Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: What do the Scriptures teach about the nature and qualities of angels?
Answer: In the Bible, the word angel means messenger. God uses various angels or messengers
to serve Him, and they can be spiritual beings, human beings or inanimate messengers. Let us
consider this subject from the standpoint of God’s spiritual messengers. The Bible says very
little about the nature of these beings. We do know, however, that they have bodies, because the
Bible teaches that God, the Lord Jesus and the saints all have bodies (John 5: 37)
(Philippians 2: 6) (1 Corinthians 15: 41-54). We know nothing of their shapes or the members of
their bodies, but we know that their bodies are not made up of material substances, but of
spiritual substances such as light, fire, etc. (Hebrews 1: 7) (Matthew 28: 3) (Judges 13: 6). Their
bodies are very glorious and bright, and practically paralyze a human who would look upon one
(Matthew 28: 4) (Daniel 8: 17, 27) (Daniel 10: 7-11, 18). One of their powers is that they can
materialize and assume human bodies in order to make revelations to humans. One of many
examples is when three angels materialized and appeared and interacted with Abraham
(Genesis 18: 2) (Genesis 22: 11-18).
We know some things about their physical qualities:
Devil, a high ranking spiritual being, will die (Hebrews 2: 14) (Isaiah 27: 1).
have incorruptible bodies, that is, bodies that do not decay. They do not need to eat to
supply waste cells, since they have no cells that waste. They cannot become sick because
sickness is a process of decay. Even though some of them, the fallen angels, have sinned,
were banished from heaven, and have corrupted their mental, moral and religious faculties,
they have remained physically perfect from the time of their creation, perhaps millions of
years ago (Genesis 1: 1) (Job 38: 7).
heaven when Daniel began to pray, and reached Daniel as he was finishing his prayer,
travelling billions of miles in a matter of minutes (Daniel 9: 21, 23).
(Acts 12: 7-11).
(Luke 20: 36).
As to their faculties of heart and mind, they were created perfect, and on a scale far higher than
that of perfect human beings. They must have a great knowledge of mathematics, astronomy and
physics, far greater than all human scientists, to have been able assistants to the Logos, the great
Archangel, in manipulating the laws of nature in the creating and balancing of the various
galaxies and solar systems of the universe.
The moral and religious faculties of the good angels must also be of great strength, greatly
exceeding those of perfect humans. Their tenacity of will toward righteousness and their
steadfastness in supreme love to God and equal love for one another, persisting for possibly
millions of years, despite temptations to the contrary, are an honor to God. They obey God and
do not allow themselves to be worshipped (Psalm 103: 20, 21).
These angels were created in various natures and orders – cherubim, seraphim, principalities,
powers, thrones, dominions and angels (Genesis 3: 24) (Isaiah 6: 2, 6) (Romans 8: 38)
(Ephesians 1: 21) (Ephesians 3: 10) (Colossians 1: 16). These seven designations indicate either
seven different natures or seven different ranks among the angels, thereby demonstrating the
manifold creative wisdom of God. Please note that the seven orders of spiritual beings are all
called angels in a general sense, whereas the seventh, or lowest order of spiritual beings are
called angels in a specific sense, and are referred to in Psalm 8: 5, in which man is spoken of as
being a little lower than them.
Thus we see that the angels are the servants of God. They delight to understand God’s Word and
works (1 Peter 1: 12), and they take pleasure in serving His designs.