The Nature of Angels

Tuned in: Train, Calling All Angels

Archangel Raphael

Archangel Raphael

A few years back, I read Danielle Trussoni’s novel, Angelology.  It’s a fascinating tale of a young nun who finds herself connected to the world of angels.  The mood was cold and dark, quite gothic, but at the same time intense and alluring.  From a mystic viewpoint, Angelology is the study of angels.  Whether one believes or not, it’s a topic or idea that spans more than a few religions.  What led me to Trussoni’s book and a fuller examination of these heavenly entities was my own very personal experience.

I will admit (even though I harbor the slight fear that the some will think—she’s gone over the edge prompted by too much writing and the quest to harness social media) I experienced a true event that left me speechless.  Well, not totally speechless, I immediately called my good friend to relate this incredible incident.

One morning, just after dawn as I drove to work, the car was quiet, no talk radio or music, my mind wandered to an unusual thought.  Generally at this time of the day, my brain is in a stasis.  Very little is going on except reacting to driving conditions or if anything, thoughts about what I must do when I first arrive at the workplace.  This morning was different; I was somewhat meditative.  A question popped into my head; what is the nature of angels?  Immediately afterward, I came to a red light and stopped.  My headlights shone on the license plate of the car in front of me.  On the plate was only the word—Divine.  Of course, I blinked and looked twice.  And it still read—Divine.  I sort of laughed, you know that nervous laughter when people experience fear or something they can’t quite process.  Was this just a coincidence?  Had my question timed itself perfectly with a driver whose plate had no numbers or series of random letters, just the bold, black word?  And at six thirty in the morning when few drivers occupied this road?

I immediately called my friend from the car who I knew was awake.  We discussed what were the odds that my thought would be answered via a physical symbol that fit.  After all, the car wasn’t a luxury brand.  The plate didn’t say ‘Popeye’ or ‘My Baby,’ it said ‘Divine.’ In my estimation and hers, we concluded the chances were slim.  I decided I could accept this as a ‘peek’ into the spiritual nature of our existence.  You know all the signs that float around that say Believe, I guess, I do.  Since then, I’ve decided to try and recognize signs that flow from spiritual streams of consciousness and not just ones delegated to the levels of emotional, physical, and intellectual awareness.

Angelology is found in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.  Angels are defined as a supernatural being or spirit.  There are several words found in the Old Testament that describe angels.  Both Hebrew and Arabic use the word Malak (messenger).  References to Seraphim (flame), Kherub (Cherub in English), and Ben Elohim (sons of God) are also found in Genesis and used by the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel.

Angels first appear in the Old Testament in Genesis where the Cherubim are used to guard the Tree of Life after the fall of Adam and Eve.  In addition, the ‘sons of God’ make their first appearance in Genesis.  It tells us that when men began to number the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God viewed them as beautiful and married them.  “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the ‘sons of God’ went to the daughters of men and had children by them.’  Some believe that the sons of God had relations with women and may have produced Nephilim that translates as giants.  They were considered to be ‘the heroes of old, men of renown.’

It is believed there is an angel hierarchy, but there are variances between the Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic order of angels or choir.  The Hebrew order ‘has been established for millennia’ but the Christian theological debates over angel hierarchy began with the ‘earliest theologians of the newly formed religion.’

The highest to lowest ranking in the Christian hierarchy:

First Hierarchy (The highest is Seraphim)

Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Gabriel

Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones

Middle Hierarchy

Dominations, Virtues, Powers

Third Hierarchy

Principalities, Archangels, Angels

The highest to lowest ranking in the Hebrew hierarchy: (The highest is Hayyoth)

Hayyoth, Ophanim, Erelim, Hashmallim, Seraphim, Malakim, Elohim, Bene Elohim, Cherubim, Ishim

The highest to lowest ranking in the Islamic hierarchy: (The highest is the Spirit)

The Spirit is ‘made from God’s light.’  He is in command of the Kerubim (cherubim). All angels are made from him, and the archangels and angels ‘preside over the universe for him.’  There are four archangels: Israfil, jibril (Gabriel), Azrael and Michael.  Other angels named are Munkar and Nakir who visit the graves of the dead.  The Kiramu’l

Michael the Archangel

Michael the Archangel

Katiban are guardian angels that accompany every person and record their lives.  Each person has two.

The names of some angels from the Jewish and Christian sources that are better known and listed as The Seven Holy Angels:

Michael (‘who is like unto God’)          Raphael (‘God has healed’)

Gabriel (‘God is my strength’)              Uriel (‘the light of God’)

Chamuel (‘He who seeks God’)            Zophiel (‘the beauty of God’)

Zadkiel (‘the righteousness of God’)

A tidbit I found in my search is that there is an angel associated with each month of the year.  The August angel is Hamaliel, the angel of logic.  Think logically about any decisions you may have to make this month.

Angels—fact or fiction?  It’s up to you to decide.  Some religious traditions believe we live in a world of illusion known as ‘Maya.’  Perhaps, the supernatural world is more real than ours.  What do you think?


Mercante, Anthony. Good and Evil In Myth & Legend / The Bible, NIV / Angels & /  Angel,




About cinzia8

Published writer and teacher.
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