Adobe Stock

Angels are not a single type, but a variety of types, defined by their specific roles. Here’s a look at what the various angels are, their status, what they do, their names, and other terms referring to angels.

Terms for angels

Angels are first described in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), where a number of terms are used to identify these spirit beings.

In the book, “Angels: What the Bible Really Says About God’s Heavenly Host,” by Michael S. Heiser, he says the label “spirit being” only tells us about the nature of a particular being, not with that being is or does in the heavenly realms.

Heiser points out that terms used for angels can describe one of three things: Their nature, status, or function.

Throughout the Hebrew Bible, the word mal’ak and the plural form of the Hebrew word mal’akim is translated into English as “angels.” But the word also means “messenger.”

Angel terms that describe their nature:

Spirit, heavenly ones, stars, holy ones, gods/(lesser) divine beings [Hebrew: elohim].

Angel terms to describe status or hierarchy:

Assembly, counsel, congregation, assembled, court.

Angel terms describing function:

Messenger, minister, watcher, host, mighty ones, heavenly host, host of heaven, mediator, cherubim, Seraphim.

The function of Cherubim is as guardians and the job of Seraphim is to praise God continuously.

Angel names

Here are some names from the Bible given to specific angels.

The angel of Yahweh

This is the angel that speaks to Moses through the burning bush. (Exodus 23:20-22) Dr. Heiser says that the angel of Yahweh is also Yahweh in the visible form of a man.

The commander of Yahweh’s army

This angel appeared to Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15).

The destroying angel of Passover

(1 Chronicles 21:15-16), (2 Samuel 24:16-17).


Gabriel is an archangel whose name means “God is my strength.” Gabriel is the guardian and defender of Israel. The Archangel Gabriel is mentioned in four chapters of Scripture: Daniel 8: 15-16; Daniel 9:21-22; Luke 1:11-13, 18-20; Luke 1:26-29.


Michael is an archangel whose name means “Who is like God?” Michael’s role appears to be the leader of God’s army of angelic forces against those of evil. The Archangel Michael is mentioned in four chapters of Scripture: Daniel 10:13; Daniel 12:1; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7.

The angel Lucifer

Lucifer is the name of the angel who became the devil or Satan after being cast out of heaven by God. Lucifer is said to have been a guardian cherub in the Garden of Eden. The name Satan also refers to a duty that is accuser or adversary.

The angel Abaddon (Apollyon)

The angel Abaddon (Hebrew)/Apollyon (Greek) appears to be a fallen angel, who rules over the abyss (the bottomless pit) and is only mentioned in one chapter: Revelation 9:1-3, 11.