Types of Angels

Some people might be surprised to know that only three kinds of angels are actually mentioned in the Bible. The first kind named is a Cherubim set to guard the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword in Genesis 3:24. The second kind mentioned are the Seraphim described in Isaiah 6:2 and Ezekiel 1:27. The last type of angel named in the Bible is the Archangel mentioned in First Thessalonians 4:16.

In Jewish Angelology as described by Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah there are ten orders of angels.

The first order are the Chayot Ha Kodesh: These are the angels closest to God.

The second rank are the Ophanim: These angels are the never sleeping guards that ward God’s throne and also drive His chariot.

The Third order are the Erelim: Their name means the Valiant Ones

The Forth rank are the Hashmallim: These angels are associated with the color gold.

The fifth order are the Seraphim: According to Isaiah these Angel: “each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.” (Isaiah 6:2) This order’s name means flaming or fiery.

The sixth order are the Malakhim: These are the messengers angels of God.

The seventh rank are the Elohim: Their name means “Godly Beings” and may represent God on earth directly.

The eighth order are the Bene Elohim or the “Sons of the Godly Beings”

The ninth order are the Cherubim: It is a Cherub that guards the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword.

The tenth rank of angels are the Ishim and are the Angels closest to man; their name means “man-like beings”.

The ranks of Angels differ in Christian Angelology from the Jewish rankings. According to The Celestial Hierarchy written by the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, an anonymous theologian of the late 5th Century AD there are nine ranks or choirs of Angels, divided into three spheres with three ranks in each.

In the First Sphere the first rank are the Seraphim: This is the order closest to God and continual sing the Praises of the Lord. The next rank are the Cherubim: These are the guards of God, protecting his throne and the Garden of Eden. The last rank in the First Sphere are the Thrones: The Thrones are the Christian equivalent of the Jewish Ophanim Angels.

The Second Sphere contains the Dominions, Virtues and Powers. The Dominions job is to control the lower orders of Angels. The Virtues primarily tasked with maintaining cosmic order. The Powers are the Soldier Angels and work closely with the Principalities.

The third Sphere has the Principalities, the Archangels and the Angels. The Principalities main job is to guard people both as groups and individuals. Archangel’s name means “chief Angel” and are primarily concerned with worldly matters. The last rank are the Angels and are the messengers of God and are the ones that humans interact with the most.

Sources:

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/areopagite_13_heavenly_hierarchy.htm

http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/t#a7489/

http://www.scribd.com/doc/27122484/Moses-Maimonides-Mishneh-Torah-Introduction-and-Book-of-Knowledge

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