Posted by: dacalu | 2 September 2014

Bite Size Jesus: Angels

The Author of Creation writes and orders reality. The author works with and through ministers who serve, counsel, and carry out plans for the story. The ones we know about have bodies, intelligence, and freewill just like us, but they are neither human nor once human. Because they focus on part of the Author’s work, they can help us understand God.

God is too big to comprehend. Angels give us small chunks of divinity that we can wrap our heads around. This is good; it allows us to see part of God’s work. It can also be dangerous; we can be tempted to confuse this part for the whole. We listen to angels because they can tell us where we fit in the story. We don’t worship angels (or listen to them uncritically) because they are only part of the whole.

Angels remind us that the story is bigger than our concerns. God does things that have nothing to do with us. Thus, angels talking to humans often begin by saying, “do not be afraid.” They are powerful and foreign, but also central to the plot of the story.


Notes on specific angels: The bible names only Michael and Gabriel among the angels. Michael appears in Daniel and Revelation (12.7) and takes the title of Archangel (high angel) in Jude (1.9). Michael leads the armies of heaven and acts as chief advocate for Israel and humanity. Gabriel appears in Daniel and the gospel of Luke, where he proclaims Jesus’ birth. Gabriel acts as God’s herald and chief messenger. Two other angels show up in the more popular disputed books of the Bible. Raphael appears throughout Tobit, and attends to marriage, healing, and pilgrimage. Uriel appears in 2 Esdras and Enoch, associated with wisdom and repentance.

Angels traditionally have neither sex nor gender, though for philosophical, linguistic, and cultural reasons are usually given a masculine pronoun.

In Hebrew

Michael – “Who is like God?”

Gabriel – “man of God”

Raphael – “God has healed”

Uriel – “God is my light”



  1. […] provides perspectives on the long relationship between the Author and a particular people, Israel. Angels visited the prophet Abraham and he made an agreement with the Author on behalf of his family […]

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