An angel is defined as: "a spiritual being acting as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God." In the Bible, angels are powerful and commissioned by God for special jobs both on earth and in heaven. The Bible mentions angels collectively as a heavenly "host" (Luke 2:13), but there are only a few specific angels mentioned by name in the Bible.
One frequently mentioned angel throughout the Bible is Gabriel, a messenger angel. Whenever Gabriel is mentioned, it is because he has wisdom or a special word from God to share. In the Old Testament, Gabriel visited the prophet Daniel and provided an explanation for visions God had given Daniel regarding the end times (Daniel 8:15–27; 9:20–27). Even though Daniel struggled to understand some of the explanations, Gabriel's descriptions still help us today, because they enable us to better anticipate various facets of the end times.
Perhaps the most famous visit of Gabriel is the one which he made to Mary, announcing the upcoming birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:26–38). He also appeared to Zacharias for another birth announcement—that of John the Baptist to Zacharias's wife, Elizabeth (Luke 1:11–23). It's possible that Gabriel also visited Joseph, husband of Mary, a few times to give him divine insight and instructions. Joseph's angel visitor(s), however, is only referred to as "an angel of the Lord," so we cannot say with one hundred percent certainty that it was Gabriel, though Gabriel is a messenger angel (Matthew 1:20–21; 2:13, 19–20).
Michael is another angel specifically mentioned by name in the Scriptures. Rather than being a messenger angel like Gabriel, he is an archangel, namely "chief angel," indicating that he has an elevated heavenly rank. It's possible that he is the one and only archangel of heaven, because Jude 1:9 refers to him as "the archangel Michael," but even if he isn't, it is likely that he leads any other archangels that exist.
Throughout the Bible, Michael functions as a warrior rather than a messenger. He battles against Satan and the fallen angels (who became demons when they rebelled against God) on God's behalf for the purpose of helping God's people (Daniel 10:21; 12:1; Revelation 12:7–9). He fights against the demonic "prince of the Persian kingdom," which enables "one in the likeness of the children of man" to reach Daniel and provide interpretation for a vision (Daniel 10). Because Michael is described as leading the angel army directly against Satan himself, we can know with certainty that he is an extremely high-ranking and powerful angel.
There are two fallen angels mentioned by name in the Bible, Lucifer/Satan and Apollyon/Abaddon. Lucifer was a beautiful and high-ranking angel, and he became the first angel to rebel against God. Because he desired to be God, he pridefully rebelled against Him and was cast out of heaven with the angels who took his side (Isaiah 14:12–18; Luke 10:18). Lucifer fell from heaven and became a cursed being, known as Satan, the Devil who is in direct opposition to God; he now attempts to deceive and thereby "steal and kill and destroy" all people (John 10:10). Revelation 9:11 mentions Apollyon/Abaddon, another fallen angel who leads an army of demons during the end times.
Copyright 2011-2022 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved.