What Does the Bible Say About Angels?

Angels are mentioned in the Bible 273 times, so they are certainly not unknown to people. There are however a great many questions associated with Angels, their origins, their duties, and just where they came from. Below are many of the most common questions people have concerning angels and what the Bible teached us about them. 

Where did angels Come from? As with all things, Angels were created by God. According to the Book of Job (38-7) the Angels were present at the creation of the world. This would mean Angels were created some time before the Book of Genesis but exactly when is unknown. While the Book of Genesis tells of the creation of the heavens and the earth, this does not mean it was God's first creation. - "by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible,"

Were angels ever human? No. Angels are an entirely different type of being than humans. Humans and Angels are actually not created equally. In Palsm 8:4-5 we are told humans are slightly below the Angels. "For thou hast made him (man) a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."

Are all angels equal? It would seem there are at least three different types of Angels. One group of Angels are called Seraphim and seem to be set apart from the bulk of the Angels. There is also an Archangel mentioned in the Bible which is apparently a higher-ranking angel. While we cannot be certain how many archangels exists, scripture tells us there is more than one. The only one mentioned by name in the Bible is Michael. The word archangel comes from the Greek word archangelos which means 'chief angel'.

How many Angels are there? No one knows for certain. It would seem there are at least millions, perhaps more. In Hebrews 12:22 we are told there are thousands upon thousands of angels joined in joyful assembly. In Psalm 68:17 we are told there are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands of angels. 

How long to Angels live? Angels are eternal beings. They were created as spiritual beings and thus will not experience illness or death. 

Do all Angels have wings? Some Angels do have wings, but apparently not all. Some Angels can and do take the shape and form of humans, otherwise how could we entertain Angels without being aware of it. In most instance when the term Seraphim is mentioned the Angel has wings. They are said to be very tall, and each has six wings.

Do Angels have physical bodies?
No, although they can take the form of a human. Angels, in their natural state, are spiritual beings and thus do not have bodies.  - "Are they not all ministering spirits," Hebrews 1:14

How Many Angels are named in the Bible? Only three angels are given individual names in the Bible. It is safe to assume that since some Angels have names, all Angels have names, they are simply not recorded in the Biblical text. The three we do know by name are Michael, the archangel, Gabriel, and Lucifer who would be cast out of heaven for defying God.

Do Angels have emotions? Yes, Angels know happiness, joy and we must assume they can experience the opposing emotions of sorrow and sadness. In Job 38:7 we are told the Angels shouted for joy. In the New Testament we are told of how the Angles will rejoice at the conversion of a single sinner. Angels are not human, but they do have at least some of the same emotions as humans.

Do Angels Have Free Will? Yes, Angels can and have chosen to defy God. Lucifer, aka Satan/Devil defied God and was cast out of heaven. There were also a number of angels who either choose to follow Satan or were cast out for their loyalty to Satan rather than God. - "And angels that kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. " - Jude 1:6

Are Angels to be Worshipped? No. Angels are spirits and as we have seen are slightly above humans, but they are not to be worshipped. Only God is to be worshipped and the worshipping of Angels, as special as they are, is forbidden in the Bible. - "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind." - Colossians 2:18

Do Angels answer to Jesus? Yes. We are told in 1 Peter - "...who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him."

Are the powers of Angels limited? Yes, Angels do the will of God, but they do not have His power or authority. A good example of this is when Michael, who is an archangel, did not assume the power to rebuke even Satan, but left that to God. -  "The archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil about Moses’ body, did not dare charge him with slander. Instead, he said, “The Lord rebuke you!” - Jude 1:9

Do we each have a guardian angel? It seems the Bible tells us we do. The key scripture concerning
individual guardian angels is Matthew 18:10 - 
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”  - The term 'little ones' could refer to believers or to little children. The passage then mentions 'their' angels, so we must assume they have individual angels who are assigned to them. These angels, we are told, have direct access to God in heaven so we should not look down on anyone, as our transgression will not be overlooked. 

