What do angels look like? Why were they created? And what do angels do? Humans have always held a fascination for angels and angelic beings. For centuries artists have tried to capture images of angels on canvas, and church leadership has tried to share their magic with their congregations. Even the media has depicted angels in movies, TV, and more.
What you think you know about angels, and what is written about them in the Bible, may surprise you. Angels are mentioned 273 times in the Bible, yet so many do not reference what the Bible has to say when talking about them. This has spread myths and misconceptions about angles for decades. Here are common myths people believe about heavenly beings.
“Only Christians have guardian angels.”
“Angels were once humans.”
“Angels are all-powerful.”
Make no mistake, angels are incredibly powerful. In Genesis 19:12-16, angels are used by God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. In 2 Kings 19:35, one angel is empowered to kill 185,000 Assyrians. According to Matthew 28:2, an angel moved the stone from Christ’s tomb. In Acts 12, an angel entered a locked prison and released Peter. Lastly, In Acts 12:23, we read that an angel killed Herod in a most gruesome way.
However, angels are not doing this on their own. Only God has unlimited ability to do anything. All angelic power is subject to God’s purpose (Palms 103:20; 2 Peter 2:11) and they must report to Him. Jesus is King, and even the angels bow down to Him. In 1 Peter 3:22 it says, "Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept His authority."
“Christians should worship angels.”
Many non-Christians believe in angels and worship their power. Christians more and more frequently are following this similar behavior. However, we are implicitly instructed not to worship anything but the Lord. Luke 4:8 says, "...you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." This is echoed in Exodus 20:4-5 and Matthew 4:10. God is the only one who can solve our problems and offer us forgiveness.
Romans 1:18-19 and Colossians 2:18 warns us about glorifying angels, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels." Lastly, in the Book of Revelation, the apostle John is so overwhelmed at his vision of the angel that he bows down and the angel responded, "Don't do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus" (Revelation 19:10).
“We can pray to angels.”
“Angels only have one job, to be messengers.”
According to scripture, there are thousands upon thousands of angels. Psalm 68:17 tells us "The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands," and Hebrews 12:22 asserts "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly." Each of these angels can be given different purpose from God. The angelic realm has different kinds of angels: Seraphin, Cherubim, Archangels and Fallen Angels. Seraphim angels, for example, are closest to the throne of God, (Isaiah 6:1-7) and Cherubim are angels that guard sacred things (Genesis 3:24). Fallen angels are those like the devil, who turned their back on God.
Many of the angels we know by name were messengers. They appeared to men and women of God to share a specific message from Him. But being messengers is not their only purpose; they are also the mighty and powerful warriors of God. Some fight wars, others protect, and some bring about God’s judgment. In addition, the Bible says that one of the most important roles for angels is praising and glorifying God. No matter what purpose an angel is assigned, they are given that assignment by God, and they all carry out His plans and purposes.