Knowing that they came before us leads to a particularly disheartening conclusion for some: Angels are not deceased people! I have encountered many individuals who have spoken of how loved ones who have gone on are now angels (oftentimes these people say they are in fact guardian angels, watching over them), and though the notion may be comforting, it is simply wrong. We do not ascend into the heights of heaven at death with silvery wings, halos, and golden harps. No, our future role is distinct and far different from that of angels, but that is a discussion for another time. What else do we often confuse concerning these creatures?
Angels, despite the common misconceptions, are in fact distinct celestial beings produced by the Hands of God Himself, likely, as we have covered, very early in the creation. Initially all angels were good, holy creations, spiritual beings that, like us, possessed free will. Like us also, they are they have limitations, boundaries that impede their presence and ability; they are not omniscient, omnipotent, nor omnipresent. Though they are constrained in terms of what they can do, make no mistake: they are far more powerful and capable creatures than anything that physically exists in our reality. Even so, most are on our side. To this end, consider the words of Psalm 34:7:
“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.”
Also, ponder Hebrews 1:14:
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
For many people, the notion of angels tends to coalesce in the mind (thanks to persistent and faulty marketing) as beautiful and ethereal women with broad dove wings. This is simply wrong. In fact, the scriptures do not talk of female angels. Not a single time, in fact!¹ Indeed, think back at the name with which they are referred to in the Old Testament: the bene ha’elohim (בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים,), the Sons of God.
- There is, for those diligent enough to find it, a vision noted in Zechariah 5:9 which describes two women with stork wings, but these were not angels; in fact the inclusion of “stork” wings intentionally seems to indicate that, whatever they were, it is likely that they were evil or at least not holy, for storks are “unclean” birds, Biblically speaking…
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