Angels Encyclopedia

Related: Gabriel; Michael
Angels are mentioned in three ways in scripture:
  1. Conventional angels are created intelligences with great power who serve God, Heb. 1:13
  2. A disembodied spirit, as in Matt. 18:10, Acts 12:15, Heb. 12:23
  3. Men set in a place of authority and responsibility on earth, as in Ecc. 5:6, Mal. 2:7, Rev. 1-3.
Conventional Angels. Angels play a large role the ways of God. Perhaps a much larger role than many people realize. Morally, there are two classes of angels:
  • Elect angels (1 Tim. 5:21) who are also called “holy angels” (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Rev. 14:10) are those who are preserved by God.
  • Fallen angels, who are also called “demons”, “the host of the high ones”, and “evil spirits” are those angels who fell with Satan (Rev. 12:9).
Elect Angels. There are thousands and thousands of these angels, “an innumerable company” (Matt. 26:53; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11). What do the angels do?
  • In general, all the angels of God are “ministering spirits, sent out for service” (Heb. 1:14). The angels serve in the capacity of guardians for the saints, and this protection begins even before a person is converted! 
  • The cherubim (plural) are the class of angels that execute the judgment of God. There were at least two Cherubim to guard the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24), two Cherubim embroidered on the veil which guarded the way into the holiest (Ex. 26:31), and two Cherubim which looked expectantly down upon the mercy seat (Ex. 25:30). Ezekiel saw four living creatures described in ch.1 and identified in Ezek. 10:1 as cherubim, representing the inflexible judgment of God’s government.
  • The seraphim (plural) are a class of angel that defend God’s holiness. They are described in Isa. 6 as calling out to each other; “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” In Revelation 4, we read of four living creatures that combine the characteristics of both cherubim and seraphim. They execute God’s judgment, but they also defend His holiness, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty”.
  • The archangel (Micheal) is an angel of great importance. Some traditions believe there are seven archangels, but scripture only speaks of one. He once disputed with Satan over the body of Moses, but would not rebuke the Devil because it would have been out of character for one in his rank (Jude 1:9).
Fallen Angels. Not all angels are equal in authority or status. There is a great hierarchy that we know only a little about.
  • The prince of the power of the air (Satan) is the highest ranking angel in the creation of God (Eph. 2:2).
  • Principalities are demonic beings that have dominion over specific regions on the earth (Eph. 6:12). Michael is also a principality. See the princes in Daniel 10; “prince of Persia”, “prince of Greece”, “Michael your prince”.
  • Authorities are demonic beings with great power, even over other demons (Eph. 6:12).
  • Warlords are universal authorities, perhaps Satan’s right hand demons (Eph. 6:12).
Worshipping Angels. The Word of God expressly prohibits the worship of angels. God has closed that whole scene to us, so that if we intrude into those things we are bumping around in the dark. Read Colossians 2:18-19, where Paul speaks of mysticism. When man intrudes into the unseen world, he is “entering into things which he has not seen”.

Worshipping angels is a religious practice that many consider to be “super-spiritual”. For instance, they would argue that, since we are to worship God, it stands to reason that we should also worship the angels, even though God hasn’t told us to. It is a false show of “humility”; based on the idea that worshipping angels puts man lower. But this practice is really sin; man “doing his own will”. To insist on praying to a mediator other than the Lord Jesus Christ is idolatry! God’s angels don’t seek worshippers (see Rev. 19:10; 22:9), but Satan and his angels do (Matt. 4:9). To worship angels is to seek a relationship with heavenly beings that God has not revealed to us, and meanwhile to neglect a relationship with the Son who came from heaven to reveal God! The angles are occupied with our care (Heb. 1:14), but we are not to be occupied with them. See Mary's example, who didn’t seem occupied with the angels (John 20:12-13).