Jehovah`s Witness/The Billions of Angels
Hello Brother D.
I just read you indepth answer to the question; regarding Immortality and Everlasting life. Wow! What an eye opening answer for me. I had often thought the same question.
My question is perhaps an elementary one. The billions of Angels in heaven, what do they do all day long? Do Angels eat and sleep?
Thank you and much love to you.
The spiritual creatures that you are referring to Terry have different designations. Let’s go by rank
Archangel: The apostle Paul said, when writing to the Thessalonian congregation about the gathering of God’s anointed holy ones: “The Lord [Jesus Christ] himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet.” (1Th 4:16) The term “archangel” means “chief angel” or “principal angel.” Paul’s expression “archangel’s voice” evidently focuses attention on the authoritativeness of Jesus’ voice of command. Jesus, when on earth, revealed the authority that God invested in him, when he said: “For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted also to the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to do judging, because Son of man he is. . . . The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”—John 5:26-29. Aside from Michael, no archangel is mentioned in the Bible, nor do the Scriptures use the term “archangel” in the plural.
The Bible describes Michael as the archangel, implying that he alone bears that designation. Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that Jehovah God has delegated to one, and only one, of his heavenly creatures full authority over all other angels.
Aside from the Creator himself, only one faithful person is spoken of as having angels under subjection—namely, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 13:41; 16:27; 24:31) The apostle Paul made specific mention of “the Lord Jesus” and “his powerful angels.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7) And Peter described the resurrected Jesus by saying: “He is at God’s right hand, for he went his way to heaven; and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.”—1 Peter 3:22.
While there is no statement in the Bible that categorically identifies Michael the archangel as Jesus, there is one scripture that links Jesus with the office of archangel. In his letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul prophesied: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) In this scripture Jesus is described as having assumed his power as God’s Messianic King. Yet, he speaks with “an archangel’s voice.” Note, too, that he has the power to raise the dead.
While on earth as a human, Jesus performed several resurrections. In doing so, he used his voice to utter commanding calls. For example, when resurrecting the dead son of a widow in the city of Nain, he said: “Young man, I say to you, Get up!” (Luke 7:14, 15) Later, just before resurrecting his friend Lazarus, Jesus “cried out with a loud voice: ‘Lazarus, come on out!’” (John 11:43) But on these occasions, Jesus’ voice was the voice of a perfect man.
After his own resurrection, Jesus was raised to a “superior position” in heaven as a spirit creature. (Philippians 2:9) No longer a human, he has the voice of an archangel. So when God’s trumpet sounded the call for “those who are dead in union with Christ” to be raised to heaven, Jesus issued “a commanding call,” this time “with an archangel’s voice.” It is reasonable to conclude that only an archangel would call “with an archangel’s voice.”
Spirit creatures stationed about Jehovah’s throne in the heavens. (Isaiah 6:2, 6) The Hebrew word sera•phim′ is a plural noun derived from the verb sa•raph′, meaning “burn.” (Leviticus 4:12) Thus the Hebrew term sera•phim′ literally means “burning ones.” Elsewhere the noun occurs in singular (Heb., sa•raph′) or plural and refers to earthly creatures. In this usage the meaning is variously “poisonous,” “fiery (inflammation-causing),” and “fiery snake.”—Numbers 21:6, 8.
The prophet Isaiah describes his vision for us, saying: “In the year that King Uzziah died I, however, got to see Jehovah, sitting on a throne lofty and lifted up, and his skirts were filling the temple. Seraphs were standing above him. Each one had six wings. With two he kept his face covered, and with two he kept his feet covered, and with two he would fly about. And this one called to that one and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The fullness of all the earth is his glory.’ . . . And I proceeded to say: ‘Woe to me! For I am as good as brought to silence, because a man unclean in lips I am, and in among a people unclean in lips I am dwelling; for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of armies, himself!’ At that, one of the seraphs flew to me, and in his hand there was a glowing coal that he had taken with tongs off the altar. And he proceeded to touch my mouth and to say: ‘Look! This has touched your lips, and your error has departed and your sin itself is atoned for.’”—Isaiah 6:1-7.
No description is given of the Divine Person. However, the skirts of his majestic garment are said to have filled the temple, leaving no place for anyone to stand. His throne did not rest upon the ground but, besides being “lofty,” was “lifted up.” The seraphs’ “standing” may mean “hovering,” by means of one of their sets of wings, just as the cloud was ‘standing’ or hovering by the entrance of Jehovah’s tent in the wilderness. (Deuteronomy 31:15) Professor Franz Delitzsch comments on the position of the seraphs: “The seraphim would not indeed tower above the head of Him that sat upon the throne, but they hovered above the robe belonging to Him with which the hall was filled.” (Commentary on the Old Testament, 1973, Vol. VII, Part 1, p. 191) The Latin Vulgate, instead of saying “seraphs were standing above him,” says they were standing above “it.”—Isaiah 6:1, 2.
