The Bible’s answer
Angels are beings who have greater power and ability than humans. (2 Peter 2:11) They exist in heaven, or the spirit realm, which is a level of existence higher than the physical universe. (1 Kings 8:27; John 6:38) Thus, they are also referred to as spirits.—1 Kings 22:21; Psalm 18:10.
Where do angels come from?
God created the angels through Jesus, whom the Bible calls “the firstborn of all creation.” Describing how God used Jesus in creation, the Bible says: “By means of [Jesus] all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible,” including the angels. (Colossians 1:13-17) Angels do not marry and reproduce. (Mark 12:25) Instead, each of these “sons of the true God” was individually created.—Job 1:6.
Angels were created in the distant past, before the earth existed. When God created the earth, the angels “began shouting in applause.”—Job 38:4-7.
How many angels are there?
The Bible does not give an exact figure, but it does show that their number is vast. For example, a vision given to the apostle John included a glimpse of hundreds of millions of angels.—Revelation 5:11, footnote.
Do angels have individual names and personalities?
Yes. The Bible gives the names of two angels: Michael and Gabriel. (Daniel 12:1; Luke 1:26)* Other angels acknowledged that they had names, but they did not reveal them.—Genesis 32:29; Judges 13:17, 18.
Angels have distinct personalities. They can communicate with one another. (1 Corinthians 13:1) They have thinking ability and are able to compose expressions of praise to God. (Luke 2:13, 14) And they have the freedom to choose between right and wrong, as seen when some of them sinned by joining Satan the Devil in his rebellion against God.—Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4.
Are there different ranks among angels?
Yes. The angel greatest in both power and authority is Michael, the archangel. (Jude 9; Revelation 12:7) Seraphs are high-ranking angels who are stationed near Jehovah’s throne. (Isaiah 6:2, 6) Cherubs form another high-ranking order of angels having special duties. For example, cherubs guarded the entrance to the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were expelled.—Genesis 3:23, 24.
Do angels help people?
Yes, God uses his faithful angels to help people today.
Angels are used by God as he directs his servants in the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom of God. (Revelation 14:6, 7) This direction benefits both those preaching and those hearing the good news.—Acts 8:26, 27.
Angels help to keep the Christian congregation free of contamination by wicked people.—Matthew 13:49.
Soon, the angels will bring relief to mankind by fighting alongside Jesus Christ to eliminate wickedness.—2 Thessalonians 1:6-8.
Do we each have a guardian angel?
Although angels look out for the spiritual welfare of God’s servants, this does not necessarily mean that God assigns an angel to each Christian as a personal guardian.* (Matthew 18:10) Angels do not protect God’s servants from every trial or temptation. The Bible shows that God will often “make the way out” of a trial by giving a person the wisdom and strength to endure.—1 Corinthians 10:12, 13; James 1:2-5.
Misconceptions about angels
Misconception: We can pray to angels for help.
Some Bible translations use the term “Lucifer” at Isaiah 14:12, which has been understood by some to be the name of the angel who became Satan the Devil. However, the original Hebrew word used here means “shining one.” The context shows that this term refers, not to Satan, but to the dynasty of Babylon, which God would humiliate for its arrogance. (Isaiah 14:4, 13-20) The expression “shining one” was used to mock the Babylonian dynasty after it was overthrown.
Some have understood the account of Peter’s release from prison to indicate that Peter had a personal guardian angel. (Acts 12:6-16) However, when the disciples referred to “[Peter’s] angel,” it could be that they mistakenly thought that an angelic messenger representing Peter had come to them, rather than Peter himself.