How many times have you been to a funeral or involved in passing conversations about a deceased loved one with family or friends that you heard the 5 words "God just needed another angel"? Over the decades, these lines have become words of healing and comfort. But would it surprise you to find out that scripture never says such a thing?
As far as I could tell via a quick Bing search, this false teaching could be traced back to a man by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). He taught that there were no angels pre-created as a separate race. He taught instead, that angels and demons were all once human beings who lived in the material world and transformed after death. A teaching of which there is no biblical scripture to back up.
Those who follow Swedenborg's teachings declare that the Bible never specifically states that angels are created beings. They also state the fact that angels are referred to as "sons of God" and as "men of God" in biblical passages. In their teachings, they also misinterpret scripture and conclude that certain passages are referring to a transformation from one species to another, instead of a similar state of being. One scripture being found in Mark 12:25 & Luke 20:35-36, where Yeshua is asked about people being married in heaven. Yeshua states that they are neither married or given in marriage but are like the angels of heaven.
To comprehend the answer given in this passage, we must first understand that the question had nothing to do with our transformation but it was a question about marriage. If we marry and our spouse dies, we then remarry and that spouse also dies, we again remarry up to the 7th time, each time our spouse dying, then in death, whose spouse are we? The angels are not married or are they given in marriage, because they are eternal beings, this is how we will be like the angels. Enoch 15:1-7 agrees with this passage saying that as eternal beings, there was no need for angels to take wives but because men are of flesh and blood, it was necessary for them to take wives, so they could procreate and continue their deeds on the earth. To sum it up another way, while we yet live on the earth, we are different from the angels, however, when we die, we will then be like the angels, in that we will no longer be flesh and blood but eternal beings.
What most do not consider when thinking of after life species transformation is that God created a whole array of heavenly hosts. Though they are not ignorant that the term "angel" is an actual assignment of a job title, they still insist that saints will receive a pair of wings and fly around after death, thus going through some kind of spiritual Darwin transformation.
We can read in scripture several species of heavenly hosts referred to as angels. In Isaiah 6:1-7 , we can read of the Seraphim, also known as the "burning ones"; they have 6 wings. Another are the Cherubim (pronounced ker-a-bim), which have four faces. One being the face of a man, another a lion, another an ox, and the last an eagle. Ezekiel describes them as having four wings. (Ezekiel 1:5-14; 10:1-22; 41:18-20, Exodus 37:7-9) It also seems like John the Revelator is describing the same thing when he speaks of the four beasts but he says what he saw has 6 wings. (Revelation 4:6-9) None that we read of have just one pair of wings as this teaching ascribes to.
Then there are the Archangels. Though there are not any scriptures that really describe them, scripture does mention these angels being "chief captains" and "warriors". (Daniel 12, 2 Kings 19:35, Joshua 5:13-14, & Luke 1:19) But most commonly, we just read of an angel being sent. To which there are no biblical descriptions of but we have seen in scripture where they appear as men, but then again it is not unlikely that they can take on any form that they choose. The following verses details their duties as messengers, helpers, ministering spirits, forming the heavenly choir, servants, and many other duties. (Gen. 19:15, John 1:51, Hebrews 1:14, Acts 5:19-21, Luke 12:8-9, Matthew 24:30-31 - just to list a few)
Over the centuries, man has depicted through his own imagination, portrayals in art of how he believes angels appear. Often times he gives them very human characteristics, which only further adds to this after life species transformation theory. One has to speculate that man has created a messenger in his own likeness, so that it agrees with his misconception of his own misunderstanding of what scriptures say about a human being in the after life.
We read in Genesis 6 how the angels had seen the daughters of men that they were fair and had left their place in heaven and came to earth taking them wives of their choosing and procreated with them. This mixing of two species caused a hybrid of giant men to be born, known in scripture as the nephilim. This hybrid would not have happened if we were of the same species. Again, Enoch 15:3 agrees with biblical scripture in stating that it was this union between heavenly host and the flesh and blood of men that created this hybrid known as giants. We see accounts of giants even after the flood, such as in Number 13:32-33. There were tales of giants being fought by humans as early as 150-200 years ago. Though there is not any scripture relating to how the sons of God procreated with women of flesh and blood, one can only speculate that they did in fact take the form of a human.
There is a particular biblical scripture that states that we can entertain angels unaware, Hebrews 13:2. We can also see this in the three men who visited Abraham with a message of God's promise to bring about Isaac's birth in Genesis 18 or the two angels that came to Lot in Genesis 19 to warn him to leave the city. So we know that they have the ability to take whatever form needed to fulfill their task at hand. This does not mean that any of them were human at one time.
Contrary to the teaching of Emanuel Swedenborg, there is scripture that says that God created the heavenly hosts before humans, some even say before the earth was formed. Nehemiah 9:6, that God made the heavens, the heaven of heavens, and all their heavenly hosts, the earth, the seas, and all the things therein. Job 38:4-7, these verses ask Job where he was when God laid the foundations of the earth and when the sons of God shouted for joy. By this alone, we can see that angels were created before the earth was formed. Colossians 1:16-17, we see how all things were created by God in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible. 1 Corinthians 6:3 says that "we shall judge angels". This verse alone makes the whole idea of becoming an angel after death confusing.
We can also see that scripture does tell us that we will have new glorified bodies but the bible never mentions us becoming a different species, 1 Corinthians 15:20-49. Philippians 3:21 also speaks of a glorified body. When I think of a glorified body, I think of a pure body, free from aging, sickness, and death. Nothing about the term of a glorified body makes me think of morphing into another species. In Hebrews 2:5-8, we read how humans were made a little lower than the angels and that God had put him (man) over the works of his hands on the earth.
Understand this Brethren, no where in scripture does it say that we will receive a pair of wings or a halo. This cannot be found anywhere in scripture. However, we are told in James 1:12, 2 Tim 4:8, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, 1 Peter 5:4, & Revelation 2:10 that we will receive a crown of life. Scripture also says that we will be given white robes Revelation 6:11; 7:9-17.
Even though we may one day all live together among God's array of heavenly host, angels and humans are not the same species, even after death. Human beings are the only species that were ever spoken of being created in God's own image, Genesis 1:27.