These mighty heavenly creatures are angels, evidently of very high position in God’s arrangement, since they are shown in attendance at God’s throne. The cherubs seen in Ezekiel’s vision corresponded to runners that accompanied the celestial chariot of God. (Ezekiel 10:9-13) This idea of positions of rank or authority in the heavens is in harmony with Colossians 1:16, which speaks of things “in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities.”
The number of seraphs is not mentioned, but they were calling to one another, evidently meaning that some were on each side of the throne and were declaring Jehovah’s holiness and glory in antiphonal song, one (or one group) repeating after the other or responding to the other with a part of the declaration: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The fullness of all the earth is his glory.” (Compare the reading of the Law and the people’s answering, at Deuteronomy 27:11-26.) With humility and modesty in the presence of the Supreme One, they covered their faces with one of their three sets of wings, and being in a holy location, they covered their feet with another set, in due respect for the heavenly King.—Isa 6:2, 3.
The cry of the seraphs concerning God’s holiness shows that they have to do with seeing that his holiness is declared and that his glory is acknowledged in all parts of the universe, including the earth. One of the seraphs touched Isaiah’s lips to cleanse away his sin and his error by means of a glowing coal from off the altar. This may indicate that their work is in some way associated with cleansing away sin from among God’s people, such cleansing being based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on God’s altar.—Isaiah 6:3, 6, 7.
The description of the seraphs as having feet, wings, and so forth, must be understood to be symbolic, their likeness to the form of earthly creatures being only representative of abilities they have or of functions they perform, just as God often speaks symbolically of himself as having eyes, ears, and other human features. Showing that no man knows the form of God, the apostle John says: “Beloved ones, now we are children of God, but as yet it has not been made manifest what we shall be. We do know that whenever he is made manifest we shall be like him, because we shall see him just as he is.”—1John 3:2.
An angelic creature of high rank having special duties, distinguished from the order of seraphs. The first of the 91 times they are mentioned in the Bible is at Genesis 3:24; after God’s driving Adam and Eve out of Eden, cherubs (Heb., keru•vim′) were posted at the E entrance with a flaming blade of a sword “to guard the way to the tree of life.” Whether more than two were stationed there is not disclosed.
Representative figures of cherubs were included in the furnishings of the tabernacle set up in the wilderness. Rising above each end of the Ark’s cover were two cherubs of hammered gold. They were facing each other and bowing toward the cover in an attitude of worship. Each had two wings that spread upward and screened over the cover in a guarding and protecting manner. (Exodus 25:10-21; 37:7-9) Also, the inner covering of tent cloths for the tabernacle and the curtain dividing the Holy from the Most Holy had embroidered cherub figures.—Exodus 26:1, 31; 36:8, 35.
These were not grotesque figures fashioned after the monstrous winged images worshiped by pagan nations round about, as some contend. According to the unanimous testimony of ancient Jewish tradition (the Bible is silent on this matter), these cherubs had human form. They were finest works of art, representing angelic creatures of glorious beauty, and were made in every detail “according to . . . the pattern” Moses received from Jehovah himself. (Exodus 25:9) The apostle Paul describes them as “glorious cherubs overshadowing the propitiatory cover.” (Heb 9:5) These cherubs were associated with the presence of Jehovah: “And I will present myself to you there and speak with you from above the cover, from between the two cherubs that are upon the ark of the testimony.” (Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:89) Hence, Jehovah was said to be “sitting upon [or, between] the cherubs.” (1Samuel 4:4; 2Samuel 6:2; 2Kings 19:15; 1Chronicles 13:6; Psalm 80:1; 99:1; Isaiah 37:16) In symbol, the cherubs served as “the representation of the chariot” of Jehovah upon which he rode (1Ch 28:18), and the wings of the cherubs offered both guarding protection and swiftness in travel. So David, in poetic song, described the speed with which Jehovah came to his aid, like one who “came riding upon a cherub and came flying” even “upon the wings of a spirit.”—2Samuel 22:11; Ps 18:10.
The detailed architectural plans for Solomon’s magnificent temple called for two huge cherubs in the Most Holy. They were made of oil-tree wood overlaid with gold, each standing ten cubits (4.5 m; 14.6 ft) high. They both stood facing the E on a N-S line running presumably through the center of the room. Although standing ten cubits apart, one wing of each cherub reached to touch the tip of the other’s extended wing in the center of the room, overshadowing the ark of the covenant and its poles, which rested beneath. The outer wings of each cherub touched the N and S walls respectively. Thus the wings of the cherubs spanned the 20-cubit width of the room. Engraved carvings of cherubs, overlaid with gold, also decorated the walls and doors of the temple. Likewise the sides of the copper water carriages were ornamented with cherubs. (1Kings 6:23-35; 7:29-36; 8:6, 7; 1Chronicles 28:18; 2Chronicles 3:7, 10-14; 5:7, 8) In a similar manner, carved cherubs ornamented the walls and doors of the temple that Ezekiel envisioned.—Ezekiel 41:17-20, 23-25.
