The original word, both in Hebrew and Greek, means messenger, and is so translated, Matthew 11:10 Luke 7:24. It is often applied to an ordinary messenger, Job 1:14 1 Samuel 11:3 Luke 9:52; to prophets, Isaiah 42:19 Haggai 1:13; to priests, Ecclesiastes 5:6 Malachi 2:7; and even to inanimate objects, Psalms 78:49 104:4 2 Corinthians 12:7. Under the general sense of messenger, the term, angel is properly applied also to Christ, as the great Angel or Messenger of the covenant, Malachi 3:1, and to the ministers of his gospel, the overseers or angels of the churches, Revelation 2:1,8,12, etc. In 1 Corinthians 11:10, the best interpreters understand by the term "angels" the holy angels, who were present in an especial sense in the Christian assemblies; and from reverence to them it was proper that the women should have power (veils, as a sign of their being in subjection to a higher power) on their heads. See under VEIL.
But generally in the Bible the word is applied to a race of intelligent beings, of a higher order than man, who surround the Deity, and whom he employs as his messengers or agents in administering the affairs of the world, and in promoting the welfare of individuals, as well as of the whole human race,
Matthew 1:20 22:30 Acts 7:30. Whether pure spirits, or having spiritual bodies, they have no bodily organization like ours, and are not distinguished in sex, Matthew 22:30. They were doubtless created long before our present world was made, Job 38:7.
The Bible represents them as exceedingly numerous, Daniel 7:10 Matthew 26:53 Luke 2:13 Hebrews 12:22,23; as remarkable for strength, Psalms 103:20 2 Peter 2:11 Revelation 5:2 18:21 19:17; and for activity, Judges 13:20 Isaiah 6:2-6 Daniel 9:21-23 Matthew 13:49 26:53 Acts 27:23 Revelation 8:13. They appear to be of divers orders, Isaiah 6:2-6 Ezekiel 10:1 Colossians 1:16 Revelation 12:7. Their name indicates their agency in the dispensations of Providence towards man, and the Bible abounds in narratives of events in which they have borne a visible part. Yet in this employment they act as the mere instruments of God, and in fulfilment of his commands, Psalms 91:11 103:20 Hebrews 1:14. We are not therefore to put trust in them, pay them adoration, or pray in their name, Revelation 19:10 22:8,9. Though Scripture does not warrant us to believe that each individual has his particular guardian angel, it teaches very explicitly that the angels minister to every Christian, Matthew 18:10 Luke 16:22 Hebrews 1:14. They are intensely concerned in the salvation of men, Luke 2:10-12 15:7,10 1 Peter 1:12; and will share with saints the blessedness of heaven forever, Hebrews 12:22.
Those angels "who kept not their first estate," but fell and rebelled against God, are called the angels of Satan or the devil, Matthew 25:41 Revelation 12:9. These are represented as being "cast down to hell, and reserved unto judgment," 2 Peter 2:4. See SYNAGOGUE, ARCHANGEL.