Do Angels help people? Yes, the Bible tells us that angels are ministering spirits. - "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" - Hebrews 1:14

Angels are spirit beings created by God before He created the Heavens and the Earth. There are different types of Angels, and they appear to have a wide assortment of duties. They can convey information (Luke 1:11-20) aide and help believers (Hebrews 1:14) be a guide to people (Acts 8:26) and even protect people from harm (Daniel 6:20-23). While Angels were created before man and are said to be slightly above mankind, they are actively involved in the lives of believers. Angels are real and are among us more often than we know.  - "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

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Parting of the Red (Reed) Sea

 Did God part the Red Sea for the people of Israel, is it just a morality tale, or is it just a lot of non-sense? The parting of the sea is a key point in the Exodus story. This element not only clearly shows the power of God, but it allowed the people of Israel to escape while simultaneously destroying the Egyptian army. There are several points to the Parting of the Red Sea which often come into question. One of the most interesting aspects, is that the parting of the sea has happened again, and there were witnesses.

The first, and very pivotal element, of the story is the sea itself. The Red Sea is a very large and very deep body of water. This has caused many to doubt the story. Suppose God did part the waters of the Red Sea as the Bible says. At some of the narrowest points the Red Sea remains nearly thirty miles across. While in many aspects this is not a long distance, we must remember the Israeli people had to cross this span in a single day. Traveling thirty miles, with elderly people, children and livestock would have been an all but impossible task. While it could be argued that God miraculously shortened the distance, or allowed the people to move faster, these are not mentioned or even hinted at in the Bible. So, if the Red Sea is too wide, and deep, to allow for such an event, does this mean the parting of the sea never happened? 

There is much debate over the name used in the Bible for the Sea where God parted the waters. In its original language the term used is Yam Sup. In the Hebrew language Yam means Sea and Sup means either reeds, rushes or in some cases seaweed. There so happens to be a place in Egypt which was known as the Sea or Reeds. The name is an almost exact match for the Bible and is very hard to dismiss, and perhaps it shouldn't be. This area was later known as Lake Manzala and it was a large shallow lake which would have intersected a direct route from Egypt to the Promised Land. In fairness it must be pointed out that some scholars disagree with this name. They point out that at various places in the Bible the writers refer to the Red Sea as Yam Sup. They insist we cannot just look at the name, but also the context of how and when it is used. 

The Reed Sea would have been a little over six feet deep, or just a little over two meters. At the point in question the lake is approximately 3 to 5 kilometers wide, or 2.5 miles. This distance would have certainly been much more manageable within the time frame given in the Bible which said the people crossed over after God sent an easterly wind all night to push the waters back. This is known as Wind Set Down. Researchers have concluded that an easterly wind, just as described in the Bible, could have caused this type of event on the Reed Sea. They estimate it would take a wind of between 100 and 120 kph for twelve hours to cause the Wind Set Down. According to their research, the location closely matches the Bible narrative and the events told of in the Bible were certainly a scientific possibility.


In 2010 researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado used computer models to reconstruct the area in question. They studied maps of the area, archeological records and satellite measurements to pinpoint a location where such an event was possible. They found an area in the south Mediterranean where some believe the Nile River drained into an ancient lake called Tanis or Manzala. The computer model showed a 63 mile per hour wind blowing across the region for a period of 12 hours would push back the water and create an effect very similar to the one recorded in Exodus. The area created by the model was three miles wide and up to two and a half miles long. Once the wind died down the waters would quickly and violently return to their original levels.

Carl Drews headed the research and is quoted as saying; "People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts," Drews says. "What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws."

Drews went on to say, "The Simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus. The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that's in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in."

Examining Exodus 14 With The Geosciences 


Thus far we have found a location, the Reed Sea, which seems to match the location named in the Bible. We have also seen the parting of the sea was possible given the scientific facts. While researchers used a computer simulation, is this proof the waters could, did do as the researchers suggest? In fact, it is not, but this does not mean we simply have to take their word for it. If the waters of the Reed Sea were pushed back by strong easterly winds during the time of Moses in approximately 1250 BC, it may have indeed been the first time, but it was not the last.

