ANSWER: Both the Greek word for angels, aggelos (Strong's Concordance #G32) and the Hebrew word malak (Strong's #H4397) mean "messenger." These two words reveal a key reason why they exist. They were created to be messengers between God and humans or between him and those spirits who became evil angels or demons (Isaiah 14:12 - 15, Ezekiel 28:11 - 19, Revelation 12:7 - 9).
Although we do not know exactly WHEN angels began to exist, scripture tells us they were at the creation of the entire universe (see Job 38:4 - 7). It is also interesting to note that the Bible does not record them appearing as messengers to humans until after the call of Abraham.
In the New Testament, angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds in Bethlehem's fields (Luke 2:8 - 15). The births of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11 - 20) and Jesus (Luke 1:26-38) were announced by them to Zechariah and the Virgin Mary in advance. When God called the prophet Ezekiel, he was granted visions of them in the sky (see Ezekiel 1).
Another purpose for angels is to praise God. For instance, the four living creatures at God's throne in heaven are apparently a class or type of angelic being. They have been given a simple but profound job.
|8. And each of the four living creatures had six wings respectively; and around and within they were full of eyes; and day and night they cease not saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come." (Revelation 4:8, HBFV throughout)|
The angelic host also exist in order to help people, especially those who are converted and destined to inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). Psalm 91:11 - 12 reveals the general helping responsibilities they possess. In one case, they appeared in order to protect the prophet Elisha and his servant (see 2Kings 6:16 - 17). In another situation, God had a righteous spirit being open up a prison's doors in order to free the apostles (Acts 5:18 - 20). God used them to both relay a message and rescue Lot from the destruction that was to come to Sodom (Genesis 19:1 - 22).
16. Because the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel (which implies more than one righteous spiritual being will be with Him) and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first (from the earth, not down from heaven); 17. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds (of the sky, where airplanes fly every day) for the meeting with the Lord . . . (1Thessalonians 4:16 - 17)
The book of 2Thessalonians 1, verses 7 and 8, reveals that those angelic beings who return with Jesus will be used to deal swiftly with those who reject God and who refuse to obey the gospel.
In conclusion, angels exist to serve both God and humans. The Bible tells us that their destiny will NOT be to rule the universe for all eternity. That gift, made possible by the sacrifice of Christ, will be given to God's greatest creation after their conversion and resurrection - MAN!
Written by Eric Snow
A BibleStudy.org Email Evangelist