Angels Pic of an Angel ANGELS

The content of this web site is not intended to offend anyone and simply consists of a bit of information taken from various sources on the subject of angels. The information should be taken without prejudice.

Copyright 1999. If you use parts of this web page for your own please include a link to my site.

CONTENTS
Angel definition
Different Spellings of Angel
Angel Depictions
The Creation of Angels
How Angels are Organized (Multi-Perspective)
The Orders of Angels - The Angelic Choir Pages
Other Orders of Angels
Artistic Portrayals of Angels
Guardian Angels Page
Fallen Angels Page


DEFINITION:
Angel n [L.angelus; Gr angelos, a messenger]
1. Literally, a messenger [Rare]
2. A spirit, or a spiritual being, employed by God, according to the Scriptures, to communicate his will to man.
3. A ministering or guiding spirit.
4. A conventionalied image of a white-robed figure in human form with wings and a halo
5. A minister of the gospel, or pastor as the angel of the church at Ephesus
6. A person regarded as beautiful, good, innocent etc.
7. An English gold coin current in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries; so called from bearing on its obverse a figure of the archangel Michael piercing a dragon.
8. An angelfish
9. A person who provides the money for the destruction of a play , etc [Slang]
- Websters Dictionary 2nd edition (Back to top)

DIFFERENT SPELLINGS OF ANGEL:
Aengel, Aengle, Engel, Enngell, Enngle, Angil, Eangel, Angle, Aungel, Aungele, Aungelle, Aungil, Angell, Angelle, and Angele. Until the end of the thirteenth century, the English pronunciation used a hard "G" from Old English and Teutonic traditions, but it was later softened through the influence of Old French. (Back to top)

ANGEL DEPICTIONS

The concept of angels are included in many different religions and have various descriptions according to the particular theological tradition. Ancient Mesopotamia depicted them as huge winged serpents, the Amesha Spentas of Zoroastrianism were invisible, and the Shen of China had human form. Early Hebrew concepts were humanoid but sexless; later identifications provided them with masculine names. Angels of Islamic tradition were created from pure bright gems and were sometimes named and described as having two, three, or four pairs of wings. The Christian concept of Angels derived from Hebrew Testaments and became a highly developed element of church doctrine.

In Psalm 104:4, angels are described as spirits whose natural form is like fire or flame. Psalm 104 was written in praise to God as Creator and says of His creation of angels, "Who makes His angels spirits,/His ministers a flame of fire". This psalm indicates that angels are beings who by nature, belong to the spiritual realm, and that the natural form of angels is flame-like.

In Scripture, angels are described as men (see Gen. 18, 19; Judg. 13:16; Matt. 28:2,3; Luke 24:4) but they are also described as sexless (see Matt. 22:30). In the book, The Physics of Angels, by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake, the authors write down facts documented by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), a benedict abbess in the Rhineland area of Germany. The book writes that humans cannot see angels in their true form. Dr. Fox, an Episcopal priest, explains that his experiences, when praying with indigenous people, "are of spirits who come as wind or as sound", he continues by saying that angels do not come to the earth in totally true form because we cannot experience them that way, speculating it is about leaving one's mind open. The book continues to describe Hidegard's views, explaining that angels come in human forms, taking their bodies from the atmosphere and appearing visible in the human form, speaking to humans in words that can be understood, not angelic tongue, eating as humans do, but their food evaporates like dew which continually sinks into the ground to be drunk up in the sun's glow. (Back to top)

THE CREATION OF ANGELS

Saint Augustine wrote: "Where Scripture speaks of the world's creation, it is not plainly said whether or when the angels were created."

Exactly when angels were created is unknown and has been a source of speculation among theologians and religious scholars for centuries, hotly debated during the Middle Ages.

Some believed that angels were created before the earth and before mankind. Others believed that angels were created on the first day of creation. Still others contend that it was the second and even the fifth day. Jewish writing entitled Midrash ha-Ne'elam states that the angels were the first created beings. The Roman Catholic Church, in the New Catholic Encyclopedia states, "The Church has defined as dogma that besides the visible world, God also created a kingdom of invisible spirits, called angels, and that He created them before the creation of the world." The Bible's book of Job attests to this fact. Here God reveals that the angels were witnesses of the earth's creation: "Were you there when I made the world? If you know so much tell me about it. Who decided how large it would be? Who stretched the measuring line over it? Do you know all the answers? What holds up the pillars that support the earth? Who laid the cornerstone of the world? In the dawn that day the stars sang together, and the heavenly beings shouted for joy" (Job 38:4-7)(Back to top)

Pic of an Angel
HOW ARE ANGEL HOSTS ORGANIZED?
Different classes of angels exist - seraphim, cherubim, archangels and angels, and are referred to in a variety of ways: holy ones, sons of God, elohim or simply described as "men", When we add the testimony of Daniel 10, which speaks of dark angels and good angels as "princes" with different ranks, whose assignment are to influence nations, then the natural conclusion is the existence of a hierarchy of supernatural beings inhabiting the spiritual world.

