Monday, December 29, 2008

Will We Get Wings When We Get to Heaven?

Many people, especially children, believe that when we go to heaven we become angels. It's a common misconception in our "Christian culture". But that idea is not exactly Biblical. So the answer to the title question is "No, we don't get wings."

Don't be disappointed, though, for there is a marvelous amount of information about angels in the Bible and you will be fascinated to hear about them.

First, humans and angels are two entirely different creatures. Angels are angels. Humans are humans. And humans who go to heaven do not "become angels". (That means that your dearly departed Grandmother is not your guardian angel.) Angels are incredibly numerous. Rev. 5:11 They are intelligent. They are not ordinarily visible although they are able to appear to man in physical appearance. Gen. 18:2-19:22; John 20:12-13; Acts 12:7-10.

They do not marry, and are not subject to death.
Matt. 22:30; Luke 20:35-36

The angels watchfully look into God's salvation of fallen man.
1 Peter 1:12

The holy angels dwell in heaven (Matt. 18:10; 22:30), where they worship God (Rev. 5:11-12; Psalm 103:20-21; 148:2). (Some angels fell into sin and are not holy. They are called demons.) At God's command the holy angels go out and serve God's people (Hebrews 1:14). These are the holy and elect angels (Matt. 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Acts 10:22; 1 Timothy 5:21), to whom God’s work of grace in Christ continues to display His divine wisdom and glory (Ephesians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:12).

Holy angels protect believers (Psalm 34:7, 91:11-12), protect little ones in particular (Matthew 18:10), and they constantly observe what goes on among believers (1 Corinthians 11:10). Luke 16:22 implies that angels have a special ministry to believers at their time of death but we do not know details about that.

The mysterious “Angel of the LORD” or “Angel of God”, who appears often in parts of the Old Testament, is sometimes identified with God, and other times distinguished from God (Gen. 16:7-13; 18:1-33; 22:11-18; 24:7, 40; 31:11-13; 32:24-30; 48:15-16; Exodus 3:2-6; 14:19; 23:20-23; 32:34 - 33:5; Numbers 22:22-35; Joshua 5:13-15; Judges 2:1-5; 6:11-23; 9:13-23). In certain instances at least, this Angel is commonly seen as a pre-incarnate appearance of God the Son.

Believers are NOT to worship angels or pray to them...(Rev. 19:10; Exodus 20:1-3; Colossians 2:18). We are to worship and pray to God alone.

And, Oh! Those lovely paintings of little flying babies that we sometimes call cherubs? That is a distorted and wrong view of angels and is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Nor are those frilly, feminine versions of "angels" that you often find in Christian bookstores and elsewhere in our culture. The Bible always speaks of angels as "he" and never "she". In fact, they are often of warrior demean who wield great power at God's command.

Since there is so much fascinating detail about angels in the Bible we might get carried away with that fascination. However, we are not to do that. Angels are merely messengers and do the bidding of the Almighty God. While we can wonder at this order of creatures, we are to always maintain our main focus on the person of our Lord and Savior. All praise and worship is His alone.

A special thank you to the Reformation Study Bible wherein I found an article on angels and where I found the above listed Scriptures.


Paula said...

So, I don't get a harp either, huh?? LOL I don't know why there is such a fascination with angels. Give me Jesus. He is the ONE I want to see.

Diane said...

Amen, Paula.

I just finished reading Daniel this morning, which gives a glimpse of the goings on in the heavenly realms (the angel sent to explain Daniel's vision was delayed by spirit-realm battling). Interesting, and a good thing to be aware of, but our concentration needs to be on learning to live in Christ-likeness.

cinnamongirl93 said...

Very well said. Thank you for all of the scripture verses to back up your words.
Happy New Year!