1. Nature, Appearances and Functions

2. The Angelic Host

3. The Angel of the Theophany


1. Appearances

2. The Teaching of Jesus about Angels

3. Other New Testament References





The word angel is applied in Scripture to an order of supernatural or heavenly beings whose business it is to act as God’s messengers to men, and as agents who carry out His will. Both in Hebrew and Greek the word is applied to human messengers (1 Ki 19:2; Lk 7:24); in Hebrew it is used in the singular to denote a Divine messenger, and in the plural for human messengers, although there are exceptions to both usages. It is applied to the prophet Haggai (Hag 1:13), to the priest (Mal 2:7), and to the messenger who is to prepare the way of the Lord (Mal 3:1). Other Hebrew words and phrases applied to angels are bene ha-‘elohim (Gen 6:2,4; Job 1:6; 2:1) and bene ‘elim (Ps 29:1; 89:6), i.e. sons of the ‘elohim or ‘elim; this means, according to a common Hebrew usage, members of the class called ‘elohim or ‘elim, the heavenly powers. It seems doubtful whether the word ‘elohim, standing by itself, is ever used to describe angels, although Septuagint so translates it in a few passages. The most notable instance is Ps 8:5; where the Revised Version (British and American) gives, “Thou hast made him but little lower than God,” with the English Revised Version, margin reading of “the angels” for “God” (compare Heb 2:7,9); qedhoshim “holy ones” (Ps 89:5,7), a name suggesting the fact that they belong to God; `ir, `irim, “watcher,” “watchers” (Dan 4:13,17,23). Other expressions are used to designate angels collectively: codh, “council” (Ps 89:7), where the reference may be to an inner group of exalted angels; `edhah and qahal, “congregation” (Ps 82:1; 89:5); and finally tsabha’, tsebha’oth, “host,” “hosts,” as in the familiar phrase “the God of hosts.”

In New Testament the word aggelos, when it refers to a Divine messenger, is frequently accompanied by some phrase which makes this meaning clear, e.g. “the angels of heaven” (Mt 24:36). Angels belong to the “heavenly host” (Lk 2:13). In reference to their nature they are called “spirits” (Heb 1:14). Paul evidently referred to the ordered ranks of supra-mundane beings in a group of words that are found in various combinations, namely, archai, “principalities,” exousiai, “powers,” thronoi, “thrones,” kuriotetes, “dominions,” and dunameis, also translated “powers.” The first four are apparently used in a good sense in Col 1:16, where it is said that all these beings were created through Christ and unto Him; in most of the other passages in which words from this group occur, they seem to represent evil powers. We are told that our wrestling is against them (Eph 6:12), and that Christ triumphs over the principalities and powers (Col 2:15; compare Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 15:24). In two passages the word archaggelos, “archangel” or chief angel, occurs: “the voice of the archangel” (1 Thess 4:16), and “Michael the archangel” (Jude 1:9).  

1. Nature, Appearances and Functions  

Everywhere in the Old Testament the existence of angels is assumed. The creation of angels is referred to in Ps 148:2,5 (compare Col 1:16). They were present at the creation of the world, and were so filled with wonder and gladness that they “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Of their nature we are told nothing. In general they are simply regarded as embodiments of their mission. Though presumably the holiest of created beings, they are charged by God with folly (Job 4:18), and we are told that “he putteth no trust in his holy ones” (Job 15:15). References to the fall of the angels are only found in the obscure and probably corrupt passage Gen 6:1-4, and in the interdependent passages 2 Pet 2:4 and Jude 1:6, which draw their inspiration from the Apocryphal book of Enoch. Demons are mentioned (see DEMON); and although Satan appears among the sons of God (Job 1:6; 2:1), there is a growing tendency in later writers to attribute to him a malignity that is all his own.

As to their outward appearance, it is evident that they bore the human form, and could at times be mistaken for men (Ezek 9:2; Gen 18:2,16). There is no hint that they ever appeared in female form. The conception of angels as winged beings, so familiar in Christian art, finds no support in Scripture (except, perhaps Dan 9:21; Rev 14:6, where angels are represented as “flying”). The cherubim and seraphim are represented as winged (Ex 25:20; Isa 6:2); winged also are the symbolic living creatures of Ezek (Ezek 1:6; compare Rev 4:8).

