Do Angels Have Wings?

Ask someone to describe what an angel looks like and invariably there will be some mention of wings. Angles are often described as “winged messengers.” In both Hebrew and Greek, the words translated into English as “angel” mean “messenger.”

Close your eyes and picture some of the Bible stories where angels appear. The two angels who visit Abraham in Genesis. The angel who warns Lot to flee Sodom. The angel who wrestles with Jacob. In the New Testament there are the angel who visit Mary, the one who visits Joseph, the angels who sing to the shepherds and the angels who appear at the open tomb. In your mental picture, do these angels have wings? Mine generally do.

But are winged angels Biblical?

The Bible makes no mention of wings on these messenger angels. In fact the angels who appear often look very much like humans, yet not exactly like humans. There is always something identifiably different about the angels of the Bible.

In Christian art, wings on angels did not appear until the late 4th century CE.

Why did angels “sprout wings?”

Angels frequently come from the heavens. How else could they get here except by wings? Artists began showing this “obvious” fact in their work.

The Greek and Roman messenger of the gods (Hermes and Mercury respectively) are always pictured as having wings. It was an easy and obvious adaptation to put wings on the angels of the Bible.


And, of course, there are the “angels as aliens” theorists. They claim that Biblical accounts of angels are actually describing inter-terrestrial aliens who use some form of winged transportation to get around.

In the end, it is man who has stuck the wings on the angels, for whatever reason. It is our attempt to explain and understand things that are just otherwise beyond our comprehension.

Shalom, Art
Alive in The Word

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About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
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16 Responses to Do Angels Have Wings?

  1. internet elias says:

    After seeing an angel (looked just as we / no wings) present with me in my garden many years ago and then seeing him again fifteen years later at the birth of my third child who left with the angel twenty-two-minutes after birth, God put it in my heart to be cautious with commercial representations of angel jewelry, Christmas angels, and so forth, since they are only man’s interpretation of the very real residents of the realm of God. Most often unseen, they remain very real and very present as they move back and forth between God and man….between the seen and the unseen. Having been allowed to ‘see’ the one who visited me is a gift I will never forget!

    • Thank you for this wonderful testimony! Many of our interpretations of things Biblical are based on artistic interpretations. They were intended to convey messages, not reality. What a blessing to be in the physical presence of angels and know it!

      Shalom, Art

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