Three is a Witness
(Yahweh), the plural of eloha, meaning "god"; while technically a plural word, the singular Elohim was used and understood as the Hebrew conception of the God of Israel, the one true God. In Hebrew texts of the Old Testament, the word Elohim was used variously with other words or conjunctions such as ha- to make entirely clear that this is "the" God and not some other deity or personage. This grammatical addition was considered essential because elohim had also been used for earlier goddesses-its root, in fact, came from the Canaanite word el-and for such beings as angels. The application of elohim (perhaps to be defined as "sons of God") has been given to angels in the sense that they represent God as messengers and thus are equatable or synonymous with God himself. It can be argued, however, that the elohim might constitute their own order or choir, as was maintained by the fifteenth-century scholar Pico della Mirandola. When he compiled his own list of the angelic choirs, he placed the elohim in ninth place.
Also termed the grigori, a group of angels who figure in Jewish legend; they are reputed to have members who fell onto sin and others who stayed devoted to the cause of the Lord. Originally the watchers were apparently some of the most august angels in all of heaven. They never slept, kept eternal vigilance over heaven, and were some of the tallest beings in all creation. According to the Book of Jubilees (supported to some degree by the First Book of Enoch), they were sent to earth to give instruction to mortals on nature and other knowledge considered useful for them to have by the Lord. Unfortunately several watchers became enamored with human women and so cohabited with them. Their offspring were the nephilim, the giants who were mentioned in the Book of Genesis and who supposedly troubled the world with their cruelty and evil; the nephilim were all but exterminated in the Flood. There is also another group of mighty angels called the watchers. Known in Hebrew as the irin or irin qaddisin, these angels are said in the Third Book of Enoch to number only two and are the close companions of the holy ones. They are greater than all the other angels combined, matched by no other other creatures in the entire heavenly host. They reside directly next to the very throne of God and, with the holy ones, act as the court officials of heaven, debating every case that comes before the blessed throne. The watchers and the holy ones were mentioned in the Book of Daniel (4:17).
ANGELS OF THE WEEK
The angels who have authority over the seven days of the week-in much the same fashion as there are angels presiding over the planets, hours of the day, and months of the year. The angels give their particular day their special attention and in legend can be invoked to assist a person in some endeavor or need. The angels and their days are reported in The Magus (1801) by Francis Barrett:
ZODIAC OF THE ANGELS
The tradition that there are ruling angels who watch over or govern the twelve signs of the zodiac. They are often to be considered synonymous with the various angels of the months of the year. Specifically, the angels of the zodiac are as follows:
A choir or order of angels that appears in a certain aspect of Jewish lore. An angelic choir by the name of flames is not normally counted among the traditionally accepted orders of angels. They can perhaps be equated with one of the recognized choirs of angels.
By tradition, the food of the angels and the blessed in heaven; it is best known as the food sent to the Israelites as they fled from Egypt and wandered in the desert under the leadership of Moses. Meaning in Aramaic "What is this?" manna was described in the Book of Exodus as "like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey." This is generally accepted meal of the angelic hosts, although there is naturally some question why angels, being entirely spiritual creatures, might have need for substantial food.
The collective name for those angels appearing in the lore and traditions of the mystical Jewish sect of the Merkabah. The Merkabah ( or Merkava)-meaning "Chariot"-flourished in Judaism from the time of the first century A.D. and continued in various centers throughout the early Middle Ages. Adherents of the sect believed in the necessity and desirability of using esoteric and mystical means to ascend through the great seven heavens or mansions, called hekhalot ( or hechaloth), to the glorious throne of God, which rests upon an in comparable chariot-the Merkabah. The seal-keeping angels are sometimes equated with the seven merkaboth, a group of angelic beings who stand as the corresponding figures of the seven heavens. They can perhaps also be identified as the virtual embodiment of the heavens themselves. Aside from these angels, the Merkabah accepted that there were groups of angels always surrounding the throne of God. These were said to include the seraphim, the galgallim, and especially the hayyoth.