As above stated, angels are messengers and instruments of the Divine will. As a rule they exercise no influence in the physical sphere. In several instances, however, they are represented as destroying angels: two angels are commissioned to destroy Sodom (Gen 19:13); when David numbers the people, an angel destroys them by pestilence (2 Sam 24:16); it is by an angel that the Assyrian army is destroyed (2 Ki 19:35); and Ezekiel hears six angels receiving the command to destroy those who were sinful in Jerusalem (Ezek 9:1,5,7). In this connection should be noted the expression “angels of evil,” i.e. angels that bring evil upon men from God and execute His judgments (Ps 78:49; compare 1 Sam 16:14). Angels appear to Jacob in dreams (Gen 28:12; 31:11). The angel who meets Balaam is visible first to the ass, and not to the rider (Nu 22 ff). Angels interpret God’s will, showing man what is right for him (Job 33:23). The idea of angels as caring for men also appears (Ps 91:11 f), although the modern conception of the possession by each man of a special guardian angel is not found in Old Testament.  

2. The Angelic Host  

The phrase “the host of heaven” is applied to the stars, which were sometimes worshipped by idolatrous Jews (Jer 33:22; 2 Ki 21:3; Zeph 1:5); the name is applied to the company of angels because of their countless numbers (compare Dan 7:10) and their glory. They are represented as standing on the right and left hand of Yahweh (1 Ki 22:19). Hence God, who is over them all, is continually called throughout Old Testament “the God of hosts,” “Yahweh of hosts,” “Yahweh God of hosts”; and once “the prince of the host” (Dan 8:11). One of the principal functions of the heavenly host is to be ever praising the name of the Lord (Ps 103:21; 148:1 f). In this host there are certain figures that stand out prominently, and some of them are named. The angel who appears to Joshua calls himself “prince of the host of Yahweh” (Josh 5:14 f). The glorious angel who interprets to Daniel the vision which he saw in the third year of Cyrus (Dan 10:5), like the angel who interprets the vision in the first year of Belshazzar (Dan 7:16), is not named; but other visions of the same prophet were explained to him by the angel Gabriel, who is called “the man Gabriel,” and is described as speaking with “a man’s voice” (Dan 9:21; 8:15 f). In Daniel we find occasional reference made to “princes”: “the prince of Persia,” “the prince of Greece” (10:20). These are angels to whom is entrusted the charge of, and possibly the rule over, certain peoples. Most notable among them is Michael, described as “one of the chief princes,” “the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people,” and, more briefly, “your prince” (Dan 10:13; 12:1; 10:21); Michael is therefore regarded as the patron-angel of the Jews. In Apocrypha Raphael, Uriel and Jeremiel are also named. Of Raphael it is said (Tobit 12:15) that he is “one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints” to God (compare Rev 8:2, “the seven angels that stand before God”). It is possible that this group of seven is referred to in the above-quoted phrase, “one of the chief princes”. Some (notably Kosters) have maintained that the expressions “the sons of the ‘elohim,” God’s “council” and “congregation,” refer to the ancient gods of the heathen, now degraded and wholly subordinated to Yahweh. This rather daring speculation has little support in Scripture; but we find traces of a belief that the patron-angels of the nations have failed in establishing righteousness within their allotted sphere on earth, and that they will accordingly be punished by Yahweh their over-Lord (Isa 24:21 f; Ps 82; compare Ps 58:1 f the Revised Version, margin; compare Jude 1:6).  

3. The Angel of the Theophany  

This angel is spoken of as “the angel of Yahweh,” and “the angel of the presence (or face) of Yahweh.” The following passages contain references to this angel: Gen 16:7 ff–the angel and Hagar; Gen 18–Abraham intercedes with the angel for Sodom; Gen 22:11 ff--the angel interposes to prevent the sacrifice of Isaac; Gen 24:7,40–Abraham sends Eliezer and promises the angel’s protection; Gen 31:11 ff–the angel who appears to Jacob says “I am the God of Beth-el”; Gen 32:24 ff–Jacob wrestles with the angel and says, “I have seen God face to face”; Gen 48:15 f–Jacob speaks of God and the angel as identical; Ex 3 (compare Acts 7:30 ff)–the angel appears to Moses in the burning bush; Ex 13:21; 14:19 (compare Nu 20:16)–God or the angel leads Israel out of Egypt; Ex 23:20 ff–the people are commanded to obey the angel; Ex 32:34 through 33:17 (compare Isa 63:9)–Moses pleads for the presence of God with His people; Josh 5:13 through 6:2–the angel appears to Joshua; Jdg 2:1-5–the angel speaks to the people; Jdg 6:11 ff–the angel appears to Gideon.

