Angelic Overview


ANGELIC OVERVIEW: “Angels are spirits,” proclaimed St.

Augustine! St. Thomas Aquinas believed that angels were pure
spirit, having no matter or mass, and taking up no space; but Thomas
believed angels could assume bodies at will. The purpose of angels
is the same as mankind: to love and serve the Lord. However, being
that angels are not material beings, and possibly from a different
dimension, they can serve the Lord in many different ways. Angels
have far greater will and intellect than we have. Whereas mankind
must sift through and experiment with natural laws, angels can grasp
all natural laws with a single thought. Eventually we find that
angels cannot work miracles per se, but they can perform many
special effects that appear miraculous, such as protecting Daniel
from the lions in Daniel 6. When angels appear to man, they usually
appear with wings, but the wings are not the method of loco- motion.

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The angels seem to slip in and out of the fourth dimension; thus
travel is more or less instantaneous. If you have access to a
Catholic Bible (it MUST be Catholic), check out Daniel ch. 14, to
read how the prophet Habakkuk was instantly carried, via angel, from
Judea to Babylon, a distance of 600 miles.

The primary general duty of angels is as messengers of God. (The
word “angel” means messenger in Greek.) But angels can do God’s
chores, such as busting Peter out of jail in Acts 5, or destroying
Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. But some angels obey only the
devil, and those angels are known as “demons”, as is Satan himself.

Satan had been an angel, but decided to do his own thing. Angels
can see all aspects of a situation instantly, since they are so very
Angels, and the dimensions they live in, were apparently created
before our visible world and universe. (The Bible tells us in
Genesis ch.1-2 that mankind was created (or evolved) last.) The
number of angels are countless. One reason they are count- less is
that the Bible holds that each person who is or has lived, in the
universe, has a guardian angel (Matthew 18:10). Additionally, some
people who have died may have been transformed into lower angels.

Many people witness “small miracles”, and attribute them to God,
when, in fact, angels may likely author the event. Speaking of
miracles, some people believe that the reason more asteroids don’t
hit and damage planets is because each planet also has a guardian
angel. In this school of thought, we owe our very existence to
There are MANY stories of loved ones appearing after they have
died, and helping the loved ones. Poss- ibly the loved one never
did appear; possibly the loved ones physical appearance was taken
over by an angel. The Bible tells us to respect strangers, as they
may actually be disguised angels, as in Genesis 19, Hebrews 13:2,
and Tobit chapters 4-12 (in Catholic Bibles). They also intercede
for us before God, such as was proposed in Job 33:23, and Psalms
ANGELIC ORGANIZATION: There are three hierarchies of angels:
the Supreme Hierarchy, the Middle Hier- archy, and the Lower
Hierarchy. Within earch hierarchy, there are three choirs (or
ranks), of angels, making a total of nine choirs. The choirs within
the hierarchies differ because of angelic form, rather than matter
or quantity within the choir. The Supreme Hierarchy is always in
God’s inner circle, meditating on Him. The Middle Hiearchy keeps the
universe running according to God’s physical laws. The lower
hirarchy carries out particular tasks.

SUPREME HIERARCHY: The Seraphim (Singular, Seraph) is the first
choir of the Supreme hierarchy. The name means “the burning ones”,
or “ardor”. They sit at God’s throne, or a little above it, and
unceasingly sing praise to Him, and bear light and love to lessor
angels. The Seraphim are completely ruled by divine love, for there
is nothing more important than love according to 1 Corinthians
13:13. Isaiah 6:2 tells us the Seraphim have three sets of wings,
one set to cover the face out of reverence, one set to cover the
feet out of modesty and respect, and one set to fly with. (But as I
previously wrote, they don’t actually use their wings to fly.)
The Cherubim (singular, Cherub) is the second choir of the
Supreme Hierarchy. The Cherubim sit beside God’s throne, and act as
throne bearers, keeping unwanted entities away. (This is
illustrated in Catholic Bibles, in Ecclesiasticus ch.49.) They have
a great insight of God’s secrets, and the workings of the universe.

Exodus ch.25 also tell us that the Cherubim guard churches and
tombs. Ezekiel ch.10 tell us the Cherubim have four faces, four
wings, and four hands. Whereas the Seraphim are angels of love, the
Cherubim are angels of wisdom, and provide wisdom to the lower
angels. Satan was most probably a Cherub before he fell and became
the Devil; thus, only God and the Seraphim can overcome the Devil.

A Cherub probably also closed the Garden of Eden. Beelzebul may
also be a Cherub, since he is next in rank to Satan. Beelzebul’s
name is peppered throughout the gospels.

The Thrones are the lowest choir of the highest hierarchy. Their
main characteristics are submission and peace. Since they are of
the highest order of angels, they have the exalted dignity and glory
of being closer to God than most of the other angels. This being
the case, the divine mysteries are also brought to them before most
of the other angels. The purpose of the thrones is to convey God’s
spirit to the lessor angels. A very detailed description of them
appears in Ezekiel Ch. 1. See also Colossians 1:16.

MIDDLE HIERARCHY: The highest order of the middle hierarchy are
the Dominations (sometimes called Dominions). They rule over the
angelic orders charged with the execution of God’s commands, and
maintenance of God’s authority. The Dominations enjoy a certain
unbounded elevation to the supernatural, and are immune to discord
and tyranny. They are true Lords, not turning themselves towards
vain shadows, but wholly giving themselves to God. See Colossians
1:16, Ephesians 1:21, and 1 Peter 3:22 (in some versions).

