One of the most common questions we might have about angels is, “What do they look like?” Our world has created many portrayals of angels throughout history—but when it comes to the accuracy of these ideas, we must verify what is true based on what the Bible tells us.
We must not create or reshape angels according to our own fancy. Countless multitudes have fallen into this error. A majority of the angel representations we see—in paintings and gift books or as china figurines and a variety of other merchandise—are merely products of human imagination. So how exactly does the Bible describe angels?
Angels are real but without material substance as we think. They apparently have no physical nature, no breath or blood—God created them as non-physical beings. If they occupy some form of permanent bodies, these would be spiritual bodies, perhaps like the ones we’ll wear someday in eternity. In the Bible, they can take on human form, but their natural state is a spiritual form.
In 2 Chronicles 32:21 we read that “the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king.” Divorced from any credibility forever are the thoughts of plump baby “cherubs” or pale ladies with transparent wings traced in glitter across Christmas cards. No, real angels have been here and are and shall forever be awesome warriors for God. Angels are powerful beings, and God has used them to carry out His will on earth.
Here are some Scriptures that describe the appearance of angels. Notice the most detailed description of an angel’s appearance is found in the book of Daniel.
“I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.”
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’”
“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”
“And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.”
“Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.”
“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.”
“Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.”