What Angels REALLY look like

All I know is they are not “Fluffy-winged humans” as we portray them in art, and Ezeikiel describes them in his vision as surreal (like the multi-faced Cherubim angels or the gyro-like Throne angels), are they really more bizarre than we think, I mean we draw them human because its really the best what to comprehend them

Some things are invisible because they are hidden (e.g. in the dark). Not so with angels; they are invisible by nature, because they are bodiless spirits, and therefore have no physical appearance, weird or otherwise. In other words we can’t just turn on a light and see them, because there’s nothing to see. They are quite real, but purely spiritual.

That said, for our sake, angels sometimes assume a form we can perceive through the senses, which in some way reflects their spiritual nature. Usually that means something terrifying (e.g. Luke 2:9), because angels are in fact awesome, powerful, and brilliant creatures, full of God and by nature far superior to us. On occasion, however, they appear as ordinary human beings (see Gen. 19).

True, the cute and cuddly angels in some art are quite misleading, even if they rightly portray their innocence. As you rightly point out, artists portray angels in a way we can relate to. This is in fact the only way to portray them. Such portrayals will always fall short, but some more than others.

I’ve sometimes wondered about this very thing, but honestly, they don’t look like anything, in my understanding. How they appear to us is based on how God allows them to appear and how they choose to appear. I don’t think they really have a specific or inherent appearance. In any case, it isn’t something we can adequately describe or understand. I’m interested to see other responses.

Sort of a pin head question…since Thomas Aquinas supposedly coined the term for those who debate how many angels can occupy the point of a needle or pin.

As for angels…the Bible records that people have encountered them and they appeared in a recognizable form that made them seem human (See the Book of Tobit and the annunciation in Luke) They have been recognized in dreams by various biblical persons so it seems they can appear so.

There are other descriptions throughout scripture but Fr. Robert Barron says.

** Angels and Devils** **‘They are intellectual natures, at the peak of creation.’ **~ St. Thomas Aquinas The great Nicene Creed of the Church professes that we believe in things visible and invisible. In other words, there is a reality that extends beyond what is immediately apparent to the physical senses. Perhaps the most popularly known examples of these invisible realities are the mysterious creatures that are identified as the angels (CCC 328).

While the creatures that we call “angels” are known as such, the Catechism of the Catholic Church offers an interesting distinction. The word “angel” is really what these creatures do- “angel” designates their mission, which is to act in the corporeal world as emissaries of the Lord God. This mission is readily apparent from the manner in which the angels are identified in the Scriptures. The Catechism provides this insight:

“Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar and near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham’s hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the people of God, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of John the Baptist and that of Jesus himself” (CCC 332).
Saint Thomas Aquinas considered the mission of these spiritual creatures to be to inform humanity of divine realities and so lead people to God. If angel denotes the mission of these creatures, what precisely are they? These creatures are spirits, which means that they are incorporeal beings of intellect and will, immortal by nature, and possessing abilities that exceed that of corporeal creatures. These spirits are not, as some propose, the souls of deceased humans, but are a distinct species of created beings. The Catechism clarifies:
"The profession of faith of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) affirms that God "from the beginning of time made at once out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, that is, the angelic and the earthly… " (CCC 327). The interactions of these spirits with humanity are enveloped in mystery. While the Catechism records the positive interventions of angels as they act to announce the great events of salvation history, the Scriptures record other angelic actions which are much more upsetting and off-putting. Angels announce the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah (Exodus 19). Angels act to bring terrifying chastisement upon both Israel and their enemies (2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21,2 Kings 19). Thus we can understand the response of both the shepherds (Luke 2:9) and the Mother of God (Luke 1:30) to the appearances of angels as being one of fear. These spirits are not the charming entities that have been popularised by some of the imagery of the culture, but are fierce creatures of incredible presence and power.

That may give you some hint of an answer to your question.

Right. The Bible series, and its sequel, AD: The Bible Continues, depicted angels almost like Roman soldiers. Of course, that’s not what they look like, either - but…

Angels, being pure spirit and invisible to the human senses, have no physical bodies. They are God’s messengers, of course - and different angels have different missions. Some angels are guardians of individuals (never forget your guardian angel!), some are guardians of nations (principalities), and some have very, very special jobs. St. Michael (“Who can compare with God?”) is the leader of God’s celestial army. St. Raphael brings healing. St. Gabriel is the guardian of the Jewish people, and the proclaimer of the messainic age. This is seen both in the Book of Daniel, where he declares “seventy weeks of years (that is, 490 years)” from the end of the exile until the messainic age begins, and then again, in the Gospel of Luke, where he announces to Mary that the messainic age will begin with her (by the way, with the exile ending in 538 BC, 490 years would have been 48 BC, though it’s unclear exactly what year Daniel is referencing when the “70 weeks of years” was written, but regardless, it does end up quite close to the time of Jesus).

