Are There Black Angels in the Bible?

First, we need to distinguish between their actual form and the form one sees in vision or reality. When angels are natural, angels are essentially “spirits” (Hebrews 1:14), they do not have physical bodies like humans. And therefore, angels are not Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, African, or any race. For more information about how biblical angels look like, please refer to Pictures of Angels According to the Bible. But when God sends them on a mission, they do temporarily assume a human form. And that is what we see from visions of them recorded in the Bible. 

In this article, we will explore whether the Bible records the appearance of a black angel and consider how this affects black culture or African American culture. I understand that that’s a big deal, so I want to clarify that I’m not trying to convince you to believe everything that I believe. This is purely to get across the point of view of how cool the study is.

Black angels appearing in the Bible

The Bible records many visions of angels appearing, so were any of them black angels? My answer is that there were. In Ezekiel 1:7:

Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze.

A search of Google images will show that burnished bronze varies in color from a light to a deep black-brown color.

This shows that he has some melanin in his skin!

Why are angels often depicted as white in the art?

Most people didn’t know much about other ethnicities around the world, so people tend to depict angels that look like themselves even if they were documented to look otherwise. Thus, Japanese depictions have them look Asian, Europe depictions have them look European, African or African-American people depict him as black, and so on.

But why are the porcelain-white depictions so ubiquitous? This is because Europe art dominates much of the perception of Christian mythology and historical figures. In this case, when we think of Christian figures, we’re all used to seeing Europeans and ignoring the fact that non-European cultures have created their art. I mean, when you think of Christian angels, you probably think of:

And not one of these follows:

In African traditional art, especially in regions such as West Africa, we can see sculptures, masks, and paintings depicting dark or black-skinned angels or spirits. These images usually reflect the cultural and religious beliefs of a particular African community.

Dark-skinned angels have also been depicted in African American art and religious imagery. Such as Guardian Angel by Artists Dion Pollard:

Meaning of black angels in African Americans’ life

The concept of black angels is an expression developed in the religious and cultural traditions of the African American or black community. People tend to decorate their Christmas trees with black angel tree toppers to touch culture and style. Here are some symbolic meanings:

  • Cultural Identity and Self-Affirmation: The depiction of black angels can be seen as an expression of cultural identity and self-affirmation. Historically, African Americans have experienced oppression through slavery and racial discrimination; therefore, depicting angels with black characteristics can emphasize their cultural values& uniqueness and provide spiritual support and inspiration.
  • Art and Literature: Depictions and narratives of black angels can be found in African American art and literature. These works explore and communicate African American beliefs, culture, and spiritual experiences through paintings, sculpture, literary works, music, and other forms.
  • Black Liberation Theology: Black Liberation Theology is a theory and practice that has emerged in the African American Christian community. It emphasizes the importance of reflecting Black liberation, social justice, and equality in theology and faith. Within this framework, the concept of black angels can be seen as an expression of black liberation and affirmation.

A real story with black angels

Casey shared a real story of a black angel:

One day my parents’ house caught fire. The smoke alarm had failed because the batteries hadn’t been replaced in a long time.

Dad woke up to find Mom on fire! She seemed to have fallen asleep with a cigarette in her hand. Dad jumped up and picked Mom to the floor jumped on top of her to put out the fire and carried her down the stairs and outside to the patio. Then he ran back inside to make sure my brother was out. When he got back to the patio, he decided he had to remove my mom because her upstairs window might be blown out.

Unfortunately, Dad’s hands were burned and he couldn’t drag Mom from the patio to the alley. It was the middle of the night and no one was up around yet. 

Suddenly, a young black man appeared. He didn’t say anything to my father, he just bent down and helped my father get my mom to safety. From the patio, the sound of a fire truck could be heard. Dad turned to thank this welcome stranger, but he was already gone. Dad had never seen him before and never again.

No words were ever spoken between Dad and the stranger, yet the stranger had a calming effect. This was an angel and I know that he is with us whenever we may need him.


The biblical concept of angels is not explicitly associated with any particular race or ethnicity. However, the possibility of angels appearing in different forms or races is not ruled out. The primary focus of the biblical account is their spiritual nature and their role as messengers and servants of God.

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