by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac.
As with everything in the Universe, there is an order. This includes the celestial realm. Found in different religious ideologies, the Hierarchy of Angels (somewhat) defines which angelic influences rule the “spheres” or “choirs”, what their duties are and who they are in charge of. There are Seven Heavens and 9 spheres (choirs) of angels. Subdivided into three tiers, the Seraphim choir is the highest order and closest to heaven and God while the Angel choir is the furthest from heaven and closest to Earth.
One of the most influential figures in the history of early Christianity, was the 5th century theologian, Dionysius the Areopagite, sometimes called “Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite”. Dionysius wrote The Celestial Hierarchy, which describes the three levels or spheres of angelic influence.
In the Old Testament, angels are mentioned at least 108 times and there were two orders of angels the Seraphim and Cherubim. In the New Testament, angels are mentioned 165 times and it is within this book that Saint Paul extended the number spheres or choirs by adding seven new orders bringing-the number to nine orders.
Thomas Aquinas was a great medieval theologian, and is known as the “Angelic Doctor” for his extensive writings on angels in his book, the Summa Theologica (written 1265 -1274). Thomas Aquinas believed that angels, being spiritual beings, influence mankind by illuminating one’s mind with an idea. Quoting Scripture, he named 9 orders of angels in 3 groups:
– Isaiah 6:2 – These angels are closest to God. They are the highest order, level or choir of angels. They praise God and represent His love. They are the angels who are guardians before God’s throne. They appear with six wings and are known as the “inflamers”, entities of pure fire and light. They sing the sacred song of the angels, the Trisagion, “Holy, holy, holy”. These angels include Seraphiel, Metatron, Michael, Jehoel, (Lucifer, before he fell).
– Genesis 3:24 and Ezekiel 10:1-22 – The second highest in the hierarchy of angels, Cherubim are the intercessors of God. They symbolize God’s power and intimate knowledge. In the New Testament, Rev 4-6 they are considered celestial attendants in the Apocalypse. The Cherubim hold the energy of the sun, moon and stars. These angels include Gabriel, Raphael, Zophiel, Cherubiel, Ophaniel.
– Colossians 1:16 – Their name literally means throne or highly ornamented chair. Thrones are the angels of pure humility, peace and submisssion. They reside in the area of the Universe where material form begins to materialize. These angels dispense God’s divine will and judgment. The lower hierarchies of angels need the Thrones to gain access God. These angels include Orifiel, Japhakiel, Raziel, Baradiel, Zaphkie.
– Colossians 1:16 – These are the angels of leadership, regulating the duties of the angels, making known the commands of God. They are angels of divine wisdom and powerful intuition. They are known for combining spiritual and material. They make order of the law of cause and effect. These angels include Zadkiel, Hasamael, Muriel, Zacharel.
– 1 Peter 3:22 – This angelic level or choir of angels are considered the ones who govern and suspend the laws of nature. Known as the“Brilliant or Shining Ones”, they provide courage, grace, and valor. They are the miracle workers who help people to strive for and go beyond what humans feel is impossible. They are nurturing and loving entities to people who try to help, enlighten and show others harmony. The Virtues are known as the spirits of motion. These angels include Uriel, Uzziel, Haniel, Michael, Cassiel, Babiel, Gabriel, Peuel.
– Colossians 1:16 – The Warrior Angels or Potentates as they are called, fight and protect against evil defending the heavens and humans. They fight against demons who attempt to overthrough the world, controlling the border between heaven and earth. They are the angels of death and rebirth who guard the path to heaven and guide lost souls back onto the path. These are the angels who guard and protect the Book of Life (which is known as the Akashic Record). Akasha in Sanskrit, means planetary record cell. These soul records exist beyond time and space and contain information on “all that was, is and shall be”. It is the collective consciousness of the entire cosmos. These angels include Raphael, Chamuel, Camael, Ertosi, Verchiel, Samael.
– Colossians 1:16 – These angels are considered the Guardians of Nations. They oversee groups of people, nations, cities and towns. They are the guardians of sacred sites on Earth. They assist in guiding religions and religious leaders to the path of truth. They are the caretakers of the archangels and guardian angels below them. These angels include Uriel, Anael, Haniel, Michael, Raquel, Cerviel, Raphael, Gabriel, Remiel
– 1 Thessalonians 4:16 – These angels are generally known as the “chief or leading angels” Jude 9; 1 Thes 4:16). They are the most frequently mentioned angels in the Bible. The Archangels have a unique role as God’s messenger to the people at critical times in history and salvation(Tb 12:6, 15; Jn 5:4; Rv 12:7-9). Feast days celebrate the Archangels accomplishments and designate a day for honor and remembrance. A particular part of the Byzantine Liturgy invokes the Cherubic Hymn, which celebrates these Archangels and the guardian angels, as well. These angels include Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Jofiel, Zadquiel, Chamuel and Uriel.
– Throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, these angels are closest to the material world and act as our personal guardian. They have the task of nurturing, counseling, and healing us. They deliver the prayers to God and messages to humans. Angels bring cosmic joy, happiness, peace, courage, beauty and love into our lives. They guide us in faith, freedom and belief. They are the most caring and assist those who ask for help. These are the many references to angels and their purpose from almost every religious lexicon on earth. Their names are varied and plentiful.