An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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Created spirits that are understood to be sent as messengers of God to human beings. Angels are spiritual beings of a different created order from humanity. They are "spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation" (Heb 1:14). Angels are pure spirits because they do not depend on bodiliness or matter for existence. Divine interaction with people is often heralded by angels in the Bible. For example, angels announce Jesus' Incarnation (Lk 1:26-38) and nativity (Lk 2:9-15). Angels minister to Jesus after his temptation in the wilderness (Mk 1:13) and before his arrest and crucifixion (Lk 22:43). An angel rolls back the stone after Jesus' resurrection (Mt 28:2-4). Angels herald Jesus' victory over death (Mt 28:5-7; Jn 20:12-13). Angels serve God's glory and power. Angels are involved in God's judgment by separating the wicked from the righteous (Mt 13:41, 13:49). However, angels are not to be worshiped (Col 2:18).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.