What do people believe about angels? When you imagine these heavenly beings, images of wings, halos, and cherubic babies likely fill your mind. That's what we most often see when angels are depicted in artwork. These images of angels have become so common they're generally accepted as biblical "truths," despite the lack of evidence to support such characterizations.
In truth, many of the most popular beliefs about angels are nowhere to be found in the Bible, similar to beliefs about hell. Myths about angels dominate our collective consciousness, but angel facts from the Bible tell a very different story. Instead of ethereal, graceful, innocent spirits with wings and flowing robes, angels are often described as either fearsome or entirely normal beings.
Facts about angels are very different from our romantic notions. Biblical descriptions fail to align with our expectations, and a close examination of angelic beings in the Bible clears up popular beliefs that are based on conjecture rather than biblical truth.
All Angels Have Wings
Not all angels in the Bible have wings. Some angels even appear as normal humans, with no distinguishing features. In Genesis 18 and 19, three men visit Abraham and Sarah. Although their appearance is normal, Abraham recognizes the men as angels who reveal the intended destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Later, in Hebrews 13:2, the Bible makes it clear angels can be anyone: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
The myth that all angels have wings most likely stems from artistic depictions. During the early days of the church, angels were drawn and painted similar to humans in form. During the fourth century, artists began to distinguish the heavenly creatures by providing wings, connecting the angels to their mission as messengers.
The change was likely linked to the spiritual significance of birds, which were often used as messengers. Angels, described as true messengers of God, earned their wings as a natural artistic addition.