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 (Q and A on Biblical Doctrines)
Chapter 6: Angels
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Q1 Who or what are angels?

The Bible refers to them as the “angels of God” (Lk 15:10), “His hosts” and “ministers” (Ps 103:21), and the “sons of God” (Job 38:7). They live in heaven where they behold the face of God (Mt 18:10).

Q2 Where do they come from?

Angels were created by God and existed before man (Ps 148:2, 5).

Q3 What are they like?

Angels are ministering spirits (Heb 1:14). Because they are spiritual beings, they do not die or marry (Mt 22:30; Lk 20:35–36). Moreover, being individually created by God, the consequence of one angel sinning does not have a direct impact on another—unlike man, whose first ancestor sinned, causing the entire human race to be plunged into sin (Rom 5:12).

Q4 How many angels are there?

There are innumerable angels, as indicated by the heavenly visions of the prophet Daniel and elder John:

• “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Dan 7:10).

• “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Rev 5:11).

Q5 Do they have names and ranks?

Angels have different names, roles and ranks. Among them is Michael, “one of the chief princes” (Dan 10:13; cf. 12:1), “the archangel” (Jude 9) and warrior and defender (Rev 12:7). Another is Gabriel, God’s messenger and guide (Dan 8:15–16; 9:21; Lk 1:11, 19, 26). There are also cherubim (Gen 3:24) and seraphim (Isa 6:2).

Q6 How do angels compare with human beings?

For the present time, the position of man is “a little lower than the angels” (Ps 8:4–5; cf. Heb 2:7). The angels of God are “greater in power and might” (2 Pet 2:11; cf. Ps 103:20). They also possess more wisdom (2 Sam 14:20), holiness (Dan 8:13; Mk 8:38), humility (2 Pet 2:11; Jude 9; Rev 22:9) and glory (Lk 9:26).

 Q7 Can we see angels?

Angels are glorious spiritual beings (Mt 28:2–3; Acts 10:30) who are seldom seen by people, unless God opens their eyes to do so (e.g. Num 22:31). When they do appear to people, they often do so in the form of human beings (e.g. Gen 18:2; 19:10, 16; Dan 8:15). Consequently, people may not even be aware that they have encountered an angel (Heb 13:2).

Q8 What accounts are there in the Bible of angels appearing to people?

There are a number of accounts, including the following:

• Two angels delivering Lot and his family from Sodom (Gen 19)

• An angel sending a plague upon the Israelites after David ordered a census (2 Sam 24:15–17)

• The angel Gabriel giving a revelation to Daniel (Dan 9:21–27)

• Gabriel announcing the birth of John the Baptist (Lk 1:11–20)

• Gabriel announcing the birth of Jesus (Lk 1:26–38)

• Two angels appearing to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection of Jesus (Jn 20:11–13)

• Two angels appearing to the disciples after the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:10–11)

• An angel instructing Cornelius to send for Peter (Acts 10:3–7; cf. 10:30–32)

• An angel rescuing Peter from prison (Acts 12:7–11)

• An angel giving a message of comfort to Paul during a storm at sea (Acts 27:23–24)

• One of seven angels showing John a vision of the new Jerusalem (Rev 21:9)

Q9 What is the nature of their work?

In heaven, the angels stand before God (1 Kgs 22:19); carry out His will (Ps 103:20–21); praise Him (Job 38:7; Ps 148:2; Isa 6:3); worship (Phil 2:10; Heb 1:6); wage war against the devil and his angels (Rev 12:7–9).

On earth, the angels help believers by ministering to them (Heb 1:14); strengthening them (1 Kgs 19:4–8; Lk 22:43); protecting them (Ps 34:7; 91:11–12; Dan 6:22); giving them understanding (Dan 8:16, 19; 9:22); comforting them (Acts 27:23–24); directing their work for God (Acts 8:26); teaching them God’s law (Acts 7:53; Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2); carrying their souls to paradise (Lk 16:22). They also execute God’s punishment (2 Kgs 19:35; Acts 12:23).

On the last day, the angels will descend on clouds from heaven with Jesus (Mt 25:31; 2 Thess 1:7) to gather the elect (Mt 24:30–31) and to separate out the wicked from the righteous (Mt 13:41, 49).

Q10 Can we worship angels?

No, we cannot. When elder John fell at the feet of an angel to worship him, the latter said, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!...” (Rev 19:10; cf. 22:9). Angels are created beings, just like us. Only God is almighty and worthy of worship; no one is His equal (Isa 40:25).

Q11 Are they capable of sinning?

Yes, they are. The letter of Jude describes how some angels “did not keep their proper domain, but left their own habitation...” (Jude 6). The outcome was that God “cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (2 Pet 2:4). Here, the Greek verb for “cast down to hell” is tartaroo,[1] meaning to consign to Tartarus, a place of restraint for the wicked—a place that is distinct from the “hell” which is the final destination of the devil and sinners.[2]


© 2012 True Jesus Church.


[1]      Strong’s reference no. G5020.

[2]      Compare the use of the Greek word, Geenna (G1067) in Mt 18:9; 23:33; Mk 9:43, 47; Lk 12:5.

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