As both a Christian and a church leader, I am often asked about angels. Do they exist? Are they anything like the movies or modern culture depicts? Are they anything like Touched By An Angel? Well, I am sorry to disappoint, but no, they are not like Touched By An Angel, nor do they have wings or halos. The topic of angels comes up in our lectionary reading for today from Hebrews. The author of Hebrews, who has traditionally been considered Paul (however, that has been recently challenged), makes the statement that we (humans) are “a little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:7). So, how who are the angels and what are they like?
Angels, according to scripture, are created beings. Unlike humans, angels do not have free will (that is, they do not have the freedom to choose right or wrong) Angels are create for one purpose — the worship of God. They are given the responsibility of worshiping God and carrying out the will of God. Their worship is mandated and compulsory. Our worship, however, is pure and free. God created us to have a choice, and when we choose God it pleases Him greatly. Unlike angels, our worship comes form the heart.
Lastly, no place in scripture describes angels as having wings and halos. The Cherubim and Seraphim, however, do. The Seraphim (highest order of angels) worship before the throne of God continually. They are described as having six wings (two to cover their eyes, two to cover their feet, and two to fly with). This is because they cannot look upon God, and their feet have to be covered in His presence. All other angels are not described in detail, and we are not told they have wings. Angels carry out the will of God, both in heaven and on earth. Some angels, such as Satan and demons, have rebelled against God and have been banished from His presence. While angels do not have the limit of freedom we do, there have been times when they have disobeyed God and have been separated from God.
While we are, at present, a little lower than the angels — we will one day rule over the angels. When God fulfills His promise of coming again, He will restore all things and will exalt us above the angels. We will be co-heirs with Christ and be forever with Him. Angels are present to serve God and to carry out His will. They do not have wings, halos, and do not have relationships with human beings.
Eternal God, you have given us the freedom to choose. May we have the fortitude to choose you and to worship you in spirit and truth. May your angels work to aid us in all we do, and may we be mindful of the promise you give to be with us always. Amen.