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Do Humans Become Angels When They Die?

I watched a movie the other day starring the country music queen, Dolly Parton. “Unlikely Angel” was the story of a young singer who died and. upon entering heaving, was sent back to earth to do good deeds to “earn her wings” as an angel.

Is such a thing possible?

Not according to Scripture, although this is a very common misconception. Why? I think it is because people are comforted with the thought that their loved ones become angels when they get to heaven. Oftentimes people will say to me, “Oh how blessed you are to have an angel like your dear departed mother watching over you!” My mother was a saint to be sure. But she is NOT an angel. It is not possible in God’s scheme of things.

Angels are prevalent throughout the Bible although we are not told much of their nature except that they are not flesh and blood (like human beings), but are spiritual beings. They are simply referred to as “messengers” of God and created by Him (Psalm 148). Job (the oldest book in the Bible) informs angels were present at the creation of the world, and upon observing the awesome work of God’s hands they “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).

Perhaps the confusion exists because angels appeared throughout the Bible in human form and were often mistaken for men. In fact in the letter to the Hebrew Christians the writer states that many entertain angels unaware that they are doing so.

Another reason the confusion might exist is Jesus’ own teachings. He said in Matthew 22:30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” And in Mark 12:25, “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

People who believe we become angels after death refer to these scriptures but they are taking the passages out of context. Jesus is not talking about the nature of angels; rather he is dealing with the subject of marriage.

He had been asked, “When we get to heaven who will be the husband of a woman who has been married seven times?” (my paraphrase).

He told them (again, I paraphrase), “As humans you were given the commission to ‘be fruitful and multiply,’ and this is done through marrying and being given in marriage. But in heaven you will be like the angels who do not reproduce; they do not marry; they are not given in marriage.” In today’s vernacular he might have added, “You won’t need to make babies [be fruitful and multiply] when you get to heaven!”

The scripture is clear: when we die we will “have a new body” but we will not become angels. Not now. Not then. Not ever. Not once in the Scripture (the final authority on this subject) do you find a human being becoming an angel. Angels are always angels, (spiritual beings), and human beings are always human beings who have a spirit. We do not become angels when we get to heaven.

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