The second order are the Sovereign- ties (often called the
Virtues or Rulers). Their primary duty is to carry out the orders
of the Dominations; therefore, they have wide powers in heaven and
the physical universe, although many of their orders are carried out
(in turn) by the lessor angels. The Sovereign’s strength is in its
courage to give all of its energies to God’s will. The Sovereign
Angel demonstrates virtue flowing forth to those angels of lesser
rank, thereby filling those lesser angels with virtue. See
Ephesians 1:21, 1 Corinthians 15:24, and Colossians 1:16 (some
The lowest order of the middle hierarchy are the Powers. A Power
Angel seemingly has great reception and regulation of intellectual
and supernatural power. It can lead, beneficially, angels of lower
rank to God. Provided the Power angel is a “loyalist” to God, his
duties would be to fight evil spirits. There is evidence that many
of the Power angels decided to follow Satan, and are no longer holy.

See Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, 1 Peter 3:22, Colossians 1:16, and
LOWER HIERARCHY: The highest order of the lowest angels are the
Princip- alities. (Some newer Bibles refer to them as Authorities.)
They are augustly in their authoritative ways. Unlike the other
orders of angels, the Principalities are made in the likeness of
God, as is also true of mankind; therefore, a Principality has the
closest appearance to mankind. One of their purposes is to be
leaders to the two lower choirs of angels. The other purpose is to
help mankind through the protection of the earthly nations, and the
ultimate destinies of our souls. If you ever meet a Principality
angel, find out whos side it is on. It is believed that this choir
is the primary source of Satan’s diciples; it is believed that the
Principalities that jumped ship for Satan are what is discussed in
Jude 1:6. Another warning about them comes in Ephesians 6:12. But
take heart: most of the Principalities are loyalists, as in any
other angelic choir. See also Colossians 1:16, Ephesians 1:21, and
The middle order are the Arch- angels. The Archangels are the
best known of all the angels, if for no other reason than they
materialize on earth more often. As the name implies, the Archangls
are to provide guidance, and are leaders of the angels in the next
choir down. They also seem to entrusted with the more important
missions of mankind, and are the guardian angels of important
personages such as religious and political leaders. They protect
and defend the church, probably receiving their orders from the
Cherubim and Power angels. We even have some specific names in this
choir. Arch- angel Michael first appears in Daniel 10:13, and again
in 10:21 and 12:1. Michael’s primary duty seems to be in fighting
Satan, although he cannot win because Satan and his cohorts outrank
him; so Michael must continually seek help from God and the Seraphim
in his fight. Even so, Michael is usually called upon to lead souls
to heaven, as well as being invoked during exor- cisms. The name
Michael means “Who is as God?”, and that is his war cry as he
attacks Satan and his cohorts. Archangel Michael is the guardian
angel of the Israelites. Archangel Gabriel is first mentioned in
Daniel 8:16, and 9:21,26. Practically all of his appearances are
connected with the coming of the Messiah, but he also announced the
conception of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19,26) His conver- sations in
Luke also show Gabriel’s wisdom, tact, and adroitness. He was most
probably the angel who rounded up the three wise men, and got them
to come to Bethlehem (Luke 2:9). Then Gabriel saved the Holy Family
(Matthew 2:13. It is also believed Gabriel was the angel mentioned
in Luke 22:43, and Matthew 28:2. Just imagine: of all the
countless beings that God created, Gabriel got the honor of doing
all the above things; additionally, tradition has it that Gabriel
will have the honor of calling the dead to life, on judgement day,
according to 1 Thess- alonians 4:16. It goes to show that even
though Archangel Gabriel belongs to a relatively low order of
angels, God still chose him to be one of the greatest angels that
was ever created. And then there is Archangel Raphael. His story
is extensive, if you would give credence to the Catholic Bible,
check out Tobit, starting with the third chapter. Folklore also has
it that Michael was the one that busted Peter from Jail, which I
mentioned in the second paragraph; likewise, folklore has it that
Michael and Gabriel appeared together to the prophet Muhammad.

The lowest of the angelic realm is simply called “Angels”, and
truly are messengers of God. That is because their primary duty is
to be more in direct contact with visible and earthly things. They
are also known as “Guardian Angels”. They protect us when the Lord
wills it, such as in Psalms 91:11-13. I also mentioned in the fifth
paragraph that they act as intercessories to God. Some people also
believe that if you say a prayer to your guardian angel, asking a
reconcilliation with another person, your Guardian Angel will
intercede to the other person’s Guardian Angel, thereby improving
your chances at the reconcilliation. There are many tales of people
narrowly escaping death, and many people believe that Guardian
Angels are responsible for those favors, rather than God himself
(see fourth paragraph). That is because in the many Bible
references I indicated, the passages say that angels were SENT to do
a specific task, rather than God effecting the task himself. These
angels are not disheartened that they are of the lowest rank,
because they know that to serve God in ANY capacity is a great
honor. They are referenced in 1 Peter 3:22.

Once again: the nine choirs of angels, in descending order, are
the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Domin- ations, Sovereigns, Powers,
Princip- alities, Archangels, and Angels.


Bibliography:
In compiling this, I have used several different Bibles, but
where I indicate a Catholic Bible, I used the Jerusalem Bible. Most
of you probably know that the Catholic Bible has books and passages
which do not appear in Protestant Bibles. Many may question the
authenticity of these passages in the Catholic Bible, but I decided
to use them as the Catholic Church is the ONLY Christian church
which seriously attempts to explain about angels, and why they were
created, and how they fit in the angelic realm of things. My book
source was primarily “Beyond Space”, written by Father Pascal
Parente in 1957. I also used “St. Michael and the Angels”, put out
by the Marion Publications. They are privately published books, so
you won’t find them at book stores or the library. If you’d like
the books, you can order them from Tan Books P.O. Box 424, Rockford,
IL 61105. I also used “A Book of Angels” written by Sophie Burnham
in 1990, and “Do you have a Guardian Angel” written by John Ronner
in 1985.

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