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White Angels? - A Commentary and Poem About Angels

Updated on August 28, 2019
Jodah profile image

John is a poet, short fiction, and freelance writer who also trained in home ministry and Bible study.

“My God sent his angel and shut the mouth of the lions.”​—Daniel 6:22
“My God sent his angel and shut the mouth of the lions.”​—Daniel 6:22 | Source

Why Are Angel's Dressed in White?

Why are angels usually perceived as being dressed in white, and white-skinned? Is it because white is a colour that is seen as representing goodness and purity? I have often wondered this, and if angels do exist wouldn't they come adorned in robes of many colours, and have skin colours representing every race created by God?

You hear or read of someone describing a 'near-death' experience:

"My life flashed before my eyes ... At the last minute, I peered up at this brilliant light and a Holy angel dressed in white descending over me ... etc."

You don't hear: "..and at the moment of the impact an angel appeared resplendent in beautiful robes of red and chartreuse."

Source

The Bible describes what some angels look like but not all. For instance, only the cherubim and seraphim are attributed to possessing wings. Whenever other angels have appeared to humans in the Bible there is no indication that they had wings, and when they do appear before humans they are usually in the form of men, not women. The belief that they have white skin and play the harp is not found anywhere in the Bible.

If we go by the various mentions of angels found in the Bible, a good general description of an "ordinary" angel would be a tall young man with a shining/glowing face (and possibly golden hair) wearing a simple white robe, and who DOESN'T have wings. However, it is also said that we wouldn't mistake them for anything else.

The concept of white representing good takes me back to the old western movies where the good guys like The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy etc always wore white hats, whereas the villains or bad guys wore black hats. Using that synopsis if good angels always wear white it should be plausible to assume that fallen angels such as Lucifer would wear black.

The Lone Ranger: Image by skeeze from Pixabay
The Lone Ranger: Image by skeeze from Pixabay | Source

I Know I Saw an Angel - a Poem

I may have seen an angel,

I think I glimpsed a wing.

It had a shiny glowing face

And the presence of a king.


I think I saw an angel,

It had flowing locks of gold,

A halo floated o'er its head,

And a sceptre did it hold.


I might have seen an angel,

It was dressed in white with wings.

I'm sure it plays a golden harp,

and is soprano when it sings.


I know I saw an angel,

It wore a shirt and jeans.

It had no wings, halo, or harp,

But assisted those in need.

Off the Shelf - White Angel

I gave my Off the Shelf series a few months break, but guess what? It's back. For any new readers or those of you who aren't familiar with the series, it is where I get my inspiration for a poem or article from the title of a book (usually a novel) from my bookcase. In most cases what I write has no other connection with the book I choose other than the name.

This time I chose a novel called White Angel written by Gary Gottesfeld (published 1995). Most people who write book reviews choose popular books by well-known authors. In many cases, I don't. A lot of my books have come from second-hand book stores or the like and if the story sounds appealing I will give it a try, whether or not I have heard of the author.

I admit to not being familiar with Gary Gottesfeld before, but believe me, after reading this I will be looking for more books by him. White Angel is one of those thrillers that grab your attention right from the start and you have trouble putting down.

Gary Gottesfeld was born in Brooklyn, graduating with degrees in theatre and education from New York University. He worked as a probation officer in New York jails before moving to Los Angeles to become the chief copywriter in a large advertising agency. Subsequently, he became a journalist specializing in the entertainment industry. Other novels by him include The Violet Closet, Blood Harvest, and Ill Wind.

I took this book with me when I went on my road trip to Darwin. A week on the road with no TV or other distractions gave me plenty of time to devote to reading at night and I am glad I chose to take this novel with me. I can thoroughly recommend it.


"When Malia O'Toole was just four years old, her parents were brutally murdered in their bed. Malia was in the room at the time, but all she remembers seeing was a white angel with a fiery sword.

Now years later, Malia has returned to Hawaii to research the biography of a prominent general and war hero. And, as she probes the great soldier's past, dark and terrifying secrets emerge which begin to reveal the truth about her parents' hideous murder."

— Gary Gottesfeld - White Angel
White Angel by Gary Gottesfeld
White Angel by Gary Gottesfeld | Source

© 2019 John Hansen

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    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Diana. You could be right about the white reflecting the glory of Heaven.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 weeks ago

      I enjoyed your poem. Angels come in different forms to help us. I believe the white is actually light reflecting the glory of heaven.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Genna. it seems we are in agreement about angels :) Thank you for reading another of my works, and happy Sunday to you. (It's Monday here)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I think that angels come to us in many shapes, forms, and colors, although we may not recognize them for who they are. They don't want to advertise their identity. Your article and poetry "say" this so perfectly. Happy Sunday! :-)

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hello Li-Jen, thank you for reading and pointing out my use of those terms for just that reason. Have a great week.

