The study of angels can be long, confusing, and mysterious at times. There are so many aspects that we can look into when studying angels. For instance, we can look into their physical characteristics. What do they look like? Do they have wings? We can also look into their roles as heavenly beings. What do they do? Do they protect and minister to Christians, or is it only a select few? There are so many different paths we can take when studying angels, but in this case, we are going to look into as many categories as we can to get a better understanding of what angels are and what they do. (This is part 1 of 2)
First, let’s understand what angels are. According to Hebrews 1:14 they are ministering spirits. “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” So who specifically are they ministering to then? The answer is those who are to inherit salvation. Now this could also lead into another question which is, “Do we have guardian angels?” But before we get into this question, let’s take a little journey into the different types of angels that exist and what their roles are, now that we have a basic understanding of what the majority of them do.
We have to understand that there are two major categories of angels. The Lord’s angels (Matthew 25:31) and Satan’s angels (2 Peter 2:4), or the fallen and unfallen angels. Now, we have to understand that Satan did not create his angels, they were all with God before they chose to fall away. In fact, Satan himself was an angel before he rebelled. According to Isaiah 14:12 it says that the “morning star” or “son of the dawn” has fallen from heaven. The “morning star” can be translated as “Lucifer”, which is another name for Satan. The Bible does not mention sub-categories for unfallen angels. They are simply angels that follow Satan, not God.
On the contrary, however, there are different types of angels of God. The first type we will discuss are the cherubim. Basically their duty is to defend the holiness of God. We see them first mentioned in Genesis 3:24 which says, “After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” Here we see a duty of defense for the tree of life. Another passage we see them in is Exodus 25:18-20. In this scripture, God is giving instructions to Moses on how to build the ark of the covenant. God tells Moses to make two cherubim out of hammered gold. What these two cherub represented, was the guarding of the ark. Again we see the cherubim guarding something.
Another type of the Lord’s angels are the seraphim. They are only mentioned once by name in Isaiah 6:2 which says, “Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.” If we keep reading, they seem concerned with praising God, while also being messengers of God.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the archangel. There is only one archangel mentioned by name in the Bible, and that archangel is Michael (Jude 1:9). Michael is the leader of all the angels (“arch”- leader or chief). We see mentioned on more than one occasion, the authority Michael has. In Revelation 12:7 it says, “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.” Here John depicts a battle scene between Michael and his angels, and Satan and his angels. Notice how it says Michael and “his” angels. Pointing to the fact that Michael has control of at least some of the angels.