Do people become angels when they die?


by Shawn Brasseaux

There are many misconceptions about angels—especially what they look like and their role in this the Dispensation of Grace. One idea that pervades the minds of religious people involves people dying and going to heaven to become angels. Is this a true view of angels, or just any one of the many misunderstandings of angels? To the Bible, the only authoritative Book on the subject!

One portion of Scripture that helps us with this topic is Nehemiah 9:6: “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.” God created angelic beings, and these angels are separate and distinct from people. Read Job 38:7: “…the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” When God created the heaven and the earth, the angels were there to see it and they got excited. Angels existed before the first man (Adam) was ever made.

The Bible says that God made man in His image (Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 9:6). It never says that angels were made in God’s image. This is a second indication that angels and people are two separate species of creatures in God’s universe.

Another passage that sheds light is Hebrews 2:16-17, which describes what Jesus Christ experienced when He became a Man in order to suffer our eternal death on Calvary and pay for our sins: “[16] For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. [17] Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

When Jesus Christ became a Jew, a descendant of Abraham, Scripture says that He did not become an angel. He became a Man, the perfect Man. There is “the nature of angels,” as Hebrews 2:16 says above, and there is “the seed of Abraham.” Thus, we see another clear distinction between angels and humans in God’s Holy Word. This difference is delineated in verse 9: “But 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.” Angels cannot die, but people can.

Finally, another difference between angels and humans—yea, the main difference between angels and people—is that we can have a personal relationship with God Almighty. Angels were created individually, while God made people through the process of natural reproduction. Thus, fallen angels can never be redeemed—they would each need a saviour. One Saviour, however, can redeem all people, for Adam represented all people (see Romans chapter 5, verses 12 through 21). Consequently, angels really do not know what soul salvation is like, they do not really understand God’s grace to us, and they learn God’s Word by watching His saints go about their daily lives.

Friends, let it be perfectly clear in your minds. Angels will always be angels and humans will always be humans. The two will never mix. Our human nature does not change when we reach heaven. We will always be humans. They will always be angels. The Bible screams that people and angels are two different classes of creatures. We would have to want to embrace church tradition to ignore these simple Bible verses.


Where did the notion that people become angels when they die, come from? It is possible that it originated from a misreading of Matthew 22:30: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” This verse is not saying that people become angels in heaven. It is actually teaching that, just as angels do not marry or give each other in marriage, resurrected individuals will not marry or give in marriage. They already lived their lives on Earth, they already reproduced, and, once God resurrects all believers, they will not re-marry their former spouses and they will not have any more offspring. In fact, there will not be “husbands” and “wives” and “children” in heaven. There are no such relationships in heaven—those are earthly conditions and only last a short time. Strange indeed, but that is what the Bible teaches, and I will believe it than anyone or anything else any day!

Also see:
» How is mankind “lower than the angels?”
» Do we have guardian angels?
» How does Satan operate today?