All Christians and many people who do not live a spiritual life believe in angels. However, let us point out: what do we know exactly about these creatures and what does the Holy Scripture say about them? Here are 9 biblical facts about angels.
The angels’ role is already explained in their name. The word “angel” is Greek by its origin and it means “herald”. Angels bring us messages from God, announce His will to us and tell us about His decisions. Angels are service spirits, ambassadors and postmen of the great King. In the Holy Scripture, it is stated several times about how the angels were sent to people to bring them the answers to their prayers. It the book of Daniel we read: “And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come” (Daniel 10:11-14).
2. Angels’ Hierarchy
As we can see in the text above, a fallen angel named in the text as the Persian prince, prevented God’s angel from coming to Daniel. Only the help of the more powerful angel – Archangel Michael, who is one of “the first princes” – made it possible for the angel to complete his mission. The tradition says, and the Scriptere proves it as well, that there is a certain angelic hierarchy, which is fully subject to the King of Glory – Christ. So, the being of angels is hierarchical “for God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
3. There are good and bad ones
The previous point stated that there are God’s angels, which are good, and there are evil ones – the fallen angels – which did not preserve their high spiritual dignity but have certain advantages because of their spiritual nature. This is why we should remember that not any spirituality comes from God and consequently, far not any spirituality is safe and beneficial. Lord Jesus Christ says about satan, the main fallen angel: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). In another excerpt, He says: “And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:18-19). From the Scripture it is also known that “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). This is why we must stay always prudent and remember about the words of Apostle John the Theologian: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Angels serve God. One of the main parts of their service is the service to God’s supreme creature – the human being. “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11).
5. Material and other help
If there is a necessity, angels can not only protect us from the devil and announce God’s will, but also help us in case of a material need. We can see an example in the story of the Prophet Elijah and in the life stories of many other saints: “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” (1 Kings 19:4-7).
6. Joy about people’s salvation
Being bright and good creatures, angels rejoice about every sinful person who reaches salvation. The Lord Himself said: “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
7. Angels are praying all the time
Angels are the ceaseless servants of God’s glory and they are constantly praising our common Creator. “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:1-3).
8. Angels must not be worshiped
Angels and all the heavenly powers are just the same creatures of God as we people are. Although they are the first minds and are always close to our Lord Jesus Christ, they are still the elements of the created world. This part of the creation is more exquisite than out rough material world. We can worship only God, our Creator. Here is what the angel said to Apostle John when the latter intended to bow to him: “And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
9. Angels must be honored
Despite the fact that in no case we can worship angels like God, the Scripture and the Church Tradition call us upon to honor angels and pay to them liturgical signs of respect such as bows, censing in front of the icons of angels and appealing to them in prayers. The Scripture testifies about the religious usage of the images of angels in the Tabernacle and the Temple: “You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim. You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold, upon four sockets of silver. And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy” (Exodus 26:31-33).
In the Book of Exodus, we read that God Himself ordered to create the images of angels and that He appeared among the images of cherubims: “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:22). Asking angels for help, we must remember that we ask them to pray to God from our behalf, but it is only God Who gives His blessing and answers to our questions, since everything happens only by His holy will.