Ezekiel also relates a number of visions in which symbolic cherubs of unusual description were seen. After speaking of them as “living creatures” (Ezekiel 1:5-28), he later identifies them as “cherubs.” (Ezekiel 9:3; 10:1-22; 11:22) In these pictorial visions the cherubs are intimately associated with the glorious personage of Jehovah and constantly attendant upon him.
In his prophetic book Ezekiel was also told to “lift up a dirge concerning the king of Tyre,” in which he calls the king a glorious covering cherub that was once “in Eden, the garden of God,” but who was stripped of his beauty and made as ashes upon the ground. “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: . . . ‘You are the anointed cherub that is covering, and I have set you. On the holy mountain of God you proved to be. In the midst of fiery stones you walked about. You were faultless in your ways from the day of your being created until unrighteousness was found in you. . . . I shall put you as profane out of the mountain of God, and I shall destroy you, O cherub that is covering [“O protecting cherub,” Vg].’”—Ezekiel 28:11-19.
Both the Hebrew mal•ʼakh′ and the Greek ag′ge•los literally mean “messenger.” From the first book of the Bible to the last, these words occur nearly 400 times. When spirit messengers are indicated, the words are translated “angels,” but if the reference definitely is to human creatures, the rendering is “messengers.” (Genesis 16:7; 32:3; James 2:25; Revelation 22:8; However, in the highly symbolic book of Revelation certain references to ‘angels’ may apply to human creatures.—Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14.
Angels are sometimes termed spirits; that which is spirit is invisible and powerful. Thus we read: “A spirit came out and stood before Jehovah”; “Are they not all spirits for public service?” (1Kings 22:21; Hebrews 1:14) Having invisible spiritual bodies, they make their abode “in the heavens.” (Mark 12:25; 1Corinthians 15:44, 50) They are also termed “sons of the true God,” “morning stars,” and “holy myriads” (or “holy ones”).—Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Deuteronomy 33:2.
Not being creatures that marry and reproduce their own kind, the angels were individually created by Jehovah through his firstborn Son, “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Matthew 22:30; Revelation 3:14) “By means of him [this firstborn Son, the Word] all other things were created in the heavens . . . the things invisible . . . Also, he is before all other things and by means of him all other things were made to exist.” (Colossians 1:15-17; John 1:1-3) The angels were created long before man’s appearance, for at the ‘founding of the earth’ “the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause.”—Job 38:4-7.
As for the number of the angelic hosts of heaven, Daniel said he saw “a thousand thousands that kept ministering to [God], and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him.”—Daniel 7:10; Hebrew 12:22; Jude 14.
As with the visible creation, so also in the invisible realm there is order and rank among the angels. The foremost angel, both in power and authority, is Michael, the archangel. (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9; Because of his preeminence and his being called “the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of [God’s] people,” he is presumed to be the angel that led Israel through the wilderness. (Exodus 23:20-23) Ranking very high among the angels in privileges and honor are the seraphs. (Isa 6:2, 6;) More frequently (some 90 times), the Scriptures mention the cherubs, and from the description of their duties and responsibilities it is apparent that they, too, hold a special position among the angels. (Genesis 3:24; Ezekiel 10:1-22;) Then there is the great body of angelic messengers who serve as a means of communication between God and man. However, they do more than simply relay messages. As agents and deputies of the Most High God, they serve as responsible executioners of the divine purpose, be it protection and deliverance of God’s people or destruction of the wicked.—Genesis 19:1-26.
Some may deny distinct personality of individual angels, claiming they are impersonal forces of energy dispatched to accomplish the will of God, but the Bible teaches otherwise. Individual names imply individuality. The fact that two of their names, Michael and Gabriel, are given establishes the point sufficiently. (Daniel 12:1; Luke 1:26) The lack of more names was a safeguard against giving undue honor and worship to these creatures. Angels were dispatched by God as agents to act in his name, not in their own name. Hence, when Jacob asked an angel for his name, he refused to give it. (Genesis 32:29) The angel that approached Joshua, when asked to identify himself, replied only that he was “prince of the army of Jehovah.” (Joshua 5:14) When Samson’s parents asked an angel for his name, he withheld it, saying: “Just why should you ask about my name, when it is a wonderful one?” (Judge 13:17, 18) The apostle John attempted to worship angels and was twice rebuked: “Be careful! Do not do that! . . . Worship God.”—Revelation 19:10; 22:8, 9.
