- How strong and powerful are angels?
- When did God create angels?
- Do angels come at a certain time during death?
- Ernie Massar
Peter puts the case mildly when he says angels are "stronger and more powerful" than humans (2 Peter 2:11). In the Bible they are better known for their power than their beauty or anything else. An angel rolled back the stone that covered Jesus' tomb—a real exhibition of strength (Matthew 28:2). An angel opened locked prison doors (Acts 5:17-20). Only one angel was sent to destroy the entire city of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 21:15) and only two angels were needed to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:13, 24, 25). Angels were also responsible for the plagues in Egypt (Exodus 12:13-30; Psalm 78:43, 49; Hebrews 11:28). As you can see, angels "excel in strength" (Psalm 103:20).
Since angels are spirit beings, they take on a physical form only when carrying out God's will. This can be of any shape and size. See my article "What Do Angels Look Like?" So how tall are angels? Even though angels are described in the Bible, we do not know how tall they were. Still, we do find measurements of the angel figures in Solomon's temple—two cherubim figures that were each 15 feet tall with a wingspan of 15 feet (1 Kings 6:23-28). Both figures were carved from olive wood and covered with gold. Solomon's cherubim were certainly different from the cute pictures of cherubs we see on greeting cards today.
Last week in my Bible study class, we were trying to find verses that say when God created angels, but we were unsuccessful. We know that angels were created before the seven-day creation of Earth and that angels were not created in God's image. Please enlighten me and send me in the right direction.
The reason you could not easily find such text is because verses stating the creation of angels often do not use the word angel. Although the word angel is used almost 300 times in the Bible, many synonyms such as "the heavenly hosts" are used. In Colossians 1:16 Jesus Christ is called the creator of angels, and the angels referred to as "things invisible, thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities." Psalm 148 also states, "Praise him, all his angels, praise him all his heavenly hosts. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created." (Psalm 148:2, 5). This is the basis for the statement of faith found in the Nicene Creed which is affirmed every Sunday in many churches: "We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen."
Most theologians hold that all of the angels were created at the same time. There are no hints in scripture of angels being continually created. Angels do not reproduce. There are no baby angels. In Matthew 22:28-30 Jesus taught that angels do not procreate, so we can conclude that each angel is a direct creation of God. We know that "the morning stars" (another term for angels in the Bible) sang together, and all the angels shouted with joy at the creation of Earth (Job 38:7). So it follows that angels were created before the planet.
Augustine, writing in the fifth century, made an interesting argument that angels were formed on the first day of creation. He reasoned that since "all things were created and ordered and the work of creation was completed in six days," the angels must have been created during the six days as well. He also said that because God made light on the first day and angels are "participators of [God's] eternal light," they must have been created in that time span.
But many, including myself, are not convinced by Augustine's reasoning. The Bible never tells us when angels were created, but it does teach that God created the angels before the world. What point is there in speculating any further?
My friend recently passed away. She was a very devout Catholic, but she embraced all religions and was very spiritual. Her belief in angels and how they take care of her was a great comfort to all of us who loved her. Toward the end she would tell us that we didn't have to be with her every minute because angels would come for her at 3:00 (a.m. or p.m.) She did pass away at 3:00 p.m. I have been looking for references about the "time the angels come" and have been unable to find any. Is there a basis in fact for this?
Nowhere in the Bible are there any verses about the "time the angels come." Death records indicate that people die at all hours and minutes of the day and night. Your friend was right in believing that the angels would take her to Heaven, and it was thoughtful of her to say that you didn't have to be with her every minute. Perhaps an angel, during your friend's final hours, revealed her death would be at 3:00. If so, this is the exception rather than the rule.