In 1882 a British military expedition was camped on the shore of Lake Manzala (Reed Sea). One of the commanders of the expedition was Major General Bruce Tulloch. In his journals, Tulloch records the events of a night spent on the shore of the lake. He reports a severe storm swept over the area and had extremely strong easterly winds. The storm ragged through the night and Tulloch repeatedly stresses it's severity. The next morning when Tulloch emerged from his tent, he found the lake was gone, having been replaced by a dry field. He noted that the local villagers were walking about on the dry lakebed where on the previous day the fishing boats had been hard at work. 

It was found the water had been pushed back a distance of approximately eleven kilometer, or six miles. Once the winds diminished, the waters returned to their previous location. How rapidly the waters returned would have depended on how quickly the winds diminished. If the winds shifted suddenly, it could not only have allowed the water to rush back with considerable force, but it could actually have pushed the water at an accelerated rate.  The events described by Major General Tulloch very closely match those found in the Bible. While we have no way of knowing how many times these events have played out throughout history, we have two records of them taking place approximately 3100 years apart. 

Thus far we have found a likely location for the Biblical story and have even found non-biblical records of an almost identical event taking place. While very convincing, there remain serval very valid questions. Could the people of Israel have walked the 2.5 miles in a wind of up to 70 miles per hour? When the waters came rushing back, would six feet of water have been enough to decimate the Egyptian army? Finally, by finding a scientific explanation for the events have we removed the miraculous, removed God from the story entirely?

The wind speed required to move as well as hold back the lake water is estimated to have been 100 to 120 kph, which is equivalent to 62 to 74 mph. Is it possible for a person to walk or stand upright in a 70-mph wind? As with most things it depends on the person. The average person can stand and walk in a 70-mph wind. It is, however considered very dangerous. At those wind speeds a person can be blown down and sustain injuries. In the case of the Israelites, the people would have certainly helped one another. Where one person may be susceptible to being blown down, a group walking arm in arm would be far more stable. I believe the people would have had a very difficult time, but they could have travelled the 2.5 miles required. How well the livestock would have fared is an unknown as how a herd reacts to any given situation can vary widely.

 According to the National Weather Service a person can be knocked off their feet by just six inches of rapidly moving water. A water depth of two feet will float your vehicle and push it down stream. A six foot or higher wall of water would certainly knock any person down. Once knocked off their feet the Egyptian soldiers would have been in grave danger. They would have been pushed forward, tumbling in the violent waves, crashing into one another, chariots, horses, and any natural elements present on the lakebed. Most Egyptian soldiers did not wear heavy armor, but they did wear scale armor which still could have hampered their ability to recover. While impossible to say for certain, it would seem a six-foot wall of rushing water would have been more than enough to decimate the Egyptian Army as depicted in the Bible.

By finding a scientific explanation for the parting of the Reed Sea have we removed the need for God in this story? The simple answer is no. God often uses nature, scientific, events to achieve His goals. Events such as floods, earthquakes, droughts and winds are mentioned all through the Bible. It is not the nature of the event that is important, but its timing. In the story of the parting of the Sea it is not just that the sea was parted. The important issue is that the Sea parted exactly at the proper time to allow the people of Israel to escape. Furthermore, the natural event ended at exactly the right moment to destroy the pursuing Egyptians. If the winds had lasted just a little longer the Egyptians would have caught up with the Israelites on the far shore and destroyed them there. The miracle here is in the timing. God knew the exact needs of His people and He provided it for them at exactly the right time in the exact right way. The fact the events fit a scientific model in no ways removes the miraculous element from this story.

[Morality Tale - a narrative from which a person can derive an understanding of a moral issue involving right and wrong. These are often not considered historical in nature.]

When all of the facts are examined the Biblical story of the parting of the sea is far more than a morality tale. The Bible records the events as factual and given the scientific evidence, non-biblical records and the physical parameters, there is no reason to doubt the story could have taken place just as recorded in the Bible.

