Is There Any Kind Of Structure To The Angels? Part 2 of 4
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1st Peter 4:10
I have decided to make this particular topic a series. There is so much information that I feel it would be too overwhelming to put it all into one article. Part 2 discusses the Seraphim, Cherub, and Throne angels. Please note that although there are references from the traditional Christian Bible, angels are noted in many other sacred religious texts and teachings.
The highest order is the Seraphim, “the fire makers”, as the highest order of angels, Seraphim stands the closest to God. They are referred to as the caretakers or protectors of God's throne. They are often pictured hovering above the heavenly throne. The illumination they receive from God, they pass down to the angels below them. Those who say they have seen the Seraphim describe them as having amazing forms, features with the body of an eagle, or four faces or bright luminous red wings. As their name, which comes from the ancient Hebrew word for fire suggests, they are closely associated with fire eternally burning with divine love. In fact their name is variously translated as fire makers and carriers of ardour, the love that burns in the Seraphim is so bright that not even powerful angels like the cherubim can look at them directly.
We can however enjoy the warmth, they are said to emit a flame so bright that it lights up the entire world, the warm bright flame of love for creation.
Cherub Angels (Cherubim)
When you hear the word Cherub, do you think of small chubby angels with wings? We see them this way everywhere. However they were portrayed very differently when they first appeared in the ancient art of Assyria. Caribou from the ancient word carob which means both full of knowledge and one who intercedes had the bodies of sphinxes and the heads of eagles, bulls and other powerful animals. The prophet Izekiel described the one that spoke to him as having four faces: the face of a man, an angel, a lion and an eagle. These fierce features are very different from the innocent smiles of the baby angels that we all know and love. The original cherubim were fearsome, they guarded entrances to palaces and temples. Cherubim keep and guard God's knowledge, the same way they guarded temples, two Cherubim of hammered gold sit on top of the Ark of Covenant, the vessel that contained the ten commandments. Cherubim, one of the nine choirs of angels, watches over God's truth throughout the universe. They are said to have special insight over God's secrets therefore, when we are faced with a choice and feel with our hearts which way we need to go, we are feeling the wisdom of the cherubim. Whether you seek true wisdom, justice or true love, the cherubim are the best guides you can have.
The Thrones are a class of celestial beings mentioned by Paul the Apostle in Colossians 1:16. According to the New Testament these high celestial beings are among those Orders at Christ's service. They are the carriers of the Throne of God which is how they got the name.
Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s book on The Encyclopedia of Angels states that:
The 'thrones'; also known as 'ophanim' (offanim) and 'galgallin', are creatures that function as the actual chariots of God driven by the cherubs. They are characterized by peace and submission; God rests upon them. Thrones are depicted as great wheels containing many eyes, and reside in the area of the cosmos where material form begins to take shape. They chant glorias to God and remain forever in his presence. They mete out divine justice and maintain the cosmic harmony of all universal laws.
Thrones angels are known for their wonderful minds. They contemplate divine will on a regular basis, and with their strong intellect, they work to understand that knowledge and figure out how to apply it in practical ways. In the process, they acquire great wisdom.
Thrones, who are the third rank on the most commonly used angelic hierarchy used angelic , join angels from the first two ranks – the seraphim and cherubim -- on God's council of angels in heaven. They meet directly with God/Goddess to discuss his good purposes for everyone and everything in the universe, and how angels can help fulfil those purposes. The Bible mentions this heavenly council in Psalm 89:7, revealing that, "In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared [respected]; he is more awesome than all who surround him." In Daniel 7:9, the Bible describes thrones angels on the council specifically: "... thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days [God] took his seat."
Since Thrones are especially wise, they often explain the divine wisdom behind the missions that God assigns to angels who work in the lower angelic ranks. These other angels -- who range from the Dominions directly below the Throne’s rank to the Guardian Angels working closely with human beings. One can learn lessons from the Throne angels about how best to perform their God-given missions in ways that will accomplish divine will in each situation.
Sometimes Thrones interact with humans, as well. They act as God's messengers, explaining divine will to people who are looking for guidance about what is best for them from a universal perspective and about important decisions they need to make in their lives. Thrones are known for their concern for justice to prevail in a fallen world, and for their work fighting injustice. They go on missions to right wrongs and to help people. Throne angels also enforce universal laws so that the cosmos works in harmony, as God designed it to function throughout all of its many intricate connections.
Thrones are filled with brilliant light that reflects the brilliance of universal wisdom that enlightens their minds. Whenever they appear to people in their heavenly form, they are characterized by light that shines brightly from within them. All the angels who have direct access to God's throne in heaven -- the Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim -- exude light so bright that it's compared to fire.
Stay tuned for part 3 of 4