJV), and she was to name Him Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).
14. Angels Are Messengers of God
“Then he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true.’ And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.” (Revelation 22:6 NKJV)
In the Bible, one of the most common tasks that God assigns to His angels is to bring messages to humans and reveal the Lord’s plans to them. Here are some examples:
- An angel met Hagar in the desert and told her that she was going to give birth to Ishmael (Genesis 16:7-12).
- The angel Gabriel announced to Zacharias that his wife Elisabeth was going to get pregnant (Luke 1:11-22).
- Gabriel also announced to Mary her pregnancy and that she was going to give birth to Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38).
- An angel announced the good news about Jesus’s birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-15).
- An angel instructed Joseph about what he should do regarding Mary and the baby Jesus (Matthew 1:20, Matthew 2:13, Matthew 2:19-20).
- Angels told the women that Christ Jesus had resurrected from the dead (Matthew 28:2-7, Luke 24:4-5).
- An angel of the Lord told Philip to go to the desert (Acts 8:26).
- An angel instructed Cornelius to invite the apostle Peter to come to his house (Acts 10:3-8,22).
- An angel told Paul that he and the sailors were going to survive the shipwreck (Acts 27:23-24).
- John wrote the book of Revelation to register what an angel of God had shown him (Revelation 1:1-2).
15. Angels Worship the Lord
“Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.” (Psalm 148:2 KJV)
The angels not only obey and submit to the Lord, but they also worship Him. We find several references in Scripture about angels praising and worshipping God (Psalm 103:20, Isaiah 6:2-3, Nehemiah 9:6, Luke 2:13-14, Revelation 4:8). In Hebrews 1:5-6 and Revelation 5:11-12, the angels’ worship is directed to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
16. Angels Express Joy
“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10 KJV)
Jesus Christ said that the angels are joyful when a single sinner repents (Luke 15:10). The Bible also tells us that angels shouted for joy when God created the earth (Job 38:7). So, angels are capable of expressing joy for witnessing God’s power and grace in action.
17. Angels Submit to Jesus Christ
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
Christ Jesus is the Lord of all creation. The angels submit to His authority, as the Bible states in Hebrews 1:6,13. It says that Jesus Christ, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Peter 3:22 KJV).
Scripture also presents scenes of angels ministering to Jesus (John 1:51, Matthew 4:11) and accompanying Him upon His return (Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:31, Luke 9:26), every single one of them in submission to His authority.
18. Angels Intervene for the Saints
“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Psalm 34:7 KJV)
Following God’s orders, angels not only deliver messages to His people but also intervene for them. Here are some examples:
- One single angel struck down the entire army of Assyria and delivered God’s people from them (2 Kings 19:35, Isaiah 37:36).
- An angel of God shut the lions’ mouths and kept them from hurting the prophet Daniel (Daniel 6:22).
- An angel opened the prison doors and took the apostle Peter and the others out (Acts 5:19-20).
19. Angels Carry Out the Judgment of God
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” (Revelation 16:1 KJV)
God is patient and long-suffering when it comes to people’s sins (Psalm 78:38, 2 Peter 3:8-9). However, sooner or later, He will show His disapproval for what people do that is offensive to Him (Romans 1:18, 2:5).
The Bible tells us of some occasions when God orders angels to carry out His righteous judgment against sinners:
- An angel of God was sent to oppose Balaam and take his life (Numbers 22:21-35).
- God sent an angel to punish Jerusalem (2 Samuel 24:16-17, 1 Chronicles 21:15).
- An angel of the Lord took King Herod’s life (Acts 12:21-23).
- Christ Jesus will send His angels to cast offenders into the “furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:41-42,48-50 KJV).
20. Angels in Other Missions
“So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24 KJV)
The Bible tells us of other assignments that angels have received from the Lord, such as:
- Cherubims were placed at the East of the Garden of Eden, along with a flaming sword, to protect the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24).
- An angel brought food to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-7).
- God sends angels to patrol the whole earth (Zechariah 1:10-11).
- An angel strengthened Jesus while He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest (Luke 22:43).
- An angel rolled back the stone placed at the door of Jesus’s tomb (Matthew 28:2).
- Angels were present at Jesus’s empty tomb (Matthew 28:5-6, Luke 24:4-5, John 20:11-13).
21. Angels May Go Unnoticed
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2 KJV)
Angels are spirits and don’t have physical bodies. So, they can also go unnoticed by us, even though they can interact with the physical world. The statement on Hebrews 13:2 is probably based on Abraham’s experience as recorded in Genesis 18:1-8.
22. Angels at the End Times
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31 KJV)
There are many references in the Bible that talk about the participation of angels in the events of the end times. Here are some examples:
- Angels will be with Christ Jesus upon His return (Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:31, Luke 9:26, 2 Thessalonians 1:7).
- Jesus will send angels to gather His people (Matthew 24:31).
- Seven angels will blow their trumpets, which will bring calamities upon the world (Revelation 8:6).
- Angels will be present in the “heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22 KJV).
- An angel will bind Satan, “cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him” (Revelation 20:1-3 KJV).
The book of Revelation contains other texts that show angels participating in the final events (Revelation 10:1, 14:6-8, 16:1, 18:1-2,21, 19:17, and others).
23. Angels Are Subject to Judgment
“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” (2 Peter 2:4 KJV)
The apostle Peter writes about angels that sinned and will be judged (2 Peter 2:4). The apostle Paul affirms that God’s children “shall judge angels” (1 Corinthians 6:3 KJV). We don’t have details about the judgment of the angels, but there’s no doubt that it will happen. Most biblical scholars say that it probably applies only to the angels who sinned, not the holy angels that serve God.
24. The Worship of Angels Is Forbidden
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’” (Revelation 19:10 ESV)
Angels are magnificent creatures, and a human being may be drawn to worship them, as happened to John in Revelation 19:10. However, the angel himself forbade him and told him to worship God alone. The scene repeats in Revelation 22:8-9, and the angel rebuked him again.
The apostle Paul warns his readers to “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels” (Colossians 2:18 KJV).
So, there is no doubt that Scripture forbids people from worshipping the angels, no matter what circumstance. Even when angels do marvelous things, like showing John those amazing things described in the book of Revelation, God alone is the one who deserves our worship.
25. Are There Guardian Angels?
“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10 KJV)
Matthew 18:10 is often quoted by people who believe in guardian angels, that is, that a specific angel is assigned to each person to guard them throughout their whole life. There is no doubt that God sends angels to protect His children, as mentioned earlier in this article, but there isn’t a clear text that affirms that sort of specific lifetime assignment.
Angels are amazing creatures that serve the Lord faithfully. We need to keep in mind that, whatever any angel may do for us, they do it following God’s orders. So, we must not ask anything directly to an angel nor thank them. All our prayers, worship, and gratitude must always be directed to God.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.