When most people think of angels, a mental picture of a huge glowing human-like figure in white robes, massive white wings, and perhaps a halo, immediately comes to mind.
Some people even imagine angels like cherubims to look like little plump children with halos, tiny wings, and white loincloths, floating around on clouds with their harps.
This ideology was greatly influenced and it gained popularity from the depiction of angels in Christian art and media over the years.
However, it is inaccurate by biblical standards. Though the Bible doesn’t give a specific form for all angels, it does describe a few of them and this description is very different from what many people have imagined them to be.
The Old Testament, the book of Revelations, as well as a few other texts, give angelic descriptions contrary to what most people have come to know. That is what we will explore in this article.
What do angels really look like according to the Bible? What are their features?
To lay a foundation on what biblically accurate angels look like, first of all, take a look at what the Scriptures say about them.
Luke 20:36 says,
“and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”
Angels have been around even before the earth began. They do not die because they are spirits, just like God is.
Hebrews 1:14 says,
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
They carry out God’s command on earth. They pass on God’s messages, just like they did in the case of Lotand Mary. They guard us (Psalm 91:11), and even show up in human form to render help to people on the earth. Whatever is the will of the Father, they go on to carry it out.
Psalms 78:49 reads,
“He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation, and hostility— a band of destroying angels.”
Old Testament angels were desirous of the women of the earth and so mated with them and created Nephilim and giants.
They also had the choice to choose to rebel against God with satan or not. This means they possess a will and even desire.
A biblical angel is God’s messenger or servant. As awe-inspiring as they are, they point back to the Lord and are not to be worshipped in place of Him.
An angel in Revelation 22:9 reinforces this by saying to John,
“You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
They do not take any glory or any form of worship in God’s stead.
Revelation 4:8 mentions four living creatures before God’s throne that had six wings and were covered with eyes all around, even under their wings.
In Ezekiel 1:16-18, Ezekiel also describes creatures that are like “a wheel within a wheel with each of their four rims filled with eyes all around” These particular angels serve as the wheels of God’s throne.
Ezekiel also describes other angels called cherubims, that have four wings and four faces, one of a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. (Ezekiel 10:14)
On the other hand, some biblically accurate angels also appeared to men in the form of humans. Daniel describes the one who appeared to him as ‘having the form of a man’ (Daniel 8:15).
In Genesis 18:22, the three angels who appeared to Abraham also looked like human travellers and that was why he was hospitable to them. The same angels led Lot and his family out of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In the New Testament, the ones who were at Jesus’ tomb on the morning of His resurrection were described to have been ‘two men in dazzling clothes’ (Luke 24:4)
When Jesus ascended to heaven in Acts 1:10, it was recorded that there were two men with white cloth who addressed His disciples. Biblical scholars naturally assume them to be angels.
You can note that the Bible consistently gives a bizarre description of angels when it comes to revealing the glory of heaven to men like John, Daniel, and Ezekiel.
But when it came to earthly errands, all the people who saw them, saw them in a form they could relate to.
This tells us that they can probably take up any form because they are spirits, but God makes some simple things our minds still can’t comprehend.
Just imagine one of the bizarre-looking angels around God’s throne appearing to a human to give them His message. The words ‘fear not’ wouldn’t do the slightest thing to quell their fears. They’d probably have a heart attack on the spot from fright or take off screaming their heads off.
Taking on a human-like figure helps people focus on God’s message, rather than the messenger.
Their name translates to mean ‘the burning ones’. They are described in Isaiah 6:2 as having six wings; 2 to cover their feet, 2 for their flight, and 2 covering their face. They are attendants at God’s throne and praise Him forever.
Ezekiel 1:10, In Ezekiel’s vision of God Cherubims are described as having four wings, 2 for covering their feet and 2 for flight and have 4 faces: human, lion, ox and an eagle Their name means ‘fulfillment of wisdom’. The devil was once a cherub.
These beings bear up God’s throne. They are described by Ezekiel as wheels within wheels and have eyes all over their body. Like the Seraphim, they also chant God’s glory. They’re the most unique in appearance compared to others.
This tier of biblical angels goes forth to fulfill God’s plan in the world.
They include Dominions, Virtues, and Powers.
Mentioned in Ephesians 1:21, they lord over humanity and the remaining choir of angels.
Also mentioned in Ephesians 1:21, they are majorly associated with control over the elements. They also go on the earth in human form after receiving orders from God to bring help or miracles to humans. Their primary appearance is a beam of light.
They are the warring beings and are mentioned in Ephesians 6:12. They are also tasked with governing the natural order.
This tier of angels interact with humans more closely than the rest.
They include Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.
They guard over places and groups like nations, states, communities, and churches.
Regarded as the foot soldiers of heaven, they work the most closely with humans.
To answer the question of ‘what is the highest level of angel among these’? The Seraphim is believed to be the highest in the rank of biblically accurate angels.
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Instead of the wings and harps we’ve come to know, we found wheels and numerous eyes in biblically accurate angels. However, their role in the divine order doesn’t change.
They are ministering spirits created for the benefit of believers. Imagine the power of God who created these beings. They display His wisdom and majesty in a special kind of way.
There are Christians who have gone very deep in their walk with God and in the process of this, have had numerous encounters with these beings. However, don’t base your faith on the revelation of these heavenly entities.
Instead, enjoy their work while they carry out the orders of God in your day-to-day life as a believer.
Also do well to show gratitude to God who was so intentional and loving towards you to have created them for your aid.
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