The Bible does not give an exact number of how many angels there are, but it does indicate that there are vast multitudes of angels. Here is an overview of what the Bible reveals about the number of angels:
Hundreds of Millions
Daniel 7:10 indicates there are hundreds of millions of angels: “A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.” This verse describes a vision Daniel had of God on His throne, with countless angels ministering to Him and standing before Him. The phrase “thousand thousands” refers to hundreds of millions.
More Than 12 Legions
When Jesus was about to be arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He told His disciples that if necessary, He could ask His Father to send more than 12 legions of angels to defend Him (Matthew 26:53). A Roman legion contained 6000 soldiers, so over 72,000 angels would have been at Jesus’ disposal.
Hebrews 12:22 describes “innumerable angels” present when Christians assemble for worship. The word “innumerable” indicates an uncountable multitude, more than could ever be numbered by humans.
Psalm 68:17 also refers to “thousands upon thousands” of angels.
Revelation 5:11 describes the voices of angels around God’s throne as “myriads of myriads.” The word “myriad” refers to a very great number – ten thousand. So “myriads of myriads” would be millions of angels.
Multitude of the Heavenly Host
When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13). This enormous group of angels was just a small representation of all the angels praising God in heaven.
Specific Numbers of Angels
In a few passages, specific numbers of angels are mentioned:
- Revelation 8:2 mentions 7 angels standing before God
- Revelation 15:1,6-8 describes 7 angels with the 7 last plagues
- Revelation 16:1 mentions 7 angels with 7 bowls of God’s wrath
- Luke 9:26 indicates people will be ashamed of Jesus when He comes with “the holy angels.” This implies Jesus will return with a multitude of angels.
One-Third Followed Satan
When Satan rebelled against God, Scripture indicates that one third of the angels followed him in his rebellion (Revelation 12:4). So that leaves two-thirds still faithfully serving God in heaven.
Angels Outnumber Humans
Hebrews 12:22 contrasts the “innumerable angels” with the “assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.” This seems to imply a vast multitude of angels compared to a smaller number of redeemed humans in heaven.
Matthew 26:53 also implies there are more angels than humans, since Jesus said He could summon 12 legions of angels, which would be more than 70,000 angels.
Thousands upon Thousands Minister to God
In Daniel 7:10, thousands upon thousands of angels are described as ministering to God and standing before Him.
Psalm 103:20 also says: “Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!” This indicates that great numbers of mighty angels serve and obey God in heaven.
Angels Fill the Heavens
Jesus told Nathanael, “You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). This statement implies that the skies are filled with innumerable angels continuously moving between heaven and earth.
Heavenly Host Praised Jesus’ Birth
When Jesus was born, the angel told the shepherds he had come with good news which would bring “great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Then “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13).
This enormous group of angels praising God illustrates the vast heavenly host of angels God has created to serve Him.
Jacob Saw God’s Camp of Angels
After Jacob had a vision of God at Bethel, he saw angels ascending and descending from heaven on a ladder. When he awoke, Jacob said: “This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:17). He realized the ladder represented the connection between heaven and earth, with the angels of God continuously moving between the realms.
Elisha’s Servant Saw Angelic Armies
When surrounded by the armies of the king of Syria, Elisha’s servant was afraid. But Elisha prayed that God would open the servant’s eyes. “Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17). These were angelic armies ready to defend Elisha.
Jacob Struggled with an Angel
After Jacob wrestled all night with a “man,” Jacob realized he had wrestled with God and with angels: “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered” (Genesis 32:24-30). This angel represented the pre-incarnate Christ.
Angels Constantly Serve God
Jesus said angels constantly behold the face of God in heaven and are ready to obey His commands: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
Jesus indicates here that each believer has an angel assigned to them, and these guardian angels have constant access to God, ready to act on His orders.
Multitudes of Holy Angels
When Jesus returns, He will come “with his mighty angels in flaming fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). Mark 8:38 indicates Jesus will return with “the holy angels.” These verses imply Jesus will return with vast numbers of holy angels.
Angelic Hierarchies and Orders
The Bible indicates there are differing orders and rankings of angels, such as cherubim, seraphim, and archangels like Michael and Gabriel. This hierarchy likely consists of millions of angels in each order or choir:
- Cherubim guarded the entrance to Eden (Genesis 3:24)
- The ark of the covenant was above cherubim (1 Samuel 4:4)
- God dwells among the cherubim (Psalm 80:1)
- Cherubim have four faces and four wings (Ezekiel 10)
- Seraphim surround God’s throne (Isaiah 6:2-3)
- Seraphim continually praise God saying “Holy, holy, holy!” (Isaiah 6:3)
- Michael is called the archangel (Jude 1:9)
- Michael and his angels fought the dragon (Revelation 12:7-9)
- Gabriel stands in God’s presence (Luke 1:19)
- Gabriel announced the births of John and Jesus (Luke 1)
This indicates millions upon millions of angels filling the various angelic ranks and orders.
Angels Are Innumerable
Ultimately, the Bible indicates the number of angels is beyond human comprehension. Angels are described as:
- A multitude of the heavenly host (Luke 2:13-15)
- Ten thousand times ten thousand (Daniel 7:10)
- Thousands upon thousands (Psalm 68:17)
- Innumerable (Hebrews 12:22)
- Numbering myriads of myriads (Revelation 5:11)
This emphasizes that the total number of angels numbers at least in the millions or billions.
The full scope of heaven’s angels cannot be grasped, but they are more than enough to minister to God and assist Him in His plans. The vast angelic hosts point to God’s eternal greatness, majesty and glory.