It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

1 Peter 1:12 (ESV)

They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

1 Peter 1:12 (NLT)

Is 1 Peter 1:12 sating that the angels in heaven are aware of what is happening on earth?

6 Answers 6


The following 7 points were taken from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary where the concept of Angels is addressed

  1. They furnish a necessary safeguard against narrowness of thought as to the extent and variety of the creations of God.

  2. They help us acquire proper conception of Christ, who is above the angels, and the object of angelic worship.

  3. They give wonderful attractiveness to our conception of that unseen world to which we are hastening.

  4. They set before us an example of joyous and perfect fulfillment of God's will.

  5. They put to shame the horrible indifference of multitudes of mankind with respect to the great work of salvation (Luke 15:10).

  6. They broden our view of the manifold mercies of God, whose angels are "sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation" (Heb. 1:14, 12:22).

  7. They remind us of our rank as human beings, and our exalted destiny as Christians. We, who are made but "a little lower than angels" (Ps. 8:5) may become "like angels in heaven" (Matt. 22:30).

Regarding point 6, I suggest you also to read Matthew 26:53 where we are told by asking we can receive right away more than 12 legions of angels (more than 72 thousand angels). Also, I suggest you to read 2 Kings 19:35 to understand the impact only 1 angel can have. (Isn't that awesome?!)

So, based in all of the above, we can be sure that angels are aware of what is happening on earth.

Important thing to retain from angels though - Revelations 22:8-9. Even though we know they exist, are here for us and are capable of the things mentioned above, they want all glory to be given to God.


"Angel" has a wide usage in the bible. It is used to refer to the spirit of a person who has passed from this life such as Peter's case upon his escape from prison--

Acts 12:15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

Or the leaders of the early Churches

Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

But the most common reference is to God's ministering spirits. In this case, the context seems to point to the spirits because of his heightened emphasis that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

These angels, numbering in the untold millions, are actively engaged in the goings-on of Earth. Even in the case of Peter mentioned above, he was freed from prison by the direct action of an angel. How do they come and go from heaven? Jesus informed Nathaniel--

John 1:51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.


Job 1:6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Angels are capable of traveling or localization in different areas of the earth.

8Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

They can make observations within space-time for transpiring events.

9“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

They can interfere in the affairs of men.

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Is 1 Peter 1:12 saying that the angels in heaven are aware of what is happening on earth?

Yes, but only if they are there to observe it.


The NLT is a paraphrase and not, strictly speaking, a translation.

The ESV is accurate. The literal Greek text reads desire angels to look (πιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι).

If anything, one could read the meaning that the angels cannot perceive what is happening on the earth. But I don't think the verse is conclusive one way or another in this regard.

Assuming that Scripture can be read as a coherent whole (which not everyone does), I think it unlikely that Peter believed (and would imply) that no angels whatsoever were aware of what is happening on earth. Paul (or, if one prefers, the "Author of Hebrews") wrote that all the angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14). The Apocalypse mentions four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth (7:1), although this may be figurative or some eschatalogical vision. Peter presumably would have heard Jesus speak of the angels of these little ones ... that in heaven do behold the face of My Father (Matthew 18:10).

Again, these are all references to other Scriptures - not 1 Peter 1:12. If one assumes Scripture as a whole is incoherent, they are not relevant.


Yes, they are aware of what is happening on earth as they are ministering spirits. As has mentioned already, Matt. 18:10 shows them watching over the children.

"`Beware! -- ye may not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their messengers in the heavens do always behold the face of my Father who is in the heavens," (YLT)

Gabriel, in speaking to Daniel (c.10:13) explained his delay in coming to him:

"And the head of the kingdom of Persia is standing over-against me twenty and one days, and lo, Michael, first of the chief heads, hath come in to help me, and I have remained there near the kings of Persia;" (YLT)

They carry out the instructions from God, but that does not mean they always understood God's plan. The things they wished to know, that which they desired to look into was how God was going to reconcile all men back to Him.

Rom. 16:25-26,

"25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:" (KJV)

Eph. 1:9-10,

"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

"10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:" (KJV)

Eph. 3:3=6,

"3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:" (KJV)

The angels watched, and witnessed the events of men on earth. They carried out the instructions from God to do His will, but they were not privy to His knowledge and understanding of all things, just as men were not always told everything either. So, they desired to look into these things to know His will and His plan of salvation for all men.


The relevant part of 1 Peter 1:12, in Greek, is:

εἰς ἃ ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι (literally: into which desire angels to peer)

The "minimum context" is 1 Peter 1:10-12. The prophets that spoke of Christ could not fully understand the salvation that Christ would have brought because they were ahead of time. Angels would like to see more clearly, but they cannot, because, unlike humans, they are pure spirits, not sharing our carnal condition.

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