Cardinals and angels

Frequently in Facebook someone will post that a cardinal or feather or butterfly in the yard is an angel visiting. I have asked each poster to reference the scriptures that support that claim, but nobody ever does. This doesn’t sound Biblical to me. Where do people get this idea? How should I respond in truth and love to these folks? Or should I stay quiet?


@LydiaP interesting question will be interested what some of the alumni have to say on the topic.
I was searching Scripture to see what was written.
In Palm 91: 4 NKJV it reads
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
Could be way off but to me it says he will cover us under his wings. So who knows.
I personally think it is a leap to assume that a cardinal or feather or butterfly is an angel visiting.
I sense this is demonic in nature corrupting what may have been holy.
That’s just my thought. Will be interesting to see what others far wiser and knowledgeable have to say.

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Hi Lydia,
I think it’s awesome that you ask for scripture reference when you see things that seem off! That’s such a great response. You might just ask how they came to that conclusion. There is extensive description of angels and then specifically cherubim in Ezekiel Chapt. 1; 3:13, Chapt 10, and 11:22. These descriptions may lend to feather references, but you’d have to downsize and diminish pretty much everything about angels to lend them to molting or backyard birds and insects. I bet many people grew up hearing those comments, but don’t have a basis for it. I remember when I was a kid, if it rained while the sun was shining someone would say, “The devil is beating his wife.” I used to think how peculiar that suddenly the devil had a wife if it rained during sunshine. :grin:
I think these comments develop over time as things we say because it’s a type of whimsical spiritualism.
I’m also reminded of comments I would hear after someone died:
“Oh heaven has just acquired the most beautiful angel.” Phrases like that as well as angels appearing as cardinals or butterflies are, as David Jeremiah might say, “fanciful conjecture.” (You might consider David Jeremiah’s book, Angels: Who They Are)
Angels are fascinating beings that capture our imagination, but the knowledge we gain from each reference to them in the Bible represents them as servants of God’s plan (as throughout the book of Revelation) and faithful ministers to those who inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). Usually when they are observed by a person in scripture, they are rather fearsome, yet rejecting worship (Revelation 19:10) because they are created beings with a purpose different from our own in God’s kingdom. They have unique design and consider the worship of God a most important pursuit (Isaiah 6:1-6).
I read Billy Graham’s book on Angels years ago, and I remember that he commented on how Satan loves to direct our attention to angels so our focus comes off the Creator to the created. He (Satan) is stated as posing as an “angel of light” as the deceiver in 2 Corinthians 11:14.
If we know cardinals and butterflies as part of creation, like say, dogs and flowers, why would angels (also created beings) as powerful ministers of God’s kingdom, need to also appear as these tiny creatures? (This makes me think of a funny question Dennis Miller asked once, “If we all came from monkeys why are there still monkeys?”)
I think I’ve gotten a little long winded here…thanks for the fun topic! And I admire your commitment to truth and God’s Word when engaging those you care about.


Hi @LydiaP

Thank you for raising this question and showing concern for the truth. Thanks to @BloomHere who keeps us focused on the Creator not the created.

To regard the feather is to assume a feathered-winged being. Although the special angels, Cherubim, Seraphim and the 4 Living Beings, who are found about the throne of God(signifying His holy dwelling, as portrayed in the Holy of Holies and the Ark), have been described as having wings, but other recorded appearances of angels who are deployed to humans were not mentioned as having wings, though some did fly.

The Winged Beings
Cherubim, Seraphim and the 4 Living Beings: Exo 25:20, Isaiah 6:2, Ezk 1 & 10

The Angels
Archangel Michael: Dan 10:13-21, 12:1, Jude 1:9, Rev 12:7-9
Angel Gabriel: Dan 9:21, Luke 1:26-38
Angels who interacted with human: Gen 18 & 19, Judges 6:11-22, Luke 2:9-15.
Other angels mentioned: 1 Thess 4:16, Rev 14:6-9

As far as we can know from the Bible, those angels deployed to interact with human can fly, but no wings are mentioned(I’m not saying they don’t necessarily have wings), but most of them are described as having the appearance of normal people.

Those beings mentioned with wings are found around the throne of God, not in the domain of men.

Entertaining Angels
So I personally wouldn’t be too hasty to conclude the cardinal, feather, and butterfly as symbols of any kind of angelic visitation. But we should learn to treat other human beings with love, especially strangers, as Hebrew 13:1-2 states: “Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

As the Bible says angels could appear as strangers(read: appears as human being), we are to treat everyone we come across with hospitality. Reading too much into cardinal, feather, and butterfly not only could lead us to be susceptible to deception, but also serves no purpose to benefit each other.

I hope these informations help. I may have missed some Bible verses on angels, but they should suffice to paint a clearer understanding on the angelic hosts. I’m no angel expert, there are other scholars who have delved into these, forming all kind of theories out of what they read. I’ll prefer to just keep things simple.