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Angels:  Are they Men, Women, or Both?

Gary Googe Sep 18

Depictions of angels have been in church art for centuries, but what are we to think of it? Are the depictions accurate or not? We see these as décor in and around churches and elsewhere.  As always, we need to go to the Bible for the right answer. 

Did you know that despite all the depictions, there’s not one verse in the Bible that speaks of an angel depicted as a female? That’s right! Not one! They’re all spoken of as males.  In all the Bible only five names are given for angels.  That includes Abaddon [the guard of the bottomless pit—Revelation 9:11], Beelzebub [appears to be another name for Satan—Matthew 12:24], Gabriel [Luke 1:19,26], Michael [Jude 9], and Satan [II Corinthians 11:14].  But why are angels almost always depicted in décor as women when they are always referred to with the pronouns “he,” “his,” and “him” but never “she” or “her.”  Here are a few examples of this.

Genesis 31:11-12

11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.

12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked [marked with circular stripes], speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. [Emphasis added]

Numbers 22:23

23 And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. [Emphasis added]

Judges 6:22

22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. [Emphasis added]

I Chronicles 21:27

27 And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. [Emphasis added]

Zechariah 5:5-8,11

Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.

And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah [a 20 dry quart container] that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.

And, behold, there was lifted up a talent [75 pounds] of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base. [Emphasis added]

Matthew 28:2-4

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. [Emphasis added]

Luke 1:11-12

11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. [Emphasis added]

Acts 10:3-4

He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. [Emphasis added]

Revelation 22:8-10

And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. [Emphasis added]

So, as you can see, throughout the Bible we have angels only spoken of as men.  However, we do have one very interesting situation related to this subject that needs to be noted.  In the book of Zechariah, we have one reference to two spirit creatures that are women.  Let’s look at it.

Zechariah 5:5-11

Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.

And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.

And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.

10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?

11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base. [Emphasis added]

Here in this passage we have two types of spirit creatures presented.  First, we have an angel appearing as a man, giving instructions to the prophet Zechariah.  Second, we have two spirit creatures appearing with wings like those of a storkThey are here associated with Shinar which was the site of the Tower of Babel, the place where man first expressed his rebellion against God.  They are mentioned here because they are also involved in man’s final rebellion against God which will occur at a still future time.  These women creatures mentioned here prophetically that seem to have features like angels are not servants of God, but rebels against God.  Therefore, anytime you see depictions of them, you know they are not God’s servants, but evil spirit creatures who work for Satan.

There’s much said in Scripture about angels and their beginning, their function, and more.  But we’ll save that for another article.  It is sufficient to say that the angels of Scripture that function as God’s servants are all males.

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