A Bible study on angels

Angels

Definitions:  Both Hebrew mal’ak and Greek angelos = “messenger.”  Sometimes used of human messengers (Matt. 11:10Matt. 11:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way before thee.

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; Lk. 7:24, 9:52Lk. 7:24, 9:52
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to behold? a reed shaken with the wind? 9 And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned and said unto the multitude that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

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; Jas. 2:25Jas. 2:25
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

25 And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way?

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), but in vast majority of uses, refers to divine messengers and heavenly representatives.  Hebs. 1:14 provides the primary biblical definition: “ministering spirits.”  Angels are created beings, not “gods” (Ps. 148:5Ps. 148:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 Let them praise the name of Jehovah; For he commanded, and they were created.

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; Col. 3:16Col. 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God.

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) and therefore not to be worshiped (Rev. 19:10, 22:8-9Rev. 19:10, 22:8-9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

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).

Examples of Revelatory Activities:

Gen. 18 – Told Abraham he would have a son

Gen. 19 – Warned Lot re destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah

Ex. 3 – Appeared to Moses in burning bush & commissioned him to free Israel

Ex. 23 – Led Israelites through wilderness

Hebs. 2:2; Acts 7:53Acts 7:53
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

53 ye who received the law as it was ordained by angels, and kept it not.

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; Gal. 3:19Gal. 3:19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator.

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– Delivered Law to Moses

Luke 1 – Announced births of John the Baptist & Jesus

Matt. 4 – Ministered to Jesus after wilderness temptations

Matt. 28 – Rolled away stone at Resurrection & announced it to women

Acts 1 – Present at Ascension, told disciples Jesus would come again

Rev. 1:1Rev. 1:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

The Revelation to Saint John 1 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John;

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– Delivered the Revelation to John

Note:  All of the above show what a tremendous claim is made in Hebs. 1-2 in saying that Christ is “better than” the angels.

Angels in the Old Testament:

Gen. 16:7-13, 21:17-20, 22:11-18Gen. 16:7-13, 21:17-20, 22:11-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV



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Ex. 3:2Ex. 3:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

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ff

Judges 6:1Judges 6:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 1 And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and Jehovah delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

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ff

Daniel 7:10Daniel 7:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousands of thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

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Deut. 33:2Deut. 33:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 And he said, Jehovah came from Sinai, And rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, And he came from the ten thousands of holy ones: At his right hand was a fiery law for them.

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Angels in the New Testament:

 Messengers of God & ministers to humans – Rev. 19:10Rev. 19:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

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; Lk. 15:10Lk. 15:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 Even so, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

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, Matt. 18:10Matt. 18:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.

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;

Acts 12:15Acts 12:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she confidently affirmed that it was even so. And they said, It is his angel.

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; Hebs. 1:14

Visitations to humans – Lk. 1:11-20, 26-38Lk. 1:11-20, 26-38
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of altar of incense. 12 And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: because thy supplication is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn unto the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before his face in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the just; to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him. 18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak unto thee, and to bring thee these good tidings. 20 And behold, thou shalt be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall come to pass, because thou believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee. 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this might be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. 31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that was called barren. 37 For no word from God shall be void of power. 38 And Mary said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

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; Matt. 1-2; Acts 5:19Acts 5:19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 But an angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them out, and said,

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ff, 8:26, 10:3ff,

12:7-10, 27:23; Hebs. 12:22; Rev. 5:11Rev. 5:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

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Association with giving the Law – Acts 7:53Acts 7:53
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

53 ye who received the law as it was ordained by angels, and kept it not.

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; Gal. 3:19Gal. 3:19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator.

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; Hebs. 2:2

Participants in Judgment – Matt: 16:27; Mk. 8:38, 13:27Mk. 8:38, 13:27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

38 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 13 And he left them, and again entering into the boat departed to the other side.

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; 2 Thess. 1:72 Thess. 1:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 and to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire,

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Splendor – Matt. 28:2Matt. 28:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it.