This idea fascinated many through the centuries and numerous attempts were made to determine this hierarchy of angels. Most attempts mix together Scripture's categories of good angels and evil angels. Although Satan was a cherub before his fall (Ex. 28), that was his former status. Thus it seems better to assume that the angels who have remained faithful to the Lord have their own hierarchy and that Satan's angels have a distinctive hierarchy of their own. However, due to the limited information available, the proposed hierarchies of angelic beings are speculations at best.(Back to top)

Ambrose Gregory the GreatJohn of DamascusPseudo-DionysiusBilly Graham
1. Seraphim 1. Seraphim 1. SeraphimTriadic 1a. Seraphim 1.Archangels
2. Cherubim2. Cherubim 2. Cherubim 1b. Cherubim 2.Angels
3. Powers 3.Thrones 3.Thrones 1c. Thrones 3.Seraphim
4. Dominions 4. Dominions 4. Dominions Triadic 2a. Dominions 4.Cherubim
5. Thrones 5. Principalities 5. Powers2b. Powers 5.Principalities
6. Archangels 6. Powers 6. Authorities 2c. Authorities 6.Authorities
7. Angels 7. Virtues 7. Rulers Triadic 3a. Principalities 7. Powers
8. Archangels 8. Archangels 3b. Archangels 8.Thrones
9. Angels 9. Angels 3c. Angels 9.Might
10.Dominion


An interpretation of the New Testament passages led to the following classification of angels, taken from Every Good And Evil Angel by Larry Richards published 1998 by Thomas Nelson Publishers:

God's AngelsSatan's Angels
SeraphimThrones
CherubimDominions
ArchangelsPrincipalities
AngelsPowers


Another interesting classification, taken from Angel Power by Janice T. Connell published in 1995 by Ballantine Books gives 9 angelic choirs, divided into 3 classes:

Angels of Pure Goodness: The angels who dwell closest to the throne of God: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.
These angels were pure goodness in its highest form, viewing humanity in the light of God's Love and always seeing us as the very best we can aspire to be. They try to help us become pure goodness.

Angels of the Cosmos: The Regulative Choir of Angels, having the assingment of governing the entire cosmos, including all the galaxies. The Angels of the Cosmos are: The Dominions, The Powers, and The Virtues, in descending levels of power and authority. Their assignment is quite beyond the scope of the modern human since they meditate the power and control of the universe and all its galaxies.

Angels of the World: The Angels assigned to Earth. They are called the Administrative Angels because they carry out the directions of the regulatory Angels of the Cosmos. They include the: Principalities, Archangels and Angels.

Gregory the Great and Humanity
Saint Gregory the Great believed that each human is destined to join one of the ranks of the Nine Choirs of Angels, not as an angel, but as God's children by cooperation with His Grace and perseverance. Some scholars believe that each person is assigned a
Guardian Angel from the Angelic Choir to which that individual is called.(Back to top)

OTHER ORDERS OF ANGELS:
There are various orders outside of those found in the traditional nine:

