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Are Angels People With Wings?




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We receive a lot of questions about angels and one of the most common ones goes something like this, “Do people who have died become angels?” Although we realize that many books and films portray people changing into angels and vice versa (usually as part of the plot of a comedy), this is hardly a source of information you would want to use when seriously considering a topic like this one. Therefore, we added this page to clarify two things:

Angels and people are different.
What happens to people’s bodies when they die?

Angels and people are different

As we stated on our “Who Gets To Go To Heaven?” page, although the Bible describes some angels as having the appearance of “men” or having “human form,” the text makes it obvious that angels are not people. Further, no place in the Bible says that one member of creation changes into another.

The Bible describes a number of meetings of people with angels on Earth. Further, the Bible shows us that people and angels also exist together in heaven at the same time. Our primary source of such information comes from the book of Revelation, at the very end of the Bible. Revelation chapters 4-7 is a lengthy passage showing that angels are not the only creation in heaven. Those that appear in this single passage include the following:

  • Twenty-four elders (chapter 4, verse 4).
  • Four living creatures (chapter 4, verse 6), whose descriptions are similar to the cherubim by God’s throne in Ezekiel chapter 10.
  • A “strong angel” (chapter 5, verse 2).
  • Jesus Christ (chapter 5, verses 5-10 obviously refers to Jesus).
  • Tens of thousands of angels (chapter 5, verse 11).
  • “The souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held” (chapter 6, verses 9-11). It is clear that these are human martyrs who died for the cause of Christianity (and also clear that more will be joining them).
  • “A great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (chapter 7, verses 9 and 10).

Notice that not everyone is an angel, although everyone is by the throne of God in heaven. Reading this passage, you also discover that although white robes were given to the martyrs (chapter 6, verse 11) that there is no description here (or anywhere else) of anyone being changed into an angel after they go to heaven. People and angels are different here on Earth, and they remain different in heaven.

What happens to people’s bodies when they die?

So, what does happen to people when they die? 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verses 35-58 gives us a complete picture of what happens to the bodies of those of us who have gotten right with God. What is significant about this passage is the fact that it does not tell us that these people turn into angels. It does reveal that people get incorruptible (immortal) bodies.

Similarly, Matthew chapter 17 records a passage often referred to as “The Transfiguration” in verses 1-8. Here, for a short time Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah, who had been “dead” for hundreds of years. Notice that neither Moses or Elijah are referred to as looking like angels.

Luke, chapter 16 verses 19-31 contains another interesting passage that records what happens to two men who have died. (You can read a full discussion of the passage in our Welcome To Hell page.) Again, you will see that neither man is described as an angel.

A Final Comment

Of course, there is one last important issue to consider. Not everyone gets to go to heaven. Although you might not like that idea, the Bible has been proven to be true and it reveals that only those who have gotten right with God will go to heaven. Frankly, we would like to get a chance to meet you in heaven one day—and you will probably be looking pretty good in your glorified body, right? Therefore, if you have not done so already, check out the link below.

Click here to learn how to get right with God Click this sentence to learn how to get right with God


All Bible passages were taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Graphics courtesy of Shawna's Background Graphic Sets

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Copyright © 2000 by Clarifying Christianity (SM).
Printed copies of this article may be circulated if the article is reproduced in its entirety, along with this copyright notice. You may not charge for, request a donation for, or seek reimbursement from anyone for such copies. Links are OK. All rights reserved.

All information contained in Clarifying Christianity is a resource for questions dealing with Christian issues. It is not to be taken as Christian counseling. Seek a qualified Christian counselor for help with all such issues. If you choose to work with a Christian counselor, it is your responsibility to ask pertinent questions before you begin, to assure yourself of their qualities and abilities.

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