Naked Babies With Wings? I Think Not.
Little childlike naked babies with bows and arrows flying around with wings on their backs? Or perhaps misty foggy apparitions of beings that are not clearly seen, just hinted at. None of these. Angels are just like us humans in appearance only they are spirit beings. Those to whom they are sent can see them. And at times they can't be seen by others around them, but they are there just the same.
Let's search out the texts of the Biblical Scriptures and allow the words to paint a picture of those spirit beings known to most as "angels." Is the image conjured up by this word in your mind the same as that portrayed in the words of the text of the Scriptures?
One of the first appearances of these "men" occurs in a meeting between Abraham and three very important people in Genesis 18:
Genesis 181And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
2And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
3And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
4Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
5And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
6And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.
7And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
8And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
Here we see Abraham displaying typical eastern hospitality. When he saw the three men he constrained them to wash their feet and take food and drink. Then, in keeping with the eastern culture, he served them and waited upon them but did not eat with them. But the most amazing aspect of this record is that the three men he spoke with and provided for were no less than the Lord Himself and two of His top aides.
These three individuals are described as "men." Furthermore, they sat down in the shade, washed their feet, and then enjoyed a good meal of veal with bread and butter and washed the whole lot down with fresh milk! We can assume that these men wore clothes and appeared, more or less, as normal people.
The lesson from this is that the Lord resembles a man. Or, looked at the other way around, men resemble the Lord. Remember in Genesis 1:26 during the creation we read: "Let us make man in our image: after our likeness." This informs us that our "image" and our "likeness" is fashioned after this person called Elohim, and more often referred to as Yahweh or Jehovah in the Hebrew tongue."
Many believe that God, being a spirit, does not have form. But, just as the angels are referred to as "ministering spirits," they are always called "men" and appear as "men."
In This passage, the Hebrew word for Lord is Jehovah; and, in the course of the chapter, Jehovah (Lord) appears no less than 12 times. So one of the men Abraham entertained and then had a discussion with was no less than Jehovah Himself, the Master Creator Almighty God.
After the three had finished their meal, they continued on their journey towards Sodom. Abraham had a rather feisty debate with the Lord and endeavoured to make a bargain with Him. However, the other two men journeyed on alone. We learn from the ensuing passage:
Genesis 191And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
4But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
5And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
Once again we see from this record that these two "messengers" were mistaken for ordinary men. Firstly, Lot sees them and offers his hospitality to them. They at first refuse before accepting his invitation to food and a bed. These men, although spirit beings who abide not on this Earth, obviously have good appetites, for they enjoyed a hearty meal for the second time that day.
The entrance of these men into Lot's house is not lost on the rest of the inhabitants of Sodom, for they all gather around Lot's abode and insist on meeting the two men so that they might "know" them. This tells us that these two angels, apart from appearing as men, must have been extremely attractive individuals in order to have caught the attention of virtually everyone in the town!
We are told in other places throughout the Old Testament that these "men" or "messengers" are created spirit beings. We are also informed that they existed far beyond the creation of this present world as we know it.
Concerning "angels" in Psalm 148:5, we read:
Let them praise the name of the Lord.
For He commanded, and they were created.
And in Psalm 104:4 we are told:
Who maketh His angels spirits:
His ministers a flaming fire.
In Job, Yaweh is debating the creation of the world and says, concerning angels:
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.
Book of Job 38:7
The "sons of God" are angels which are created spirit beings. But as we have seen, they can appear as men and look and eat and drink and talk just like human beings. To emphasise that these spirit messengers, or agents, are men, I would like to present a few more brief records. From the Book of Daniel, the names of two of the leading entities in Yaweh's host are provided:
Daniel 9:21-22 (King James Version)
21Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
We learn from this passage that these agents have names and can fly, i.e. move very fast. Being spirit, they are not restricted to the laws of physics as we are. We see that this messenger's name is Gabriel. His main duty is to deliver messages, as he does in many places, especially in the New Testament. He is accompanied by another messenger whose name is Michael. His job seems to be the security aspect of the mission, as we see from this next extract:
Daniel 10:4-6; 11-13
4And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;
5Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
6His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
11And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
This man, who is still Gabriel, appears here not quite in ordinary clothes but in some beautiful raiment. Again he reiterates that he has been "sent" to inform Daniel regarding events which are to take place in the latter days. But then something unusual occurs. He tells Daniel that, while en route, he was impeded in his journey by a "prince of Persia," who held him up for 21 days. Apparently this prince of Persia is another spirit being, but an evil one. For Michael, the military aide, had to come to the assistance of Gabriel and remove this other evil agent so that Gabriel could accomplish his mission.
This provides some interesting insight into the realm of the spirit world. Again, Gabriel is a man sent on a mission to deliver information to another man, Daniel. He is ambushed by an obviously powerful evil angel named the "prince of Persia." Yet another celestial being, a military man by the name of Michael, comes to the rescue and clears the way for Gabriel to continue on and deliver his message.
All the personalities involved in this saga are men. Not human, flesh-and-blood men as we are. But spirit beings. Men of a different nature to us but men nevertheless. Because they are spirit beings they can travel faster than the speed of light and commute between Earth and wherever their celestial abode is.
Now we move forward to the time of the Gospels and briefly look at some of the appearance of these men in the days of the Messiah and afterwards.
In the first chapter of St. Luke's Gospel we are given the story of the birth of John the Baptist to his heretofore barren mother, Elizabeth, and her priest husband , Zacharias. While he carried out his priestly duties one day, an angel (Greek: aggelos: "messenger" or "sent one") appeared to him:
Luke 1:8,11,198And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,11And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.19And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
Later on in this same chapter this same man, Gabriel appears to Mary and informs her that she will shortly give birth to the Messiah. Mary was probably only a young girl between 14 and 18 years of age at the time. But what she saw and what Zacharias saw was a man who then proceeded to have a conversation with them just as he had done with Daniel in the earlier account.
We now move forward 33 years or so to the time of the death of the Messiah. Some of the women returned to the tomb where His body had been lain in order to embalm it.
Luke 24:1,2,41Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.2And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.4And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.
These two beings entered into a discussion with this group who had come to embalm the body of the Messiah. In all of the other Gospels we find a similaraccount. People arrive at the tomb to find it empty, but meet two men in white clothing who divulge certain information to them. Again jumping ahead a few more years into the century AD, to the account of the movements of the original followers of the Messiah, who were then labelled "Christians," there are numerous accounts of these spirit-men appearing to the disciples in order to give direction or help them out of difficult situations. Always these messengers are described as men.
Throughout the entire text of both the Old and New Testaments there are almost 300 mentions of these celestial beings. Always they are described as men. Sometimes they are mistakenly treated as ordinary human beings. These men ate and drank on occasion and usually were clothed in white shining raiment. Some of the time they appear in twos. Gabriel is the one who is sent to deliver messages and he is usually accompanied by another being who is named in some instances Michael. It would appear that this latter gentleman is sent along as security for Gabriel. What we might refer to as "muscle." We are also told that these entities existed long before the world, as we know it, came into being. They are created spirit~men as opposed to human beings.
So do the Scriptures describe another world wherein exists a different form of life, possibly superior in intelligence and power to that of our world? Yes indeed. These are men who look like us and their abode is a place called "Heaven," which seems to be some considerable distance from our planet. Are they benevolent towards mankind and interested in helping us in our times of trial? The answer is yes. So the leader of this celestial group is well~disposed towards mankind? Yes. His name is Yaweh, although sometimes He is called Elohim, and He definitely seems to want to help mankind.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.Book of Hebrews 13:2