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Angels in the Bible in Six Depictions

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John is a writer based in Portsmouth in the United Kingdom who enjoys writing on a wide range of personal and professional interests.

St. Michael and fallen angels by Rubens, 17th century

St. Michael and fallen angels by Rubens, 17th century

Although Angels have many roles, they are probably best known for being God’s messengers. In the Biblical Hebrew, the word for Angel is mal’ak, which literally means messenger. Since God has to stay atop his Heavenly realm, he often sends Angels in his stead to deliver important messages and make great announcements.

Their messages don’t always bring good news, however. Angels are also sent to Earth to deliver warnings. No matter the content of their messages, Angels have the power to speak God’s words to humankind. There are many examples of Angels delivering messages to people throughout the Bible. Here are six occasions where God sent his Heavenly messengers to people:

Archangel Gabriel Visits the Virgin Mary

From Luke 1:30 – 33:

But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’

Annunciation (Leonardo da Vinci)

Annunciation (Leonardo da Vinci)

Angels Announce the Birth Of Jesus Christ

In Luke 2:8 – 12 the Angels reveal themselves to the shepherds working outside of Bethlehem to deliver their announcement:

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Abraham Bloemaert (Manner of) - Announcement to the shepherds c.1600

Abraham Bloemaert (Manner of) - Announcement to the shepherds c.1600

Angels Announce Christ’s Resurrection

Another well-known example of an Angel delivering an important message in the Bible occurs on the first Easter during Christ’s resurrection. An Angel appears before Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in Jesus’ tomb. From Matthew 28:1 – 7:

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.

Holy Women at Christ's Tomb (c. 1590s) by Annibale Carracci. In Matthew 28:1–10, Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" encounter an angel at the tomb, who tells them that Christ has risen.

Holy Women at Christ's Tomb (c. 1590s) by Annibale Carracci. In Matthew 28:1–10, Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" encounter an angel at the tomb, who tells them that Christ has risen.

Archangel Gabriel Visits Zechariah

In this story from the Bible, Archangel Gabriel appears before Jewish priest Zechariah to tell him that he will be the father of John the Baptist. This announcement is important as God has chosen John the Baptist to prepare people for the arrival of Jesus Christ. Since Zechariah and his wife were old and struggled with infertility, they did not believe the Gabriel’s message. Gabriel then renders Zechariah mute until the birth of his son. From Luke 1:11 – 13:

And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.’

Annunciation of the Angel to Zechariah by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1490, fresco in the Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence)

Annunciation of the Angel to Zechariah by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1490, fresco in the Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence)

Archangel Uriel’s Warning To Noah

Another famous story from the Bible involving a message from an Angel is the story of the prophet Noah. In this story, God sends Archangel Uriel to deliver a warning to Noah about the upcoming flood that will wipe the Earth clean of sinners. Uriel tells Noah that he must repopulate the world with the animals and people he saves on the large ship he will build called an ark. From Enoch 10:1 – 4:

Then said the Most High, the Holy and Great One spoke, and sent Uriel to the son of Lamech, and said to him: ‘Go to Noah and tell him in my name ‘Hide yourself!’ and reveal to him the end that is approaching: that the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge is about to come upon the whole earth, and will destroy all that is on it. And now instruct him that he may escape and his seed may be preserved for all the generations of the world.’

Stained glass of archangel Uriel as regent of the sun in the cloisters of Chester Cathedral.

Stained glass of archangel Uriel as regent of the sun in the cloisters of Chester Cathedral.

Archangel Gabriel Answers Daniel’s Prayers

In another story about Archangel Gabriel delivering messages, God sends Archangel Gabriel to provide him with insight and understanding after Daniel implores God to listen to his prayers. Daniel prays in earnest to God after confessing the sins of Jerusalem’s people. In Daniel 9:5 – 7, Daniel tells God:

‘we have sinned and done wrong…we have turned away from your commands and laws…we have not listened to your servants the prophets and we are covered with shame’.

God hears Daniel and sends Archangel Gabriel to him. From Daniel 9:22 – 23:

‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.’

Daniel's Answer to the King by Briton Rivière

Daniel's Answer to the King by Briton Rivière

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