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      6 weeks ago

      Hi Jodah, thank you for sharing your poem. It's good of you to point out the colours that angels represent. Like why not a colour besides white? It's interesting to see that you put probable terms like 'might' and 'may', as if to show that it's hard to spot an angel and we can't be sure of what they look like.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Elijah, thank you for confirming that and sharing about your encounter with an angel.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      6 weeks ago from Washington DC

      You said to Brenda "I think the true angels don't try to attract attention" and I agree. The one I met in Atlanta, Georgia, summer 1977, even looked like a cripple walking with a cane who never revealed his name although I asked. After delivering his message he gave me two things to look for, one short term that happened a few months later and one longterm that's yet to happen.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hey Brenda. Yes, I find it a good way to get inspiration. I think the true angels don't try to attract attention...they just do their good deeds and kind acts in the background without trying to attract attention.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      6 weeks ago from Washington Court House

      Very good John.

      I think you do quite well with your "off the shelf" pieces.

      Nothing like a little solitude to get your thoughts refreshed.

      It is usually the least suspected one, like the Angel in blue jeans...that truly reach out helping another.

      Great write.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Devika. Much appreciated.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great thoughts of Angels. I like how you put together a beautiful form of angels.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for reading Liz. The book is really gripping, but no, not for the faint-hearted.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      6 weeks ago from UK

      I appreciated your reflections about angels. Your poem gives a great picture of angels in different scenarios. It sounds like the book is not for the faint of heart or those with active imaginations.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hello Lora. Thanks for the kind words and confirmation of what an angel is. Yes, if this type of book effects you I do suggest you do read it in the morning.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      It is good to see a comment from you John. You presence has been missed. I am glad this piece gave you a lift when needed.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      6 weeks ago

      You make some very interesting points about angels, John, in your article. I think angels can come in almost any color, or gender, and age. I liked your poem very much as you bring out what I think an angel truly symbolizes and that is helping others who are in need! The book sounds very intriguing but I have to be mindful of when I read books like this. It's better that I read them in the morning! Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out. I really enjoyed your article.

    • faith-hope-love profile image

      John Ward 

      6 weeks ago from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

      John. I haven't yet seen or spoke to an angel. But am in need of one a lot of times these days. I did fully enjoy this whole piece. I can barely get near my computer these days. When I do it is these pieces that give me a lift. I would endow the title of Angel on you..

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      I agree, Linda. Glad you liked the poem and thanks for commenting.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Whatever angels might be, I expect they come in many different forms. Their most important feature is that they help people. I enjoyed reading your poem, especially the last verse.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      You are totally correct, Dana. Thank you for reading.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      6 weeks ago from LOS ANGELES

      Angels come in many forms. In fact, I believe we should show kindness to everyone because we never know when we are entertaining an Angel.

      "I know I saw an angel,

      It wore a shirt and jeans.

      It had no wings, halo, or harp,

      But assisted those in need".

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for sharing that information, Elijah. It does offer some explanation and make things clearer. I am glad you enjoyed this, and yes, try to check out the Gary Gottesfeld book.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      MsDora, I agree. If angels do wear white they would certainly soil their clothes constantly, or so you would think. Glad you found food for thought here, and that I introduced you to Gottersfeld.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Brother Sean, I think the Orthodox Christian Church has it right then. I look forward to reading about your dark angel. I am most sure you do not have a hateful bone in your body. Oh, if the media was aware of angels they would distort the facts and portray them evil to make their stories more dramatic. Thank you as always.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you so much, Kathy. I agree that some angels go unrecognised but they are there, thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      What a lovely picture to wake up to, Mary. Yes, I am sure you have guardian angels watching over you. Please do look out for Gary Gottesfeld’s books.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      I agree with you Linda, there are many angels on this Earth, in many guises. I know a few too. Oh here is a question for your series. What exactly is “angle food cake” and how did it get it’s name? Thank you for reading and enjoying this.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      I have met angels too, Chitrangada. They are among us. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      6 weeks ago from Washington DC

      Thanks for your opening question, John, I think I just might have an answer.

      During during each of the four season of civilization {https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-4-Fou...} they are divided into four dynasties of each of the four ethnic groups, Africans, Americans, Asians and Europeans. Each ethnic group presents something that carries over into the next. Now that we are in the "winter" European dynasty they have used their white color to represent purity and since they have control over the Jews' religion and spread it all over the world, they MAY have laid claim that white represent pure. In reality, "pure" means to "contain only the substances that anything is composed of" and there is nothing in existence that is without more that one thing in it from the smallest to the entire Zero or universe.

      That poem is definitely true, in real life angels usually appear as the people appear especially since the word only mean "messenger." I really appreciate how you took it through the steps of questioning what was seen to the reality of the word. Thanks!

