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Basic Bible Teachings

2.2  |  Who Are the Angels? Lesson 2.2  |  Who Are the Angels?

Lesson 2.2

Who Are the Angels?

When you complete this lesson, you’ll see from the Bible who the angels are and how some angels who rebelled against Jehovah God are responsible for the suffering and evil we see in the world.

Begin Lesson

Angels are mentioned almost 400 times in the Scriptures, and their influence on the human family has been significant. Let’s look at two important Bible teachings about the angels:

  1. Angels are spirit persons
  2. Some angels rebelled

1. Angels are spirit persons

The Bible says that angels “are greater in strength and power” than humans. (2 Peter 2:​11) Angels live in the invisible spirit realm with God, so the Bible sometimes refers to them as spirits.​—1 Kings 22:21.

Jehovah created the angels as perfect spirit persons, so they are called “the holy angels.” (Luke 9:​26) Like a well-ordered army, they are organized to carry out God’s commands. Thus, the Bible refers to “legions* of angels” and to “the heavenly army.” (Matthew 26:53; Luke 2:​13) Click the arrows on the picture to see the comparison. [?]

The Hebrew and Greek words translated “angel” literally mean “messenger.” Angels convey God’s messages. Let’s examine an account that shows this. Click the highlighted words for more information. [?]

Luke 1:19, 20

“The angel said to [the priest Zechariah]: ‘I am Gabriel, who stands near before God, and I was sent to speak with you and to declare this good news to you.’”

Angels have names and individual personalities. This one, named Gabriel, is a high-ranking angel who “stands near before God.” Yet, he was not speaking his own message. Instead, he was sent by Jehovah God with good news for Zechariah.

Gabriel brought God’s message of good news to Zechariah. Today, angels help to bring “everlasting good news” to people in all the earth. (Revelation 14:6, 7) Later lessons in this course will show how this good news can benefit you.

At times, Jehovah God assigns angels to protect faithful humans. For example, the prophet Daniel was thrown into the lions’ pit but was not harmed, because “God sent his angel and shut the mouth of the lions.”​—Daniel 6:​19-​22. [?]

The Bible says regarding the angels: “Let them praise the name of Jehovah, for he commanded, and they were created.” (Psalm 148:2, 5) According to this verse, are angels humans who have gone to heaven?

Although many people have been taught that angels used to be humans, this idea does not come from the Bible. In fact, God’s Word teaches that the angels were created long before humans. For example, when God created the earth, the angels “began shouting in applause.” (Job 38:​4-7, footnote) Later lessons will explain the Bible’s wonderful hope for people who have died.

Very good. The angels are a unique creation of God. They are not humans who have died and been raised to life in heaven. The next lesson will explain what happens to people when they die.

Summary of Section 1

Angels are powerful spirit persons created by Jehovah God. They have individual personalities and carry out God’s commands.

2. Some angels rebelled

Jehovah God created the angels as perfect spirit persons. However, some of them are now called “unclean spirits” or “wicked spirits” because they rebelled against God. (Luke 6:​18; 8:2) How could this happen? And how did their rebellion affect humankind?

Human parents can train their children to be good, but when the children grow up, they can choose to do bad. Likewise, the angels were perfect when Jehovah created them, but one angel chose to do bad and became Satan the Devil, God’s primary enemy and the enemy of those who love God. (1 Peter 5:8) Slide the circle to change the picture. [?]

The Bible does not reveal the original name of the angel who became Satan. However, the terms used to identify him reveal his personality.

Satan: From a Hebrew word that means “resister,” or “adversary.” In all that he does, Satan resists and opposes God.​—Zechariah 3:1.

Devil: From a Greek word that means “slanderer,” or “false accuser.” The Devil falsely accuses Jehovah and those who love Him of being wicked.​—Proverbs 27:11; Revelation 12:​9, 10.

“Angel of light”: Satan disguises himself and uses deception to increase his influence.​—2 Corinthians 11:14.

Why did Satan rebel? He wanted to be worshipped, and he let this wrong desire lead him to wicked actions. (James 1:​14, 15) Let’s examine a Bible account that exposes Satan’s desire to be worshipped. [?]

Matthew 4:​8-​10

“The Devil took [Jesus] along to an unusually high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him: ‘All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.’ Then Jesus said to him: ‘Go away, Satan! For it is written: “It is Jehovah your God you must worship.”’”

The Devil offered Jesus a massive bribe to tempt Jesus into worshipping him. This shows how much the Devil wants people to worship him rather than Jehovah.

