I’ve always imagined angels looking like humans, only more majestic, with a pair of wings on their back and probably a halo. It doesn’t help that that’s how they are often portrayed in films and artworks.
While it’s true that the Bible has descriptions of humanoid angels, it also describes some pretty terrifying angels.
In this article, we discuss what different kinds of angels really look like according to the Bible.
What You'll Learn Today
Do We Know What Angels Look Like?
We have no idea of what angels actually look like. The images described in the Bible are just the forms the angels took on.
Angels are spiritual heavenly beings and can take on whichever form suits their purpose. They can look exactly like humans or appear as a terrifying monster from your worst nightmare.
The monster-like angels described in books like Ezekiel and Isaiah appear in visions, not in real life. Maybe some angels look like that or they appear that way to convey a certain symbolism.
People in the Bible got visions all the time that were heavy on symbolism. For instance, in Daniel 8, Daniel sees a vision of a ram and a goat.
The ram had horns representing Persia and Media while the goat represented their defeat by Greece.
So it’s likely that the terrifying angels that appear in visions are meant to convey a specific message or meaning by how they look.
For all we know, angels could be just energy or formless spirits that take on multiple forms.
Types Of Angels In The Bible
The Bible mentions several types of angles in the Bible, and they all look different.
What Do Cherubim Look Like?
Let’s start with Cherubim or Cherubs. These are typically depicted in media and art as small chubby babies.
They are first mentioned in Genesis 3:24.
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
In Ezekiel’s vision, they are described as winged creatures with four faces – the face of a human, an ox , a lion and an eagle.
Ezekiel 1:10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle.
Their feet resemble the hooves of a calf and their appearance resembles burning coals of fire.
Oh, and each Cherubim had a huge wheel accompanying them. And each wheel had eyes all around.
The Bible describes Cherubim as guardians. Several verses also mention God being enthroned upon the Cherubim.
What Do Seraphim Look Like In The Bible?
The other types of angels mentioned in the Bible are Seraphim. They appear to Isaiah in a vision. Here’s how the prophet describes their appearance.
Isaiah 6:2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
Isaiah says the angels proclaim God’s holiness, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
The Bible doesn’t mention the name Seraphim anywhere else. But Revelation 4:8, also describes six-winged creatures proclaiming the same thing before God. They are likely Seraphim angels.
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
It seems the work of Seraphim angels is to stay around God’s throne and constantly declare the Glory of God.
Who Are Ophanim Angels in The Bible?
Remember those wheels that accompany Cherubim wherever they go? Those are actually different kinds of angels called Ophanim.
They appear as wheels with eyes all around.
Many theologists believe that Ophanim, along with the Cherubim, are part of the throne of God. It’s probably why several verses mention God being enthroned upon the Cherubim.
Are There Angels That Look Like Humans?
Despite these terrifying descriptions of angels, many of the angels that appear to people in the Bible are actually pretty normal looking.
One theory is that these are different kinds of angels who act as messengers for God. Their Hebrew name is malakh, which means angel of the Lord.
One of the best known examples of humanoid angels is Gabriel who appears to Zechariah (father of John the Baptist) and the Virgin Mary.
In Daniel Chapter 8, Daniel describes Gabriel as having the appearance of a man.
Daniel 8:15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.
The next verse says the man’s name is Gabriel.
Angels also appear to Gideon, Abraham, Moses, Balaam and others. They also appear to Jesus after the end of his 40-day fast in the desert as well as in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In most of these appearances, people clearly knew they were looking at an angel. So it’s likely that, though humanoid in form, these angels had some distinguishing characteristics.
Maybe they glowed or had wings on their back.
But angles could also appear completely human such that people couldn’t tell.
Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Also in Genesis, the three angels who visit Abraham to tell him he would have a son looked like any other men.
Genesis 18:2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby.
If you read the entire chapter and the next one, one of the men is likely the Son of God in human form.
After they finish dining at Abraham’s place, the Bible says the Lord is left speaking to Abraham while two of the angels go on to Sodom.
The people of Sodom clearly did not realize these were angels because they tried to have their way with them.
In summary, angles according to the Bible can either be terrifying or totally normal depending on the type of angel.
But we really have no idea what angels in heaven actually look like. Those that appear as scary beasts only appear in visions and those that look human probably take a human form to appear to people on earth.
I guess we’ll have to wait until we get to heaven to meet angels face to face.