      Most books I get these days are given to me or loaned and I return them. If I get the chance I'll see if I can locate it. Thanks for that info also.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Food for thought in your poem, Jodah. Even if angels were all white, couldn't they get dirt on them as they performed protections and other manual tasks? Do they ever show up soiled? The real angel in your last verse could be and wear any color. Interesting! Thanks for introducing Gottesfeld.

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      6 weeks ago from Greece, Almyros

      I love this poem, my dear brother, John; it's so beautiful! So many Light in its simplicity! I love Angels too, a lot! No matter their colour. In Orthodox Christian Church Angels are not white. They wear multicolour clothes, and they have all kind of skins. You can find a lot of Angels in my short stories, but only in one (The Hammer), I used pure white. I'm working -for some time now- on a theme with a Dark Angel! I love them too because I know that they simply play their part. But don't pay attention to me because I love everything!

      Thank you for this Hub which signifies the importance of the angels who live among us in this world. They may be "invisible" to the media, but I have seen them too!

      I am unsuccessfully trying to keep my Angel calm!

      Sean

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      6 weeks ago from Pa

      I loved your perception of angels. I believe there are angels all around us. Some are spiritual and many earthly. I know if we allow ourselves to be a vessel for God's grace and mercy we will see even more angels among us. However, I also believe some are sent by an awesome God and we don't always recognize the gift. I enjoyed this read and poem.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am not familiar with this writer but now that you have introduced me to him, I will definitely look for his books. As a child, each time I woke up, I looked at a picture of an angel helping kids cross the bridge and each night, we were made to pray to our guardian angel. They must watch me all the time.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      6 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      John, that is a beautiful poem. Although technically not real "angels," there are many people who walk among us who give of themselves selflessly. Rescuing a friend or family member is one thing, but imagine placing your life in jeopardy for someone you've never even met?

      And angels are also those who reach out with their words to lift others up, to wipe away a tear, give a hug, say a prayer, or maybe just listen. There are angels reading and writing on Hub Pages.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Beautiful poem and commentary about the angels.

      I believe, I have seen and met angels in real life. Anyone who is kind, compassionate and helpful, is an angel for me. They may look like normal people, with the heart of an angel.

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Ruby. Thank you for the wonderful comment. I am glad you found this inspirational. You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/White-Angel-Gary-Gottesfeld...

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      First, let me say that I want that book. I love the thought of angles. I have always felt that I have a Guardian angle. Your poem was beautiful, I also liked what you had to say about angle colors. If there are angles, why wouldn't they be like God's creation? Red-Yellow-Black and white all are precious in his site. Thank you for sharing this inspiring piece..

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Pamela. Glad you liked my poem, and yes the book is certainly well worth the read. Have a great day.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      I think there are certainly angels working around us helping people of all kinds in all types of circumstances. As for angels from Heaven, I guess I always thought of them as dressed in white but almost translucent I think. Anway, I haven't seen one of those.

      I liked your poem, and the book sounds very good. It will go on my long list of books to read. Tahnk you.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes, indeed they are, Bill. I wanted my poem to portray that. I am happy it did.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the last stanza of your poem. In truth, angels are all around us, doing the little things in life which make life more palatable for many.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Lorna, you speak words of wisdom and truth. Yes, it is very probable that Jesus wasn't white but people assume and interpret the way they want things to be. colours shouldn't determine good and bad. Thank you for the kind comment and for reading my work.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hey Val - it is good when you do your best at all you try - and the heavens suddenly align. Angels may be different things to different people, but I have met plenty. Glad you enjoyed the poem.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      6 weeks ago

      I have often wandered why Jesus is usually depicted as 'white'. Certainly coming from that part of the world he would have been brown or black. It's sad that many people view white as being pure and good which is not always the case. I always find your articles interesting John and I love the way your poem leads us to the truth in the final verse.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 

      6 weeks ago from Canada

      John -- I would say, many of us have played at least a part-time-one to someone in our life -- and yes, jeans were the "holy attire" of choice, maybe to remind those in need not to look up, but around, and inside.

      I loved your poem, my friend, especially the way it ends. Otherwise, I have never been into angels stuff. Always tried my best to give love, appreciation, support, and respect to myself -- and then the heavens must have merely joined.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John do not take this as a responsibility or wrongly please. You are one of my masters. Namaste.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Haha, Eric. OK I will go into the other room and calm down a while. I must admit I did have fun writing this. If we just take the time to look we will see there are angels everywhere. Glad you enjoyed this.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I need you to go in the other room, calm down and come out when you are not having so much fun young man!!

      I have met at least 2 dozen Angels in my life. And not a single one was "white" varying hues I would say. Their light shined so bright I actually could not know the colors.

      I loved how you did the bold letters. I am playing with that myself.

      I will cogitate more on the poem as it is delicious.

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