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by Wayne Blank
Who and What Are Angels?
Angels are spirit beings that were created before humans (Psalms 148:2-5, Colossians 1:16). They do not marry, and do not die (Luke 20:34-36, Matthew 22:30). There are a vast number of them (Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 5:11). Angels are not to be worshiped (Colossians 2:18, Revelation 22:8-9).
There are various orders and forms of angels (Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, Colossians 1:16, 2:15, 1 Peter 3:22). Although spirit beings, whenever they dealt directly with humans they usually appeared as ordinary looking humans (Genesis 19:1,5).
Michael is the only angel that is specifically called an archangel. He and the righteous angels under him defeated Satan and his demons after which they were cast down to the earth (Revelation 12:7-10). It was Michael who stopped Satan from stealing the body of Moses after he died (Jude 9).
Gabriel is a high ranking angel who delivered important prophetic messages from God to specific people, including to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:15-17, 9:21-24), to Zechariah, the father of John The Baptist (Luke 1:11-19), to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:26-35).
The very high-ranking angel Lucifer (meaning Light Bringer) was at first an obedient and righteous servant of God, but he rebelled, becoming known as Satan (meaning accuser) (see Did God Create The Devil? and That Old Serpent and The Lame Duck and What Does Satan Look Like?). A great multitude of lesser angels foolishly followed him in his rebellion, and are now commonly known as demons.
Angels were very active throughout the Old Testament, including at The Destruction Of Sodom, announcing the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, serving Jacob (Genesis 28:12, 31:11, 32:1, 48:16), Moses (Exodus 3:2), Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15), Gideon (Judges 6:11-40), Samson (Judges 13), Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8), Elisha (2 Kings 6:14-17), Daniel (Daniel 6:22), destroyed the Assyrian army that had surrounded Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:35)
Angels were directly involved and present in the events in the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ: They foretold His birth to Mary (Luke 1:26-37) and Joseph (Matthew 1:20-21), announced what He would be named (Matthew 1:21), directed their flight to Egypt to escape Herod (Matthew 2:13,20), served The Lord after His Temptation (see Go Ahead, Jump!) (Matthew 4:11), at Gethsemane on The Fateful Night (Luke 22:43), rolled away the stone at The Garden Tomb (Matthew 28:2), announced His resurrection to the women (Matthew 28:5-7), were present when He appeared to Mary of Magdala (John 20:11-14)
Angels are just as active in the New Testament. They were directly involved with the progress of the early Church: an angel rescued Peter from prison (Acts 12:7-9), struck Herod dead for blasphemy (see The Herods) (Acts 12:23), directed Cornelius (Acts 10:3), was with Paul (see Paul's Ministry) when he was shipwrecked on Malta (Acts 27:23)
Angels will be instrumental in the events of The Return Of Jesus Christ: A great number of them will appear with Him (2 Thessalonians 1:7), when they will gather His elect (Matthew 24:31, see also Spiritual and Physical Gatherings). They will be like reapers (Matthew 13:39). They will separate the righteous from the wicked (Matthew 13:41,49). Angels will carry out many of the events of the end-time The Seven Seals.
Fact Finder: Is it possible to have met an angel without knowing it?