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Do Angels Sing?

At school last week, I wandered down the hall and enjoyed looking at all the kids’ projects hung up for display. I noticed one where the child had innocently renamed the famous Christmas song “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” to “Heart the Herald Angels Sing.” I thought that was cute.

Many Christmas songs refer to angels singing. Not just Hark the Herald Angels sing, but also in the song, “Angels we have Heard on High”, the first lyric goes,

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plain

And the chorus is,

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;

Also, “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”, where we read the lyrics,

The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing

Lots and lots of songs state that the angels sing. But does the bible say the same? No. Angels (probably) don’t sing. Or maybe they do. Here is Tim Chaffey from Answers in Genesis on the facts of the matter and why they matter:

The idea of angels singing on the night of Christ’s birth has become so common that many are surprised to learn that the Bible does not unequivocally state this. This example provides a good opportunity to discuss traditions. In and of themselves, traditions are not wrong, but they must be based on and consistent with Scripture. If they contradict Scripture, then they must be rejected. 

At the same time, we don’t want to be guilty of going too far in the other direction. Just because the Bible doesn’t explicitly state that they did sing does not necessarily mean that they did not. Some have even argued that angels do not or cannot sing at all, but those who make this claim must adequately address Job 38:7 and other passages that seem to support the idea that they can and have sung. Furthermore, there is no biblical or logical reason why they could not sing. Angels are highly intelligent beings who are capable of speaking. Why would they be incapable of putting those words into song, especially since other beings in heaven sing (Revelation 5:9–14)? 

One of the points of this series on misconceptions is to lead us all to look closely at what the Bible teaches. Far too often traditions have been the basis of our thinking, and we end up believing things that are not found in Scripture. We have heard and sung about angels singing on that night so often that many do not bother to look closely at the text.

EPrata collage

I agree. It’s one of those concepts that has embedded itself into culture so deeply we tend to stop looking at scripture to see if it is so.

Singing and praising are closely connected but not necessarily the same. God could have endowed his humans with an innate tendency to praise in song, and perhaps did not give that same tendency to angels, who mostly are declared in the bible to proclaim and to praise and to shout but not to sing.

On the one hand, J. Vernon McGee did not believe angels sing:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying [not singing], Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased. (Luke 2:9-14). They should have been singing. And the only place they seem to be singing is on the Christmas cards that I get. But they don’t sing in the Word of God. If there ever was a time when angels should have been singing, it was here in the Gospel of Luke when that angel made the announcement of the birth of Christ.

McGee says that he believes angels do not sing because they were never lost sinners and were never redeemed. “It is to the redeemed that God has given a song,” McGee wrote. And for the record, as Chaffey mentioned, McGee did adequately address Job 38:7 in his sermon. I tend to agree with McGee on the concept of angels not singing and also his interpretation of Job 38:7.

However, Charles Spurgeon did believe angels sang. In his sermon, “The First Christmas Carol“, Spurgeon preached,

And mark how well they told the story, and surely you will love them! Not with the stammering tongue of him that tells a tale in which he hath no interest; nor even with the feigned interest of a man that would move the passions of others, when he feeleth no emotion himself; but with joy and gladness, such as angels only can know. They sang the story out, for they could not stay to tell it in heavy prose. They sang, “Glory to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” Methinks they sang it with gladness in their eyes; with their hearts burning with love, and with breasts as full of joy as if the good news to man had been good news to themselves.

EPrata photo & collage

Whether you believe angels sing or do not sing isn’t the point. It is that we should always examine our traditions (including Christmas carols) to remind us that ultimate truth comes from the bible. Always examine these things to see if they are so.

I’ll end with Spurgeon’s joyous sermon closing he delivered on December 20, 1857 at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens-

May God give you peace with yourselves; may he give you good will towards all your friends, your enemies, and your neighbors; and may he give you grace to give glory to God in the highest. I will say no more, except at the close of this sermon to wish every one of you, when the day shall come, the happiest Christmas you ever had in your lives.

The shepherds were watching their flocks by night

I mentioned yesterday that one of my favorite Christmas passages is Simeon’s Song. Another favorite of mine is the moment when the myriad of angels appear to the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night. First, here is the passage:

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
(Luke 2:8-14)

I’m focusing on “night.”

