Angels are shrouded in a mystery that has been built up over thousands of years. Are they just the messengers of God or do they shape all our destinies?
Angels are part of the most dramatic tales in the bible. There are so many stories about angels and their origins that it would take a book to give the whole history of angels so only a brief description follows.
From the Hebrew Bible to the New Testament, from the beginnings of our records and in all cultures and folk tales angels are mentioned.
The earliest mention of angels in the Bible is when Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden. They were not angels as we know them but shadowy undefined creatures.
In one particular passage in the Bible angels are mentioned as mating with humans and creating a race of giants.
Angels were more often news bearers – the messengers of God and his word.
During the Jewish exile to slavery, in Babylon, angels start to be portrayed as compassionate heroes. During this time angels start to undergo a transformation and are given their own names and personalities. Scholars write that angels were first depicted with wings as a direct copy of the Babylonian gods.
Angels very seldom appear throughout the stories of Jesus. It is thought that with Jesus walking the earth and emulating the warmth and compassion of biblical angels there was little need for angels. Only on the death of Jesus do angels reappear.
In the book of Revelations angels were seen to be carrying out the vengeance of god and not at all the angels that we think of today.
The once obscure faith of Christianity became more popular in the Middle Ages and angels flourished as never before.
St Thomas Aquinas seems to be the inventor of guardian angels and their roles. He said that guardian angels have far reaching powers and guide us through threshold experiences in life and especially death. He teaches that guardian angels guide nations, families and single people and most of us, who believe in angels hold the same beliefs today.
In the 20th century Angels continue to inspire us – we learned to fly through the skies and through the heavens too just like angels. Today more than half of all people in the world believe in angels. Are you one of them?