When we think of angels, we often think of the glowing, friendly helpers who carry messages between God and man. And perception isn’t wrong—throughout the Bible, angels act primarily as benign messengers.
These divine creatures are spiritual in nature, and possess incredible power, as well as the accumulated wisdom of centuries. Among their other functions are praising God, bringing answers to prayer, providing encouragement and comfort, and protecting and caring for righteous humans.
But as we’re about to find out, that’s not all they do.
There are a handful of cases, in scripture, that show angels carrying out the judgment of God upon humanity through violence.
In some cases, that judgment is death.
Angels are capable of incredible destruction, and can destroy a city with a mere gesture of the hand, as we can see in 2 Samuel 24:16. And because they are spiritual beings, once sent on their mission, they cannot be stopped by any human means.
These angelic attacks are reminders of God’s sovereign power, as well as the lengths He will go to in order to protect and guide humanity.
What are avenging angels?
In contrast with angels who comfort, heal, and help further the work of salvation, avenging angels play a specific role to bring the judgement and wrath of God to mortals for breaking divine will or being disobedient for too long against the commandments.
The word “angel” has Greek roots, when translated the word means “messenger” in Hebrew. When the word “angel” is used in our modern Bibles, it can be substituted for “messenger” which may change the meaning and help understand what God is telling us when He uses angels to carry out His will.
An avenging angel has the specific purpose to right a wrong and to bring justice where otherwise God would extend mercy to His people. When people reject the Holy Spirit and listen to a disobedient spirit instead, God may see fit to send avenging angels to establish truth and holiness again.
Here are 5 avenging angels from the Bible: