Angels have spirits like men

Bible covenant

With seven questions I would like to contribute to the biblical enlightenment about angels. As an introduction, so to speak, we ask how people imagine angels. Then we have to think about how we should deal with them so that we don't deal with them in the wrong way. Thirdly, we ask where they come from, fourthly, what distinguishes them from us, then what orders and what tasks they have, and finally we summarize everything again under the question of what attitude we should have towards them.1 For everything we are content with the most important statements.

1 What do people imagine being angels?

Certain terms generate certain ideas in us, for example: ghosts, ghosts, demons, spirits of the dead, fairies, goblins, dwarfs, devils, angels, UFOs.

Most people don't think there is such a thing, but that doesn't stop them from buying tons of books about it, not to mention the children's storybooks. Some even try to see if it works by conjuring up ghosts.

But no one would produce entire series of films about "Angels on Earth" and UFOs, about mysteries and "The X-Files" if others didn't watch them. But why do they watch it if they don't believe in it? Are they just beautiful fairy tales like the technical fictions of “Spaceship Enterprise”, “Star Wars”, “Star Wars” or the “Neverending Story”? I don't think so.

Yes, but what should one believe now? Which realities play a role in our life and which are perhaps just made up? The questions are not as easy to answer as they seem.

For people who believe in the soulfulness of nature, the existence of angel-like beings is a matter of course. Angels, ghosts, ghosts and god-like beings play a major role in their culture. Our western culture has been shaped by Christianity for centuries. Therefore, of course, people have always believed that there are angels, but also evil spirits, demons. It is interesting how they imagined these beings. What did the great artists think when they portrayed angels? Could there even be certain personal experiences behind their portrayals? We can't answer that exactly, but it's interesting how angels have been portrayed over the centuries.2

The angels in the mosaics and pictures of the first centuries are anything but lovely and cozy. They are grandiose, eerie figures. One gets the impression of the overpowering invasion of another dimension into the world of visibility.

In these pictures, angels are all male figures. On the mural of the famous Isenheim Altarpiece, for example, the angel who preaches the birth of Christ from heaven is endowed with a full beard as a sign of his masculinity.

Fechner: "Do you Christians want to play with heavenly dolls forever?"

At the turn of the 15th to the 16th century there are still pictures in which the angel is the great and glorious messenger of God who brings the message of the unheard of new. At the same time, however, we find images that transfigure angels into idyllic figures and make them lovely girls.

In the Renaissance, the putti then appear, these "little angels", which become an infinitely repeated decoration in church rooms. Already with Raphael they consist almost entirely of a head and wings.

The sentimental depictions of angels of the 19th century have become dear to whole generations, but have almost nothing in common with the angels of the Bible. Yes, they made a major contribution to bringing the angels into the realm of fairy tales or non-committal games. And they gave rise to bitter ridicule. The natural philosopher Fechner asked the Christians if they wanted to play with heavenly dolls forever.

Even such artists as Schnorr von Karolsfeld, whose pictures some of the older illustrated Bible editions are full of, have not got beyond these conventional angel pictures, which we can hardly bear today.

The Bible speaks of angels differently. Angels are not lovely there, but dangerously holy. They almost always cause great shock and sometimes fear in people. At times they appeared with such glory that even an apostle like John was tempted twice to worship them.

Angels are mentioned about 280 times in the Bible. Their existence is a matter of course. At the same time, the Bible warns against preoccupying yourself with them and being fascinated by them.

So let's first look at the Bible's warnings about angels so that we can keep our subject right.

2 How should people deal with angels?

Ex 20: 1-5: I am Yahweh your God! I freed you from the slave house in Egypt. You will3 do not put any other gods next to me! You will not make yourself an image of a god, not an image of anything in heaven, on earth or in the sea! Never prostrate yourself to them and in no case do not worship them! For I, Yahweh, I, your God, am a jealous God.4

That includes angels too. They must never be worshiped. Rev 22: 8-9: I, John, have seen and heard everything that is reported here. Overwhelmed by what I had heard and seen, I prostrated myself in front of the angel who had shown me all this and wanted to worship him. But he said, “Don't do that! I am a slave of God just like you and your brothers the prophets and all who follow the words of this book. Worship God! ”The holy angels of God never accepted worship.5 Col 2:18: And don't let anyone distract you from your goal, not someone who pleases himself in exercises of humility and worships angels and justifies this with visions that he wants to have seen. Such people have unspiritual attitudes and are proud and pompous for no reason. Angel worship is a hallmark of false teachers.6 Conclusion: People are not allowed to contact angels on their own initiative.

