Angel (Hebrew: מלאך = Mal'ak, Greek: aggelos) means messenger. In the Bible, a messenger can be a prophet (a man), or a heavenly being. William Branham was of the view that there were no women angels, however scripture does not appear to agree with this view.
There are many angels identified in the scriptures:
|And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. (Revelation 21:17)|
Certain prophets are called "gods" and "angels" in the Bible. In the book of Exodus, the LORD says to Moses I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Exodus 7:1) The Hebrew word Mal'ak (angel) can be interpreted as either a prophetic or priestly messenger (Isaiah 42:19, Haggai 1:13, Malachi 2:7), or simply as a messenger (I Samuel 25:42) or ambassador (Isaiah 30:4).
When John the Baptist began to preach "prepare the way of the Lord", he was identifying Jesus as the "messenger" or "Angel of the covenant" as prophesied in Malachi 3:1.
In Revelation 22:9, the disciple John fell at the feet of an Angel to worship him, but the angel said "do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets". William Branham said this proves that the Angel was a prophet, but this only works in the KJV, as other translations say:
- NCV: I am a servant like you, your brothers the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book:
- NLT: No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book.
- Amplified: I am [only] a fellow servant along with yourself and with your brethren the prophets and with those who are mindful of and practice [the truths contained in] the messages of this book.
- ESV: I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book.
The Angel of the Lord
|The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. (Psalms 34:7)|
The phrase "the Angel of the Lord" can either refer to God himself in the form of an Angel, or an angel with a message straight from God. The Angel of the Lord first appears in the scriptures to Hagar when she was cast out by Sarah, then to Abraham when he was about to sacrifice his son Isaac, and next to Jacob before he departed from Laban. The Angel of the Lord also appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and was seen as a pillar of fire, and a pillar of a cloud. In all of these appearings he brings promise, and protection.
The Angel of the Lord also talked with Balaam, and rebuked him for trying to curse Israel, then he rebuked the Children of Israel for failing to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan (Judges 2:1-4). The Angel of the Lord also met Gideon (Judges 6:12), Samson's mother and father (Judges 13:9-21), King David (I Chronicles 21:16), Elijah (I Kings 19:5-7), King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:28), Zechariah (Zechariah 1:12-14), and Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1). Zechariah also saw Satan standing at the right hand of the Angel of the Lord to resist him.
In the New Testament, the Angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph, Mary's espoused husband, in a number of dreams. He also told the shepherds of Jesus' birth, and rolled back the stone of Jesus' tomb. The Angel of the Lord released Peter and the Apostles from prison (Acts 5:19, 12:7), spoke to Philip (Acts 8:26), and smote Herod (Acts 12:23)
|I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: (Isaiah 6:1b-3a)|
Seraphims (Hebrew: to burn) are God's winged choir. Isaiah saw six-winged Seraphims in the temple of God crying Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts" unto the Lord. Two wings covered their feet, two wings covered their faces, and two wings were used for flying (Isaiah 6:1-7).
|So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)|
Cherubims are the guardians of God. When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, Cherubims and a flaming sword were placed at the eastern gate of the garden, to guard the way of the tree of life (Gen 3:24). When God instructed Moses to build the ark of the covenant (inside of which was mana, Aaron's rod, and the Ten Commandments), he was instructed to cover it with a golden "mercy seat"(Exodus 25:19) or "chariot" (I Chronicles 28:28), which was itself covered with two winged Cherubims. God then promised that he would meet Moses between the Cherubims above the mercy seat (Exodus 25:18-22).
Images of Cherubims were woven into the curtains and veil of the Tabernacle, as instructed by Moses. In Solomon's temple, he built two Cherubims of olive wood 10 cubits high that were covered with gold, carved images of cherubims and palm trees were engraved in the walls, and cherubims and palm trees were engraved on the doors. (I Kings 6:23-35) Solomon also carved lions, oxen, palm trees, and cherubims as part of the brass sea (I Kings 7:29, 36).
David said that God rode upon a cherub (II Samuel 22:11, Psalms 18:10), and Ezekiel saw cherubs standing by wheels, each with four wings, the form of a man's hand under their wings, and four faces: one of an cherub, a man, a lion and an eagle (Ezekiel 10). Ezekiel saw a vision of the temple of God in heaven, with Cherubims with two faces engraved on and around the doors (Ezekiel 41:18, 25).
Angels with both Cherub and Seraph characteristics
|And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (Revelation 4:8)|
In the Book of Revelation, four beasts appear before the throne of God singing "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." (Revelation 4:8). These angels have six wings and sing the song of the Seraphim, but they are covering the throne of God and appear like beasts - one is is like a lion, another like a calf, another like a man, and another like an eagle - just like Cherubims.
From the descriptions in the Bible, it is not known if Cherubims and Seraphims are distinct "species" of Angels, or if these titles indicate rank.
There is nothing in the scriptures that would suggest that these individual angels are winged or not. For example, the angel Gabriel is called a man, yet he is known to fly swiftly.
|Yea, whiles I [was] speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. (Daniel 9:21)|
In the Old Testament, Gabriel is name of the angel that appears to the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:16, 9:21). In the New Testament, Gabriel is the name of the angel that appears to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19), and Mary (Luke 1:26).
|Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 1:9)|
Michael the Archangel (Hebrew: "who is like God") is identified by an angel who speaks to Daniel as one of the "chief princes" who helped the angel fight against the prince of Persia (Daniel 10:13). The angel also says to Daniel that Michael is "your prince" (Daniel 10:21). The angel also prophecies that Michael will stand at the last days and deliver the Children of Israel in a great time of trouble (Daniel 12:1).
In the New Testament, Michael is identified as an archangel, and the angel who rebuked the Devil in the name of the Lord when they were disputing over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9). In the Book of Revelation, Michael is set at the head of the angels in their fight against the dragon, who also had a host of angels (Revelation 12:7).
|How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)|
Ezekiel prophecied that the king of Tyrus (or, more specifically, the spirit that anointed him) was in the Garden of Eden, and was the anointed cherub that covereth before he rebelled against God (Ezekiel 28:13-16). Isaiah prophecied that the king of Babylon (or, more specifically, the spirit that anointed him) was called Lucifer, the son of the morning. Lucifer means "light-bearer", and the apostle Paul writes that "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (II Corinthians 11:14). Satan and Lucifer, therefore, are one and the same.
The book of Revelation calls Satan (a Hebrew word) the Devil (a Greek Word), the dragon, the serpent, and the angel of the bottomless pit, which is called Abaddon and Apollyon (Revelation 9:11, 20:2).