Have you ever wonder what angels look like and what they do?
The Hebrew Bible uses the word malakh מַלְאָךְ to refer to an angel. The root of this word is לאך that means, “going back and forth”. Implied is the fact that this is hard work; giving rise to another Hebrew word, melacha מְלָאכָה, meaning “physical labor”. An angel is a messenger who tirelessly goes back and forth delivering information and performing certain prescribed tasks. The God of Israel frequently employs angels as intermediaries who shuttle between heaven and earth. They are dispatched on specific assignments and faithfully discharge their duties.
As you shall see, I will be using examples in scripture to hopefully reveal the truth about angels.
I share this because I think it is important. God is doing things on the earth today that many believers have been dreaming of and this is probably a prelude to the event we all long for…the return of Jesus. You may not be aware of it, but there is a lot of spiritual activity going on right now. Something is happening or is about to happen and we need to be tuned in as much as possible.
All throughout the New Testament angels are going about on their assignments and if we really believe that we are in New Testament days, then we must accept the fact that they are still with us today and that their roles are very important.
I have more to share on their roles today, but firstly, let us see what the Old Testament says.
The first mention of an angel is in Genesis chapter 16.
And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?
Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram. Genesis 16:7-16
Please note my emphasis. It seems that when the specific reference to “the angel of the Lord” is made, this refers not to an ordinary angel—but to someone special. It suggests that this was Jesus before His incarnation. He told her that He…would multiply her seed and this is the kind of promise that God made Abraham. In the next underlined text, the angel said that Ishmael would become a wild man and that violence would be part of his life and the lives of his descendants. This is one possible source from all the Arab violence we are experiencing today. Another source could be Esau and his descendants.
The next reference is in Genesis 22.
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. Genesis 22:11-18
We tend to regard Abraham’s encounter as being one with God, but here it clearly says angel and the Lord in the same encounter. Was this Jesus?
Come now to Exodus chapter three. This is where God appeared to Moses out of the burning bush. It states that it was the angel of the Lord who appeared. This appears to be the same wording I have discussed before, so it makes me wonder if it was actually what we call a Theophany. What this means is an actual physical appearance of God Himself, or, Jesus before His earthly incarnation. I am not making a definitive statement that it was, but it sure is interesting, especially if we consider that not long after that, they were delivered from Egypt and Moses built the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle and everything associated with it is symbolic of Jesus and the whole plan of redemption.
During their Exodus an angel went with them, going before them and travelling after them.
When they were to enter their Promised Land, an angel was promised.
Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for My Name is in Him.
But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Exodus 23:20-23
We are told to beware of him and to obey his voice. The bible clearly tells us that we are forbidden to worship angels (see Colossians 2:18; Revelation 22:8-9) so why are we told to obey him and give him such reverence?
We see here that this angel will not pardon transgressions but it is God alone who forgives sin, so who was this angel? Whoever he was, the Name of God was in him!
I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. Judges 2:1
Elsewhere in scriptures, angels do not speak in the first person that way. They talk as if delivering a message from some other person and this is of course one of the meanings of the word angel…God’s messengers; but who are they and where did they come from?
Allow me to share some scriptures that could answer that.
Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.
Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Psalm 104:1-4
This is but one scripture that says God created them (as spirit beings who do not marry). The Hebrew word is ʿāśâ that means to do or make. It talks about labour and work; appoint and furnish and so on. It seems therefore that God created them for certain specific purposes, one of which is to serve both Him and us (see Colossians 1:16). The bible does not tell us how many angels there are. All it states is that they are innumerable in Daniel 7:10; Hebrews 12:22 and Revelation 5:11.
Unfortunately there are groups of people who seem to demand reverence and at times a degree of subservience. If they really knew the truth, they would realize that servanthood is part of the calling!
The Hebrew word shārat is a typical example of what I say and is found in Psalm 104:4, Psalm 103:21 and elsewhere.
Angels can be agents of salvation or deliverance (see Numbers 20:16; Isaiah 63:8-9) and they can be mediators as seen in Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2 and elsewhere, but they cannot preach the Gospel. That’s our job. They really do not understand salvation. You can see this in 1 Peter 1:10-12.
When I started to delve into this, I was pleasantly surprised to see what angels actually do. Here is a summation-
They provide protection and guidance. Psalm 91 is a classic example.
Thousands of angels are involved and we can see examples in Hebrews 12:22; Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17 and Revelation 5:11-12. We are strictly forbidden to worship them.
I’ve shared enough theory or theological information with you, but need to address their role in your life and in my life in practical terms. How they interact with us is important.
You probably wonder what they look like, how big they are, what they wear and of course their assignments concerning you.
Let me first say that God has assigned at least one angel to you. Let us see-
The word charge is ṣāwâ that is like the way a father instructs his son. It is like the President of a country issuing a command to the generals in the military who execute that command, go about bringing it to pass.
The KJV says that they will keep us and this word is shāmar. It is the same word used when God placed Adam in the garden to dress it and keep it. Adam was to guard and protect the garden as if he fenced it about with a hedge of thorns. You angel is assigned to protect you in similar manner.
