THE HIERARCHY OF ANGELS
Hello all my fine friends out there! How has this week gone for you all? We just had a massive storm here. First some hard steady down pouring, then large marble sized hail, then thunder and lighting. Usually the thunder and lightening comes first so everything seemed out of order.
Speaking of order, how many different types of angels are there and do they have a hierarchy? Well, I am not an expert, but my research has come up with nine different types of angels. And yes, there seems to be a hierarchy. At the top of the list would be the arch angels, of which we looked into last week. First Timothy 5:21 speaks of the “elect” angels; “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality”. It is unclear if these elect angels are a class unto themselves of if they includes several classes such cherubim and seraphim.
The cherubim are mentioned 50 times in the King James Version of the Bible. 34 times as carvings and 11 times describing the beings themselves. Cherubs are mighty angles with four large wings and four faces. Ezekiel 10: 1- “And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne. Then He spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, ‘Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.’ And he went in as I watched. Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple[a] when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory. And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even in the outer court, like the voice of Almighty God when He speaks.
“Then it happened, when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, ‘Take fire from among the wheels, from among the
Each one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, the second face the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. And the cherubim were lifted up. This was the living creature I saw by the River Chebar. When the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also did not turn from beside them. When the cherubim stood still, the wheels stood still, and when one was lifted up, the other lifted itself up, for the spirit of the living creature was in them.
“Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. And the cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight. When they went out, the wheels were beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
“This is the living creature I saw under the God of Israel by the River Chebar, and I knew they were cherubim. Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings. And the likeness of their faces was the same as the faces which I had seen by the River Chebar, their appearance and their persons. They each went straight forward.” It seems their role is as a protector, even in statue they protected the ark of the covenant.
The seraphim on the other hand are only mentioned twice, both in Isaiah. Isaiah 6:2-3 and 6: 6-7 states; “Above it (the throne of the Lord) stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;The whole earth is full of His glory!’
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
‘Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’”
It seems that seraphim praise the Lord and are messengers for Him.
The books and parts of books from Tobit through 2 Maccabees are recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Roman Catholic, Greek, and Russian Orthodox Churches. In these books the angel Raphael is mentioned. He is a messenger angel who givesinstructions to a man named Tobias. In the end in Tobit 12:15 he reveals he is an angel, “I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ready to enter before the glory of the Lord.”
There also are warring angels. Matthew 26:53 quotes, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send memore than twelve legions of angels?’” These legions were ready to fight for Jesus if he just gave the word.
And there is one more classification of angels. The evil or fallen angels. Psalms 78:49 states, “He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.”
So the hierarchy? Well that can be debatable—are cherubim higher than the seraphim? Are the elect a separate category? If I had to categorize these amazing being I would do so like this:
Speaking of evil angels…how did that come about? Stay tuned next week and find out!
God bless and take care!