Question: What do the Scriptures teach about the nature and qualities of angels?
Answer: In the Bible, the word angel means messenger. God uses various angels or messengers to serve Him, and they can be spiritual beings, human beings or inanimate messengers. Let us consider this subject from the standpoint of God’s spiritual messengers. The Bible says very little about the nature of these beings. We do know, however, that they have bodies, because the Bible teaches that God, the Lord Jesus and the saints all have bodies (John 5: 37) (Philippians 2: 6) (1 Corinthians 15: 41-54). We know nothing of their shapes or the members of their bodies, but we know that their bodies are not made up of material substances, but of spiritual substances such as light, fire, etc. (Hebrews 1: 7) (Matthew 28: 3) (Judges 13: 6). Their bodies are very glorious and bright, and practically paralyze a human who would look upon one (Matthew 28: 4) (Daniel 8: 17, 27) (Daniel 10: 7-11, 18). One of their powers is that they can materialize and assume human bodies in order to make revelations to humans. One of many examples is when three angels materialized and appeared and interacted with Abraham (Genesis 18: 2) (Genesis 22: 11-18).
We know some things about their physical qualities:
As to their faculties of heart and mind, they were created perfect, and on a scale far higher than that of perfect human beings. They must have a great knowledge of mathematics, astronomy and physics, far greater than all human scientists, to have been able assistants to the Logos, the great Archangel, in manipulating the laws of nature in the creating and balancing of the various galaxies and solar systems of the universe.
The moral and religious faculties of the good angels must also be of great strength, greatly exceeding those of perfect humans. Their tenacity of will toward righteousness and their steadfastness in supreme love to God and equal love for one another, persisting for possibly millions of years, despite temptations to the contrary, are an honor to God. They obey God and do not allow themselves to be worshipped (Psalm 103: 20, 21).
These angels were created in various natures and orders – cherubim, seraphim, principalities, powers, thrones, dominions and angels (Genesis 3: 24) (Isaiah 6: 2, 6) (Romans 8: 38) (Ephesians 1: 21) (Ephesians 3: 10) (Colossians 1: 16). These seven designations indicate either seven different natures or seven different ranks among the angels, thereby demonstrating the manifold creative wisdom of God. Please note that the seven orders of spiritual beings are all called angels in a general sense, whereas the seventh, or lowest order of spiritual beings are called angels in a specific sense, and are referred to in Psalm 8: 5, in which man is spoken of as being a little lower than them.
Thus we see that the angels are the servants of God. They delight to understand God’s Word and works (1 Peter 1: 12), and they take pleasure in serving His designs.