3 Where do angels come from and what will become of them?

By his word, God created angels. Ps 148,2.5: Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, you heavenly host! ... Let them all praise the name of Yahweh, for they all came about through his command. God created angels through Christ. Col 1:16: For in him everything that is in heaven and on earth was created: the visible and the invisible, enthroned and ruling, powers and authorities; God created everything through him and for him. Angels were created perfectly. Ezekiel 28:15: You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created until injustice was found in you.

Angels do not have the ability to multiply; they were all individually created by God

Angels are not a race like humans, all of whom are descended from Adam and Eve. Angels do not have the ability to multiply; they were all individually created by God.

Mt 22.30: For when the dead rise, they will no longer marry, but will be like angels in heaven. There are myriads7 of angels. Since this was the largest number in the Greek language, that means in practice: innumerable.

Hebrews 12:22: You, on the other hand, have come to Mount Zion and the city of the living God, to Jerusalem in heaven, where innumerable hosts of angels have gathered for a festival.

Angels are not infallible; it is even worse, they can sin

Of course, the angels live in heaven, but they always have access to people and also to God's throne. Lk 2,13-15: Suddenly they were surrounded by hosts of heaven, all of whom praised God and cried: “Glory and glory to God in the highest, and peace to the people of the land on whom his pleasure rests.” When the angels in having returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other: “Come, we are going to Bethlehem! Let's see what happened, what the Lord had us say. " Angels are not infallible, worse, they can sin. Job 4:18: Behold, he does not trust even his servants, and he accuses his angels of error. There were angels who joined Satan's rebellion and are therefore personally responsible for their sin. Some of them are already trapped. 2Petr 2,4: God did not even spare the angels who had transgressed against him, but bound them in darkness until the day of judgment, in caves of the abyss.

Jude 1,6: Also the angels who exceeded their authority and left the place which God had assigned them, he kept in the darkness with eternal fetters to judge them on that great day. Other disobedient angels are yet to be judged and will go to hell. Mt 25:41: Then he will say to those on the left: 'Get out of my sight, you cursed! Go into the eternal fire that is prepared for the devil and his angels! ‘We, as believers, will also sit in judgment over angels one day. 1 Corinthians 6: 3: Do you not know that we will sit in judgment even over angels? How much more then about the things of everyday life?

4 What is the difference between angels and humans?

4.1 First of all, angels also have the characteristics of a person.

4.1.1 Intelligence

Eph 3,10: Only through the church should he be known to the powers and authorities in the heavenly world. In this way they should get to know the manifold wisdom of God 1Petr 1:12: God made them realize that they did not serve themselves, but you. All of this has now been announced to you by those who have familiarized you with the good news. They did this in the power of the Holy Spirit, whom God sent from heaven. Even angels are dying to see these things.

4.1.2 Feelings

Jud 1,9: Even the angel prince Michael did not dare to pass a derogatory judgment about the devil when he argued with him about the body of Moses. He only said: “The Lord punish you!” Lk 15:10: I tell you: The angels of God are just as happy about a sinner who has changed his attitude.

4.1.3 Will and ability to make decisions

Heb 1: But when he reintroduced the firstborn into the world,8 he said: "All the angels of God should worship him!"

2Petr 2,4: God did not even spare the angels who had transgressed against him, but bound them in darkness until the day of judgment, in caves of the abyss.

4.1.4 Confidence

Rev 19:10: I threw myself at his feet to worship him. But he said to me: “Don't do that! I am only a slave to God, just like you and your brothers who hold fast to the message of Jesus. Worship god Because the prophetic message is the message of Jesus.

