No. It is sometimes said in funerals, especially if the funeral is for a small child, “There is now another angel in heaven.” There is no evidence in Scripture, however, that any person becomes  an angel upon death; in fact, the Scriptures teach otherwise. The myth that departed humans become angels is very popular with today’s entertainment industry, and numerous movies and television programs depict this theme. Often a person supposedly goes to heaven, but must come back to earth to perform some good deed, to earn his “angel wings,” or some such thing. These ideas from man’s imagination may make good stories, but they do not come from God’s revelation!

God created angels, separate and apart from human beings. The psalmist said, “Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts…for he commanded and they were created” (Psalm 148:2, 5). Not only did God create the angels, He created them before the foundation of the world. Job 38 speaks of the creation of the world, when “the sons of God (or angels) shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Nehemiah wrote, “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” (Nehemiah 9:6). Angels compose that heavenly host that worships God.

We know that men, good and evil, can and do die. Jesus told the story of Lazarus the beggar in Luke 16. “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (16:22). Lazarus died, but he was still Lazarus, and did not become an angel. Instead, it was angels that carried him to Paradise. Paul’s greatest chapter on the resurrection is First Corinthians 15. He writes, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). The change the Bible teaches is resurrection. If men became angels at death, it would not be resurrection, but reincarnation.

Angels are a distinct creation of God. They are neither divine, nor human, nor animal. The first chapter of Hebrews emphasizes that Jesus as God was above the angels. Christ “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:3-4). But because of His love for man, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). God has plans for His children in eternity, but it will not be necessary for men to become angels to carry out those plans.

—Bob Prichard, P. O. Box 3071, Oxford, AL 36203

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