Sunday, August 17, 2008

On Angels

A friend recently asked, “I'm studying angels, so what do you know?” Hmmmm, let’s see . . .

Angels are extremely powerful supernatural beings. On a day-to-day basis, and in your spiritual practice, one shouldn’t see angels nor want to see angels. Seeing angels usually symbolizes the presence of danger. And not all angels are holy.

The word ‘Angel’ comes from the Greek word ‘angelos’, which means messenger. In their communications with humanity, angels are usually messengers of God’s word – bringing important instructions, epiphanies, and messages. Physically, angels are said to be hermaphrodites, having both male and female sexual organs (non-functioning). Traditionally, angels don’t have eyes or souls. Some angels are also said to be resentful of human beings, because God placed humans above angels by giving the human beings a soul.

During the Middle Ages, scholars devoted years to figuring out Angels’ mysteries. Angels also are divided in Orders, which indicate their closeness to God. The orders are divided into spheres: First Sphere, Second Sphere, and Third Sphere. The First Sphere consists of Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones. In the Second Sphere, we find Dominions, Virtues, and Powers. In the Third Sphere are Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.

The most widely-known types of angels are the Archangels, which represent God’s primary messengers to humankind. The four Archangels are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. Archangel Michael is depicted with a flaming sword, and is said to be the commander of the Army of God. Michael (or Meek-e-el) means “Who is like God?” and was the war cry shouted as the War in Heaven began and the rebellious angels were cast down. According to legend, the Fifth Archangel grabbed Archangel Michael by the wings as Satanel was being cast out of heaven, but God intervened and saved Michael. The fallen angels became demons, destined to plague humanity until the End of Days, with the Morning Star as their terrible leader.

Archangel Michael is sometimes called ‘St. Michael’, but Archangel Michael was never a human being. Gabriel is the Angel of Death. Most biblical accounts refer to Gabriel as a fearful creature that would carry out the unmerciful will of God. To appease Gabriel, mystics would leave out food and say, “Upon him be Peace,” as Gabriel would appear, so as to subdue the angel. Gabriel is also said to be the final angel to blow his trumpet, in the End of Days, as the final plagues are unleashed upon humanity and the Earth. Accounts differ as to purpose and personalities of Raphael and Uriel.

Angels are said to have no Free Will or volition, but then this presents a dichotomy, because how do we explain the War in Heaven? Angels can appear as small sparks of light, but usually pass unseen by human beings, unless the angels allow themselves to be seen. Normally, you wouldn’t call upon angels for assistance in day-to-day life. They have very specific purposes, and usually don’t appear unless it’s a time of tribulation or danger.

The highest Angel is the Metatron. Metatron is the shortened Greek form of ‘meta thronons’ or ‘the one that sits behind the throne’. In Talamudic traditions, the Metatron is God’s scribe and the only other entity (besides God) that is allowed to sit down in heaven.

That’s basically about it. Personally, I’ve only seen an angel once in my lifetime. I was waking out of a deep sleep and saw one stand at the corner of my bedroom. It was amazing. I would say it was about 8 feet tall, enormous, glowing, in white robes, and with white-feathered wings. It was more incandescent, than fully physical and solid in form. I’m unsure if I was in danger, but I’m thankful for the being’s protection.

- Omar W. Rosales

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