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Angelic Overview Essay, Research Paper

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


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.

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

angels guiding our destiny.

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

(in a Catholic Bible) Daniel 3:61.

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

1 Peter 3:22 (in some versions).

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.

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. If you have any questions, just send me E-Mail.

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