A few weeks ago I was having dinner with two very good friends and the conversation turned to the topic of Angels. I don’t really remember how the discussion got started, but I have been thinking about it ever since. And Amy Grant’s song, Angels, has been stuck in my head (it plays over and over again in there!). Because I am curious and can’t stand to have unanswered questions, I decided to do a little research about these other-worldly beings, especially as they pertain to the Bible and the Christian faith. Here’s some of what I found:
- Angels are mentioned almost 300 times in the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation. 34 of the 66 Books of the Bible contain references to angels or spiritual beings.
- Angels are God’s creation. (Genesis 2:1, Colossians 1:16) Spiritual beings (Psalm 104:4), they are set higher than human beings. Some of the angels have remained obedient to the will of God and serve him in heaven and on earth. Others disobeyed God, were cast out of heaven and now work to oppose God. The leader of the "bad" angels is, of course, Satan.
- Angels are interested in and involved in the lives of human beings; however, Nelson’s Compact Bible Dictionary reminds us that the actions of angels on earth have diminished since the day of Pentecost, when Christ sent the Holy Spirit to help, save, and comfort and defend us.
- Human beings do not “become” angels when they die. When our earthly life ends, we will be met in heaven by “innumerable angels” and “the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23) This suggests that angels and the souls of human beings are two separate groups.
- Angels were created to live eternally. (Revelation 4:8, Luke 20:36)
- Angels do not have physical bodies, but can take on the appearance of a person when necessary. (Hebrews 13:2, Genesis 18) When taking human form, most, if not all angels, are personified as male.
- Angels in the Bible are not usually described as having wings (except the angelic seraphim described in Isaiah 6:1-8) although they sometimes have an awe inspiring appearance. (Daniel 10:5-6, Matthew 28:3, Luke 24:4) Artists, however, tend to depict angels as female with glowing white wings.
- Angels perform a myriad of tasks: We don’t know whether every angel carries out the same tasks, or whether some of them specialize in certain areas. Dr. John Becthle provides a fairly thorough job description for them. Here is what he has to say: “The Bible does speak about classes of angelic beings like cherubim (Ezekiel 1) and seraphim (Isaiah 6). We also know the names of two notable angels: Michael (Daniel 10:13; Jude 9) and Gabriel (Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26). The unnamed angels who appear most often in Scripture carry out a variety of tasks—all designed to serve God…
- Worship and praise—this is the main activity portrayed in heaven (Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4-5).
- Messengers—they serve as messengers to communicate God’s will to men. They helped reveal the law to Moses (Acts 7:52-53), and served as the carriers of much of the material in Daniel, and Revelation.
- Guiding—Angels gave instructions to Joseph about the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1-2), to the women at the tomb, to Philip (Acts 8:26), and to Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8).
- Providing—God has used angels to provide physical needs such as food for Hagar (Genesis 21:17-20), Elijah (1 Kings 19:6), and Christ after His temptation (Matthew 4:11).
- Protecting—Keeping God’s people out of physical danger, as in the cases of Daniel and the lions, and his three friends in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3 and 6).
- Delivering—Getting God’s people out of danger once they’re in it. Angels released the apostles from prison in Acts 5, and repeated the process for Peter in Acts 12.
- Strengthening and encouraging—Angels strengthened Jesus after His temptation (Matt 4:11), encouraged the apostles to keep preaching after releasing them from prison (Acts 5:19-20), and told Paul that everyone on his ship would survive the impending shipwreck (Acts 27:23-25).
- Answering prayer—God often uses angels as His means of answering the prayers of His people (Daniel 9:20-24; 10:10-12; Acts 12:1-17).
- Caring for believers at the moment of death—In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, we read that angels carried the spirit of Lazarus to “Abraham’s bosom” when he died (Luke 16:22). 
- Executioners—Angels are sometimes used by God to punish sin. An angel of the Lord went forth and smote an Assyrian camp (2 Kings 19:20-34)—“behold, they were all dead corpses.” The Assyrian army was annihilated. A destroying angel was sent, but later withheld, to punish David for his vanity in taking a census of the great number of his people. At the time of Moses and the Exodus, the Egyptian firstborn where killed by an angel of death. 
Whew! And this is only a small part of what I found . . . I love the internet! (Oh, and reference books, concordances, Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and of course, the BIBLE!)
Counting on the angels watching over me,
 Dr. John Becthle, "The Truth About Angelic Beings: What Does the Bible Really Teach About Angels?," Films for Christ, 1996, 1998, 2002. [Online]. Available: http://christiananswers.net/q-acb/acb-t005.html. [Accessed 4/30/2014].
 Paul S. Taylor, editor. "The Truth About Angelic Beings: What Does the Bible Really Teach About Angels?," Films for Christ, 1996, 1998, 2002. [Online]. Available: http://christiananswers.net/q-acb/acb-t005.html. [Accessed 4/30/2014].