NIGHT: The period of darkness between evening and morning. It is generally a time for the cessation of daily activity and for sleep, but, because darkness also gives an opportunity for evil, there is need to be watchful. The term may also be used figuratively to refer to evil or to a period of distress. Night-time also provides opportunity for contemplation and for prayer.

(Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.)

The ancient Jerusalemites did not have the advantage of electric lights, street-lamps, flashlights, or any sort of man-made illumination, save candles or fire. Normally, work began at dawn and ended at sunset, for the obvious reason is that it was too hard to perform tasks when the natural illumination of the bright sun was absent. When the sun went down, it got dark.

Without light, people turned in for the day, eating a last meal, resting, and then going to sleep. Except the shepherds. Their work was not finished when the sun went down. As a matter of fact, night-time required extra attention. Nocturnal predators came out to hunt. Robbers stole in the dark. Mischief was done. Night is a time for evil, so the shepherds had to stay awake, or take turns in shifts for the night watch in order to protect the sheep. But it was dark.

Lamps of clay, bronze, or other metal were indispensable in every home. With oil, wax, or pitch as fuel and flax, papyrus, or other fiber as wick, they often burned all night. To show how desolate the land would be after Nebuchadnezzar laid Judea waste, God said through Jeremiah that no one would see lamp light in the land.

Even though their eyes adjusted to the dark and they could perceive this or that, dimly, it was dark. The darkness would have been near-total, save for any starlight or moonlight.

So on this momentous evening, the shepherds had settled into their night watch routine. Suddenly the night gloom was split by LIGHT. The instant change would have been overwhelming, searing their eyes blinding them momentarily. Imagine their terror! It was not as if a bonfire had been lit or a prankster shepherd has snuck up with a torch. This light was BRIGHT. It was from heaven, no ordinary light.

It was HOLY light. It was GLORY light. Not only was it bright, but it was Light from God, the heavenly realm touching the earthly realm.

You know that each time an angel appears to a person, the first thing the angel says is “Fear not!” Why? Angels are terrifying. They are not chubby, flying babies. They are holy messengers of God, with power and strength beyond our comprehension.

Matthew 28:3-4
Luke 1:11-12
Luke 1:30
Luke 2:11
Daniel 8:17
Daniel 10:7-8

Angels appearing in glory light, in an innumerable company, praising God so loudly the ground must have shook, must have been absolutely terrifying. It must have been bright.

How fitting, that in darkest night, the Light had come. Practically, the night was dark. At night, people were blind. Spiritually, Jerusalem was apostate, with barely any faith in the nation at all. But suddenly the shepherds could see! The Light would lead the way.

I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)

The Light illuminates our sins, so that they are exposed, and then we can be cleansed. Do not hide in the darkness, but seek the Light.

LIGHT: The brightness that enables sight in the darkness. Scripture often uses light as a symbol of the saving presence of God in a fallen world, with darkness being used as a symbol of sin or the absence of God.
Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

Light has come into the world, born of a virgin, proclaimed by angels, seen by shepherds, witnessed to by God’s people: us. Hallelujah, the Light has come, darkness is no more.

The cherubim are amazing creatures!

Demus, Otto. The Mosaic Decoration of San Marco, Venice.

Our Sunday School lesson regarding the worthiness of God to receive praise, had a part in it about the angels, and how the angels praise Him. I love studying about the angels, I’m fascinated with them. Especially the cherubim,God’s highest order of angel. The mysterious creatures, with eyes all over, and wheels and multiple wings…are simply amazing. I ended up studying more deeply from the lesson about these amazing creatures. Here is a very short study on cherubim, the different things I discovered. May reading this bless you as well, in knowing our God is simply the most worthy and intelligent, creative God possible! All superlatives go to Him!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Cherubim~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ezekiel gives a startling and specific description of these creatures. I say ‘creatures’, because in Ezekiel 1:5 that is how the Prophet describes them. And again in Ezekiel 1:13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22. But in Ezekiel 10, another chapter given to a lengthy and amazing description of these beings, he calls them cherubim, beginning in verse 1.

