“Angels are spirits,” proclaimed St.Augustine! St. Thomas Aquinas believed that angels were pure spirit, having no matter or mass, and taking up no space; but Thomas believedangels could assume bodies at will. The purpose of angels is the same as mankind: to love andserve the Lord. However, being that angels are not material beings, and possibly from a differentdimension, they can serve the Lord in many different ways. Angels have far greater will andintellect than we have. Whereas mankind must sift through and experiment with natural laws,angels can grasp all natural laws with a single thought. Eventually we find that angels cannotwork miracles, but they can perform many special effects that appear miraculous, such asprotecting Daniel from the lions in Daniel 6. When angels appear to man, they usually appearwith wings, but the wings are not the method of locomotion. The angels seem to slip in and outof the fourth dimension; thus travel is more or less instantaneous. The primary general duty of angels is as messengers of God. (The word “angel” meansmessenger in Greek.) But angels can do God’s chores, such as busting Peter out of jail in Acts 5,or destroying Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. But some angels obey only the devil, andthose angels are known as “demons”, as is Satan himself. Satan had been an angel, but decidedto do his own thing. Angels can see all aspects of a situation instantly, since they are so verywise. Angels, and the dimensions they live in, were apparently created before our visibleworld and universe. (The Bible tells us inGenesis ch.1-2 that mankind was created (or evolved)last.) The number of angels are countless. One reason they are countless is that the Bible holdsthat each person who is or has lived, in the universe, has a guardian angel (Matthew 18:10). Additionally, some people who have died may have been transformed into lower angels. Many people witness “small miracles”, and attribute them to God, when, in fact, angelsmay likely author the event. Speaking of miracles, some people believe that the reason moreasteroids don’t hit and damage planets is because each planet also has a guardian angel. In thisschool of thought, we owe our very existence to angels guiding our destiny. There are many stories of loved ones appearing after they have died and helping theloved ones. Possibly the loved one never did appear; possibly the loved ones physicalappearance was taken over by an angel. The Bible tells us to respect strangers, as they mayactually be disguised angels, as in Genesis 19 and Hebrews 13:2. They also intercede for usbefore God, such as was proposed in Job 33:23, and Psalms80:1-2. ANGELIC ORGANIZATION: There are three hierarchies of angels: the SupremeHierarchy, the Middle Hierarchy, and the Lower Hierarchy. Within each hierarchy there arethree choirs (or ranks) of angels making a total of nine choirs. The choirs within the hierarchiesdiffer because of angelic form rather than matter or quantity within the choir. The SupremeHierarchy is always in God’s inner circle, meditating on Him. The Middle Hiearchy keeps theuniverse running according to God’s physical laws. The lower hirarchy carries out particulartasks. SUPREME HIERARCHY: The Seraphim (Singular, Seraph) is the first choir of theSupreme hierarchy. The name means “the burning ones”,or “ardor”. They sit at God’s throne, ora little above it, and unceasingly sing praise to Him, and bear light and love to lesser angels. TheSeraphim are completely ruled by divine love, for there is nothing more important than loveaccording to 1 Corinthians13:13. Isaiah 6:2 tells us the Seraphim have three sets of wings, oneset to cover the face out of reverence, one set to cover the feet out of modesty and respect, andone set to fly with. (But as I previously wrote, they don’t actually use their wings to fly.) The Cherubim (singular, Cherub) is the second choir of the Supreme Hierarchy. TheCherubim sit beside God’s throne and act as throne bearers, keeping unwanted entities away. (This is illustrated in Catholic Bibles, in Ecclesiasticus ch.49.) They have a great insight ofGod’s secrets, and the workings of the universe. Exodus ch.25 also tell us that the Cherubimguard churches and tombs. Ezekiel ch.10 tell us the Cherubim have four faces, four wings, andfour hands. Whereas the Seraphim are angels of love, the Cherubim are angels of wisdom, andprovide wisdom to the lower angels. Satan was most probably a Cherub before he fell andbecame the Devil; thus, only God and the Seraphim can overcome the Devil. A Cherub probablyalso closed the Garden of Eden. Beelzebul may also be a Cherub, since he is next in rank toSatan. Beelzebul’s name is peppered throughout the gospels. The Thrones are the lowest choirof the highest hierarchy. Their main characteristics are submission and peace. Since they are ofthe highest order of angels they have the exalted dignity and glory of being closer to God thanmost of the other angels. This being the case, the divine mysteries are also brought to thembefore most of the other angels. The purpose of the thrones is to convey God’s spirit to the lesserangels. A very detailed description of them appears in Ezekiel Ch. 1. See also Colossians 1:16. MIDDLE HIERARCHY: The highest order of the middle hierarchy are theDominations (sometimes called Dominions). They rule over the angelic orders charged with theexecution of God’s commands, and maintenance of God’s authority. The Dominations enjoy acertain unbounded elevation to the supernatural, and are immune to discord and tyranny. They
