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Angels

Traditionally there are nine orders of spiritual beings, as Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.

Seraphim - A seraph is one of a class of celestial beings mentioned once in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), in Isaiah. Later Jewish imagery perceived them as having human form, and in that way they passed into the ranks of Christian Angels. In the Christian Hierarchy of angels, Seraphim represent the highest rank of Angels.

Cherubim - A cherub (plural cherubim) is a supernatural entity mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible, and in the Book of Revelation (a New Testament text), as well as often being depicted in western art.

Thrones - Thrones (also known as Ophanim) are a classification of angels under many Christian Angelic hierarchies. They are the carriers of the throne of God, hence the name. They are said to be great wheels covered in eyes.

Dominions - The Dominions, also known as the Hashmallim, hold the task of regulating the duties of lower angels. They receive their orders from the Seraphim, the Cherubim, or God Himself, and are responsible for ensuring that the cosmos remains in order. It is only with extreme rarity that the dominions make themselves physically known to mortals. Instead, they quietly concern themselves with the details of existence.

Virtues - The Virtues, also called Fortresses or Strongholds, lie beyond the Thrones and are equal to the Principalities. Their task is to oversee groups of people. They are shaped like sparks of light that inspire living things to many things such as art or science.  It is unclear from where the name of this order originated.

Powers - The Powers are angelic beings shaped like brightly colored, hazy fumes. They are the bearers of conscience and the keepers of history. The angels of birth and death are Powers. They are academically driven and are concerned with ideology, philosophy, theology, religion, and documents pertaining to those studies. Powers are the brain trusts: a group of experts who serve as advisers and policy planners. Their duty is to oversee the distribution of power among mankind, hence their name.

Principalities - The Principalities are angelic beings shaped like rays of light. They lie beyond the group of archangels. They are the guardian angels of nations and countries, and are concerned with the issues and events surrounding these, including politics, military matters, commerce and trade. One of their duties is to choose who amongst living things will rule

Archangels - The Archangels are usually considered the second lowest order of the Third Sphere; these angels tend the larger arenas of living endeavor and act as the administrative leaders of the Heavenly beings. An Archangel is usually given a task of great importance to men. According to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite's Angelology, however, the Archangels lie just above the lowest of the Angel orders, the common Angels.

Angels - The Angels are the lowest order of the angels, and the most familiar to men. They are the ones most concerned with the affairs of living things. Within the category of angels, there are many different kinds, with different functions. The angels are sent as messengers to men.

In The Celestial Hierarchy, the author drew on passages from the New Testament, specifically Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 1:16 (considered by modern scholars to be very tentative and ambiguous sources in relation to the construction of such a schema), to construct a schema of three Hierarchies, Spheres or Triads of Angels, with each Hierarchy containing three Orders or Choirs. In descending order of power, these were:

  • First Hierarchy:
    • Seraphim
    • Cherubim
    • Thrones
  • Second Hierarchy:
    • Dominions
    • Virtues
    • Powers
  • Third Hierarchy:
    • Principalities
    • Archangels
    • Angels

Source - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

 


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Copyright 2007. The Institute of Practical Spirituality