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Who or What Are Angels?

Who or What Are Angels?

The Bible’s answer

 Angels are beings who have greater power and ability than humans. (2 Peter 2:​11) They exist in heaven, or the spirit realm, which is a level of existence higher than the physical universe. (1 Kings 8:​27; John 6:​38) Thus, they are also referred to as spirits.​—1 Kings 22:21; Psalm 18:10.

Where do angels come from?

 God created the angels through Jesus, whom the Bible calls “the firstborn of all creation.” Describing how God used Jesus in creation, the Bible says: “By means of [Jesus] all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible,” including the angels. (Colossians 1:​13-​17) Angels do not marry and reproduce. (Mark 12:25) Instead, each of these “sons of the true God” was individually created.​—Job 1:6.

 Angels were created in the distant past, before the earth existed. When God created the earth, the angels “began shouting in applause.”​—Job 38:​4-7.

How many angels are there?

 The Bible does not give an exact figure, but it does show that their number is vast. For example, a vision given to the apostle John included a glimpse of hundreds of millions of angels.​—Revelation 5:​11, footnote.

Do angels have individual names and personalities?

 Yes. The Bible gives the names of two angels: Michael and Gabriel. (Daniel 12:1; Luke 1:​26) a Other angels acknowledged that they had names, but they did not reveal them.​—Genesis 32:29; Judges 13:17, 18.

 Angels have distinct personalities. They can communicate with one another. (1 Corinthians 13:1) They have thinking ability and are able to compose expressions of praise to God. (Luke 2:​13, 14) And they have the freedom to choose between right and wrong, as seen when some of them sinned by joining Satan the Devil in his rebellion against God.​—Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4.

Are there different ranks among angels?

 Yes. The angel greatest in both power and authority is Michael, the archangel. (Jude 9; Revelation 12:7) Seraphs are high-ranking angels who are stationed near Jehovah’s throne. (Isaiah 6:​2, 6) Cherubs form another high-ranking order of angels having special duties. For example, cherubs guarded the entrance to the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were expelled.​—Genesis 3:​23, 24.

Do angels help people?

 Yes, God uses his faithful angels to help people today.

Do we each have a guardian angel?

 Although angels look out for the spiritual welfare of God’s servants, this does not necessarily mean that God assigns an angel to each Christian as a personal guardian. b (Matthew 18:10) Angels do not protect God’s servants from every trial or temptation. The Bible shows that God will often “make the way out” of a trial by giving a person the wisdom and strength to endure.​—1 Corinthians 10:12, 13; James 1:​2-5.

Misconceptions about angels

 Misconception: All angels are good.

 Fact: The Bible refers to “the wicked spirit forces” and “the angels who sinned.” (Ephesians 6:​12; 2 Peter 2:4) These wicked angels are demons, who joined Satan in rebelling against God.

 Misconception: Angels are immortal.

 Fact: Wicked angels, including Satan the Devil, will be destroyed.​—Jude 6.

 Misconception: People become angels when they die.

 Fact: Angels are a separate creation of God, not resurrected humans. (Colossians 1:​16) People who are raised to life in heaven receive the gift of immortal life from God. (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54) They will have a status higher than the angels.​—1 Corinthians 6:3.

 Misconception: Angels exist to serve humans.

 Fact: Angels obey God’s commands, not ours. (Psalm 103:20, 21) Even Jesus acknowledged that he would call on God for help, not directly on the angels.​—Matthew 26:53.

 Misconception: We can pray to angels for help.

 Fact: Prayer to God is part of our worship, which belongs to Jehovah God. (Revelation 19:10) We should pray only to God, through Jesus.​—John 14:6.

a Some Bible translations use the term “Lucifer” at Isaiah 14:12, which has been understood by some to be the name of the angel who became Satan the Devil. However, the original Hebrew word used here means “shining one.” The context shows that this term refers, not to Satan, but to the dynasty of Babylon, which God would humiliate for its arrogance. (Isaiah 14:​4, 13-​20) The expression “shining one” was used to mock the Babylonian dynasty after it was overthrown.

b Some have understood the account of Peter’s release from prison to indicate that Peter had a personal guardian angel. (Acts 12:​6-​16) However, when the disciples referred to “[Peter’s] angel,” it could be that they mistakenly thought that an angelic messenger representing Peter had come to them, rather than Peter himself.