When were angels created? What is their nature and purpose?
The history of angels (and demons) is sparsely covered in scripture, probably because they are secondary to the purposes of God in authoring Scripture. Nevertheless, we do find some details in the Bible.
First, we know that the Lord created the angels prior to the Creation of the physical Universe, according to Job 38:4-7:
Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Job 38:5 Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?
Job 38:6 “On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The sons of God in v.7 refers to angels, just as it does earlier in the book of Job and in Genesis 6. The role of angels, prior to the Creation, seems to be to praise the Lord singing before His throne.
Following the creation of man, angels received a new ministerial function of ministering to the elect:
Heb. 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?
Heb. 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
There are three ranks of angelic beings in the Bible: angels, seraphim and cherubim. Angels have the physical appearance of a man, and they are never seen with wings or as women or children. Only two angels are mentioned by name in the Bible: Michael and Gabriel. They are ministering spirits to the Church.
Seraphim are creatures that worship God before the throne and possess unique characteristics including six wings.
Cherubim are creatures that guard God’s glory and serve Him in various ways including at His throne and temple.
Seraphim are higher than angels and Cherubim are higher than seraphim. Before his fall, Lucifer (Satan) was the highest cherub and therefore the most power angelic being of all.
We also recommend listening to Lesson 1B from our Ezekiel study which talks about these seraphim and cherubim.