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The Sun Went Dark - Good Friday

 The bible records the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in some detail. In the Gospel of Luke, we are told "It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining." (23:44) This is an astounding claim which is obviously disputed by critics, scientist and non-believers. After all, claiming the sun stopped shining for three hours is a most remarkable and bold claim. Surely this was just an exaggeration of the biblical authors and should not be taken literally.

Gospel of Matthew - "From noon on, darkness came over the whole land [or, earth] until three in the afternoon".

Gospel of Mark - "When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour." 

We know the crucifixion took place following a full moon, so no eclipse would be possible, and there is no other scientific reason for the sun to 'appear' to stop shining. If such an event had taken place, surely it would be recorded in more than just the bible, so it must be a myth. But wait, is such an event recorded anywhere besides the bible? Is this event mentioned in any external text or documents which could confirm the biblical account?

Tertullian, in his work Apologeticus, wrote about the Sun going dark. Writing in 197 A.D. Tertullian considered the event as an omen. He also wrote that the events were recorded in the Roman archives. - In fairness, it must be reported that no mention of this event has been found in any surviving Roman archive, although it is possible the documents did exist at one time but have not survived the nearly two thousand years since the events. (Tertullian was a Christian apologist.)

 [Apologist - someone who makes an argument in favor of something which is considered, controversial.]

The Olympics were first held in 776 B.C. and were continued ever four years until they were stopped in 393 A.D. not to return for nearly 1,200 years. This tells us the 202nd Olympics were held in the year 32 A.D. very near to the time of Jesus' crucifixion. Why are the Olympics import? Roman historian Phlegon recorded events concerning the 202 Olympiads. In his text he recorded a full eclipse of the sun at the sixth hour, which turned the day to night. A strange coincidence, or external confirmation of the bible?

Phlegon of Tralles - lived during the 2nd century A.D. who wrote several historical works. His best-known work is a sixteen book set titles Olympiads. This covered a period of time from the 1st Olympiad up to the 229th Olympiad. This covered a period of time from 776 B.C. through 137 A.D.

In 52 A.D. Thallus, another historian, recorded events associated with the crucifixion of Jesus. While none of Thallus' work remains, it was cited in Julius Africanus' "Chronography". Africanus quotes Thallus's account of the events this way. "On the whole world, there pressed a most fearful darkness, and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down."

Thallus - (Thallos) - who may have been a Samariton, recorded the history of the Mediterranean world in a three-volume set books which covered from before the Trojan War to perhaps the 217th Olympiad. It is uncertain when exactly Thallus lived, however most scholars date his writings to approximately 50 A.D.

These two ancient text record nearly the exact same thing as the bible, in effect offering external proof of the biblical account. This external confirmation will not convince critics, but it should be considered if this same type of external confirmation were available for another ancient text other than the bible, would it be given more credence? Why is the bible held to such a higher standard of proof than any other ancient document? The bible must constantly prove itself to critics, fortunately the proof and evidence to provide the confirmation does exists.

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Turning Points in the Early Church

[Excerpt from "The Bible - Some Assembly Required"]

The early Christian church was no stranger to oppression and persecution. Jesus had been beaten and crucified, which the religious leaders of the time hoped would put a stop to this new cult. When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning, He destroyed these hopes and plans. Unfortunately, the opponents of Jesus were not so easily silenced. Their violence continued as is evident by the death of Stephen, James and also with the persecution of Christians by such people as Saul, who in a short time would become one of the new church's greatest leaders.

Throughout the early years and even centuries of the Christian church there were many who opposed it. Not only were they opposed and persecuted by the Jewish religious leaders, but also by the Roman government. Under rulers such as Nero and Diocletian, Christians were stripped of their property and legal rights. They were often imprisoned, and many put to death. Because of this oppression the church operated mostly in secret, holding services in private homes, in the catacombs, and wherever the devoted followers could come together. While this made things difficult, as well as dangerous, the church continued to grow at an astonishing rate.

In these first centuries three key events took place which would change and shape the early church. The first of these events took place approximately fifteen years after the Resurrection of Jesus. 

