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Angels

These are messengers of the Lord and are spoken of in the epistle to the Hebrews as “ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:14). We learn from latter-day revelation that there are two classes of heavenly beings who minister for the Lord: those who are spirits and those who have bodies of flesh and bone. Spirits are those beings who either have not yet obtained a body of flesh and bone (unembodied) or who have once had a mortal body and have died and are awaiting the Resurrection (disembodied). Ordinarily the word angel means those ministering persons who have a body of flesh and bone, being either resurrected from the dead (reembodied), or else translated, as were Enoch, Elijah, etc. (D&C 129).

There are many references to the work of angels in the Old Testament. In some passages the “angel of the Lord” speaks as the voice of God Himself (Gen. 22:11–12). The word angel is also sometimes used to designate a human messenger, as in JST Gen. 19:15 (Appendix), and may have some application also in Matt. 13:39–42. There is evidence of nonmortal beings who serve God in heaven (1 Kgs. 22:19; Alma 36:22) and also of some who do God’s will and minister to men on the earth (Gen. 28:12; 32:1; 2 Sam. 24:16; 1 Kgs. 19:5–7; 2 Kgs. 1:15; 19:35; Ps. 91:11).

We find angels mentioned by name in Dan. 8:16; 9:21; 10:13, 21; 12:1; Luke 1:19, 26. In latter-day revelation we learn that the angel Michael is Adam, and the angel Gabriel is Noah (HC 3:386).

In the New Testament there are many references to the ministry of angels but no clear statement as to their nature or their relation to mankind in general. Angels attended on our Lord throughout His life on earth (Matt. 1:20; 2:13, 19; 4:11; 28:2–8; Luke 1:11–20, 26–30; 2:9–15; 22:43). Jesus often spoke of angels (Matt. 13:14–30, 37–41; 16:27; 18:10; 22:30; 24:36; Luke 15:10, etc.). The Sadducees did not believe in supernatural beings, but the Pharisees believed in both angels and spirits, which fact Paul used to his advantage when brought before the Sanhedrin (Acts 23:7–9). Other New Testament references are Acts 7:53; 1 Cor. 4:9; 6:3; 11:10; Gal. 1:8; 3:19; Col. 2:18 (where we are warned against worship of angels), and throughout the Revelation of John. There are references to fallen angels in 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 1:6.

The scriptures speak of the devil’s angels. These are those spirits who followed Lucifer and were thrust out in the war in heaven and cast down to the earth. See Rev. 12:1–9; D&C 29:36–38; Moses 4:1–4; Abr. 3:27–28; and as alluded to by Peter and Jude cited above.

Latter-day revelation contains much about the nature, ministry, and identification of angels. See 2 Ne. 32:2–3; Alma 12:28–29; 13:24–26; Moro. 7:29–31; D&C 7:6–7; 13; 27:16; 76:21; 110:11–16; 128:21; 129; 132:16–18. Angels do not have wings (HC 3:392).

The word angel is used in various ways. A person who is a divine messenger is called an angel. Thus Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Moses, Elijah, and Elias all ministered to Joseph Smith as angels. These all shall be exalted and inherit celestial glory. The scriptures also speak of another class of persons who, because of failure to obey the gospel, will not be exalted and will become angels in eternity. These are spoken of as angels in Matt. 22:29–30 and D&C 132:16–18. This latter designation should not be confused with the use of the term angels having reference to the heavenly messengers sent forth to minister to the inhabitants of the earth.