Do angels have wings?

Everyone knows that angels have wings.  Every picture we see of angels shows them with wings.  However there is one problem.  Some of the things said about angels in the Bible seem to contradict this belief.

Before God destroyed Sodom he sent two angels to take Lot and his family out of the city.

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.”

They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.”  But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”

Genesis 19:1-5

The men of Sodom thought the angels were men and tried to attack them.  Don’t you think that if they had wings the men would have known they would have realized there was something different about them and they wouldn’t have been so anxious to harm them?

And what about Hebrews 13:2?

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

How could anyone not know their guests were angels if they had wings?

One possible objection is that when angels appear as humans they are simply assuming human form and when seen as they really are they have wings.  The Bible contains one description of an angel that wasn’t in human form.

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.

Revelation 10:1

His face was like the sun and his legs like pillars of fire but no mention is made of wings.

But in one place the Bible speaks of angels flying.

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.

Revelation 14:6

Mortal flesh and blood creatures can’t fly without wings but that isn’t necessarily the case for immortal beings such as angels and resurrected humans.  For example look at how Jesus left earth to go back to heaven and how he will return.

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

Acts 1:9

 

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.  He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.  From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

Revelation 19:11-15

The Bible speaks of beings similar to angels that do have wings.

Moses was told to make a gold cover with cherubim on it for the ark of the covenant.

And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat.  Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends.  The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.

Exodus 25:18-20

When Isaiah had his vision of God on his throne he saw that he was surrounded by seraphim.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

Isaiah 6:1-3

Some believe that cherubim and seraphim are kinds of angels.  This belief is probably what led to the idea that all angels have wings.  The Bible never identifies them as angels.  Angels, cherubim, and seraphim are three distinct kinds of living creatures created by God.  Two of them have wings but the other does not.

People believe angels have wings because they have always been told this and they have never bothered to check what the Bible says about it.  Other errors about the Bible are accepted for the same reason.  Believing that angels have wings probably does no harm but some of the other errors that are accepted could be harmful.  It is important not to believe anything about the Bible without checking for yourself to see if the Bible really teaches it.

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Posted on January 31, 2017, in Bible study and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank you, I enjoyed reading this. I love to talk about angels, but I think our modern culture has confused us. We tend to make them soft and feminine, so they are often portrayed as women, even babies. The only problem with this is that it’s not really biblical and we tend to focus on the beauty of angels rather than their power, strength, and authority. The first thing angels alway say in the bible is “fear not.” I’m pretty sure that if you come face to face with a baby or a beautiful woman, fear would not be the first thing that hit you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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