A caution before beginning this study:
A. Paul warns us not to exceed what was written, 1 Corinthians 4:6
1. We must be careful not to be carried away by our own imaginations and the imaginations of others.
2. We must be careful not to put our own theories above the Bible
3. We must realize everything we want to know may not be answered.
B. We are told everything we need to know, 2 Peter 1:3
1. We are not told everything we want to know.
2. If we are not told, then we don’t need to know.
I. Preliminary Considerations
A. Meaning of the word “angel”
1. Hebrew – The word translated angel is malak which means: “messenger, representative” (Strong’s)
2. Greek—The word transliterated angel is ANGELOS which means: a messenger, envoy, one who is sent” (Strong’s)
B. The word “angel” is a transliteration of the Greek word ANGELOS (i.e., making an English word out of the Greek word instead of giving the meaning in English) which means messenger, just as “baptism” is a transliteration of BAPTIZO which means to dip, plunge, or immerse. The Hebrew word is translated by the transliteration from the Greek. If these words had been translated instead of transliterated many problems would never have existed.
C. The Hebrew and Greek words for angel are used to refer to more than just spiritual beings that serve God. Every word translated messenger or something similar in the following passages is the Hebrew or Greek word for angel:
1. Human messengers sent by David, 2 Sam. 2:5.
2. Haggai is referred to as a messenger, Haggai 1:13.
3. Malachi’s name means: “My messenger.”
4. Jesus is prophetically called the messenger of the covenant (i.e., angel of the covenant), Malachi 3:1. Note: this does not mean that Jesus was an angel as we typically think of them or that He is a created being. It just shows that part of Jesus’ mission was to bring a message.
5. John the Baptist is prophetically called a messenger or angel, Malachi 3:1, Matt. 11:10, Mark, 1:1-4
6. Messengers sent by John the Baptist, Luke 7:24
7. Messengers sent ahead by Jesus to the Samaritans, Luke 9:52
D. There is nothing inherent in the Hebrew or Greek word for angel that means a spiritual being serving God. Often, these words do refer to a spiritual being serving God, but this is determined from the context, not the meaning of the words.
A. There is more we do not know, than we do know.
B. There is a lot more God could have said, but didn’t.
1. We need to accept this.
2. What God gave us about angels we can take and learn from, 2 Peter 1:3
C. They are created beings: Colossians 1:16, Nehemiah 9:6, Revelation 4:9-11
1. They seem to have been created before the physical world, Job 38:1-7.
2. They are not the souls of Christians or Godly people.
In Matthew 22:30, Jesus teaches we will be like angels, not become angels.
D. They are innumerable: Daniel 7:10, Hebrews 12:22
1. This illustrated the tremendous power God has.
2. It shows the full compliment of workers to do His bidding.
3. All of the work of God that needs to be done from the sustaining of the universe to the working in the affairs of men.
A. We are told they are spirit beings.
1. Hebrews 1:14, they are ministering spirits.
2. Their normal form is not fleshly (1 Corinthians 15:40).
3. They can take on human characteristics and do human things, but their normal state is a spirit state.
B. The Scriptures teach they are above men, Hebrews 2:6-7 (quoting from Psalm 8:4)
1. In Psalms it is talking about mankind
2. In Hebrews it is talking about Christ
3. Also: 2 Peter 2:11
4. Yet, we will judge angels—1 Corinthians 6:3
C. They have tremendous power: 2 Peter 2:11, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 2 Kings 19:35
D. Angels are not omniscient
1. They do not know when the second coming will be, Matthew 24:36.
2. They were eagerly waiting to see how God’s plan of salvation would unfold, 1 Peter 1:12.
3. They are only intelligent in the areas in which there was revelation from God.
4. If God didn’t tell them anything, they wouldn’t know.
E. They are subject to the Godhead, 1 Peter 3:22
F. They have free will
1. Faithful angels are called holy Luke 9:26, 1 Timothy 5:21.
a. If there are holy angels there are unholy angels.
b. If there are unholy angels someone has exercised free will.
2. Some have chosen to be Satan’s angels
3. They can sin and will be punished for sin, 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6
4. Unlike us, however, the Bible never speaks of any redemption or salvation for angels who sin.
G. There appears to be different ranks
1. Michael is call an archangel, Jude 9
a. Daniel 10:13
b. Note: one of the chief princes indicating there are more than one
2. Other than this, there is not a lot of Biblical evidence.
3. Some want to interject Cherubim and Seraphim into the ranks of angels, but the Bible never calls these creatures angels.
a. For us to call them angels is to put a label and description upon them that may not be right.
b. This leads us to another distinction—only cherubim and seraphim are described with wings, angels are never described with wings.
A. Angels are created beings
1. They are spiritual beings
2. They are mighty beings
B. Angels show the might and power of God
C. Like us, Angels have free will and can sin.
1. We do not know if any chance of redemption is offered after they sin
2. There is an offer of redemption for us.