What Do Angels Look Like?
Forget ideas of glittery angels with wings; real angels are anything but...
Reprinted with permission from "A Rustle of Angels."
What comes to mind when you think of an angel? A towering blond figure with wings and flowing robes protecting two children crossing a rickety bridge? A chubby Victorian cherub? Michael Landon inHighway to Heaven
, or Clarence in the classic filmIt's a Wonderful Life?
What do angels look like, according to those who have experienced them and the records in the Bible?
Usually angels are unseen. This is not surprising, because angels are spirit beings: minds without physical bodies. The Bible indicates that angels constantly carry out God's bidding in caring for people, yet most people are not aware of ever seeing an angel.
In Numbers 22 Baalam finds his donkey leaving the road. Baalam is puzzled until later, when he learns that the maneuvers of the donkey were owing to an angel that he did not see. Today most of us don't ride donkeys, but if you bring up the subject of angels and automobiles, many people will tell of what seemed to be a miraculous escape from an accident. Often no angel was seen, but they are convinced there is no other explanation for the events except that an angel was present and at work. Others have sensed an angelic presence without seeing a form. Many people, in looking back, become aware that what appeared to be coincidence at the time may have been the work of unseen angels.
When angels do appear, most often they take on familiar human form in order to do their work without frightening us. The Bible does not explain how spirit beings can assume bodies. It simply teaches that they do and that we do not recognize them as angels because they look like ordinary people. The angels who appeared to Abraham and Lot in the book of Genesis looked like and were dressed as ordinary people. How often do angels come in human form? Probably more often than we realize. "Do not forget to entertain strangers," Hebrews 13:2 admonishes us, "for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." The passage suggests that atany
time it ispossible
that we may have encountered angels without our being conscious of their supernatural nature.