Abalim (Great Angels): The Hebrew name for the order of angels called Thrones
Abdals: An elite class of Angels found in Islam, presiding over the operation of the universe. Selected personally by God, their identities are kept secret from the other angels. When one dies, God selects another angel to replace him.
Adityas:An elite group of radiant angels in Vedic beliefs. They are seven angels who reflect God's brilliant light and glory.
Aeons (Cycles of Creation): Superior angels of gnosticism, said to be the first beings created by God. Some of the Aeons turned away from God when they became fascinated with human sexuality.
Aishim: A variation of Izachim.
Ambassadors: A group of angels who promote peace.
Animastics: An order of angels who are great princes in Heaven.
Apparitions: A high order of angels.
Aralim: Another name for the Thrones.
Armies: The Book of Job 25:3 asks "Is there any number to his armies?". Another name for the Celestial Army (God's army of angels in Heaven).
Auphanim:Variation of the name Ophanim, which is itself a variation of the order of Thrones
Authorities:Another name for the Powers
Bene Ha-Elohim (God's Children): Angels who sing praises of God both day and night. Some equate them with the Grigori, others refer to them as "sons of God". A variation of Bene ha-Elohim is Bene Elohim
Chariots of God: In the Book of Psalms 68:17 angels are referred to as "chariots of God": "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place". The Thrones are equated to the chariots.
Confessors:An order of angels led by Barakiel.
Degalim: An order of angels.
Devas: A type of nature spirit. They are the architects of the physical realm, holding the blueprints to all earthly creation. Everything that is manifested in the physical realm is watched over by a deva.
Elim: A superiour order of angels.
Elohim: A high order of angels, sometimes referred to as shining beings. (Note: Elohim is also a Hebrew word for God).
Erelim: Another name for the order of angels called Thrones. Chiefed by Raziel.
Flames: An order of angels
Governors: An order of angels also referred to as Governments.
Grigori: Another name for the order of angels called Watchers (see below).
Hashmallim: Another name for the order of angels called Dominions.
Hayyoth: Also called heavenly beasts, the Hayyoth are angels of fire who reside in the seven heavens with God, supporting God's throne. According to appocryphal lore, Raziel spreads his wings over the Hayyoth so that their fiery breath does no incinerate the attending angels around God's throne. They are also credited with holding up the universe. Each time their wing spread they break out in hallelujahs to God. The prophet Ezekiel saw them in a vision (Ezekiel 1:23-24) and wrote: "There under the dome stood the creatures, each stretching out two wings towards the ones next to it and covering its body with another two wings. I heard the noise their wings made in flight; it sounded like the roar of the sea, like the noise of a huge army, like the voice of Almighty God. When they stopped flying, they folded their wings, but there was still a sound coming from above the dome over their heads." They are the equivalent of the order of angels called the Cherubim and are also called Divine Beasts.
Holy Sefiroth: The ten primary angels of the Cabala. Each is a manifestation of God, representing the ten divine characteristics that rule and shape the world: Kether (Crown), Chokmah (Wisdom), Binah (Understanding), Chesed (Mercy), Geburah (Strength), Tiphereth (Beauty), Netzach (Victory), Hod (Splendor), Jesod (Foundation), and Malkuth (Kingdom). Variations of the name include Sefirot, and Sephiroth.
Hosts: The word host means an assembly of angels. It is also the name of an order of angels that resides in the Seventh heaven. The archangel Michael rules over the heavenly "host". In Heaven, the host of angels stand near God's throne. The Book of 1 Kings 22:19 states, "I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and his left."
Innocents: An order of angels found in Francis Barrett's book The Magnus. The inner circle consisted of angels of truth, justice, peace and charity.
Izachim: A superior order of angels who reside in Maon, the Fifth Heaven. The Izachim sing songs of praise to God. Variations of the name Izachim: Aishim, Ischim, and Ishim.
Kalkydra: A high order of angels ranked along with the Seraphim and Cherubim. They dwell in Zebul, the Fourth Heaven. They are odd in appearance with heads like crocodile's and bodies like a lion's. Each has twelve wings. According to lore, the Kalkydra sing praises to God when the sun rises. A variation of the name is Chalkydri.
Lordships: An order of angels.
Malakim: An order of angels equated with the Virtues.
Martyrs: An order of angels ruled by Gabriel.
Ofanim:A variation of the name Ophanim, they inspire humans to have confidence in God's love and also his great power. The Ophanim are full of eyes and wings, each wearing seventy-two sapphires in his robe and four emeralds in his crown. They are so brilliant that their light illuminates Arabot, the Seventh Heaven (the dwelling place of God). The Jewish prophets became angels of the Ophanim when they reached heaven. They are equated with the order Thrones
OgdoasA class of superiour angels, equated to Archons (above)
Ophanim: (see Ofanim above). Their prince is Opanni'el YHWH, to whom God has entrusted to their care and keeping. Daily Opanni'el YHWH tends to them to increase their brilliance and beauty. He also teaches them to be swift in praising God.
Phoenixes: In apocryphal lore, the Phoenix is a bird in Heaven who guards the world. Every day he goes before the sun and spreads his wings to cover the flaming rays of the sun. If he did not do so, all living things on earth would be incinerated.
Regents: An order of angels found in John Milton's poem Paradise Lost (highly recommended)
Sarim: A high order of angels. In Hebrew the word Sarim means "angelic princes". Their ruler is Tagas.
Sin'anim: A high order of angels. In 3 Enoch, they are referred to as the "fiery Sin'anim."
Sovereignties: The name of a high order of angels.
Tarshishim: Another name for the class of angels called Virtues Voices: An order of angels found in gnosticism.
Warriors: The name of an order of angels found in John Milton's poem Paradise Lost (highly recommended)
Watchers:An order of angels also called the Grigori. They were given the responsibility by God to be teachers to humankind and are said to have worked with Archangels in creating paradise. The Watchers fell from grace when they became attracted to the women of earth.
(Back to top)

ARTISTIC PORTRAYALS:



The following are descriptions of how these orders are commonly portrayed in religious art:
(Taken from Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins - An Encyclopedia by Carol Rose and published by Norton & Company Inc., New York, 1998)

Seraphim - a child's head and wings depicted, usually in red, and may have a candle; or in human form with three pairs of wings.
Cherubim - a child's head and several pairs of wings, usually blue or gold, with a book.

The following are usually of human shape, dressed in flowing white and gold garments from which large gold wings protrude, either outstretched or folded, and they are commonly barefooted:

Thrones - may hold a throne.
Dominions - may be crowned and hold an orb and scepter.
Virtues - hold a rose or a lily.
Powers - may be in armor.
Principalities, Archangels, and Angels - unless named, have a youthful, feminine appearance.
(Back to top)

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