Have you ever heard somebody talk about angels or about a specific angel by name? Quite often, at Christmas, we hang-up decorations shaped like children or adults dressed in white and with two wings on their backs. They are angels, or so we are told. We can also see them in churches in the windows and paintings.
But who are these angels? Are they really just Christmas decorations? Or do they exist? And if so, where do they live?
The Bible is a book which collects together many books (66 in total), a bit like a mini-library, and in there we read that the angels are in Heaven with God, and that he created them before he created the first human beings (Adam and his wife, Eve). There are billions and billions of angels. They quite often don’t have wings and they always appear as adults, never children.
When Jesus first came to earth and was born as a baby, the shepherds, who were looking after their sheep during the night, saw thousands of angels appear in the sky, singing, “glory to God, Jesus is here!” They saw another angel, bigger than the others, who even spoke to them. That must have been very impressive: the shepherds really did see and hear angels.
Mary, Jesus’s mum, also saw and heard an angel, and we even know his name: Gabriel. He told her that God had chosen her especially to be the mother of Jesus! Imagine Mary’s surprise.
Angels are spirits who serve God. They might come to bring a message to someone on earth, as was the case with Manoah (Samson’s dad), and with Gideon, Isaiah, Daniel, Mary Magdalene…and John the apostle, Simon Peter, and many others you can meet in the Bible.
As an example, let’s look at the book of Genesis, chapter 28, verses 10 to 19. Jacob was in the desert. He fell asleep and started to dream: he saw something like a ladder, stuck in the ground, which climbed right up into Heaven. He saw angels, some climbing the ladder, and others coming down it.
God himself was standing at the top and said, “I am the Lord, and I am with you. I will look after you wherever you go.”
Jacob woke up and suddenly realised, “Wow, God is in this place and I didn’t even know…This really is the gateway to Heaven.”
Oh, yes, the most important bit! I need to tell you that Jesus is more powerful than all the angels. Jesus is God’s son. He is the one who is truly the gateway to Heaven!