One of the most important of all duties of angels, so much so that the very Hebrew word mal'akh and greek word angelos, denoting these beings, both mean "messenger." The angel stands as one of the central intermediaries or representatives of the Lord to humanity. Existing entirely at the will and in the service of God, the angel is frequently dispatched to earth to deliver some important revelation or declaration, usually having much impact upon the lives of the recipients. Aside from the other tasks given to them in relating to earthly affairs, angels are mentioned frequently in the Bible in the ministering role of messengers. While angels have many other duties in tradition, both in heaven and on earth, their role as messengers is still one central to their existence, serving to remind an often forgetful world that God loves all of his Creation and is concerned for its well-being. SPIRITUAL HIERARCHY OF THE ANGELIC KINGDOM The name given to certain powerful and highly placed angels who are honored with the title of prince or ruling princes of heaven. The angelic princes are found especially in Jewish lore, with princes governing not only the seven heavens, but the angelic orders or choirs. Following are some of the princes of the individual choirs:
Seraphim: Michael, Metatron, Uriel, Seraphiel, and Satan (before his Fall)
Cherubim: Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Zophiel, and Sata (before his fall)
Thrones: Zaphkiel, Raziel, Orifiel, and Jophiel
Dominations: Zadkiel, Zacharel, and Muriel
Virtues: Gabriel, Michael, Uzziel, Tarshish, Sabriel, and Peliel
Powers: Camael, Gabriel, Verchiel, and Satan (before his Fall)
Principalities: Amael, Nisroch, and Haniel
Archangels: Metatron, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, Barachiel, Jehudiel, and Satan
(before his Fall)
Angels: Gabriel, Chayyliel, Phaleg, and Adnachiel
FIRST - HIGHEST SPHERE
SERAPHIM - CHOIRS
The highest and most splendid of the nine accepted angelic orders as developed by the sixth-century theologian Dionysius the Areopagite and largely embraced by the Christian Church. Not only are the seraphim the highest of the nine choirs, they are ranked first in the first triad of the Dionysian scheme, with the cherubim and the thrones. Without question they are the closest in all of heaven to the very throne of God, and their primary function is to circle the incomprehensibly beautiful throne in perpetual adoration of the Lord. According to Enoch, each seraphim has six wings. The last detail is corroborated by the Old Testament Book of Isaiah (6:1-3).
They are celestial angels that are said to surround the throne of God. They are the regulators of the movements of the heavens and have untold responsibilities in the administration of God's infinite universe. Heavenly counselors - guardians of the Light throughout the universe. Have little contact with beings on Earth. They keep celestial records.
The Sumerian original version of them was that they were entities that were relatively fierce looking beings that had the body of an ox or horse and the face of a man with a long beard and wings. They were supposed to have been sent to guard the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
There are twelve master seraphim:
1. Epochal angels: direction of the affaires of each generation and root race
2. Progress angels: initiate the evolutionary process of creatures
3. Religious guardians: angels of the church
4. Angels of national life: angels of the trumpets, direct political performance
5. Angels of the races: work for conservation of the evolutionary process
6. Angels of the future: forecast and predict the future
7. Angels of enlightment: planetary education, mental and moral training
8. Angels of health: angelic healing corps
9. The home seraphim: preservation and advancement of the home.
10. Angels of industry: foster industrial development
11. Angels of diversion: play, humor, rest, and human leisure
12. Angels of superhuman ministry: angels of the angels.
CHERUBIM - CHOIR
The second of the nine accepted choirs of angels, placed second as well in the first triad of the angelic hieraechy (with the seraphim and thrones) devised by the sixth-century theologian Dionysius the Areopagite. The cherubim are some of the most powerful and awe-inspiring of all angels, standing below only the seraphim in direct closeness to God; they thus are second only to their seraphic brethren in the degree to which they emanate the love of God and possess knowledge and wisdom. Their illuminative knowledge and wisdom are thus so great as to be utterly incomprehensible to the mortal mind, blinding the blessed human who has the honor of actually beholding them in this world. The cherubim are additionally given the arduous task of maintaining the records of heaven and seeing to the myriad details that must be fulfilled to maintain the heavenly host. Dionysius declared them to be guardians of the fixed stars. By the Hebrews they were called kerub, a name that may mean "one who intercedes"; Their chiefs are named as being Cherubiel Kerubiel), Ophaniel, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, and Zophiel.
