Does the Bible have a list of names for the angels?
Who or What are Angels?
The word “angel” simply means a “messenger of God” at the most basic level. Angels never have their own agenda. They always do the will of God and whatsoever God commands them, they don’t have to think twice; they just do it! They are holy angels who have remained loyal to God, unlike the 1/3rd that rebelled along with Lucifer, also called Satan or the Devil, and so some are good angels and some are evil. The vast majority of angels are good of course and are always there for God’s purposes, whether they’re intervening in saving someone’s life or in bringing a message to humans. One great example was when “two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth” (Gen 19:1). When Lot lingered, “the two men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” (Gen 19:16), so apparently angels can take the form of a man, but only at God’s command. It is important to note that angels never act independently of the will of God.
We are introduced to one of the angels by name in the Book of Daniel and his name is Gabriel, which means “God is my strong man,” or in this case, you could say, Gabriel was God’s right hand angel. When Daniel saw his vision, God told “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision” (Dan 8:16), and “the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice” (Dan 9:21), so again we see an angel, Gabriel in this case, come in the appearance of a man and he comes with a message from God. Next, showing that angels are immortal, this same Gabriel says to Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news” (Luke 1:19), and because he didn’t believe Gabriel, the angel said, “behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time” (Luke 1:20). Apparently Zechariah didn’t believe that his wife would conceive and have a baby, so the angel sealed Zechariah’s doubting lips for a time.
Another angel we know the name of is Michael, and just like Gabriel, we find him in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. We first hear about Michael in the Book of Daniel where Daniel experiences a vision that simply terrifies him, and so he writes, “a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you” (Dan 10:10-11), because “from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words” (Dan 10:12), so this was a personal, angel-delivered message straight from God. The only reason it took so long was because “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia” (Dan 10:13). Michael’s help was needed to help the angel overcome the spiritually wicked ruler and his demons that tried to prevent God’s angel from delivering His message to Daniel. Daniel also mentions Michael when referring to some end time events where he wrote, “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book” (Dan 12:1). So Michael is the nation of Israel’s angel prince “who has charge of your people,” meaning the Jews, and If we go back in time to read about Michael being involved in a war in heaven, we see that “war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back” (Rev 12:7). This may have been when Satan rebelled and took 1/3rd of the angels with him in his attempt to overtake the very throne of God, but “the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Rev 12:9).
There is also the “angel of the Lord” and this angel is sometimes simply an angel of God but at other times it was “the angel of the Lord,” and not just “an angel,” meaning that these may not be the same type of beings. There are actually a few appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament. These were clearly not just angels, but the Lord Himself. At times, He had the appearance of a man, otherwise, He would have told Joshua to not bow down to worship angels if He were not more than an angel (Joshua 5:13-15). Of course Satan is an angel too and we know his name, but he’s a fallen angel. Some people become so preoccupied with angels that they start collecting angels, buy “religious” magazines about angels, and read books about angels. They do everything but bow down and worship them, but the angels would rebuke them for that because they know we’re to keep our eyes upon Jesus. We are only to worship the One, True God, and angel worship is forbidden. I would rather we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so that we can be true “Christ-followers,” and not just label ourselves Christian. There’s nothing wrong with that, but being a Christ-follower reminds me that I am to walk where He walked, and do what He did (Mark 1:15; Matt 25:34-40), and obey what He commands (Matt 28:19-20; James 1:27), and follow wherever He leads me.
Related reading about angels: Why Do Angels Exist?
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.