What are angels like?

Matthew 28

Matthew 28

In the New Testament we get a couple of accounts of the angels that were present at the tomb during the time that Jesus was resurrected. We read that the angels had a “countenance .. like lightning” – “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.” (Matthew 28:2-3)

Both Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had several experiences communicating with angels. John the Baptist appeared to both Oliver and Joseph to give them the Aaronic Priesthood in 1829. Oliver stated, “While we were thus employed, praying, and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven, descended in a cloud of light.” (Times and Seasons 3 (Aug. 1, 1842): 865-866.)

Wilford Woodruff described three angels who appeared to him and George A. Smith when they were in Manchester, England. He wrote, “the door opened and three messengers entered, and the room was filled with light equal to the blazing light of the sun at mid-day.” (Deseret Weekly 53(Oct. 24, 1896): 577.)

Angels do not have wings

Angels-in-Christs-tombThe Prophet Joseph Smith said, “An angel of God never has wings.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 162) The idea that angels have wings come from a few places.

First, the scriptural texts of Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 mention living creatures with wings. I propose that these wings were not literal, but rather were figurative expressions used to emphasize their power to move and to act. When Joseph asked the Lord about this, he was told that these wings are “a representation of power, to move, to act, etc.” (D&C 77:4).

The art that has been part of the history of Christianity has furthered the idea that angels have wings. George Q. Cannon said, “The early artists, long centuries ago, are credited with the idea of painting angels with wings… From that time to the present this has been accepted as the proper form in which to present angels. It has become a firmly fixed tradition in the Christian world that angels must have wings.” (Gospel Truth, 1:69).

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About LDS Scripture Teachings

I write about ways scripture applies in our lives: LDSScriptureTeachings.org
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One Response to What are angels like?

  1. Pingback: Angels | LDS Scripture Teachings

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