Are there any black angels? Has anyone ever seen a black angel?
- Clarence

The Bible gives a clear answer: no. But keep in mind, Clarence, that angels are not Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, African or of any race. Humans have racial and ethnic characteristics that are passed down from parents to children, but angels are not humans; they are spirit beings. They do not have children and do not pass down any characteristics from one generation to another. Every angel has been created directly by God. Theologians use these terms to distinguish them. Angels are a company; humans are a race.

Although angels are spirits in their natural state and are invisible to our eyes, they do temporarily assume a human form when God sends them on a mission. Sometimes, they appear as a brilliant light or as other supernatural forms, but most often they appear as a human being. For example, the three angels that appeared to Abraham looked like three men, just like anyone else in the neighborhood (Genesis 18). To read more, see my column: What Do Angels Look Like?

When angels do minister to people, apparently they can choose what to look like. That choice seems to be guided by how they can be most effective in performing their ministry. This means that the angel’s form is similar to that of the person they are sent to help. Here is one of the many stories that people have shared with me how an angel appeared as a “black” angel.

Keisha is certain that she was saved by a black angel who appeared from nowhere and, just as suddenly, disappeared. At the time it happened, she was an attractive 14-year-old African-American girl, walking home the few blocks from her piano teacher’s place when she became aware that a rough-looking man was following her. She quickened her pace, only to hear the foot falls behind her advance even more rapidly. She remembered the reports that a man—was it this man?--had attacked girls in the neighborhood.

Fear crept over her; she felt her breathing become heavy. Realizing the street was deserted, Keisha feared the worst. She cried out for God’s help in a silent prayer. Instantly, from nowhere, a black man on a bicycle rode close to the curb next to the sidewalk where Keisha walking. The bicyclist did not say a word, but he expertly slowed his speed to match Keisha’s gait, smiled, and rode beside her until she came to her house. He paused at the curb while Keisha took out her keys and unlocked her door.

Before she joined her family in the front room, she looked at the man who had been following her, and saw he had turned and hurried away. But her “rescuer,” the man on the bicycle, had disappeared. Keisha could see both ways on the street. There was nowhere he could have gone; he had simply disappeared. Keisha is certain God sent his angel on a bicycle in her time of need in the guise of a black man. Why did he take the form of a black man? Keisha answers simply, “It was to make me feel safe when I was scared stiff.”

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