THRONES - CHOIR
They are heavenly counselors and companion angels of all of the planets. One of the nine choirs of angels, as accepted on lore and determined by the sixth century theologian Dionysius the Areopagite. Called the ophanim or galgallim in Hebrew traditions, the thrones are also termed the "wheels" and the "many-eyed ones." The name 'wheels' was derived from the Hebrew word ophanim (later galgallim, "wheels" or "spheres"), itself based on the vivid description of these angels found in the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel (1:13-19).
They belong to the first and highest triad of the heavenly host, standing just below the seraphim and the cherubim; this position makes them some of the most powerful angels in the service of the Lord. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the thrones have the task of pondering the disposition of divine judgments, meaning that they carry out or fulfill the divine justice of the Lord. Like their counterparts in the first angelic triad, they come the closet of all angels to spiritual perfection and emanate the light of God with mirrorlike goodness. In some Jewish lore the thrones function within the heavenly scheme of things as either the chariots upon which the throne of God rests (the Merkabah) or as the wheels of the chariot. This imagery is expressed fully in the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel (1:13-21), where they appeared with the cherubim.
SECOND SPHERE - HEAVENLY GOVERNORS
DOMINATIONS - CHOIR
One of the nine accepted orders or choirs of angels, called also the dominions and the lords and termed in the Hebrew the hashmallim. In the celestial hierarchy as organized by sixth-century theologian Dionysius the Areopagite, the dominations belong to the second triad, with the virtures and powers, and are ranked fourth overall among the angelic choirs. The chief or ruling princes of the order are said to be Hashmal, Zadkiel, Muriel, and Zacharael. According to Dionysius, the denomintions have the duty in the heavenly host of regulating the tasks of the angels, and "through them the majesty of God is manifested.' Through the efforts of the dominations-who are naturally seen only rarely by mortals-the very order of the cosmos is maintained. They handle the minute details of cosmic life and existence, designating tasks to the lower orders of angels. By custom they are believed to wear green and gold, and their symbols are the sword and scepter, denoting their lordship over all created things. In turn, the dominations receive their instructions from the cherubim or thrones.
VIRTUES - CHOIR
One of the nine choirs of angels as listed by the sixth-century theologian Dionysius the Areopagite. The virtues are ranked fifth in the heavenly host and belong to the second triad of angelic orders, with dominations and powers; as members of the second triad, they take part in the duties given to the three choirs, namely the ordering of the universe. The virtues specifically preside over the elements of the world and the process of celestrial life. Thus all heavenly bodies-from the stars and planets to the galaxies themselves-are kept in their divinely appointed routes and progress. On earth the angels maintain a watch over nature, marking and guiding every facet of natural life; rain, wind, snow, etc. In legend, two angels from this choir served as the angels of the Ascension, appearing at the moment of the Ascension of Christ. The virtues are called in the Hebrew the malakim and the tarshishim.
POWERS - CHOIR
One of the nine accepted choirs of angels according to the celestial organization developed by the sixth century theologian Dionysius the Areopagite; also called potentates, authorities, dynamis, and forces, the powers are placed in the second triad of the nine choirs and are numbered sixth overall. The powers were supposedly the very first of the angels created by God, although this disagrees with the teaching that all angels came into existence at the same moment. They are described as having the task of defeating the efforts of the demons in overthrowing the world and are declared the awesome defenders of the cosmos against all evil and the maintaners of all cosmic order and equilibrium. They are guardians of the heavenly paths, policing the routes to and from heaven to the earth, which means that they concern themselves as well with humanity.
THIRD SPHERE - HEAVENLY MESSENGERS
PRINCIPALITIES - CHOIR
One of the nine accepted choirs of angels as organized by the sixth-century theologian Dionysius and adopted largely by the Christian church. The principalities are placed first in the third triad of angels (with the archangels and angels) and are ranked seventh overall. Also called princedoms and princes, these angels are the first of the choirs most concerned with the earth and are traditionally declared to have the roles of caretakers over every nation, province, county, district, city, town, village, and house, working with the guardian angels, who are assigned to every spot and person; while this seems to be bureaucratic doubling of angelic activity, it can be argued that guardian angels function as the personal angelic protectors, while the principalities are the administrative or technical writers.
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