A common question we face regarding the afterlife is: Will we become angels? Let’s look to the Word to find our answers…
Angels are people who have died and gone to heaven. This belief (at least in its modern form) appears to have come from the teachings of 18th-century mystic Emanuel Swedenborg. According to Swedenborg, “there is not a single angel who was created as such at the beginning,” but rather all angels come from the human race, “we were created to become angels.”
This idea was evidently picked up by Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church. Mormon doctrine teaches that “Angels… are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones.” For example, Smith described a prophet named Moroni in the Book of Mormon, and claimed that Moroni had been transformed into an angel after death and appeared to him in a series of visitations. Today, most Mormon temples feature a spire topped by a golden statue of the angel Moroni.
The Bible says…
Resurrected Christians will be “like the angels,” but they won’t be angels. According to Jesus, when Christians are raised from the dead they will resemble angels in two ways: First they will be immortal beings, and second, they won’t be getting married (Luke 20:34-36).
The Old Testament indicates that God created the angels around the same time that he made the physical universe, sometimes referring to them as “sons of God.” The Lord asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? … Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels [literally “sons of God”] shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7). Though the Bible doesn’t reveal exactly when God made the angels, it’s clear that he made them at a time before Job and all other human beings existed. Because God made the angels before he made humans, this shows that angels are not resurrected human beings–they’re a different kind of being.
You should also know…
Believers in Jesus Christ go through two “stages” after they die:
- First, their souls or spirits go to be with Christ (2 Cor. 5:1-5; Phil. 1:21-23).
- Second, at Christ’s second coming he will raise them from the dead as glorified humans, with bodies like his (Rom. 8:11; Phil. 3:21).
After his resurrection, Christ could eat and drink and be touched (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:16-29; Acts 10:40-41)–and we’ll be like that too. Also like Christ, we will be immortal, sinless beings (1 Cor. 15:42-54).
This and 9 other significant questions about angels are answered in Rose’s 10 Q&A on Angels.
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