As personalities, angels have the power to communicate with one another (1Corinthians 13:1), the ability to talk various languages of men (Numbers 22:32-35; Daniel 4:23; Acts 10:3-7), and the thinking ability with which to glorify and praise Jehovah (Psalm 148:2; Luke 2:13). It is true that angels are sexless, because Jehovah made them so, not because they are impersonal forces. Angels are generally represented as males, and when materializing it was always in the male form, because God and his Son are spoken of as males. However, when certain materialized angels indulged in the pleasure of sex in the days of Noah, they were expelled from Jehovah’s heavenly courts. Here was a display of angelic individuality, for, like humankind, they too are free moral agents, with the power of personal choice between right and wrong. (Genesis 6:2, 4; 2Pe 2:4) By personal choice, hordes of angels joined Satan in his rebellion.—Revelation 12:7-9; Matthew 25:41.
Since God created man “a little lower than angels” (Hebrew 2:7), it follows that angels have a greater mental capacity than man. They are superhuman in power too. “Bless Jehovah, O you angels of his, mighty in power, carrying out his word.” Angelic knowledge and power were displayed when two angels brought flaming destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah. A single angel killed 185,000 of the Assyrian army.—Psalm 103:20; Genesis19:13, 24; 2Kings 19:35.
Angels too can travel at tremendous speeds, far exceeding the limits of the physical world. Thus when Daniel was praying, God dispatched an angel to answer his prayer; and the angel arrived within moments, even before the prayer was concluded.—Daniel 9:20-23.
But for all their higher mental and spiritual powers, angels have their limitations. They did not know the “day and hour” when this system of things would be swept away, Jesus said. (Matthew 24:36) They take a keen interest in the outworking of Jehovah’s purposes, yet there are some things they do not understand. (1Peter 1:12) They rejoice at the repentance of a sinner, and they watch the “theatrical spectacle” furnished by Christians here on the world stage of public activity. They also observe the proper example of Christian women who wear a sign of authority upon their heads.—Lu 15:10; 1Co 4:9; 11:10;
As Jehovah’s ministers, the angels have enjoyed many privileges during the eons of passing time. Angels ministered on behalf of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah, Peter, Paul, and John, to mention but a few. (Genesis 22:11; 31:11; Joshua 5:14, 15; Isaiah 6:6, 7; Daniel 6:22; Zachariah 1:9; Acts 5:19, 20; 7:35; 12:7, 8; 27:23, 24; Revelation 1:1) Their messages contributed toward the writing of the Bible. In Revelation angels are mentioned far more times than in any other Bible book. Innumerable angels were seen around the great throne of Jehovah; seven blew the seven trumpets, while another seven poured out the seven bowls of God’s anger; an angel flying in midheaven had “everlasting good news”; but another proclaimed, “Babylon the Great has fallen.”—Re 5:11; 7:11; 8:6; 14:6, 8; 16:1.
From beginning to end, the holy angels of God followed the earthly sojourn of Jesus with extreme interest. They announced his conception and birth, and they ministered to him after the 40-day fast. An angel strengthened him when he prayed in Gethsemane on his final night as a human. When the mob came to arrest him, he could have called for no less than 12 legions of angels had he chosen to do so. Angels also announced his resurrection and were present at his ascension into heaven.—Matthew 4:11; 26:53; 28:5-7; Luke 1:30, 31; 2:10, 11; 22:43; Acts 1:10, 11.
Thereafter, God’s spirit messengers continued ministering to his servants on earth, even as Jesus promised: “Do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father.” (Matthew 18:10) “Are they not all spirits for public service, sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) No longer do these mighty angelic ones appear visibly in behalf of Jehovah’s servants on earth, as when they delivered the apostles from prison; nevertheless, God’s servants are assured of the ever-present, invisible protecting armies, as real as those that surrounded the prophet Elisha and his servant. “He will give his own angels a command concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.” Yes, “the angel of Jehovah is camping all around those fearing him, and he rescues them.”—Psalm 91:11; 34:7; Acts 5:19; 2Kings 6:15-17.
Angels are further shown accompanying Jesus Christ when he comes for judgment, separating “the wheat” from “the weeds” and “the sheep” from “the goats.” Angels joined with Michael in his war on the dragon and the demons at the birth of God’s Kingdom in heaven. They will also support the King of kings in fighting the war of the great day of God the Almighty.—Matthew 13:41; 25:31-33; Revelation 12:7-10; 19:14-16.
This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. This what the Bible describes in what they do. There are millions and millions spiritual creatures. Now, imagine this. When Satan was hurled down to earth, a third of the angels went with him which are now called demons. But that is a question for another time.