The Nature of Angels
The word angel translates the Hebrew word מַלְאָךְ malak and the Greek word ἄγγελος aggelos, and both words mean messenger. Thirty-four books of Bible teach the existence of angels. The word angel occurs approximately 275 times throughout Scripture. Angels are created beings (Col. 1:16), were present at the creation of the world (Job 38:4-7), have volition (Matt. 8:28-32), emotion (Mark 1:23-26), and intelligence (1 Pet. 1:12). Angels are spirit beings (Heb. 1:14), are distinct from humans (Mark 1:23-26), do not reproduce after their kind (Mark 12:25), have great power (2 Peter 2:11; cf. Dan. 10:1-21), and are innumerable (Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11).
God has organized angels into different classes. Michael is the only one named as an Archangel (Jude 1:9), although some are classified as chief princes (Dan. 10:13), some as rulers (Eph. 3:10), and some as guardian angels (Matt. 18:10; Heb. 1:14). Seraphim—who have six wings—appear to be devoted to the worship of God (Isa. 6:1-3), whereas Cherubim—who have four wings—are devoted to protecting the Lord’s holiness (Ezek. 10:19-21).
Angels are classified as either fallen or unfallen. The former retain their holy state and service to God, whereas the latter have defected from their original place and continue in constant rebellion against God. The following categories of angels are noted in Scripture:
- Michael the archangel is the head of all the holy angels and his name means “who is like unto God” (Dan. 10:21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7-10).
- Gabriel is one of the principal messengers of God, his name meaning “hero of God.” He was entrusted with important messages such as those delivered to Daniel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21), the message to Zacharias (Luke 1:18-19), and the message to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38).
- Most angels are not given individual names but are described as elect angels (1 Tim. 5:21). This introduces the interesting thought that like saved men who are declared to be chosen or elected, the holy angels likewise were divinely appointed.
- The expressions “principalities” and “powers” seem to be used of all angels whether fallen or unfallen (Luke 21:26; Rom. 8:38; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15; 1 Pet. 3:22). There is unceasing warfare between the holy angels and the fallen angels for control of men in history.
- Some angels are designated “cherubim,” living creatures who defend God’s holiness from any defilement of sin (Gen. 3:24; Exod. 25:18, 20; Ezek. 1:1-18). Satan, the head of fallen angels, was originally created holy for this purpose also (Ezek. 28:14). Angelic figures in the form of cherubim were made of gold overlooking the mercy seat of the ark and the Holy of Holies in both the Tabernacle and the Temple.
- Seraphim are mentioned only once in the Bible in Isaiah 6:2-7. They are described as having three pairs of wings, apparently have the function of praising God and being God’s messengers to earth, and are especially concerned with the holiness of God.
- The term “angel of Jehovah” is found frequently in the Old Testament to refer to appearances of Christ in the form of an angel. The title belongs only to God and is used in connection with the divine manifestations in the earth, and therefore it is in no way to be included in the angelic hosts (Gen. 18:1-19:29; 22:11-12; 31:11-13; 32:24-32; 48:15-16; Josh. 5:13-15; Judg. 13:19-22; 2 Kings 19:35; 1 Chron. 21:12-30; Ps. 34:7).
Fallen angels are commonly referred to in Scripture as demons. Some are imprisoned (Jude 6; Rev. 9:1-16), and others are free. Demons that are free are said to possess intelligence, emotion and volition. During the time of Christ, they were able to identify Him as the Son of God (Matt. 8:29a), and they knew their future fate (Matt. 8:29b). Satan and demons attempt to frustrate the purpose of God (Matt. 4:1-11; cf. Dan. 10:10-14; Rev. 16:13-16). Demons can possess the bodies of men (Luke 11:24-26), and sometimes cause physical disease (Matt. 9:32-33).
The Ministry of Holy Angels
Holy angels are those who have remained loyal to God and continue in His service. (Read pages 154-155)
 These seven points are taken verbatim from Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 152-153.