Excerpted from 'Return of the Angels' by Migene González-Wippler published by Llewellyn Publications.

Do angels eat? In chapter 18 of Genesis, three angels appeared to Abraham and told him that his wife Sarah was soon to bear him a son.

Abraham asked Sarah and one of his servants to prepare food for his angelic visitors. In due time he placed before them dressed meat, bread, milk, and butter, and they ate. This would seem to indicate that when angels assume human form they can eat and perform other human actions, but this is only part of their ability to transmute matter.

"He rained manna upon them for food and gave them heavenly bread. And they ate the food of the angels."

Angel food is often identified with the manna that fell from Heaven every day when the Jews were crossing the desert on their way to the promised land. The word manna means "what is this" in Hebrew. That was the question the Israelites asked when they found this celestial substance on the desert sands. Moses answered, "This is the bread that the Lord has given you as sustenance."

According to Exodus, where this story is related, the manna fell from heaven in the form of dew. When it dried it took the shape of grains, which could be used as flour to make bread. Its flavor was similar to honey cakes.

In Psalm 78, which clearly makes reference to this biblical event, David sings: "He rained manna upon them for food and gave them heavenly bread. And they ate the food of the angels."

The prophet Elisha was fed by an angel during his 40-day sojourn in the desert. The prophet was asleep one day when he was awakened by an angel who said, "Arise and eat." Elisha saw in front of him a jug of water and bread baked on hot stones. The prophet ate and drank, and went back to sleep. Shortly afterward, the angel woke him up again and asked him to eat once more, as the journey was going to be long and difficult. Elisha ate and drank obediently. The food prepared by the angel sustained him during the 40 days and nights he spent in the wilderness.

According to biblical sources, manna is an angelic food that gives great vitality to human beings, but there is no evidence that angels eat manna or any other food. Manna is eaten by people in the Bible, not by angels. One could say that manna was cosmic energy provided by God to the Israelites and to Elisha so that they could complete their respective journeys. But angels, as spiritual entities, would not need the physical manna. Angels may partake of food when they are with a person, but only to humanize the experience.

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