A study of these passages shows that while the angel and Yahweh are at times distinguished from each other, they are with equal frequency, and in the same passages, merged into each other. How is this to be explained? It is obvious that these apparitions cannot be the Almighty Himself, whom no man hath seen, or can see. In seeking the explanation, special attention should be paid to two of the passages above cited. In Ex 23:20 ff God promises to send an angel before His people to lead them to the promised land; they are commanded to obey him and not to provoke him “for he will not pardon your transgression: for my name is in him.” Thus the angel can forgive sin, which only God can do, because God’s name, i.e. His character and thus His authority, are in the angel. Further, in the passage Ex 32:34 through 33:17 Moses intercedes for the people after their first breach of the covenant; God responds by promising, “Behold mine angel shall go before thee”; and immediately after God says, “I will not go up in the midst of thee.” In answer to further pleading, God says, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Here a clear distinction is made between an ordinary angel, and the angel who carries with him God’s presence. The conclusion may be summed up in the words of Davidson in his Old Testament Theology: “In particular providences one may trace the presence of Yahweh in influence and operation; in ordinary angelic appearances one may discover Yahweh present on some side of His being, in some attribute of His character; in the angel of the Lord He is fully present as the covenant God of His people, to redeem them.” The question still remains, Who is theophanic angel? To this many answers have been given, of which the following may be mentioned: 

(1) This angel is simply an angel with a special commission;
(2) He may be a momentary descent of God into visibility;
(3) He may be the Logos, a kind of temporary preincarnation of the second person of the Trinity. Each has its difficulties, but the last is certainly the most tempting to the mind. Yet it must be remembered that at best these are only conjectures that touch on a great mystery. It is certain that from the beginning God used angels in human form, with human voices, in order to communicate with man; and the appearances of the angel of the Lord, with his special redemptive relation to God’s people, show the working of that Divine mode of self-revelation which culminated in the coming of the Saviour, and are thus a fore-shadowing of, and a preparation for, the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Further than this, it is not safe to go.  

1. Appearances

Nothing is related of angels in New Testament which is inconsistent with the teaching of Old Testament on the subject. Just as they are specially active in the beginning of Old Testament history, when God’s people is being born, so they appear frequently in connection with the birth of Jesus, and again when a new order of things begins with the resurrection. An angel appears three times in dreams to Joseph (Mt 1:20; 2:13,19). The angel Gabriel appears to Zacharias, and then to Mary in the annunciation (Lk 1). An angel announces to the shepherds the birth of Jesus, and is joined by a “multitude of the heavenly host,” praising God in celestial song (Lk 2:8 ff). When Jesus is tempted, and again during the agony at Gethsemane, angels appear to Him to strengthen His soul (Mt 4:11; Lk 22:43). The verse which tells how an angel came down to trouble the pool (Jn 5:4) is now omitted from the text as not being genuine. An angel descends to roll away the stone from the tomb of Jesus (Mt 28:2); angels are seen there by certain women (Lk 24:23) and (two) by Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:12). An angel releases the apostles from prison, directs Philip, appears to Peter in a dream, frees him from prison, smites Herod with sickness, appears to Paul in a dream (Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7 ff; 12:23; 27:23). Once they appear clothed in white; they are so dazzling in appearance as to terrify beholders; hence they begin their message with the words “Fear not” (Mt 28:2-5).  

2. The Teaching of Jesus about Angels

It is quite certain that our Lord accepted the main teachings of Old Testament about angels, as well as the later Jewish belief in good and bad angels. He speaks of the “angels in heaven” (Mt 22:30), and of “the devil and his angels” (Mt 25:41). According to our Lord the angels of God are holy (Mk 8:38); they have no sex or sensuous desires (Mt 22:30); they have high intelligence, but they know not the time of the Second Coming (Mt 24:36); they carry (in a parable) the soul of Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom (Lk 16:22); they could have been summoned to the aid of our Lord, had He so desired (Mt 26:53); they will accompany Him at the Second Coming (Mt 25:31) and separate the righteous from the wicked (Mt 13:41,49). They watch with sympathetic eyes the fortunes of men, rejoicing in the repentance of a sinner (Lk 15:10; compare 1 Pet 1:12; Eph 3:10; 1 Cor 4:9); and they will hear the Son of Man confessing or denying those who have confessed or denied Him before men (Lk 12:8 f). The angels of the presence of God, who do not appear to correspond to our conception of guardian angels, are specially interested in God’s little ones (Mt 18:10). Finally, the existence of angels is implied in the Lord’s Prayer in the petition, “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth” (Mt 6:10).  