Then I looked, and behold, on the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire, in appearance like a throne. And he said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the whirling wheels underneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” (Ezekiel 10:1-2)

And I looked, and behold, there were four wheels beside the cherubim, one beside each cherub, and the appearance of the wheels was like sparkling beryl. And as for their appearance, the four had the same likeness, as if a wheel were within a wheel. When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went, but in whatever direction the front wheel faced, the others followed without turning as they went. And their whole body, their rims, and their spokes, their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes all around—the wheels that the four of them had. As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing “the whirling wheels.” (Ezekiel 10:9-13)

John MacArthur describes the wheels as, “representing the power of God as He acts against sin.” Charles Spurgeon describes the wheels this way, “The machinery of heaven as Providence is enacted.”

It is interesting to note that the wheels act in unison, and from the context, we can understand they act instantly, also. When God commands, they act, perfectly in precision with each other as they perform the dance of Providence up and down, back and forth, between and above and below the throne.

Who is the Man in Linen? Most surmise it is Jesus, but it could be a high ranking angel. Linen was always given to high ranking people. It was used for priestly robes, and was so finely woven it was like silk. It was a quality garment! Luke 16:19 mentions it, as a luxury item. Do a study on linen one day, after all, we will be given fine linen robes when we get there.

And when he commanded the man clothed in linen, “Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim,” he went in and stood beside a wheel. And a cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire that was between the cherubim, and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed in linen, who took it and went out. The cherubim appeared to have the form of a human hand under their wings. (Ezekiel 10:6-8)

In Isaiah 6:7 the seraphim used a burning coal from the altar to purify Isaiah, taking away his guilt.  In the above passage from Ezekiel, a cherubim took fire from between the wheels and gave it to the man to use to purify a city (through wrathful destruction). So much activity in heaven!

In the next two verses, one of God’s names is God of Israel that ‘dwellest between the cherubim’!

O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubim, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. (Isaiah 37:16, KJV)

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Testimony. Of Asaph, a Psalm. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. (Psalm 80:1)

In this next one it is metaphorical (I think).

He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. (Psalm 18:10).

Pulpit Commentary says,

The imagery here transcends all experience, and scarcely admits of comment or explanation. God is represented as borne through the heavens, as he proceeds to execute his purposes, by the highest of his creatures, the cherubim.

The cherubim are active in performing God’s will and are at the highest of his hierarchy. Cherubim are represented as the angels with wings over the Mercy Seat, (Exodus 25:20), and on the decorative elements of the temple (1 Kings 6:32). For example, life sized versions were made of wood overlaid with gold. Twenty cubits was about 30 feet-

The wings of these cherubim extended twenty cubits. The cherubim stood on their feet, facing the nave.  (2 Chronicles 6:13)

And their likeness was also woven into the tapestry in the temple. (2 Chronicles 3:14)

They are first mentioned in the first book of the bible, Genesis.

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)

And they are mentioned in the last book of the bible, Revelation.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: (Revelation 4:6)

These amazing creatures are associated with God’s power, presence, and holiness. Isn’t it wonderfully humbling to think that we will be there one day, and see them, and join them in singing the praise He is so worthy of,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

Angels are an amazing part of the created order

Angels figure very, very prominently in the NT. People don’t really know this, or they overlook angels in the created order. At the other end of the scale, some are so preoccupied with angels they nearly fall into angel worship.

In terms of the Providence of God, if Ezekiel’s wheels within wheels are a kind of visible/invisible machinery of providence (as Spurgeon described it in his sermon “God’s Providence” #3114), then perhaps the other angels are also a kind of visible/invisible machinery of God’s providence, like we glimpsed in Jacob’s ladder. (Genesis 28:12)

Dr RC Sproul has two lectures available on angels, part 1 & 2. He said the Greek word for angel appears in the NT more often than does the Greek word for sin (hamartanó). It also appears more often than the Greek word for love (agape).

Chris Koelle Book of Revelation Graphic Novel

Sproul taught from Hebrews and Colossians and also 2 Kings, and said it was obvious given the texts devoted them that there had been a problem in the first century of people giving them junior deity status and ascribing worship to them, with even Paul & Silas being mistaken for angels.