4.2 Angels are spiritual beings who have no material body.

They do not need any food and can move around the entire universe regardless of matter. Heb 1: 7: It is said of the angels: "He turns his angels into storm winds, his servants into flames of fire."9 Heb 1:14: No, the angels are all only servants. It is beings from the heavenly world whom God sends as helpers to those who will participate in the coming salvation.

4.3 Angels are superior to humans

Sometimes angels can appear and be seen in human form. Mt 28,2: Suddenly there was a strong earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and came to the tomb. He rolled away the stone and sat on it.

Angels can move around the universe regardless of matter

Mk 16,5: They went into the burial chamber and were very frightened when they saw a young man in a white robe sitting on the right side. The angels are in some ways superior to humans, for when our Lord became human he humbled himself for a little while among the angels.

Heb 2: 7: For a short time you made him inferior to the angels, but then you crowned him with glory and honor. Angels are superior to humans in strength. Dan 6:23: My God sent his angel because he knew my innocence. And he closed the lions' throats so that they couldn't do anything to me. I have not done wrong to you either, King.

Acts 12,7: Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood before him and a bright light filled the cell. He poked Peter's side to wake him. "Get up quickly!" He said. Immediately the chains fell off his wrists. They are also superior to us in wisdom, but not omniscient.

Mt 24:36: But no one knows the day and hour of these events, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself; only the father knows. The angels always appear as powerful beings and arouse fear and terror.

Lk 2,9: Suddenly an angel of the Lord came to them, and the light of the glory of God shone around them. They were very frightened and afraid, but the angel said to them: “You need not be afraid, because I bring you good news that the whole people will be happy about.

The angels always appear as powerful beings and arouse fear and terror

Mt 28,4: The guards trembled and trembled with fear and fell to the ground as if dead. The angel said to the women: “Don't be frightened! I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. Angels are not redeemed when they have fallen.

Heb 2:14: Because these children are now people of flesh and blood, he too became a person of flesh and blood. Thus by his death he could disempower the devil who had power over death and free those who had been enslaved all their lives by fear of death. We also know that he does not stand up for angels, but for the descendants of Abraham.

5 What orders are there among the angels?

Different names for angels indicate hierarchical order: thrones, rulers, rulers, authorities, world rulers, forces. This is only hinted at in the Bible.10

5.1 Cherubim

Cherubim are believed to be the highest angelic beings, but they are not called angels themselves. They have indescribable power and beauty and surround the throne of God. Carved images of them spread their wings over the ark of Israel and formed the visible base for the invisible throne of God in the temple.

Isa 37:15: Hezekiah prayed: “Yahweh, you almighty God of Israel, who is enthroned over the cherubim, you alone are God and Lord over all kingdoms of the world. You created heaven and earth. Serafim are described similarly to cherubim and also surround the throne of God. But they are only mentioned twice in Isa 6: 1-3:

In the year that King Uzziah died,11 I saw the Lord. He sat on a towering throne. The hems of his robe filled the whole temple. He was surrounded by Serafim,12 majestic beings. Each of them had six wings. With two of them he covered his face, with two his legs and with two he flew. One shouted to the other: “Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh, God Almighty. The whole earth testifies to his power! ”Cherubim and Serafim are perhaps identical with the four living beings in Revelation. In any case, these are the only beings close to God who are described with wings.

Rev 4,6: In the middle, in the innermost circle around the throne, stood four mighty beings, which were full of eyes in front and behind. The first was like a lion, the second a young bull. The third had a human face and the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four had six wings, which were also set with eyes on the inside and outside. And again and again, day and night, these mighty beings shout: "Holy, holy, holy is God, the Lord, the almighty ruler, who was, who is and who is coming!" If the following text really (in the image of the king of Tire) describes the fall of Satan, then Satan originally belonged to the cherubim.

Ezek. 28: 13-16 REÜ: You were in Eden, the garden of God; Your ceiling was made of precious stones of every kind: carnelian, topaz and jasper, turquoise, onyx and jade, sapphire, ruby ​​and emerald; and work in gold were your earrings and your pearls on you; the day you were made they were prepared. You were a shielding cherub with outspread wings, and I made you so; you were on God's holy mountain, you walked in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created until injustice was found in you. By the multitude of your trade, you filled your inside with violence and sinned. And I cast you from the mountain of God and drove you to perdition, you shielding cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.