They are to protect us in our walk of life and the Hebrew word used here in the original is Derek. It relates to a well-trodden path. If you have seen cattle in a field, they often wear a path or track in the ground by their continual passage. It is a path worn by constant walking. Your angel’s assignment included helping you to properly walk the walk God wants for you. Another meaning is likened to “treading the bow” that is like standing on one end of a bow to assist in bending it to help stringing it. They are to help you in any way they can, to prepare yourself for any contingency and help guide or steer you on the right pathway.
Your angel also bears you up. The Hebrew word is nāśāʾ that has a variety of meanings that I will sum up as functioning as your armor bearer.
There is more to it than that but this paints a picture of their involvement in our lives. They are on assignment. One day, just before I started to restructure my ministry, I was alone in the house, washing the dishes and heard a knock on the door. I said, “coming” and the door opened. I was not pleased at that of course but several “people” walked into the house. I cannot describe them, but they came in and walked around a little as if inspecting the place and then stopped still and just looked at me. They said something like, “That’s him” and just stood there, watching me. Normally this would be a spooky kind of thing, but the Lord spoke to me saying that He had just added more angels to my ranks. Several moments later they just faded out of my sight.
As for what they look like, do not assume that they all look like winged beings like the image on the previous page. They are spirit beings of course and there are different kinds like Seraphim and Cherubim and I am not going to discuss them because I do not have much revelation on them. It would be pure speculation if I commented now.
They often look like any other man. Hebrews 13:1-2 says-
I have personally experienced this in the past on more than one occasion. One time, Marjorie and I had planned on going shopping. Before we left home, three young people came to the house. Two stood at the gate and one came to the front door. He said that they were students and were visiting the mountain and had been without food for some time and asked if we could spare them some food. I explained that we have virtually nothing at all, but I heard the Lord in my heart say to give them something. I said all that we could give them was a few apples and some cracker biscuits and a can of salmon. They were happy for that, so I put everything into a plastic bag, opened the tin and placed some plastic spoons inside and they left.
I followed them to the street, but they had disappeared!
We asked the Lord what that was all about and he said that they were angels!
A day or so later, I found an envelope in our letter box with the words, “Thank you" written on it and money inside. The cash amount was precisely the amount we needed!
On another occasion, I was driving south on the M1 freeway towards the Gold Coast in Australia for a meeting. As I passed one of the theme parks, I suddenly saw an immense angel straddling the countryside, facing north. His left foot was on top of the mountain where I lived and his right foot was in the sea. Now that’s huge. He was dressed like a Roman soldier, but the uniform was unlike any material I had ever seen. He was standing in a military like posture and, sucked in his breath to blow on a large silver trumpet. The account is on my web site. Click here.
What I want to get across is that we are not to place too much emphasis on them as such and wonder what they look like. You’ll know it, when you meet one. Perhaps an angel has already affected you and you do not know it.
I know someone who was a passenger in a car one day several years ago and as they were about to go through a busy intersection on a green light, it seemed that some unseen person grabbed hold of the steering wheel and turned it forcibly, wrenching the wheel from the driver’s hand. At the same time the brakes were hit very hard and the car skidded to a stop. A large truck then sped through a red light. It would have hit the car on the passenger side and that person would have been killed!
I could share many more stories, but this is my last illustration. It is about a squad of US soldiers (all Christians). They prayed Psalm 91 before any engagement. During Operation Desert Storm, a much larger force of enemy soldiers attacked them. The US soldiers said that the enemy emptied their weapons over their heads, before throwing down their weapons and surrendering. When asked why they did that and in particular how did they miss them, the enemy soldiers said that they were not aiming at them, but at the big men in white uniforms standing behind them. Were they angels? This is consistent with the account on 2 Kings 6:16-17.
How angels relate to us in the New Testament era is important. They announced Jesus’ birth. They strengthened Jesus when He needed it. An angel rolled the stone away from His tomb after His resurrection. They will be present at His second coming.
Although they are extremely powerful, they are subordinate to human beings according to 1 Corinthians 6:3 and 1 Peter 1:12 and have a definite hierarchy, with archangels and “regular” angels. Do not think that the angels mentioned in revelation 1:20; 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14 are celestial beings. Such references are to office bearers like bishops or pastors who have been duly appointed by God to those offices as seen in Ephesians 4.
If you are going through a hard time, you are not alone. God is for you. Angels are with you. Someone could have hurt you in some way…stolen from you, spoken ill of you, ridiculed you, or just plain rude to you. The thief must restore 7-fold what he stole, whether it was physical possessions or a relationship issue and one of those angels could be working on your case right now and bring about a favorable outcome. It’s not over…’till it’s over!
In conclusion, angels are very much a part of our lives in one way or another. At least one is assigned to you, so wherever you go, you have the presence of the Lord within you; ahead of you; behind you; underneath and round about you; the Holy Spirit inside you and at least one angel with you. How can we lose?
Cast aside all the hindrances and stuff that you know without me having to tell you that are not pleasing to God.
Look up…your redemption is drawing close and those angels are extremely busy.
Learn to work with them, but don’t go chasing for the spectacular. Be supernaturally natural and naturally supernatural.
The Lord told me to get this out because someone needed it.
Be blessed my friend.