In 48 A.D. The Council of Jerusalem took place. This is also sometimes called The Apostolic Council. In later chapters we will look at the Ecumenical Councils, but this council is unique for a number of reasons. It was the first such meeting of the church we know of and it would decide church policy and doctrine. It is also the only council recorded in the Bible. The concerns addressed by the council and their decisions can be found in Chapter 15 of the Book of Acts.

The primary area of concern was the act of circumcision. This was a stumbling block for many new believers. The concerns went further however, into dietary restrictions, fasting and other elements of the Law as given by Moses. The council, which was held in Jerusalem, included all of the early church leaders, including both Paul and Barbanbus. Peter addressed the council stating he did not feel these burdens should be placed on the new converts. James, who it would seem led the council, then spoke to the group. He quoted the Book of Amos and then agreed with Peter and Paul that the new converts would not be required to follow the strict laws of Moses. They, like other believers, had been saved through their faith in Jesus, not by abiding to the law. The church leaders then prepared a letter which they sent to the church in Antioch to confirm their decision and to welcome them into the community of believers.

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:


We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul — men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.


This council confirmed that new believers were not bound by the Jewish laws and traditions. This removed a major stumbling block for many and opened the new church to many more believers. Because of a vision by the Apostle Peter, many of the dietary rules concerning clean and unclean foods had already been done away with. While the decisions reached at this first council opened up the church to many new members, the persecution was just beginning.

The persecutions and executions continued for another 250+ years. Despite these hardships the church continued to grow.  While there were many events during these centuries that were crucial to church development, the next event for our purposes took place in the year 311.

In the year 303 Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to persecute the Christians. The edict authorized;

  • Destroying churches

  • Burning Holy Scriptures

  • Confiscation of church property

  • Banning Christians from collective legal action

  • Loss of privileges of high ranking Christians who would not recant their faith.

  • Arresting some officials.

In 305 Diocletian abdicated and Galerius took his place. The persecution continued under Galerius until 311 when The Edict of Serdica was issued. This new edict, sometimes known as The Edict of Toleration by Galerius, was the first to legalize Christianity.  In the Edict Galerius confirms the persecution of the Christians with the statement… 

Finally when our law had been promulgated to the effect that they should conform to the institutes of antiquity, many were subdued by the fear of danger, many even suffered death.” 

It goes on to instruct that Christians would be allowed to conduct their services without opposition. 

“...grant our most prompt indulgence also to these, so that they may again be Christians and may hold their conventicles, provided they do nothing contrary to good order.”

It is important to note this proclamation was only in effect in the Eastern Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire was also in a state of change during this time. This change began when Constantine I came to power in 306. Constantine I instituted reform in finance, social areas, government and the military.  He began to favor Christianity in 312 and was eventually converted, although how devoted he was to his faith is a subject of some debate.

Regardless of his devotion, Constantine I played a major role in church history beginning in 313. Constantine I from the Western empire met with Licinius from the Eastern Empire. The two leaders met in Milan and came to an agreement which would become The Edict of Milan. This edict permanently established religious tolerance for Christianity. While the Edict of Serdica had legalized Christianity in the East, the new Edict legalized and recognized Christianity throughout the Roman empire. The era of persecution and fear had come to an end. 

Another important fact was that while the Edict of Serdica had legalized Christianity and had made it illegal to take property or interfere with services, it did not return the possessions and properties which had been previously confiscated. In 313 the properties were ordered returned to their original owners. 

“...the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception.”

This was seen as an end to what was called the ‘age of the martyrs’ and ushered in a new era for the church. Rather than being second class citizens, subject to persecution and imprisonment, Christians were now a part of an officially recognized religion which was given the same recognition as other religions of the empire. As an official religion the church was now free to grow without restraints. As a result there developed a need for an official and unified doctrine. This included a need for a confirmed canon of accepted books of scripture.

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The Miracles of Jesus

During His time on Earth Jesus preformed a number of miracles, sometimes called signs. These miracles were recorded in the Gospel accounts w...