The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hittites and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature.
The term ‘angel’, from the Latin angelus, entered the English language in very early times when it denoted a supernatural being of kindly qualities. In the Bible it translates Hebrew and Greek words meaning ‘messenger’. The earliest angels were heavenly nymphs, like Hindu apsaras, who dispensed sensual bliss to the blessed ones. Vikings called them Valkyries. Greeks called them Horae. Persians called them Houris or Peris (fairies).