ANGEL (Gr. angelos, messenger). A supernatural, heavenly being, a little higher in dignity than man.
- Their creation (Ps 148:2-5; Col 1:16) was certainly before the creation of man (Job 38:7). They are described as “spirits” (Heb 1:14).
- Their superhuman intelligence and strength is not unlimited (Matt 24:36; 1 Peter 1:12; Ps 103:20; 2 Thess 1:7; 2 Peter 2:11).
- They are distinct from man (1 Cor 6:3; Heb 1:14), and neither marry nor die (Luke 20:34-36). A vast multitude (Rev 5:11),
- They are of various ranks and endowments (Col 1:16), but only one—Michael—is expressly called an archangel in Scripture (Jude 9).
- Both good and bad angels are highly organized (Rom 8:38; Eph 1:21; 3:10; Col 1:16; 2:15).
Angels were created holy (Gen 1:31; Jude 6), but some fell into sin before Satan tempted Eve (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Their fall was due to a deliberate rebellion against God which resulted in their loss of holiness. They became corrupt and were confirmed in evil. Some are in hell until the Day of Judgment (2 Peter 2:4); others are left free to oppose the work of God for a time (Matt 25:41).
- Good angels stand in the presence of God and worship him (Matt 18:10; Heb 1:6; Rev 5:11). They assist, protect, and deliver God’s people (Gen 19:11; Ps 91:11; Dan 3:28; 6:22; Acts 5:19; Heb 1:14).
- They guided Philip to go into the desert (Acts 8:26) and encouraged Paul in Corinth (27:23-24).
- Sometimes they interpret God’s will to people (Dan 7:16; 10:5, 11; Zech 1:9, 13-14, 19), and execute God’s will toward individuals and nations (Gen 19:12, 13; 2 Sam 24:16; Ezek 9:2, 5, 7; Acts 12:23). The affairs of nations are guided by them (Dan 10:12-13, 20).
- God uses them to punish his enemies (2 Kings 19:35; Acts 12:23).
Angels had a large place in the life and ministry of Christ. They appeared to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds, and ministered to Jesus after the temptation (Matt 4:11). An angel strengthened him in the Garden (Luke 22:43); one rolled away the stone from the tomb (Matt 28:2-7); and they were with him at the Ascension (Acts 1:10-11).
In order to oppose God and to try to defeat his will and frustrate his plans, evil angels endeavor to separate believers from God (Rom 8:38) and oppose good angels in their work (Dan 10:12-13).
They hinder man’s temporal and eternal welfare by a limited control over natural phenomena (Job 1:12-13, 19; 2:7), by inflicting disease (Luke 13:11, 16; Acts 10:38; 2 Cor 12:7), by tempting man to sin (Matt 4:3; John 13:27; 1 Peter 5:8), and by spreading false doctrine (1 Kings 22:21-23; 2 Thess 2:2; 1 Tim 4:1).
They cannot, however, exercise over people any moral power independent of the human will, and whatever power they have is limited by the permissive will of God.