Here is a possible picture of one (taken by NASA): youtube.com/watch?v=wn06pPPnG64

Wow those comments… :smiley:

Angels appearance may be how they present themselves to us, or it may be dependent on how we perceive them. Our culture and history may make us perceive them in a away we can understand, or again they use our culture and history as a basis for how they reveal themselves to us. Consider if there is life on other planets, they might appear to those aliens, like the beings living on that planet! :heaven:

I dont think that correct all the time, I think they do have a ‘standard form’, the bible gives clear descriptions on the different variations of angels, the cherub, which fit most peoples view of what an angel looks like, then theres the angels (not sure of their rank/order), but they have 4 heads, 6 sets of wings, with eyes all over their body, also said they are adorned with beautiful stones and jewelry.

I have read numerous accounts of people that have seen angels, they are usually pretty close to being the same, a little different here and there, but in general, most say they are tall, around 15-20ft, many say they appear wearing shiny bronze body armor, like a roman soldier, to me this seems pretty realistic.

These sound like the “living creatures” of Ezekiel (each has a head of a lion, a man, an eagle, and a bull).

Then, there’s Isaiah’s seraphim (the highest of the nine ranks of angels) - each has 3 sets of wings - one veiling the face, one veiling the feet, and one veiling the midsection. Sts. Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel are all seraphim.

I have read numerous accounts of people that have seen angels, they are usually pretty close to being the same, a little different here and there, but in general, most say they are tall, around 15-20ft, many say they appear wearing shiny bronze body armor, like a roman soldier, to me this seems pretty realistic.

Again, in visions of angels, God lets them appear to people in a way that we can comprehend them.

Angels don’t look like anything. They are pure spirits. They do not have matter or form.

Well, having 4 faces, 3 sets of wings, with eyes all over it, doesnt really seem like something most people could comprehend, wheres the stereotypical angel in glowing white robes, white wings, curly blond hair? lol

Those would be the same angels called Living Creatures in the Apocalypse of St. John.Together with Saints Gabriel,Michael, and Raphael, they make up the seven which stand about the throne of God. The Four Living Creatures are traditionally viewed as symbolically representing the Four Gospels and there authors. But, they may really be difficult to comprehend in appearance.

Isn’t true that the soul is viewed as having the form of the body? So why don’t angels have form? They are spirits, but not infinite like God. We should be able to graphically represent them in some way.:shrug:

No. Our spirit has no parts, takes up no space, has no form.

We have both a body and a spirit.

Because they have no body, they are spirit only.

They need not be infinite to be spirit.

People represent the artistically all the time.

So, these ‘beings’ actually do exist then?

Just curious, are these what it is referred to as ‘the watchers’?

I want to delve a little further into the, “Our spirit has no parts, takes up no space, has no form.”, concept. The Council of Vienne 1311 -1312 states that the soul is essentially the form of the body. And the Fifth Lateran Council 1512 - 1517 states the same. My source is,The Church Teaches: Documents of the Church in English Translation by Jesuit Fathers of St. Mary’s College. By form of the body, I mean the soul has the same shape or perimeter of the body. That is how I understand the references in the book I cite. Am i wrong in this understanding?:shrug:


“I am Raphael, one of seven angels who stand in the glorious presence of the Lord, ready to serve him.” Tobit 12:15 So there are seven angels about the throne of God.

The “watchers” term is from a Jewish word used for angels. It is often used by “Ancient Aliens” theorists as a reference for aliens that visited in the Bible. As well as allegedly fathering the giants mentioned in Genesis. But that is their different interpretation. I’m not an expert on Hebrew, so I can’t properly explain the “watcher” concept any better than this.:wink:

I think the last few verses 'shines light’on the nature of Gabriel during this event

Tobit 12:18 ‘as far as I (Gabriel) am concerned, when I was with you, my presence was not by any decision of mine, but by the will of God’ explains how God willed the Angel’s spirit to be in the same time-space as Tobit, all things are possible with God

Also 12:19 ‘you saw me (the angel) eating’, but that was appearance no more. It was an ‘appearance’ not reality ie not a body as they thought they saw. Gabriel could also have said ‘you saw me walking with Tobit’, as an experience, ie things us humans do together.

The actual form of Gabriel we are taught is spirit, and there is nothing to contradict this teaching here.

Interestingly the book of Tobit ends with a question, ‘had not an angel appreeared to them?’, after Gabriel’s own explaination they are left in an awe notably comprehending what they had ‘experienced or saw’.

I write supernatural fiction, and I often include angels and demons as characters. Of course none of us know how they actually look–if they even look like anything that can be perceived by the sense of sight, unless they choose to take a form we can see.

When writing, however, I have to stick to references my readers can visualize. It’s not an easy task.

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