For centuries, people have been intrigued about angels. Countless books, television shows, and movies over the years have focused on the theme of angels. These celestial, spiritual and mysterious beings are mentioned more than 270 times in 34 different books of the Bible. While this article does not cover everything the Bible says about angels, it does discuss the major characteristics of angels as revealed in scripture.
1.They were created by God.
“Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created.” (Psalm 148:2-5)
2. They are called the “sons of God.”
The sons of God married human daughters. (Genesis 6:2)
The sons of God reported to God. (Job 1:6)
The sons of God were present at the Creation. (Job 38:7)
3. They announced the birth of Jesus.
“And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:9, 10)
4. They were created to live forever.
“But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35, 36)
5. Their heavenly work is to worship and glorify God.
“The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying, ‘Your are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created.'” (Revelation 4:8)
6. Their earthly work is to help God’s people.
“But to which of the angels has He ever said, ‘Sit at My right hand, til I make Your enemies Your footstool?’ Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:13, 14)
7.They are innumerable.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels…” (Hebrews 12:22)
“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…” (Revelation 5:11)
8. They express emotions.
“… and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7)
“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
“…things which angels desire to look into.” (I Peter 1:12)
9. They can appear in human form at times.
Genesis 18:2-8 recounts an event in which “the Lord” appeared to Abraham in the form of three men who declared to Abraham that he and his wife, Sarah, would bear a child in their old age.
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing, some have unwittingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2)
10. They possess great strength.
“Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength…” (Psalm 103:20)
11. They are organized into different orders and ranks.
Archangels, who heralded the return of Jesus (I Thessalonians 4:16 and) and battled with Satan. (Jude 9)
Cherubim, the plural of cherub, who guarded over God’s possessions such as the Garden of Eden and the Ark of the Covenant. (Genesis 3:24 and Exodus 18:22). The prophet Ezekiel describes the appearance of cherubim in great detail. (Ezekiel, chapters 1 and 10)
Seraphim, who were six-winged angels. (Isaiah 6:1-6)
12. They do not know everything.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (Matthew 24:36)
13. They will be joined by the righteous and just in heaven.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22, 23)
14. They do not marry.
“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30)
15. They minister to Jesus Christ.
They announced His conception. (Matthew 1:20, 21 and Luke 1:26-33)
They heralded His birth. (Luke 2:10-12)
They sustained Him. (Matthew 4:11)
They comforted and strengthened Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Luke 22:43)
They witnessed and proclaimed His resurrection. (Matthew 28:2-7; Mark 16:5, 6; Luke 24:4-8; John 20:11-14)
They accompanied His ascension into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11)
They praise and worship Him in heaven. (Revelation 5:11, 12)
16. Two angels are specifically named in the Bible.
Gabriel, who announced the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-33)
Michael, who battled with Satan (Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7-9)
17. There are fallen angels.
These willingly sinned against God, abandoning the purpose for which God created them. defying their created purpose, and left their home in heaven. (Jude 6)
These fought a battle in heaven with Michael and His angels. (Revelation 12:7, 8)
Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)
These are held prisoners, chained in hell, and awaiting judgment. (II Peter 2:4)