3. Other New Testament References

Paul refers to the ranks of angels (“principalities, powers” etc.) only in order to emphasize the complete supremacy of Jesus Christ. He teaches that angels will be judged by the saints (1 Cor 6:3). He attacks the incipient Gnosticism of Asia Minor by forbidding the, worship of angels (Col 2:18). He speaks of God’s angels as “elect,” because they are included in the counsels of Divine love (1 Tim 5:21). When Paul commands the women to keep their heads covered in church because of the angels (1 Cor 11:10) he probably means that the angels, who watch all human affairs with deep interest, would be pained to see any infraction of the laws of modesty. In Heb 1:14 angels are (described as ministering spirits engaged in the service of the saints. Peter also emphasizes the supremacy of our Lord over all angelic beings (1 Pet 3:22). The references to angels in 2 Peter and Jude are colored by contact with Apocrypha literature. In Revelation, where the references are obviously symbolic, there is very frequent mention of angels. The angels of the seven churches (Rev 1:20) are the guardian angels or the personifications of these churches. The worship of angels is also forbidden (Rev 22:8 f). Specially interesting is the mention of elemental angels–“the angel of the waters” (Rev 16:5), and the angel “that hath power over fire” (Rev 14:18; compare Rev 7:1; 19:17). Reference is also made to the “angel of the bottomless pit,” who is called ABADDON or APOLLYON (which see), evidently an evil angel (Rev 9:11 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) “abyss”). In Rev 12:7 ff we are told that there was war between Michael with his angels and the dragon with his angels.  


In the childhood of the race it was easy to believe in God, and He was very near to the soul. In Paradise there is no thought of angels; it is God Himself who walks in the garden. A little later the thought of angels appears, but, God has not gone away, and as “the angel of Yahweh” He appears to His people and redeems them. In these early times the Jews believed that there were multitudes of angels, not yet divided in thought into good and bad; these had no names or personal characteristics, but were simply embodied messages. Till the time of the captivity the Jewish angelology shows little development. During that dark period they came into close contact with a polytheistic people, only to be more deeply confirmed in their monotheism thereby. They also became acquainted with the purer faith of the Persians, and in all probability viewed the tenets of Zoroastrianism with a more favorable eye, because of the great kindness of Cyrus to their nation. There are few direct traces of Zoroastrianism in the later angelology of the Old Testament. It is not even certain that the number seven as applied to the highest group of angels is Persian in its origin; the number seven was not wholly disregarded by the Jews. One result of the contact was that the idea of a hierarchy of the angels was more fully developed. The conception in Dan of angels as “watchers,” and the idea of patron-princes or angel-guardians of nations may be set down to Persian influence. It is probable that contact with the Persians helped the Jews to develop ideas already latent in their minds. According to Jewish tradition, the names of the angels came from Babylon. By this time the consciousness of sin had grown more intense in the Jewish mind, and God had receded to an immeasurable distance; the angels helped to fill the gap between God and man.

The more elaborate conceptions of Daniel and Zechariah are further developed in Apocrypha, especially in 2 Esdras, Tobit and 2 Macc.

In the New Testament we find that there is little further development; and by the Spirit of God its writers were saved from the absurdly puerile teachings of contemporary Rabbinism. We find that the Sadducees, as contrasted with the Pharisees, did not believe in angels or spirits (Acts 23:8). We may conclude that the Sadducees, with their materialistic standpoint, and denial of the resurrection, regarded angels merely as symbolical expressions of God’s actions. It is noteworthy in this connection that the great priestly document (Priestly Code, P) makes no mention of angels. The Book of Revelation naturally shows a close kinship to the books of Ezekiel and Daniel.

Regarding the rabbinical developments of angelology, some beautiful, some extravagant, some grotesque, but all fanciful, it is not necessary here to speak. The Essenes held an esoteric doctrine of angels, in which most scholars find the germ of the Gnostic eons.  


