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Angels:  Is this what people become when they die?

Gary Googe Nov 09

Some people certainly think they do.  I’ve heard people express this belief off and on all my adult life.  Although I don’t know for sure, the belief that people become angels after they die may have come from a misunderstanding of this passage.

Matthew 22:30

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. [Emphasis added]

This verse is actually teaching that just as angels do not marry, resurrected individuals will not marry either. They’ve already lived their lives on Earth, perhaps already reproduced, and, once God resurrects them, they will not re-marry their former spouses and they will not have any more offspring.  In fact, there will not be any husbands and wives and children born in heaven. There are no such relationships in heaven.  Those are things that happen on Earth and only last for a relatively short time.  That may seem strange to us, but that is what the Bible teaches.

As you may know, I wrote an article for our website that addresses another question about angels—  Angels:  Are they Men, Women, or Both? But what does the Bible tell us about our subject—Do people become angels after they die?  As always, our final authority on such matters is not church doctrine, tradition, or anything but the 66 books of the Bible.

First let’s note that the Bible tells us that all the angels were individually created by God.  There’s nothing in the Bible that tells us any of them are or were born in the manner in which we are.

Nehemiah 9:6

Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host [TSABA = army of angels, in this case], the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. [Emphasis added]

The angels are not the same as people, they are different beings.  There are different words in Scripture that speak of them.  In some passages they are called stars and in others they are called sons of God.  Here in this next passage Job speaks of them.

Job 38:7

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [Emphasis added]

This next passage is another one that tells us about them being called sons of God in the days of Noah. 

Genesis 6:1-2

1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair [TOB = good, as we would say— beautiful]; and they took them wives of all which they chose. [Emphasis added]

This is telling us that these angels were procreating with women on the earth who then gave birth to a super race of people that were part angel and part human.  We are told that their offspring were giant creatures.

Genesis 6:4

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown [SHEM = renown or fame]. [Emphasis added]

It was through this activity that these creatures became so corrupt that God chose to destroy all mankind except the family of Noah that had remained pure.  It was at this time and through these offspring that man came the closest he’d ever come to being an angelic creature.

The Bible tells us that it is man and not angels that were created in God’s image.

Genesis 1:26-28

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. [Emphasis added]

Here’s another passage that tells us this about man’s creation.

Genesis 9:6

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. [Emphasis added]

Nowhere in all the Bible are we told that angels were created in God’s image.  This fact clearly shows that angels and humans are quite different and will remain that way.  However, believers will by resurrection receive a new body like that of the resurrected Christ.  That body will be without all the weaknesses of our present body and, like Christ, even superior to that of angels. 

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation [POLITEUO = citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

When I say believers, I mean those who’ve accepted by faith God’s provision as the sole basis for their salvation.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

2 Corinthians 5:18-21

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

Another passage that relates to our question tells us that like Jesus Christ our Savior, we were created lower than the angels and, therefore, different from them.  This next passage tells us of some things Christ did to provide a way for our salvation.

Hebrews 2:16-17

16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. [Emphasis added]

In verse sixteen this is telling us that God in Jesus Christ took on the nature of true humanity to provide the means for our reconciliation unto Him.  At the cross He died, taking the wrath of God upon Himself to pay for the sins of the entire world of mankind.  But in no place do we see anything to indicate that He did something like this for the creatures in the angelic realm.  In fact, we are told that by becoming true humanity He, too, took on a lower form than the angels.

Hebrews 2:9

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [Emphasis added]

We find in the Bible that the angel Satan rebelled and sinned against God, convincing a third of God’s other angels to sin with him. 

Revelation 12:3-4

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

And his [speaking of Satan] tail drew the third part of the stars [angels] of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. [Emphasis added]

But there’s no record in Scripture that God ever provided a way of salvation for Satan and his army of rebellious angels.

Isaiah 14:12-14

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. [Emphasis added]

The above is the record of Satan’s initial fall into sin.

Apparently, unlike angels, man can and does die.  But through resurrection he is then able to live forever.

Again, Philippians 3:21

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

Lastly, there’s still another difference between angels and humans.  Humans have been given the opportunity to have a personal and intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Angels were created individually.  Humans were not.  They’re all made through the process of natural reproduction.  Again, there’s nothing in Scripture to indicate that salvation is an option for angels.  Therefore, angels really don’t know what salvation is like.  None of them have experienced it personally.

When we reach Heaven, we’ll still be human beings, but not with a sinful nature.  We’ll then get to live forever in a perfect resurrection body with all the features or characteristics of our Lord’s.  All and more of what He was able to do in that body we’ll be able to do in ours.  In fact, you’ll find an article at my website called Resurrection:  What will your resurrection body be like? So, people and angels will always be what they are now, either human or angel.

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