Jesus opposed Satan and remained loyal to Jehovah. (John 8:​29) With God’s help, you too can successfully “oppose the Devil.”​—James 4:7.

Other angels joined Satan’s rebellion. These wicked angels, or demons, left Jehovah’s family of loyal angels. (Matthew 9:​34) Satan and the demons have misled many people into joining their rebellion. (1 Timothy 4:1) Watch this video clip, and see if you agree that the evidence supports the idea that there’s an unseen force behind the world’s problems.

Read 1 John 5:​19, and then answer the question, Who currently exercises power over the whole world?

Although Jehovah God has ultimate authority and power, he is temporarily allowing Satan to rule the world. The reason God is allowing this will be explained later in this course.

As surprising as it might seem, Jesus himself said that Satan the Devil is “the ruler of the world.”​—John 14:30.

The Bible agrees with your answer. Satan the Devil is “the wicked one.” The Bible also calls him “the ruler of this world.” (John 12:31) However, Satan’s rule is only temporary​—Jehovah has promised to destroy Satan and undo all the bad effects of his rebellion. (1 John 3:8) Later in this course, you’ll learn how and when God will do this.

Summary of Section 2

Satan the Devil was created perfect, but he let his desire for worship lead him to rebel against Jehovah. For now, he is “the ruler of this world.” (John 12:31) Along with the angels who joined his rebellion, he misleads people so that they will follow him.


Now let’s review some key points to help you remember what you’ve learned.

Review 1 of 3

Pick the expression that correctly describes the angels. They . . .

Correct. Like humans, angels were created with free will and can choose to do right or wrong.​—2 Peter 2:4.

Angels not only have unique names and personalities but also have different ranks, including those of seraph and cherub as well as that of archangel.​—Genesis 3:​23, 24; Isaiah 6:2; Jude 9.

Although God sometimes uses angels to guide and protect faithful people, this is not why they exist. The angels obey God’s commands, not ours.​—Psalm 103:20, 21.

The Bible calls the angels “sons of the true God.” (Job 1:6) This indicates that they were created by Jehovah and never lived as humans on earth.​—Psalm 148:​2, 5.

Review 2 of 3

Match the description of Satan to the correct meaning. [?]

Review 3 of 3

Compare these two Bible teachings: (1) Everything that God makes is good; (2) Satan is evil. What should we conclude from these two statements?

Some people feel that God could not have created the angel who later became Satan. However, the Bible clearly teaches that Jehovah God “created all things.”​—Revelation 4:​11.

That’s right. Satan misused his free will by choosing to let his desire for worship move him to rebel against Jehovah.​—James 1:​14, 15.

The two statements might seem to contradict each other, yet they can be harmonized. Everything God made was perfect. However, he gave his intelligent creatures free will and allowed them to use it​—even if their choices would result in terrible consequences.​—Galatians 6:7.

Dig Deeper

Jehovah has allowed Satan the Devil, his principal enemy, to continue to exist until now. What is the best explanation for this?

The Bible calls Jehovah “the Almighty,” which means that his power has no limits. (Job 27:11) We can be sure that he has the ability and the desire to destroy Satan and the angels who joined his rebellion. (Matthew 25:41) The next lesson will explain why Jehovah has waited to take action against Satan.

This viewpoint is common. However, the Bible says that Jehovah does not test people with evil things. (James 1:​13) In addition, if Jehovah were to use Satan in this way, then they would actually be allies, cooperating with each other. Instead, the Bible shows that Satan is God’s enemy.​—Matthew 13:39.

Your answer agrees with the Bible. God has promised to destroy Satan and to undo all the problems Satan has created. (1 John 3:8) But why hasn’t God done this already? What is he waiting for? Later lessons in this course will answer those questions.

Lesson Summary

  1. Angels are spirit persons created by Jehovah God
  2. Some angels rebelled against God. Their leader, Satan the Devil, temporarily rules the world

What’s next?

Go to the Next Lesson

In Lesson 2.3, “Why Did God Create Humans?,” you’ll see how we fit into God’s purpose.

Attend a Group Study

You’re welcome at our meetings. There we examine what the Bible says and how we can apply its teachings in our life.

Request a Personal Instructor

Would you like more help? We’ll be happy to contact you at a time and place convenient for you.

 In Bible times, soldiers in the Roman army were organized into groups of 6,000 called legions.


Who Are the Angels?

Who Are the Angels?