Saturday, June 27, 2009

Angels

Ok, I am feeling somewhat lazy for the moment, and nothing comes to find. So, I have decided to give you a special treat! This is from an earlier writing, where I researched some information on angels and demons, since they are something I am very interested in (I don't know why, don't ask lol). Since it is a lot of information, I shall split this into two entries. This will be the angels, and below this one will be the demons.
Angels- the mystical, winged creatures often spoken of in Christian stories. Sometimes pretty children, sometimes handsome adults, angels usually make their presence to people in the form of humans. They have appeared at various times in various places, usually entrusted with important messages or visions from The Almighty. These messages or visions are given to special people, who are almost always considered holy in some way, and then share the knowledge that God has bestowed upon them to the rest of humanity.

The word angel comes from the Latin angelus, which comes from the Greek angelos (άγγελος), which is "messenger". They are the ones who deliver these special messages from God to humanity. There have been records of angels in several different cultures, whether it be Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim culture. There are several differences between each culture's rendition of God's messengers, as well as the hierarchy of these angels in Heaven.

Usually, an angel's name ends with -el. In Hebrew, El means "God". So when an angel's name is given, like Michael, his name literally means "Likeness of El", or the likeness of God. Basically, most angel names describe something to do with God.

ex: ___el = "___ of God" ---> Gabriel = "Hero of God"

The Choir of Angels
According to Christianity, the most accepted choir of angels is structured thus-

First Choir:
Seraphs- The highest of the angels, seraphim are the ones closest to God. They sing His praises constantly, never ceasing to give Him adoration. The seraphim burn continuously with love for God.
Cherubs- The second highest class of angels, cherubs are the guardians not only of the Garden of Eden, but also of the celestial objects (the stars). They are said to have an amount of knowledge that rivals the love of the seraphim.
Ophans- The last of the First Choir, they are connected to the cherubim. They are described as "great wheels of fire". They are tasked in carrying the throne of God.


Second Choir:
Thrones- They are the personification (deification?) of God's authority and justice. They are the ones that reflect God's goodness the best. They deal out justice in the most perfect objective manner.
Dominions- They are the ones who silently keep the universe running in order. They are also the guardians of nations. They rarely show themselves to humans.
Principalities- They follow the orders of the dominions and oversee groups of people. They inspire humans to pursue such subjects as the arts and the sciences.

Third Choir:
Powers- They can be considered the recorders of history. They concern themselves with academic subjects such as theology and philosophy.
Archangels- They are the chief messengers of God. There are two archangels according to the Bible, Michael and Gabriel (Raphael is referred as an archangel in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit). It is said that there are seven archangels who are the highest in rank of archangels.
Angels- The basic messengers, angels are the most frequent of angels who visit humanity. They are the ones that concern themselves with human affairs.

List of Angels:

The Seven Archangels
Michael- ("Who is like God?") Said to be the chief of angels, Michael is one of, if not, the highest ranking angel in Heaven. He is the leader of the Heavenly Army and the defender of Israel.

Gabriel- ("Hero of God") Another of the Seven, Gabriel is the messenger to Mary regarding the birth of Jesus.

Raphael- ("God Heals") He is one of the Seven. Raphael protects Tobit and Sarah from the demon Asmodai (Asmodeus). He is one of the highest angels, and usually appears in the same ranking as Michael and Gabriel. Raphael supposedly healed Abraham after wrestling his dark adversary at Peniel. Legend states that he personally delivered a charm to King Solomon in order to control demons to build the Temple.

Uriel- ("Fire of God") One of the Seven, and almost always included as such.

The last 3 are in dispute among several sources, so only the names will be given here.
According to the Book of Enoch:
Raguel- ("Friend of God") One of the Seven.
Zerachiel- One of the Seven.
Remiel- One of the Seven.

According to the Psuedo-Dionysius:
Camuel- ("He who sees God") One of the Seven.
Jophiel- ("Beauty of God") One of the Seven.
Zadkiel- ("Righteousness of God") One of the Seven.

Metatron- One of the highest angels in creation, Metatron is the heavenly scribe. He writes down all the deeds that occur in Heaven. It is said that Enoch was turned into Metatron when he was taken up to Heaven. The twin brother of Sandalphon. He is sometimes referred to as the "lesser YHWH", the lesser Tetragrammaton, since it is said that there is an angel that God said "My name [YHWH] is in him". In the Kabbalah, Metatron shows up twice; once as the crown, and another time as kingdom (Sandalphon). When Enoch was transformed into Metatron, he turned into a spirit of fire, was equipped with 36 pairs of wings and gained innumerable eyes. Metatron in many cases is exalted above all angels, said to be the greatest of them. The meaning and origin of his name is a mystery.

Sandalphon- The twin brother of Metatron, Sandalphon is usually associated with the prophet Elijiah, who was turned into an angel when God took him up to Heaven in a fiery chariot. Sandalphon appears in the Kabbalah as crown (Metatron). Kabbalists say that he is responsible for the differentiation of gender in embyros. His name is said to mean "lover of sandals".

Lucifer- (Latin lux ferre, light bearer) Although not a real angel, Lucifer has an interesting history attached to him. The term "Lucifer" was translated by St. Jerome from the Hebrew Helel ben Shahar, the Son of Dawn, used to described the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. When the term in Hebrew was translated into Latin, it was errornously turned into the proper noun "Lucifer", which was then associated with Satan, thus the story of the great angel Lucifer falling from grace and becoming the evil Satan was born. As a note, the word "Satan" in Hebrew means "adversary".

Raziel- ("Secrets of God") He is said to have the teachings of Jewish mysticism of Kabbalah.

Samael- ("Venom of God") Samael is sometimes referred to as one of the greatest angel, and sometimes as one of the worst demon. He is referred to as a husband of Lilith on occasion. He is also considered an angel of death. In many occasions, he is interchangeable with Satan.

Hanael- ("Glory of God") A minor angel.

Azazael- ("Strength of God") A minor angel.

Azreal- ("Help of God") An angel of death.

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