Angels

Angels

Angels


Okay, this is a big subject and it's been over my head from the start. The study of angels is called "Angelology" and it is involved. Angels exist in virtually every world religion and much of what we "know" about them is non-biblical (kind of like the seven deadly sins, you know what they are, but you can't find them in the bible. Hint: it's in Proverbs 6:16-19.) There are theological authorities that have wildly differing views about the nature and actions and order of angelic beings. Pretty much everything I present here can and has been disputed. People take their angels seriously.

So, to keep this subject in a deliverable format, I am sticking to my NIV study bible, and will include information that can be readily referenced in your basic garden variety protestant Sunday School group. Y'all.



Angel Omnibus



Types and Ranks

The Christian bible lists three types of angels.

Cherubim are one of the types of angels listed in the bible. You read about them early in Genesis standing guard at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. I imagine they are still there. In Ezekiel, God rides in on them as they draw his celestial chariot. The Israelites craft two golden cherubim for the top of the Ark of the Covenant and God's spirit sits above them.

Seraphim only appear in Isaiah, chapter six. They fly above God's throne and call to one another, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices, the door-posts and thresholds shook and the temple filled with smoke. When Isaiah realized he was a sinful man standing before Holy God, he despaired. It was a seraph that took tongs, picked up a live coal, and touched it to his lips to take away his sin.

Living creatures is another type of angel listed in the bible. In Ezekiel's first vision, he refers to the angels as "living creatures". In his second vision, he realized the are cherubim. In Revelation, they are referred to as living creatures again. In all three cases the description of their appearance changes a bit.

Archangel is the only rank of angel given and it is only specifically applied to Michael. It is applied to Michael in the Book of Jude, but in Revelation there is an account of Michael and his angels fighting against Satan (the dragon). This seems to imply that an archangel is in charge of other angels.



Angels with Names

Gabriel

Gabriel, explainer of stuff. Gabriel is not listed as an archangel in the bible. An ancient Jewish religious book called Book of Enoch (it's non-canonical) lists him as one however, and he is considered an archangel in Judaism, Islam, and most Christian traditions. Jewish rabbis often interpret the "man in linen" in Daniel and Ezekiel to be Gabriel. Gabriel only addresses three people in the bible: Daniel, Zechariah, and Mary. You should believe what he says.

Daniel 8:16-17 16. And I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision." 17. As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. "Son of man," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end."

Daniel 9:21-22 21. while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22. He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.

Luke 1:18-20 18. Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years." 19. The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."

Luke 1:26-27 26. In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27. to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

There is no mention in the bible of Gabriel and his horn. You can take this verse from 1st Thessalonians and use it how you like:

1st Thessalonians 4:16 16. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.


Michael

Michael is an archangel and is the only angel with designation. He is first mentioned in Daniel as "one of the chief princes" in v10:13, and in v12:1, "the great prince who protects your people." Michael is the protector of Israel and the one who fights and defeats Satan in Revelation. BTW, the word archangel only appears in the bible twice: 1st Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 1:9.

Daniel 12:1 "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered.

Jude 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.


Abaddon

Abaddon appears in Revelation 9:11 as king over the locusts from the pit - the angel of the abyss. The Greek translation of his name is Apollyon. This is the third angel with a proper name in the bible. Abaddon (and Apollyon) means "Destroyer" (it is capitalized.) It's easy to find information about Abaddon, but there is a good deal of dispute over his character. Good guy doing God's will? Or evil tormentor? Opinions vary.

Revelation 9:7-11 7. The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8. Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. 9. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.


Satan

I really didn't want to go here, but Satan is not named in the bible. Paradoxically, he seems to win the prize for having the most names. I had initially argued that his name is Lucifer, but it's not. The word Lucifer only appears in Isaiah 14:12 and is a Latin Vulgate translation of the Hebrew word for "O Shining One" (transliterated Hêlêl ('Hay-Lale')). It is an antiquated term that is translated as "morning star" in most modern bible translations. You can compare the translations at this link: https://biblehub.com/isaiah/14-12.htm. Here is a partial list of names for Satan:

I am comfortably certain this list is not exhaustive but it gives you an idea.



But what about?

The angels listed above are not the only ones in the bible of course, but they represent the ones that are identified with names. You could holler at them in a crowd of angels and maybe get a response. There are other angels in Christianity listed in extra-biblical books such as those in the Apocrypha. Personally, I Googled them. Here are some I've been asked about:

There are many, many more. There are many more orders of angels, too. For instance, in Jewish angelic hierarchy, the wheels that Ezekiel saw along side the Living Creatures are Ophanim. The "glowing metal" Ezekiel sees in v.1:4 and v.8:2 are called Hashmallim. You can spend a lifetime studying angels and demons. It's a big subject.