Biblical Definition Of
Angels are God’s servants and messengers in the heavenly and spiritual realm, where they find true satisfaction in the unceasing worship and service of God. They were created before humans, they belong to a higher order than humans, and their number is countless (Ps 103:20; 148:2; Isa. 6:2-3; Dan 7:10; Luke 12:8-9; 15:10; Col 1:16; Heb 12:22; Rev 4:8; 5:11-12; 7:11).
Good and bad angels
At some time before the creation of humans, some of the angels, under the leadership of one who became known as Satan, rebelled against God and so fell from their original sinless state (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). As a result there are good angels and evil angels. Christ has angels and so has Satan (Job 4:18; Matt 25:31,41; Jude 9; Rev 12:7-9).
Both good and bad angels are under God’s sovereign rule, the difference between them being that the good angels are obedient and the evil angels rebellious. Even the chief of the evil angels, Satan, is no more than a created being under the authority of God. Satan and the evil angels who follow him can do their evil work only within the limits that God allows (Job 1:12; 2:6).
Because of the high position that angels have as God’s heavenly servants, the Bible speaks of them as holy ones, as stars, and even as sons of God. Again these expressions may apply to good angels and bad angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 5:1; 15:15; 38:7; Ps 89:5,7; Rev 9:1; 12:3-4,9).
Dealings with humankind
Angels have many functions in relation to humankind, but above all they are God’s messengers (Gen 19:1; 28:12; Exod 3:2; Num 22:22; Judg 2:1-4; 6:11; 2 Sam 24:16; 1 Kings 13:18; 19:5; Matt 1:20; 2:19; 13:41; 16:27; Luke 1:26-31; Acts 10:3-4; Gal 3:19; e.g. see GABRIEL). In many of the earlier Old Testament references, the angel (or messenger) of God appears to be almost the same as God himself. This is possibly because the angel is so closely identified with God as his messenger that when he speaks God speaks. The angel’s temporary physical appearance is God’s temporary physical appearance (cf. Gen 16:7-13; 21:17-18; 22:15-17; Exod 3:2-6).
To the godly, an angel may be a guide (Gen 24:7,40; Exod 14:19; Acts 8:26; 27:23), a protector (Ps 34:7; 91:11; Dan 6:22; 10:13,21; Matt 18:10), a deliverer (Isa 63:9; Dan 3:28; Matt 26:53; Acts 5:19), an interpreter of visions (Dan 8:16; Zech 1:8-14; Rev 1:1; 22:6) and, in fact, a sympathetic helper in all circumstances (Mark 1:13; Luke 22:43; Heb 1:13-14). Yet to the ungodly, angels may be God’s messengers of judgment (Matt 13:39,41; 25:31-32; Acts 12:23; 2 Thess 1:7-8).
There are various categories of angels (Gen 3:24; Isa 6:2; Ezek 10:3; Col 1:16; 1 Thess 4:16; Jude 9). Angels themselves do not have a physical form and do not reproduce their kind as humans do (Matt 22:30). When God sends them as his messengers to humans, he may give them a form similar to that of humans, though they are usually sufficiently different to create a feeling of great awe (Judg 13:15- 20; Matt 28:2-3; Luke 2:9; 24:4; John 20:12; Acts 1:10; 6:15).
Cherubim are spirit beings of one of the higher angelic orders. They usually feature as guardians of God’s throne and protectors of his interests (Gen 3:24; Exod 25:17-22; Ps 80:1; Ezek 1:4-14; 10:1-22; cf. Rev 4:6-11).
Great though angelic beings are, human beings should not worship them (Col 2:18; Rev 19:10; 22:8- 9). Jesus Christ is the one whom people should worship; for he is God, and therefore far above angels (Heb 1:5-13; Eph 1:20-21; Col 2:10; Rev 5:11-14). Those who through faith are united with Christ will thereby share Christ’s dominion in the age to come, and this will involve them in judgment of angels (Heb 2:5-9; 1 Cor 6:3).