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What are Angels?

Angels are found in the beliefs of Christian, Islamic and Jewish religions as well as many others. In these religions, an angel is a messenger of God and they are also responsible to help protect and guide us as well as carry out God’s tasks. Angels are also present in many other religions and throughout history as their existence has been documented in even pre-Old Testament writings.

 An angel is a pure spirit created by God. The English word Angels is derived from the Greek word “angelos” which means “messenger”. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word “malak” was used – that too means “messenger”.

It is believed that God created the angels with great wisdom, freedom and power. Angels are bodiless beings who can at times assume bodily form when they interact with our realm. Angels are also immortal.

Why did God Create Angels?

It is believed that God created angels because of His power is so great and glorious that He cannot be approached by human beings. In 1 Timothy 6:16, God “hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” Since angels are pure, they can act for God and act as a bridge between God and us. Angels rule over the natural world in which we belong.

Orders of Angels

Every religion has its own “organizational chart” of angels. To discuss each major religion’s hierarchy of angels would be quite the read – but the intent is to keep this somewhat brief.  Not everything needs to have a corporate-level organizational chart to make sense, don’t put too much emphasis on man-made classification systems. 

Forget the Wings and Halos 

When most people hear the word angel, they automatically envision the wings and a halo. This vision is courtesy of Pagan beliefs. In reality, angels are difficult to distinguish from humans and in many religious texts and historical accounts, angels were often mistaken as human beings.

So how did the idea of wings and halos become attached to angels? The artists had difficulty representing angels in their paintings. So in order to make it easier for people to distinguish that the certain figure was supposed to represent an angel they borrowed the Pagan practice of adding wings to a heavenly entity. The wings were meant to symbolize that angels come from a higher place and could travel between the Earth and the Heavens with ease.  The halo – well some egotistical Roman Emperors had them painted on their own portraits to show “character”.   The halo then began to be popular to add to angels in the fourth or fifth century.

The only mention of wings in the Bible is in Revelation 4:6-8 regarding the Four Living Creatures (Matthew, the winged man) and in the descriptions of cherubim and seraphim. No other angels are referenced as having wings.

Some descriptions describe angels as being made of light and can be intimidating due to their stature, purity and power. Since the angels can assume a human form when they interact with us, they tend to look like human beings, no wings or halos – sorry. 

Guardian Angels

It is believed that each of us was given a guardian angel to watch over us during our lives. The role of the guardian angel is to guide us to good thoughts, words and actions. They are also responsible in protecting us from evil.  Even if you are not religious, the belief is that you still have a guardian angel. God loves us all, and won’t leave you high and dry because you don’t subscribe to a certain sect.  Even if you don’t believe in angels, well – you still have one.  Even if you in the past whole-heartedly deny their existence they can help if you call them.

This is the traditional prayer to one's guardian angel.

Angel of God, my guardian dear
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day/night be at my side
to light, to guard, to rule and guide.
One thing guardian angels (or any angel) cannot do is influence or interfere in free will. They can guide though and step in when the need arises – but don’t expect them to make someone love you or to have your boss promote you over someone else.

Fallen Angels

It is said that fallen angels did not return God’s love because of their pride. Because of God’s unconditional love, he did not destroy them, but limited their scope of activity. These fallen angels were cast away from heaven along with Satan – their numbers were about one-third of the angels in Heaven. We commonly refer to fallen angels as demons. These fallen angels are under the command of Satan. Like angels are the messenger of God, demons act as messengers of Satan.

These demons acting as an agent of Satan burden us with untrue messages and havoc, while leading people astray from God. 

Angels Are Closer Than You Think

Most people believe angels provide assistance during times of great crisis; however they are among us every day! There are many claims of people experiencing what they think are angels. In most cases, the angels appear as very kind, very helpful strangers who come to a person in their time of need. They tend to provide a much needed encouragement, guidance, or assistance before quickly disappearing.

Angels not only show up when we need them, but they are with us through the good times as well. They watch us continually, when we laugh, enjoy playing with our children, or just sitting down with friends.  They are with us through the good times and the bad times.

Angels of Death

There are some who believe that when we die, angels come to comfort us and help us transition into the light. Some documentation exists that most people are also visited by deceased family members or other loved ones to help them pass. 

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