A belief in angels, if not indispensable to the faith of a Christian, has its place there. In such a belief there is nothing unnatural or contrary to reason. Indeed, the warm welcome which human nature has always given to this thought, is an argument in its favor. Why should there not be such an order of beings, if God so willed it? For the Christian the whole question turns on the weight to be attached to the words of our Lord. All are agreed that He teaches the existence, reality, and activity of angelic beings. Was He in error because of His human limitations? That is a conclusion which it is very hard for the Christian to draw, and we may set it aside. Did He then adjust His teaching to popular belief, knowing that what He said was not true? This explanation would seem to impute deliberate untruth to our Lord, and must equally be set aside. So we find ourselves restricted to the conclusion that we have the guaranty of Christ’s word for the existence of angels; for most Christians that will settle the question.

The visible activity of angels has come to an end, because their mediating work is done; Christ has founded the kingdom of the Spirit, and God’s Spirit speaks directly to the spirit of man. This new and living way has been opened up to us by Jesus Christ, upon whom faith can yet behold the angels of God ascending and descending. Still they watch the lot of man, and rejoice in his salvation; still they join in the praise and adoration of God, the Lord of hosts, still can they be regarded as “ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation.”  


All Old Testament and New Testament theologies contain discussions. Among the older books Oehler’s Old Testament Theology and Hengstenberg’s Christology of Old Testament (for “angel of Yahweh”) and among modern ones Davidson’s Old Testament Theology are specially valuable. The ablest supporter of theory that the “sons of the Elohim” are degraded gods is Kosters. “Het onstaan der Angelologie onder Israel,” TT 1876. See also articles on “Angel” in HDB (by Davidson), EB, DCG, Jew Encyclopedia, RE (by Cremer). Cremer’s Biblico-Theological New Testament Lexicon should be consulted under the word “aggelos.” For Jewish beliefs see also Edersheim’s Life and Times of Jesus, II, Appendix xiii. On the Pauline angelology see Everling, Die paulinische Angelologie. On the general subject see Godet, Biblical Studies; Mozley, The Word, chapter lix, and Latham, A Service of Angels.  

John Macartney Wilson

Angel (Greek angelos, “messenger”), celestial being believed to be a messenger, or intermediary, between God, and humankind. All religions are concerned with the relationship human beings have or may have with the supernatural realm. In ancient Greek religion, in Judaism and Christianity, and in Islam this relationship is thought to involve angels—divine messengers sent to humans to instruct, inform, or command them. An angel can function also as a protective guardian, as a heavenly warrior, and even as a cosmic power. Moreover, the line between a good angel and a bad angel, or demon, is sometimes unclear. Hence, angels can be broadly described as personified powers mediating between the divine and the human.

In traditional Israelite thought, angels were assumed to have the form of human males, and as a consequence they were sometimes mistaken for men.

After the period of Israel’s Babylonian exile (597-538 BC), Jewish thought about angels was considerably altered and enriched. Drawing on Mesopotamian iconography, artists and writers began to provide wings even for anthropomorphic angels, and an interest developed in the angels’ garments, names, and relative ranks. In addition to the Mesopotamian influence, the Persian dualistic tradition (see Zoroastrianism) added another dimension to the Jewish conception of angels by positing hostile and destructive angels who are rebellious against God. The Jewish Qumr?n sect, or Essenes, for example, saw the world as a battleground, the scene of a struggle between the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Wickedness, the latter an angelic power opposed to God called Belial (see Devil).

A word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a “messenger, ” and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to execute his purposes. It is used of an ordinary messenger Job 1:14 1Sa 11:3 Lu 7:24 9:52 of prophets Isa 42:19 Hag 1:13 of priests Mal 2:7 and ministers of the New Testament Re 1:20 It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the pestilence 2Sa 24:16,17 2Ki 19:35 the wind Ps 104:4 But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly intelligence’s whom God employs in carrying on his government of the world. The name does not denote their nature but their office as messengers. The appearances to Abraham at Mamre Ge 18:2,22 Comp. Ge 19:1 to Jacob at Peniel Ge 32:24,30 to Joshua at Gilgal Jos 5:13,15 of the Angel of the Lord, were doubtless manifestations of the Divine presence, “foreshadowing of the incarnation, ” revelations before the “fullness of the time” of the Son of God.