But with all the warnings not to overestimate angels in their position, neither does the NT deny the importance of them, Sproul said.

He also said something interesting,

Part of the problem we have with angels, is that we tend to associate angels with the supernatural realm. We think of the angels as being a supernatural being. In one sense it is correct to call angels a supernatural being. In another sense it’s quite dangerous to refer to them as supernatural beings, because the one thing that’s clear in the scriptures about the nature of angels is that they belong to nature. They belong to the created order. Angels are not divine. Angels are creatures, part of the original creation that God made. In THAT sense, angels are natural beings.

The reason they are looked at as supernatural beings is because of their constituent nature. The bible tells us they are creatures, but they differ from us and animals and plants in that their nature is a spirit nature rather than a physical or a material nature. Because they are spirit beings under normal circumstances, they remain invisible to the naked eye. Unless they manifest themselves in a kind of angelophany, their basic nature is invisible, dwelling in a realm that is invisible to us.

RC Sproul

Sproul said, how often do we think of angels? Of course we’re not to adore them, or be preoccupied with them, but we are to give them due meditation, as they are an important part of the order and are referred to frequently in the bible. He said we need to be thinking about why there is such a heavy concentration of angels at certain times in history.

This was something that was brought to my attention back some years when I listened to John MacArthur preach through Revelation. It was an eye-opening series in many ways.

Sproul’s lectures focused on the angels as messengers and angels as ministering spirits. But that is not all they are. Angels are also vehicles of Judgment. It is angels who mainly bring the judgments of Revelation. For example,

Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. … Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:2, 6-7)

In addition to angels being part of the machinery of God’s providence, messengers, ministering agents, judgment-bringers, they are also warriors.

Archangel Michael fighting the Dragon, Durer 1497

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven (Revelation 12:7)

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17)

Angels are an amazing part of the created order! I recommend both of the Sproul lectures. They are about 25 minutes each.

RC Sproul: Angels Part 1
RC Sproul: Angels part 2

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones also has a series on angels, here
S. Lewis Johnson preached about angels from Hebrews 1:4-6, Angels Worship the Son!
John MacArthur preached “Angels- God’s Invisible Army

Enjoy learning about angels, our ministering helpers, messengers of God, fighters against evil for our Holy Trinity.

Back to Basics: All about Angels

Angels are mentioned almost three hundred times in the bible. Let’s look at who these created beings are and what they do for God. This essay will be divided into three sections. First, we’ll have a very brief overview in looking at what angels do and who they are, from scripture. I say very brief because the subject is so deep that one essay, or even a dozen essays, can’t do it justice.

In the second section there will be some fast facts and trivia.

In the third section at the end I’ll look at some weighty matters concerning angels.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~section 1~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The bible says that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Since God has always existed, ‘the beginning means’ the beginning of what He wants to reveal to us. Job 38:4-7 says that when God did that work, the angels praised Him by singing with joy. So the angels already were created by God.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7)

“Sons of God” is a term sometimes used to describe angels. (Job 1:6, Genesis 6:2). Angels then, were created before the foundation of the world was laid, but the point is, they are created beings. They have intellect, will, and emotions. They are a higher order than humans. (Hebrews 2:7). They are spirit beings that sometimes take on a body likeness when they come to earth. And they do come to earth. (Genesis 32:24, Hebrews 13:2).

In Genesis 18:2, Abraham saw three ‘men’ approaching him but in the next verse Abraham immediately bowed and called one of them Lord. Though they were in the form of men, Abraham knew they were not of this world. Sometimes an angel appears and they do not look like men but they do look like they are from glory. (Matthew 28:2-4). Usually in those cases where even their full stature and countenance is hidden, the men and women viewing them still fall down.

They serve us by obeying God. They praise and honor God in His temple (Revelation 4:8; Hebrews 12:22) bring messages, (Luke 1:19, Daniel 10:11), minister to us, (Hebrews 1:14), fight for God against the forces of evil, (2 Kings 6:17).

