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Is the idea that angels have wings biblical?

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Angels are typically depicted with wings in popular culture, but does the Bible teach that angels have wings? From a look at the appearances of angels in the Bible, one truth becomes clear: some angels have wings, while others do not.

For example, in Exodus 25:20 we read, "The cherubim [a type of angel] 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." The cherubim described in Ezekiel 1 and 10 also have wings, four each in his visions.

In Isaiah 6, the prophet Isaiah saw a vision from God that include angels called seraphim: "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" (v. 2). These angels had six wings each. In verse 6, Isaiah says these seraphim also flew.

Other biblical passages speak of the travel of angels as if they were flying (Daniel 9:21). However, a supernatural angel could fly with or without wings.

The apostle John saw angels in his vision recorded in Revelation 14:6: "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." This angel clearly flew. No wings are mentioned, however. Throughout Revelation angels travel extremely quickly around the earth, indicating they likely were flying as well.

In other passages, however, angels appear without wings, looking human in form. For example, the angels in Genesis 18 and 19 that appeared to Abraham looked human, lacking wings. This is why Hebrews 13:2 can state, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Many of the appearances of angels to humans describe them in ways that do not include wings. This indicates that at least some angels could appear in human form without them. The angel that announced the coming of Jesus to Mary, for example; she recognized him as an angel but gave no description of a winged being.

In addition, in contrast with the popular understanding of the angels who appeared to the shepherds on the night of Christ's birth, there is no mention of wings or flying. Instead, "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God" (Luke 2:13). The angels may have appeared walking rather than flying.

In summary, a look at the biblical information reveals that some angels appear with wings, but not all. Seraphim have six wings and cherubim have wings (four in Ezekiel 1 and 10), but most other angelic appearances in Scripture do not include this description.

Related Truth:

What are angels according to the Bible?

Does the Bible say what angels look like?

What are archangels? Is there more than one archangel?

What are the seraphim in the Bible?

What are cherubim in the Bible? Are cherubs angels?

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Truth about Angels

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