There seems to be a widely-held assumption that any spiritual being other than the triune godhead is either a demon or an angel. In some cases, there is an assumption that even the demons are angels, just fallen angels.
Scripture speaks of demons, evil spirits, unclean spirits, cherubs, seraphs, and angels. I’m not an expert on the subject, but I do believe it is a mistake to assume they are all the same.
If we look at various passages that speak of these beings, we find there are unique characterizations of each, and descriptions that highlight those distinctions.
Cherubim, Seraphs, Angels, and Spirits
Cherubs are ridden by Yahweh in Psalm 18:10. Riding the cherubs, he “speeds on the wings of the wind.”
Ezekiel chapter 1 describes “four living creatures” that have human form, four faces (man, lion, bull, eagle), and wings. In Chapter 10, he speaks of them again, describing them as cherubs flying about the temple. There he includes some bizarre language about being full of eyes and wheels within wheels. Revelation 5:13 also mentions the four living creatures but it is not clear if they are the same four Ezekiel saw, though I suspect they are.
In Genesis 3:24, we learn that it is the cherubim and flaming sword which guard the Tree of Life in the garden of Eden.
Seraphs are mentioned only by Isaiah (Isaiah 6:2). Their proximity to the throne of the Lord is worth noting. With faces, feet, and six wings, they fly above the Lord as he sits on his throne, and they proclaim his glory as the foundations of the thresholds tremble and the temple fills with smoke. Such imagery is striking.
We know angels are capable of sin, and fallen angels are locked away, cast into hell, committed to pits of darkness, and reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4). Some speculate that this is what the apostle Paul means when he asks, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:3).
Unclean/evil spirits wander about (Matthew 12:43-45, Luke 11:24), and eventually find themselves imprisoned (Revelation 18:2).
We know angels appear in human form and interact with us despite our being unaware of it (Hebrews 13:2). Abraham spoke with angels in Genesis 18 as Abraham and Yahweh debated the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Prior to that destruction, the angels spoke with Lot as well, and even ate food with him (Genesis 19:3).
Angels as Ministers
God has created “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands” of angels (Revelation 5:11, Hebrews 12:22). These are the beings that cry out:
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. – Revelation 5:12, NASB
These myriads of myriads of angels are tasked with ministering to us. Let that sink in! Though we may not recognize them or see them, they are ministering to you and to me.
Are [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? – Hebrews 1:14, NASB
We have an astonishing level of protection provided by the Creator God of the universe. Do not forget that.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
– Psalm 91:11-12, NASB
The angels given our charge are said to “excel in strength,” as “heroes of strength.” Let there be no doubt, they are fully capable of delivering on their remit.
Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! – Psalm 103:20, NASB
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. – Psalm 34:7, ESV
Jesus indicated (Luke 16:22) that upon our death, angels will carry us away to be home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Perhaps only then will we realize the extent to which they guarded us, and battled on our behalf.
If we happen to be alive when Jesus returns, we will witness him coming in his glory, “and all the angels with him” (Matthew 25:31). Did you catch that little word? “ALL” of the angels with him – myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands. That, my friends, is something I would love to see!