Or not, as the case may be. Angels rebelled in heaven and a third of the angels sided with satan. (Revelation 12:4). These became the demons. They attempt to thwart God and His people. They may seem to be temporarily successful but of course they are not in any sense victorious over God. His plan reigns supreme. All that happens to those who love God He turns to the good for His glory.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains more eloquently. Click on the link FMI

But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly intelligences whom God employs in carrying on his government of the world. The name does not denote their nature but their office as messengers. The appearances to Abraham at Mamre (Genesis 18:2, 22. Comp. 19:1), to Jacob at Peniel (Genesis 32:24, 30), to Joshua at Gilgal (Joshua 5:13, 15), of the Angel of the Lord, were doubtless manifestations of the Divine presence, “foreshadowings of the incarnation,” revelations before the “fulness of the time” of the Son of God.

(1.) The existence and orders of angelic beings can only be discovered from the Scriptures. Although the Bible does not treat of this subject specially, yet there are numerous incidental details that furnish us with ample information. Their personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Genesis 16:7, 10, 11; Judges 13:1-21; Matthew 28:2-5; Hebrews 1:4, etc.

These superior beings are very numerous. “Thousand thousands,” etc. (Dan. 7:10; Matthew 26:53; Luke 2:13; Hebrews 12:22, 23). They are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power (Zechariah 1:9, 11; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 1:9; Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16).

(2.) As to their nature, they are spirits (Hebrews 1:14), like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as “like the angels” (Luke 20:36), and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form (Genesis 18:2; 19:1, 10; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10), and the titles that are applied to them (“sons of God, ” Job 1:6; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; Comp. 28) and to men (Luke 3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between them and the human race. Imperfection is ascribed to them as creatures (Job 4:18; Matthew 24:36; 1 Peter 1:12). As finite creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly we read of “fallen angels.”

FMI: Sermon by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Common and Special Grace, Ephesians 6:10-13, The Fall of man; man cannot save himself; the history of redemption; God is concerned about the salvation of man; God is defending His own character; God ordained government to control the effects of the Fall; man’s need of discipline; common grace and special grace; examples of special grace in Scripture; the ministry of angels.

FMI: Sermon by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Good Angels, “The term ‘angel’ defined; do angels have bodies? the archangels Michael and Gabriel; two groups of angels; the work of the angels as messengers; in salvation and deliverance; as revealers of God’s purpose; examples of the intervention of angels. NOTE: Sadly there is no recording of the subsequent lecture titled ‘The Devil and the Fallen Angels’.”

Note: Even though the audio is lost, for now at least, the companion lecture to Good Angels, titled “‘The Devil and the Fallen Angels’.” has been transcribed and can be read at this link.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~section 2~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trivia question: Who are the only named angels in the bible? Answer below.

Fast Fact: Angels that rebelled will not be redeemed. Their condemnation is fixed. (Matthew 25:41)

Fast Fact: Humans do not turn into angels when we get to heaven. Angels and humans are separate orders of beings in creation. Angels are angels and humans are humans. Forever.

Cherubim guarded the way back to the tree of life with a flaming sword. (Genesis 3:24)

Peter was freed from prison by an angel. Even locks and prison bars cannot stop angels from ministering to us, when God sends them! (Acts 12:4-8)

An angel announced the birth of Samson. (Judges 13:1-7,24)

Food for thought: If sometimes we entertain angels unaware, and a third of them sided with Lucifer and turned into unholy demons, then there is a 1-in-3 chance that when an angel visits us he is an unholy demon. (Genesis 6:1-2). However the good news is that they obey God and do His bidding within limits. (Job 1:12, 2 Chronicles 18:21)

Do angels marry? Not in heaven. (Mark 12:25). But the rebellious ones did on earth. (Genesis 6:1). That’s why they are in chains awaiting judgment. (Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4)

Trivia answer: The three named angels in the bible are Gabriel Michael, and … Lucifer!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~section 3~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Renaissance was a period of renewal and discovery. So much beautiful art, architecture, and advanced thought came out of that period between the 14th and 17th century that we have much to be grateful for. However, not all that came from the Renaissance was good. We have our current view of angels as chubby munchkins with tiny wings shooting love darts into people insidiously placed in our minds thanks to the Italian painters.