1. The existence and orders of angelic beings can only be discovered from the Scriptures. Although the Bible does not treat of this subject specially, yet there are numerous incidental details that furnish us with ample information. Their personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Ge 16:7,10,11 Jud 13:1-21 Mt 28:2-5 Heb 1:4 etc. These superior beings are very numerous. “Thousand thousands, ” etc. Da 7:10 Mt 26:53 Lu 2:13 Heb 12:22,23 They are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power Zec 1:9,11 Da 10:13 12:1 1Th 4:16 Jude 1:9 Eph 1:21 Col 1:16

2. As to their nature, they are spirits Heb 1:14 like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as “like the angels” Lu 20:36 and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form Ge 18:2 19:1,10 Lu 24:4 Ac 1:10 and the titles that are applied to them of God, “) Job 1:6 38:7 Da 3:25 comp. Da 3:28 and to men Lu 3:38 seem all to indicate some resemblance between them and the human race. Imperfection is ascribed to them as creatures Job 4:18 Mt 24:36 1Pe 1:12 As finite creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly we read of “fallen angels.” Of the cause and manner of their “fall” we are wholly ignorant. We know only that “they left their first estate” Mt 25:41 Re 12:7,9 and that they are “reserved unto judgement” 2Pe 2:4 When the manna is called “angels’ food, ” this is merely to denote its excellence Ps 78:25 Angels never die Lu 20:36 They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power Mr 13:32 2Th 1:7 Ps 103:20 They are called “holy” Lu 9:26 “elect” 1Ti 5:21 The redeemed in glory are “like unto the angels” Lu 20:36 They are not to be worshipped Col 2:18 Re 19:10

3. Their functions are manifold

a. In the widest sense they are agents of God’s providence Ex 12:23 Ps 104:4 Heb 11:28 1Co 10:10 2Sa 24:16 1Ch 21:16 2Ki 19:35 Ac 12:23

b. They are specially God’s agents in carrying on his great work of redemption. There is no notice of angelic appearances to man till after the call of Abraham. From that time onward there are frequent references to their ministry on earth Ge 18:1ff. Ge 19:1ff. Ge 24:7,40 Ge 28:12 32:1 They appear to rebuke idolatry Jud 2:1-4 to call Gideon Jud 6:11,12 and to consecrate Samson Jud 13:3 In the days of the prophets, from Samuel downward, the angels appear only in their behalf 1Ki 19:5 2Ki 6:17 Zec 1:1-6:15 Da 4:13,23 10:10,13,20,21 The Incarnation introduces a new era in the ministrations of angels. They come with their Lord to earth to do him service while here. They predict his advent Mt 1:20 Lu 1:26-38 minister to him after his temptation and agony Mt 4:11 Lu 22:43 and declare his resurrection and ascension Mt 28:2-8 Joh 20:12,13 Ac 1:10,11 They are now ministering spirits to the people of God Heb 1:14 Ps 34:7 Ps 91:11 Mt 18:10 Ac 5:19 8:26 10:3 12:7 27:23 They rejoice over a penitent sinner Lu 15:10 They bear the souls of the redeemed to paradise Lu 16:22 and they will be the ministers of judgement hereafter on the great day Mt 13:39,41,49 16:27 24:31 The passages Ps 34:7 Mt 18:10 usually referred to in support of the idea that every individual has a particular guardian angel have no such meaning. They merely indicate that God employs the ministry of angels to deliver his people from affliction and danger, and that the angels do not think it below their dignity to minister even to children and to the least among Christ’s disciples. The “angel of his presence” Isa 63:9 Comp. Ex 23:20,21 32:34 33:2 Nu 20:16 is probably rightly interpreted of the Messiah as the guide of his people. Others have supposed the expression to refer to Gabriel Lu 1:19


(Heb. mal’ak, Gr. angelos), an angel, a messenger who runs on foot, the bearer of despatches Job 1:14 1Sa 11:7 2Ch 36:22 swift of foot 2Ki 9:18

H1319 … AV-tidings 16, show forth 3, publish 3, messenger 1, preached 1; 24 …

H4397 … AV-angel 111, messenger 98, ambassadors 4, variant 1; 214 …

… 1) messenger, representative 1a) messenger …

H4401 … Malachi =” My messenger” …

H5046 … messenger 2, report 2, misc 13; 370 …

… 1a5a) messenger (participle) …

H6735 … AV-ambassador 4, pang 3, messenger 2, pains 1, hinge 1, sorrow 1; 12 …

… 1) envoy, messenger …

H8018 … 7) father of Nethaniah and grandfather of Jehudi, who was the messenger …

H8304 … 11) son of Meraiah and messenger sent by the prophet Jeremiah to …


One who serves, as distinguished from the master.

