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White Angels? - A Commentary and Poem About Angels

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

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."


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

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.

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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

© 2019 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 02, 2020:

Elijah, thank you for sharing those incredible instances. There are too many experiences to dismiss. Angels do exist.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on January 02, 2020:

Audrey and John, New Year's Eve A friend of mine from California was telling me of her accident where she was parked with flashing lights when a 60 mph car totaled hers and the first person to enter her car was dressed as a policeman and asked if she was okay. She got his name and later went to the PD station but they had no record of him. So, yes, there are spiritual and physical angels both walking among us, I have long realized.

Also, a spiritual angel looking like my mother came, I thought, out of the room in our house I knew she was when I was around 12 years old. It said "Elijah, a rolling stone gathers no moss" and said I would see when I asked what she meant. It helped me wash dishes and then, supposedly, went back into the room. The next morning I asked her what she meant and she said it wasn't her.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 01, 2020:

Thanks for sharing that John.

John Ward from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. on January 01, 2020:

Audrey, I always enjoy John´ś work and loved this one on angels. I, also, believe in Angels. Having been in some rough spots where we should not have made it. But in the worst moments, a message was given to me that we would come through with most of us in one piece.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 01, 2020:

Wow, Audrey! Thank you for sharing that experience. That had to be an angel protecting you. There is no other explanation. I have found myself going the wrong way on a road in pouring rain once but fortunately there were few other cars when I realised and was able to turn around. Yes, I am sure angels are all around us and even in our fur babies as well. Thank you for reading.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on January 01, 2020:

I sometimes wonder if angels come to us in the form of friends, or even brief acquaintances. Messages of warnings, answers to my prayers and protection from harm are just some of the celestial experiences I've encountered.

I once found myself driving the wrong way on a California freeway in a downpour of heavy rain. I looked up and saw a herd of cars heading directly toward me and new I was a goner for sure.

Instantly, I felt complete peace and absent from all fear as an intensely white lite surrounded me. Then I saw a man standing near the hood of my car waving his hands at the oncoming traffic in the rain. Every car stopped without the sound of screeching brakes - it was complete silence. Then the man signaled for me to turn my car around to head in the right direction. The light disappeared and so did the man.

Yes, I believe in angels. I even feel that our fur children can be angels.

Thank you for addressing this glorious subject.

Blessings to you and yours, John.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 09, 2019:

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

Dianna Mendez on September 09, 2019:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 02, 2019:

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 from Massachusetts, USA on September 02, 2019:

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! :-)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 02, 2019:

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 on September 02, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 31, 2019:

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

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on August 31, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 31, 2019:

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 from Washington Court House on August 31, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 31, 2019:

Thank you, Devika. Much appreciated.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 31, 2019:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 29, 2019:

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

Liz Westwood from UK on August 29, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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 on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Ward from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. on August 28, 2019:

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..

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on August 28, 2019:

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".

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on August 28, 2019:

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

During during each of the four season of civilization {} 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.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 28, 2019:

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.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on August 28, 2019:

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!


Kathy Henderson from Pa on August 28, 2019:

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.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 28, 2019:

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.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on August 28, 2019:

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.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

Hi Ruby. Thank you for the wonderful comment. I am glad you found this inspirational. You can find the book here:

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on August 28, 2019:

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..

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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 on August 28, 2019:

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 on August 28, 2019:

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.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 28, 2019:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2019:

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.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 28, 2019:

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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