Many Americans are caught up in a craze to know more about angels. Books galore are available on the subject. Popular shows, such as the many episodes of Touched by an Angel, or the Christmas movie A Season for Miracles have introduced angels into their plots.
The angel craze is not all bad. No doubt we should learn something about these majestic and powerful beings, for, as God's messengers, angels played important roles in both the Old and New Testaments. Several kinds are mentioned in the Bible, including cherubim and seraphim. However, because they are created beings, they are never to be worshipped--and God's good angels will never accept such worship, although fallen angels will.
In the Middle Ages, Christians also were interested in angels. In fact, they set apart this day, September 29, as the feast day of Michael the archangel, a day the English call Michaelmas. Later, Gabriel, the angel who announced the birth of Jesus to Mary, was added to the feast, as was Raphael, an angel mentioned in the apocryphal book of Tobit.
There is only one archangel mentioned in the commonly accepted books of the Bible and that is Michael. He is the powerful being who led God's armies to throw Satan out of heaven. Whereas Satan (Lucifer) tried to seize God's place, Michael's name reflects his humility, for it means "Who is like God?" The term archangel implies that Michael is an angel over the other angels, just as an archbishop is a bishop over other bishops.
According to Daniel, Michael is also the special protector of the Jews. He will stand up in their behalf in the last days.
The little book of Jude also tells us that Michael once had to dispute with Satan for Moses' body. Those who mock Satan should be wary, for we are warned that even Michael did not dare to do so, but instead called upon the Lord to rebuke the fiend.
From Paul we learn that the archangel will give the shout when Christ returns at his second coming. At this shout the dead will rise.
- "Angel" and "Michael." Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Edited by Merrill C. Tenney. Nashville, Tennessee: Southwestern Company, 1972.
- Graham, Billy. Angels; God's secret agents. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1975.
- Noll, Stephen F. Angels of Light, Powers of Darkness; thinking biblically about angels, satan and principalities. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
Posted May 1, 2007.