5.2 The Archangel Michael

Cherubim and serafim are the only beings near God who are described with wings

Jud 1,0: Even the angel prince Michael did not dare to pass a derogatory judgment about the devil.Of the individual angels, Michael is evidently the highest in rank, a very combative figure.

Rev 12: 7: Then a war broke out in heaven: The angel prince Michael fought with his angels against the dragon. The dragon and its angels struggled, but they couldn't hold out. From then on there was no longer any place in heaven for him and his angels.

5.3 The angel Gabriel

Gabriel is evidently more of the messenger of God. Dan 8,16: At the same time I heard a voice over the Ulai Canal calling out to him: "Gabriel, explain the vision to him!"

Lk 1:26: When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Galilee, in a city called Nazareth, to a young woman named Mary.

5.4 The sons of God

The sons of God are first of all the believers:

Rom 8:14 REÜ: For as many as are guided by the Spirit of God, they are sons of God.

Gal 3:26 REÜ: For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Later these people will be like angels:

Lk 20,35-36: But those people who are considered worthy to be allowed to live in the world to come and to rise from the dead will no longer marry. They can then no longer die either, but are like angels. As people of the resurrection, they are then sons of God. The sons of God in Job appear to be angels:

Hi 1,6 REÜ: And it came to pass one day that the sons of God came to meet before the Lord. And Satan also came in their midst.

The Sons of God at the Flood were powerful earthly rulers who were held under control by fallen angels

The Sons of God at the Flood were probably powerful earthly rulers who were kept under control by fallen angels, that is, under strong occult influence.

Genesis 6: 1-4: As the people became more and more numerous and spread out over the earth, the sons of God saw,13 how beautiful the daughters of men were and took them to women they liked. Then Yahweh said: “My spirit should not remain in man forever, it is mortal. I give him another 120 years.14 At that time the giants lived on earth and also then when the sons of God had children with the daughters of man. They became the heroes of the past, famous men.

6 What are the duties of angels?

Angels have many roles and ministries to perform, according to the accounts of the Bible. They served our Lord after the temptation of Satan and strengthened him in the battle in Gethsemane, they stood ready to protect him, were present on his ascension and announced his second coming.

6.1 Responsibilities towards God

They worship God.

Rev 5: 11-12: Then I saw and heard an innumerable multitude of angels, thousands upon thousands. They stood in a circle around the throne, the mighty beings and the elders and shouted in a mighty chorus: “The lamb that has been sacrificed is worthy, worthy to receive power - and wealth and wisdom, strength and honor, fame and worship! “They control natural forces on behalf of God, even entire peoples and perhaps also churches.

Rev 7: 2: And from where the sun rises I saw another angel coming who had the seal of the living God in his hand. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels, whom God had given the power to harm the earth and the sea: “Do not devastate the land or the sea and do no harm to the trees either! First we have to put his seal on the forehead of all who belong to God and serve him. "

Dan 10.13.20-21: But the prince angel of Persia opposed me for 21 days. Michael, one of the highest angel princes, came to my aid so that I became dispensable in the fight for Persia. ... "Do you now know why I came to you?" He said. “I will soon go back to the Prince of Persia to continue fighting him. And when I've finished with him, I'll have to face the Prince of Greece too. But first I want to tell you what is recorded in the Book of Truth. - Yes, there is nobody who, together with me, uses his strength against both of them, except Michael, your prince. "Rev 2.1:" Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus ... "

6.2 Tasks in people's lives

We have already seen that angels are sometimes charged with bringing messages to people and that they rejoice in salvation. But they do a lot more than that.

Heb 1:14: No, the angels are all only servants. It is beings from the heavenly world whom God sends as helpers to those who will participate in the coming salvation.

This is true of all born again Christians in general.

Angels encourage believers and sometimes save them in danger

They encourage believers and also sometimes save them in danger.

