Bible Question:

Is there a difference between angels, hosts and or armies?

Bible Answer:

The Bible uses the word “angels” 91 times in both the Old and New Testaments. The word “hosts” appears 293 times and “armies” appears 41 times. The reader will soon discover that there is normally a difference of meaning among the words angels, hosts and or armies.

Michael the Archangel

Who Are The Angels?

God created two groups of beings: angels and humans. God tells us that the angels in heaven are holy (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Revelation 14:10), so powerful that they can fight, inflict judgment and destroy (Psalm 78:49; 103:20; Daniel 10:20-21; Matthew 13:39; Revelation 8:2-13; 12:7), intelligent (1 Peter 1:12), God’s ministers (Hebrews 1:7) and ministers to the saints (Hebrews 1:14). We are also told that there are myriads of them (Daniel 7:10; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11).

Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
Psalm 103:20 (NASB)

The  chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands;
The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness.
Psalm 68:17 (NASB)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to  the city of  the living God,  the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels . . . Hebrews 12:22 (NASB)

Some angels are evil angels (2 Peter 2:4). They follow their leader the devil (Matthew 12:28; 25:41).

Who Are The Hosts?

The word “hosts” is used in so many different ways in scripture. Hosts can refer to the stars of the universe (Genesis 12:1; Isaiah 34:4).

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all  their hosts.  Genesis 2:1 (NASB)

Out of the 293 times that the word hosts appears in the scriptures it is used 229 times in the phrase “Lord of hosts” and 45 times in the phrase “God of hosts.” Both are descriptions of our God. He is the Lord God of hosts over everything, including angels, people and every other created thing both living and non-living.

And one called out to another and said,
Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
Isaiah 6:3 (NASB)

Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?”
Zechariah 1:12 (NASB)

The word hosts is also used to describe the vast number of Israelites who left the land of Egypt (Exodus 6:26; 7:4; 12:17, 41, 51). Both Psalm 103:21 and 148:2 speak of hosts that are not the vast number of Israelites. For example, in Psalm 103:21 the hosts are every man and woman who lives on the earth. In Psalm 148:2 the hosts are different than the angels.
Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Psalm 103:21 (NASB)

Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Psalm 148:2 (NASB)

The Meaning of Armies

The word armies usually refers to military armies of nations such as armies of Israel (Number 1:3, 52; 2:3, 9-32; 10:14-28; Deuteronomy 20:9) or the armies of other nations (Joshua 10:5; 11:4; Judges 8:10; 1 Samuel 17:1-36). Isaiah 34:2 refers to all the armies of the nations that were enemies of Israel. Luke 21:20 clearly refers to armies of the world that will surround the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

But in the book of Revelation, the word armies can refer to armies of demons which are evil angels (Revelation 9:16). Revelation 12 gives us an example of war in heaven between holy and evil angels.

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great  dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Revelation  12:7-9 (NASB)

Finally, Revelation 19 speaks of armies of holy angels.

And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in  fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.
Revelation 19:14 (NASB)


The words angels, hosts and armies usually do not refer to the same thing. Angels are God’s created beings, both holy and evil. Hosts normally speaks of the Lord God as ruler over everything that He has created, both living and non-living. The word armies, most of the time, refers to military armies of the world. But in the book of Revelation, armies can refer to armies of angels. The Lord of hosts is lord over the armies of angels, every human, all animals, every plant and all the stars, planets and asteroids of the universe. He is the Lord God of the hosts!



Suggested Links:

Angels – Good & Evil
Invisible Angelic Powers
Strong Angel Out of Heaven