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ff; Lk. 2:9Lk. 2:9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

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; Acts 1:10Acts 1:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 And while they were looking stedfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

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Observe Christian worship – 1 Cor. 11:101 Cor. 11:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

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Miscellaneous – Rom. 8:38Rom. 8:38
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

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; Gal. 1:8Gal. 1:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.

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; 1 Cor. 13:11 Cor. 13:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

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; Col. 2:18Col. 2:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he hath seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

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Fallen Angels – 2 Peter 2:42 Peter 2:4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 For if God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

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; Jude 6

“Guardian Angels”?

The concept that each person has a personal angel who watches over him/her is nowhere clearly articulated in Scripture, but people sometimes use these references:

Matt. 18:10Matt. 18:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.

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– “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

Acts 12:15Acts 12:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she confidently affirmed that it was even so. And they said, It is his angel.

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– “They said, ‘It is his angel!” (referring to Peter after his miraculous release from prison).

Rev. 1:20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14Rev. 1:20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks are seven churches. 2 1 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, he that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: 8 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, who was dead, and lived again: 12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These things saith he that hath the sharp two-edged sword: 18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like unto burnished brass: 3 1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead. 7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth: 14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:

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– the “angels” of the seven churches of Asia (although the exact meaning of this is uncertain).

Other Names for Angels:

             “Holy ones” – Job 5:1Job 5:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 1 Call now; is there any that will answer thee? And to which of the holy ones wilt thou turn?

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; Ps. 89:5Ps. 89:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Jehovah; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.

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& 7; Dan. 8:13Dan. 8:13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said unto that certain one who spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the continual burnt-offering, and the transgression that maketh desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

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“Sons of God” – Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 Now it came to pass on the day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, that Satan also came among them. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

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(some say Gen. 6:13Gen. 6:13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

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, but this is questionable)

“Seraphim” – Isaiah 6:1-3Isaiah 6:1-3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

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.  Mentioned only in Isaiah; human in form, but with 6  wings.  Function = to lead in worship of God (cf. Rev. 4:6Rev. 4:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 and before the throne, as it were a sea of glass like a crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, four living creatures full of eyes before and behind.

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ff, 5:8ff).

Apparently derived from Heb. saraph (= to burn); “burning ones,” “shining ones.”

“Cherubim” – Gen. 3:24Gen. 3:24
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden the Cherubim, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

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; Ezek. 28:14, 16Ezek. 28:14, 16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth: and I set thee, so that thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 16 By the abundance of thy traffic they filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore have I cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

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; Ps. 80:1, 99:1Ps. 80:1, 99:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

For the Chief Musician, set to Shoshanim Eduth. A Psalm of Asaph. 80 1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that sittest above the cherubim, shine forth.

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; Isaiah 37:16Isaiah 37:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 O Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, that sittest above the cherubim, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.

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; Ex.  25:18-20; 2 Sam. 22:112 Sam. 22:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; Yea, he was seen upon the wings of the wind.

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; Hebs. 9:5, etc.  Stand guard over the way to  the tree of life.  Wooden images of them were set over the ark of the covenant.  Mentioned 91 times in OT, once in NT. But never clearly defined, and described in a variety of ways.

“Archangels” – 1 Thess. 4:161 Thess. 4:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;

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; Jude 9.  Possibly referred to in Rev. 8:2, 7, 10, 12; 9:1, 13; 11:15Rev. 8:2, 7, 10, 12; 9:1, 13; 11:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 And I saw the seven angels that stand before God; and there were given unto them seven trumpets. 7 And the first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of the earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell from heaven a great star, burning as a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of the waters; 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; that the third part of them should be darkened, and the day should not shine for the third part of it, and the night in like manner. 9 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven fallen unto the earth: and there was given to him the key of the pit of the abyss. 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar which is before God, 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there followed great voices in heaven, and they said, The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever.

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.  Only “Michael” is positively identified as an “archangel” (Jude 9; Rev. 12:7Rev. 12:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels;

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), but “Gabriel” is probably to be so identified as well due to the nature of his mission.  Note:  Michael  & Gabriel are the only 2 angels in the Bible who have names.

Tommy South

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