Acts 27:23: For last night an angel of God came to me, the God to whom I belong and whom I serve. He said to me: 'Paul, you need not be afraid! God wants you to appear before the emperor, and because of you he will give life to everyone who drives with you. ’So be courageous, men! I trust God it will turn out just as he told me to.

Apparently there is such a thing as guardian angels, at least for children.

Mt 18:10: Beware of treating one of these despised people with arrogance! For I tell you, your angels in heaven have access to my heavenly Father at all times.

This could also indicate the ministry of preservation, where the angel of the Lord is practically the Lord Himself.15

Ps 34,8 REÜ: The angel of the LORD camps around those who fear him, and he sets them free.

Ps 91:11 REÜ: For he gives up his angels for you to keep you in all your ways.

Ps 91.12 REÜ: They carry you in their hands so that you do not hit a stone with your foot.

Apparently there is such a thing as guardian angels, at least for children

Angels watch the life of believers and praise God for it.

Eph 3,10: Only through the church should he be known to the powers and authorities in the heavenly world. In this way they should learn about the many wisdoms of God.

1 Corinthians 11:10: That is why a woman should wear the mark of authority on her head out of consideration for the angels. It seems that they especially watch the life of the elders of the church. 1 Timothy 5:21: I swear to you before God, before Christ and the chosen angels: Obey all of this without prejudice and do not favor anyone.

Angels carry out God's judgment on man.

Heb 11:28: Because of faith he introduced the Passover and had the blood of the Passover lambs painted on the doorposts so that the angel who brought death would not touch their firstborn.

Acts 12:23: At the same moment an angel of the Lord struck him because he was celebrated as God and did not give glory to God. He died in agony, eaten by worms.

7 What is our attitude towards angels?

We want to be grateful for the service of the angels, but not try to get in touch with them. They would refuse or we might even end up with the wrong people.

Jud 1: 9-10: Even the angel prince Michael did not dare to pass a derogatory judgment on the devil when he argued with him about the body of Moses. He just said: "The Lord punish you!" But these people do bad everything that they do not know. Like unreasonable animals, they follow their inner urges and thus run into their own ruin.

We respect angels as God appointed or approved authorities and do not blaspheme them. But we do not worship them under any circumstances.

Otherwise we follow their example in devotional service to the Lord, obedience and worship of God.

  1. A study booklet by E.G. Maier served me as material: What does the Bible say about angels, Satan and demons. ↩

  2. From Wilhelm Stählin: The angels, messengers of God. God's call - Issue 23/24. ↩

  3. It should be unthinkable for you to do that! Sharpest form of command. ↩

  4. The scriptures are quoted according to the author's New Evangelistic Translation (NIV), otherwise according to the Elberfeld Translation (REÜ). ↩

  5. See also Rev 19:10. Satan and his angels, however, crave worship. See the temptation story of Jesus. ↩

  6. This also includes speculating and arguing about gender registers, probably about angel hierarchies. 1 Timothy 1,3f. ↩

  7. Like tens of thousands. ↩

  8. What is meant is: After his resurrection. ↩

  9. Psalm 104: 4; Text version LXX. ↩

  10. Col 1.16; Eph 6:12; 1 Peter 3:22. ↩

  11. 740 B.C. ↩

  12. The fiery ones. In Numbers 21: 6, 8 that was a name for the snakes. Here the winged creatures are to be thought of as human-like (face, v.2, hand, v.6). ↩

  13. The term can refer to angelic beings as well as humans in the Bible. Perhaps he is referring to despotic rulers of the time who had cities built and imitated the lifestyle and cruelty of Lamech. They began to call themselves sons of gods and of course had contact with demonic powers (cf. Eze 28: 11-15; Dan 10:13). Matthew 22:30 and Jude 6-7 speak against the interpretation that they are angels. In addition, people would then have been punished for what angels have caused. What speaks against the interpretation of people of the Set line is that they did not take daughters of Cain, but daughters of men. ↩

  14. Some translations relate the 120 years to the age. But that does not make sense because people got much older even after the flood and God did not threaten to reduce their age, but to destroy them. The 120 years are more related to the time up to the flood. ↩

  15. See Thomas Schirrmacher in “Bibel und Gemeinde”, 3-1991, p. 251. ↩