Wikipedia explains the difference between putti and cherubs (as opposed to the biblical cherubim).

“A putto (plural putti) is a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude and sometimes winged. Putti are commonly confused with, yet are completely unrelated to, cherubim. In the plural, “the Cherubim” refers to the biblical angels, which have four heads of different species and several pairs of wings. While “cherubs” represent the second order of angels, putti are secular and present a non-religious passion. However, in the Baroque period of art, the putto came to represent the omnipresence of God. A putto representing a cupid is also called an amorino (plural amorini). During the Middle Ages, the putto disappeared and was revived during the 15th century. The revival of the figure of the putto is generally attributed to Donatello, in Florence in the 1420s”

At least at the end of the Gothic age as the Renaissance dawned, Giotto, the era’s most famous painter, was depicting angels as full grown men. Below is his “Nativity” from the Arena Chapel, Late Gothic/Early Italian Renaissance 1305-1306. The angels are engaged in full-blown worship of God. They had wings, unfortunately, but at least they were fully grown. By the beginning of the Renaissance around 1420, they had been reduced to putti/cherubs.

Here is an example. Though the putti were meant to be secular, their similarity to cherubs in vastly reduced in size and position contributed to the false imagery about angels that persists to this day. They are constantly shown as mischievous sprites chasing love and napping, not full the grown, powerful created holy beings who serve Almighty God that they are. I’m harping on this for a reason.

Here is a piece of art called “The Cherub Harvesters,” Francis Boucher, ca. 1733-34

Angels in the bible are massively potent beings with incredible power. Did you know that the Law was given to Moses by angels?

“you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” (Acts 7:53),

“Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.“(Galatians 3:19)

Deuteronomy 33:2 mentions that He came to give the Law with myriads and ten thousands of His holy ones. Angels by the side of God as He delivered the Law! Incredible!

How powerful are angels? This was astounding to me when I read it. I studied the book of Revelation. In it, it becomes terribly obvious that angels are the means that God uses to deliver judgment.

Begin with Chapter 5:2,

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”

The word loud in this verse is from megas, meaning ‘in the widest sense’, large, great. It’s where we get ‘mega’ from. Mighty is from a word meaning powerful in the physical sense.

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:11-12)

Angels hold back the wind and rise with the sun. They proclaim praise, render judgment, and fulfill God’s wishes.

“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:1-3)

How about this powerful scene with angels from Revelation 8:1-5

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings,a flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”

Cherubs? NO! Flying babies? Never! They are holy and powerful! Skim through Revelation to see the massive amount of angelic intercession in the affairs of men during the Tribulation. I could quote many more instances but if I did, I’d essentially be repeating the entire book of Revelation. John MacArthur sums it up

“Angels, you know, have played very prominent roles already in Revelation. The four horsemen that we saw in chapter 6 were called by angels, the seven trumpets were blown by angels, Satan and demons were defeated by angels, the seven bowls will be poured out by angels, Armageddon is announced by an angel, Satan and demons are bound by an angel, and here is another angel. And this angel comes out of the temple in heaven and he also has a sharp sickle.” This is the angel that reaps the earth.

Matthew 13:39 says that angels reap at the end of the age:

and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.” (Matthew 13:39)

Once you’ve read through, then ask the Spirit to heighten your awareness of the holy work of angels in the bible. They are mentioned quite often, and as you read through the book you’re reading through, you will notice their works. Even the demons are powerful. The fallen ones are still called majesties and those false teachers who unwisely mock and deride them are themselves awaiting judgment. (2 Peter 2:10-11). Even Archangel Michael dare not bring an accusation against satan but instead said simply, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9).

Not that we worship angels, (Revelation 22:9) but be aware of their powerful work for our Holy God. Just as we are instruments of His plan used to bring Him glory, so are angels. Yet they have supernatural powers and dwell in the very temple of heaven. Refuse to allow this image to stay with you-

and instead remember that even this image won’t do them justice.

Chris Koelle

They are majestic, intelligent, powerful and we are not to revile even the fallen ones. Our God is amazing in His creation of all the universe, the worlds, the animals, stars, humans … and angels.