1. Heb. meshereth, applied to an attendant on one of superior rank,

a. to Joshua, the servant of Moses Ex 33:11

b. to the servant of Elisha 2Ki 4:43

c. to attendants at court 2Ch 22:8

d. to the priests and Levites Jer 33:21 Eze 44:11

2. Heb. pelah Ezr 7:24 a “minister” of religion. Here used of that class of sanctuary servants called “Solomon’s servants” in Ezr 2:55-58 Ne 7:57-60

3. Greek leitourgos, a subordinate public administrator, and in this sense applied to magistrates Ro 13:6 It is applied also to our Lord Heb 8:2 and to Paul in relation to Christ Ro 15:16

4. Greek hyperetes (literally, “under-rower”), a personal attendant on a superior, thus of the person who waited on the officiating priest in the synagogue Lu 4:20 It is applied also to John Mark, the attendant on Paul and Barnabas Ac 13:5

5. Greek diaconos, usually a subordinate officer or assistant employed in relation to the ministry of the gospel, as to:

a. Paul and Apollos 1Co 3:5

b. Tychicus Eph 6:21

c. Epaphras Col 1:7

d. Timothy 1Th 3:2

e. Christ Ro 15:8


(Heb. ruah; Gr. pneuma), properly wind or breath.

1. In 2Th 2:8 it means “breath, “

2. in Ec 8:8 the vital principle in man.

3. It also denotes the rational, immortal soul by which man is distinguished Ac 7:59 1Co 5:5 6:20 7:34

4. the soul in its separate state Heb 12:23

5. an apparition Job 4:15 Lu 24:37,39

6. an angel Heb 1:14

7. a demon Lu 4:36 10:20

8. This word is used also metaphorically as denoting a tendency Zec 12:10 Lu 13:11

9. In Ro 1:4 1Ti 3:16 2Co 3:17 1Pe 3:18 it designates the divine nature.

an angel, or heavenly being, of higher rank than angels. In Jewish and Christian literature, the four best known are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. According to Christian tradition, archangels belong to the eighth of nine choirs of angels. Arranged according to their importance, in descending order, these choirs are seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels.
Champion of God, used as a proper name to designate the angel who was sent to Daniel Da 8:16 to explain the vision of the ram and the he-goat, and to communicate the prediction of the seventy weeks Da 9:21-27 He announced also the birth of John the Baptist Lu 1:11 and of the Messiah Lu 1:26. He describes himself in the words, “I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God” Lu 1:19 angel of high eminence in Jewish, Christian tradition. He is one of the four most often noted archangels (see Archangel) in Judaism and Christianity, the others being Michael, Raphael, and Uriel. Gabriel is the heavenly messenger who appears in order to reveal God’s will. In the Old Testament, Gabriel interprets the prophet’s vision of the ram and the he-goat (see Daniel 8:15-26) and explains the prediction of the 70 weeks of years (or 490 years) for the duration of the exile from Jerusalem (see Daniel 9:21-27). In the New Testament, he announces to Zacharias the birth of Zacharias’s son (see Luke 1:11-20), who is destined to become known as John the Baptist, and to Mary that she is to be the mother of Jesus Christ (see Luke 1:26-31).

Gabriel is the prince of fire and the spirit who presides over thunder and the ripening of fruits. He is an accomplished linguist, having taught Joseph the 70 languages spoken at Babel. In art he is generally represented carrying either a lily, Mary’s flower, at the annunciation, or the trumpet he will blow to announce the second coming.


