Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Angelic Misunderstanding

By Jonathan Lipnick

Angels are found hundreds of times throughout the Bible, and yet there is a great deal of confusion surrounding them. The typical angelic image that many of us have consists of a beautiful creature adorned with wings and a halo of light. But this celestial being is really the creation of Renaissance artists and is quite removed from the Bible’s image of an angel. So what does the Bible really say about angels?

The Hebrew Bible uses the word malakh מלאך to refer to an angel. The root of this word is לאך which means “going back and forth”. Implied is the fact that this is hard work; giving rise to another Hebrew word, melacha מלאכה, meaning “physical labor”. An angel is a messenger who tirelessly goes back and forth delivering information. The God of Israel frequently employs angels as intermediaries who shuttle between heaven and earth.

Related blog entry:
Who was the Interceding Angel?