are true Lords, not turning themselves towards vain shadows, but wholly giving themselves toGod. See Colossians1:16, Ephesians 1:21, and 1 Peter 3:22 (in some versions). The second order are the Sovereignties (often called theVirtues or Rulers). Theirprimary duty is to carry out the orders of the Dominations; therefore, they have wide powers inheaven and the physical universe, although many of their orders are carried out (in turn) by thelesser angels. The Sovereign’s strength is in its courage to give all of its energies to God’s will. The Sovereign Angel demonstrates virtue flowing forth to those angels of lesser rank, therebyfilling those lesser angels with virtue. See Ephesians 1:21, 1 Corinthians 15:24, and Colossians1:16 (someversions). The lowest order of the middle hierarchy are the Powers. A Power Angel seeminglyhas great reception and regulation of intellectual and supernatural power. It can lead,beneficially, angels of lower rank to God. Provided the Power angel is a “loyalist” to God, hisduties would be to fight evil spirits. There is evidence that many of the Power angels decided tofollow Satan, and are no longer holy. See Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, 1 Peter 3:22, Colossians1:16, and(in a Catholic Bible) Daniel 3:61. LOWER HIERARCHY: The highest order of the lowest angels are the Principalities. (Some newer Bibles refer to them as Authorities.) They are augustly in their authoritative ways. Unlike the other orders of angels, the Principalities are made in the likeness of God, as is alsotrue of mankind; therefore, a Principality has the closest appearance to mankind. One of theirpurposes is to be leaders to the two lower choirs of angels. The other purpose is to help mankindthrough the protection of the earthly nations, and the ultimate destinies of our souls. If you evermeet a Principality angel, find out who’s side it is on. It is believed that this choir is the primarysource of Satan’s diciples. It is also believed that the Principalities that jumped ship for Satanare what is discussed in Jude 1:6. Another warning about them comes in Ephesians 6:12. Buttake heart: most of the Principalities are loyalists, as in any other angelic choir. See alsoColossians 1:16, Ephesians 1:21, and1 Peter 3:22 (in some versions). The middle order are the Archangels. The Archangels are the best known of all theangels, if for no other reason than they materialize on earth more often. As the name implies,the Archangls are to provide guidance, and are leaders of the angels in the next choir down. They also seem to be entrusted with the more important missions of mankind, and are theguardian angels of important people such as religious and political leaders. They protect anddefend the church, probably receiving their orders from the Cherubim and Power angels. Weeven have some specific names in this choir. Archangel Michael first appears in Daniel 10:13,and again in 10:21 and 12:1. Michael’s primary duty seems to be in fighting Satan, although hecannot win because Satan and his cohorts outrank him; so Michael must continually seek helpfrom God and the Seraphim in his fight. Even so, Michael is usually called upon to lead souls toheaven, as well as being invoked during exorcisms. The name Michael means “Who is asGod?”, and that is his war cry as he attacks Satan and his cohorts. Archangel Michael is theguardian angel of the Israelites. Archangel Gabriel is first mentioned inDaniel 8:16, and 9:21,26. Practically all of his appearances are connected with the coming of the Messiah, but he alsoannounced the conception of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19,26) . His conversations in Luke alsoshow Gabriel’s wisdom, tact, and adroitness. He was most probably the angel who rounded upthe three wise men, and got them to come to Bethlehem (Luke 2:9). Then Gabriel saved theHoly Family(Matthew 2:13). It is also believed Gabriel was the angel mentioned in Luke 22:43,and Matthew 28:2. Just imagine: of all the countless beings that God created, Gabriel got thehonor of doing all the above things; additionally, tradition has it that Gabriel will have the honorof calling the dead to life, on judgement day, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16. It goes to showthat eventhough Archangel Gabriel belongs to a relatively low order of angels, God still chosehim to be one of the greatest angels that was ever created. And then there is Archangel Raphael. His story is extensive, if you would give credence to the Catholic Bible, check out Tobit, startingwith the third chapter. Folklore also has it that Michael was the one that busted Peter from Jail,which I mentioned in the second paragraph; likewise, folklore has it that Michael and Gabrielappeared together to the prophet Muhammad. The lowest of the angelic realm is simply called “Angels”, and truly are messengers ofGod. That is because their primary duty is to be more in direct contact with visible and earthlythings. They are also known as “Guardian Angels”. They protect us when the Lord wills it, suchas in Psalms 91:11-13. I also mentioned in the fifth paragraph that they act as intercessories toGod. Some people also believe that if you say a prayer to your guardian angel, asking for reconcilliation with another person, your Guardian Angel will intercede to the other person’sGuardian Angel, thereby improving your chances at the reconcilliation. There are many tales ofpeople narrowly escaping death, and many people believe that Guardian Angels are responsiblefor those favors, rather than God himself (see fourth paragraph). That is because in the manyBible references I indicated, the passages say that angels were sent to do a specific task, ratherthan God effecting the task himself. These angels are not disheartened that they are of thelowest rank, because they know that to serve God in any capacity is a great honor. They arereferenced in 1 Peter 3:22.