Plural cherubim, the name of certain symbolical figures frequently mentioned in Scripture. They are first mentioned in connection with the expulsion of our first parents from Eden Ge 3:24 There is no intimation given of their shape or form. They are next mentioned when Moses was commanded to provide furniture for the tabernacle Ex 25:17-20 26:1,31 God promised to commune with Moses “from between the cherubim” Ex 25:22 This expression was afterwards used to denote the Divine abode and presence Nu 7:89 1Sa 4:4 Isa 37:16 Ps 80:1 99:1 In Ezekiel’s vision Eze 10:1-20 they appear as living creatures supporting the throne of God. From Ezekiel’s description of them Eze 1:10-25 41:18, 19 they appear to have been compound figures, unlike any real object in nature; artificial images possessing the features and properties of several animals. Two cherubim were placed on the mercy-seat of the ark; two of colossal size overshadowed it in Solomon’s temple. Ezekiel Eze 1:4-14 speaks of four; and this number of “living creatures” is mentioned in Re 4:6 Those on the ark are called the “cherubim of glory” Heb 9:5 i.e., of the Shechinah, or cloud of glory, for on them the visible glory of God rested. They were placed one at each end of the mercy-seat, with wings stretched upward, and their faces “toward each other and toward the mercy-seat.” They were anointed with holy oil, like the ark itself and the other sacred furniture. The cherubim were symbolical. They were intended to represent spiritual existence’s in immediate contact with Jehovah. Some have regarded them as symbolical of the chief ruling power by which God carries on his operations in providence Ps 18:10 Others interpret them as having reference to the redemption of men, and as symbolising the great rulers or ministers of the church. Many other opinions have been held regarding them which need not be referred to here. On the whole, it seems to be most satisfactory to regard the interpretation of the symbol to be variable, as is the symbol itself. Their office was,

1. on the expulsion of our first parents from Eden, to prevent all access to the tree of life; and

2. to form the throne and chariot of Jehovah in his manifestation of himself on earth. He dwelleth between and sitteth on the cherubim 1Sa 4:4 Ps 80:1 Eze 1:26,28


winged celestial beings similar to angels. In ancient Hebrew thought, angels themselves are anthropomorphic, or humanlike, while the cherubim have wings and are zoomorphic, or animal-like. In the developed system of Hebrew angelology, however, the cherubim form one of the nine classes of angels.

God placed cherubim at the east side of Eden to prevent human beings from reentering the garden and gaining access to the tree of life (see Genesis 3:24). Cherubim also support or function as God’s throne or chariot (see Psalms 80:1; 18:10). Ezekiel’s fantastic and detailed descriptions of the cherubim (see Ezekiel 1:4-28; 10:3-22), however idiosyncratic, are largely responsible for their entry into the history of art. Seraphim, mentioned only in Isaiah 6, are similar creatures.

Mentioned in Isa 6:2,3,6,7 This word means fiery ones, in allusion, as is supposed, to their burning love. They are represented as “standing” above the King as he sat upon his throne, ready at once to minister unto him. Their form appears to have been human, with the addition of wings. This word, in the original, is used elsewhere only of the “fiery serpents” Nu 21:6,8 De 8:15 comp. Isa 14:29 30:6 sent by God as his instruments to inflict on the people the righteous penalty of sin. (Hebrew, “burning ones”), celestial beings referred to in a vision by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah 6:2-6) in the Old Testament; the highest in the order of angels.

Who is like God?

  1. The title given to one of the chief angels Da 10:13,21 12:1 He had special charge of Israel as a nation. He disputed with Satan Jude 1:9 about the body of Moses. He is also represented as warning against “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” Re 12:7-9

0430 Myhla ‘elohiym el-o-heem’

plural of 0433; TWOT-93c; n m p

(Hebrew, “who is like God?”), called Saint Michael in the Christian churches, one of the seven archangels (see Archangel) in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, presumed to be leader of the angels (see Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1) and guardian angel of Israel. According to the pseudepigraphic Book of Enoch, Michael and his command of faithful troops defeated the rebellious archangel Lucifer and his followers, casting them into Hell. In the Talmud, his relationship to the other angels is compared with that on earth of the high priest to Israel; thus, he is considered the immediate lawgiver to the prophet Moses on Sinai (see Acts 7:38).

AV-God 2346, god 244, judge 5, GOD 1, goddess 2, great 2, mighty 2, angels 1, exceeding 1, God-ward + 04136 1, godly 1; 2606

1) (plural)

1a) rulers, judges

1b) divine ones

1c) angels

1d) gods

2) (plural intensive-singular meaning)

2a) god, goddess

2b) godlike one

2c) works or special possessions of God

2d) the (true) God

2e) God

01121 Nb ben bane

AV-saint 6, holy 4, holy one 3; 13

1) holy, separate

2) (TWOT) angels, saints

in the New Testament, the announcement to Mary by the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of Jesus (see Luke 1:26-38). The Feast of the Annunciation is observed on March 25.

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