Angels are normally portrayed in illustrations as having wings, but the Bible normally presents them as appearing like men (and so without wings). For example, three angels appeared to Abraham and at first he thought they were men (Genesis 18:2). Similarly, when an angel appeared to Samson’s parents, they thought he was a “man of God” (Judges 13:9-10). Hebrews 13:2 says that some people have “entertained angels unawares”, indicating that they appear as ordinary human beings.

Sometimes angels appear in white. Examples are John 20:12 and Acts 1:10. But wings are never mentioned.

There is one passage which describes the angel in “swift flight” (Daniel 9:21), but again no wings are mentioned. And there is no reason to think that a spirit being would need wings to fly.

There are two angel-like creatures that do have wings, and this may be the origin of the idea that angels have wings. Cherubim (Exodus 25:20; Ezekiel 10) and Seraphim (Isaiah 6) are both described as having wings. However, these are not angels. Cherubim are living creatures that act as guards to God’s dwelling place. Apart from Genesis 3:24, the other references to cherubim are all to images or visions. Seraphim means “flaming creatures” and are only mentioned in Isaiah 6 — a vision of Isaiah about God’s dwelling place.

Tagged with →  
Share →
  • Jessica Skye

    So where does the angel art come from I wonder?

    • Jon Morgan

      Angel art comes from human minds. Some of this will be influenced by what people have seen (e.g. if they have seen pictures of angels with wings they are more likely to imagine angels with wings). However, ultimately I imagine it comes from the references given above to cherubim and seraphim with wings and to an angel flying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1493831068 Bible Thumper

    The angels I saw after dying in the recovery room when something went wrong did not have wings, they were of glory though , they were pure of white but looked like people , there was a holiness to them , meaning what I saw was pure love joy, peace , and you knew they could win at anything

  • Christian Burgess

    Why do *some Christian wear crosses, worship statues, images of Mother Mary, draw pictures of what they believe Lord Jesus Christ looks like and draw false images of angels etc when the commandments strongly prohibit this?