Holy messengers are intriguing and magical creatures that have caught the human creative mind for a really long time. In the Book of scriptures, holy messengers assume a critical part as couriers, defenders, and workers of God. This blog entry will investigate the idea of holy messengers as indicated by the Book of scriptures, revealing insight into their temperament, jobs, and the significant effect they have on the otherworldly world.
Churchgist will give you all you ask on Angel In The Bible Names, Popular Angels and Their Biblical Forms, Why Angels Look The Way They Do and so much more.
One of the most powerful archangels in the Bible, Michael is well known for his warrior prowess and is described as “a great prince” in the book of Daniel. Multiple Bible stories illustrate how he courageously fights against evil spiritual forces, such as in Jude, where he argues with the devil over the body of Moses, and in Revelation, where he leads the other angels in battle against the wicked dragon.
Revelation 12:7-8 reads:
“Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.”
Another prominent archangel was Saint Raphael, who is known for providing healing and guidance to the faithful. In the book of Tobit, he disguises himself as a human, accompanies Tobias on his journey, and restores the sight of Tobias’s blind father Tobit. He also aids a woman named Sarah, who was plagued by a demon that had killed her seven husbands, and unites her and Tobias in marriage. At the end of the book of Tobit, Raphael reveals himself to the couple as an angel. Tobit 12:15-18 says:
“’I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.’
Greatly shaken, the two of them fell prostrate in fear. But Raphael said to them: ‘Do not fear; peace be with you! Bless God now and forever. As for me, when I was with you, I was not acting out of any favor on my part, but by God’s will. So bless God every day; give praise with song.’”
Possibly the most recognized angel in the Bible, Gabriel is known for delivering important messages to God’s people. He had the privilege of appearing to Mary to reveal to her that she would bear the Christ Child. Luke 1:26-22 describes:
“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’”
Gabriel also informed Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin) would bear a son — John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for the Lord.
Popular Angels and Their Biblical Forms
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known depictions of the angels we’re familiar with and how much they differ from their Biblical descriptions.
According to the Bible, cherubim are responsible for guarding the Garden of Eden — the Biblical terrestrial paradise — against humankind when Adam and Eve, the first humans, were driven out of the heavenly garden.
The prophet Ezekiel’s vision of cherubim is depicted in the Book of Ezekiel in which they are portrayed as having four faces — one of an eagle, one a human, one an ox, and finally a lion.
Cherubim have straight legs, four wings (one set covers their body while the other is used for flying), and bull hooves for feet.
This portrayal is nothing like what we imagine them to be. Cherubim, commonly known as cherubs, are depicted as chubby, beautiful, naked children with wings in art, as represented by Renaissance sculptors who revived the ancient practice of putti.
These depictions of Cherubim are often connected with divinity. These animal-human hybrids have also been associated with cupids, the diaper-clad chubby babies who are sometimes shown with a trumpet and arrow to symbolize romantic love.
Some attribute this modern-day image to cupid-like Greek and Roman deities. On the other hand, the Biblical image is frequently attributed to cultural exchanges with ancient Babylonia, Egypt, and Syria, which explains their mixed appearance.
According to the Christian angel hierarchy, seraphim hold the highest rank. In art, the four-winged cherubim are painted in blue to symbolize the sky, while the six-winged seraphim are painted in red to symbolize fire.
The Hebrew term “Saraph” means “venomous desert snake” and “Seraph” means “to burn.” These terms are the two main historical influences on Seraphim’s name.
The Bible describes seraphim as having six wings, four of which are used to cover their heads and feet in front of God as a symbol of humility, and the remaining two are used to fly.
They are second in ranking in the angel hierarchy, with their sheer presence emitting holiness. And unlike the ophanim and cherubim, seraphim are not guard-angels.
Seraphim are described by prophet Isaiah as angelic beings that continually worship God by surrounding God’s throne and singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” in unison when God approaches.
While they’re the epitome of helpfulness and forgiveness, their appearance instills fear in the prophet.
Several historians suggest that the description of the Seraphim’s wings and flames may have been based on the connection with Egyptian imagery and description of the cobra.
“Their entire bodies, including their backs, hands, and wings, were full of eyes all around, as were their four wheels.” (Ezekiel 10:12)
Ophanim, or “the wheels,” are one of the strangest, most bizarre beings referenced in Ezekiel’s vision. They’re portrayed as beings made of interlocking gold wheels, with every wheel adorned with numerous sets of eyes on the exterior.
These wheels, however, do not change directions as the creatures move by floating in the skies.
The second book of Enoch refers to ophanim as “many-eyed ones.” They are sometimes also described as spheres or whirlwinds. They’re also classified as “thrones.”
There’s an interesting theory that the ophanim are the wheels attached to God’s chariot. Others, like former NASA scientist Jose F. Blumrich, believe ophanim might have been what we would consider a UFO sighting today.
While they’re not considered angels in the Bible, the Jewish angelic hierarchy considers them responsible for guarding God’s throne and being the angels closest to God. This notion also coincides with beliefs held in different traditions.
However, the obscure description of ophanim has no exact historical origin, which is why some authors speculate that Ezekiel’s vision of the wheeled angel was caused by ingesting psychedelic substances.
The ophanim could thus be a metaphor for God’s mystery that man cannot understand or a mechanism of the Lord’s chariot that paves the way for multi-dimensional travel. We’ll never know.
Why Angels Look The Way They Do
The image we have of angels with flowing white robes, halos, and beautiful wings, is a product of art and fiction. According to actual religious text, most angels are surreal, terrorizing creatures.
So, why this discrepancy?
Let’s start with the disclaimer they come with. When angels descend upon humans, the first thing they say is something along the lines of “do not be afraid,” rather than a felicitation or a greeting.
This suggests that there’s a good chance their appearance can strike fear in the hearts of those who see them, rather than a sense of calm and comfort we associate with angels.
That’s not to say that heaven does not have its fair share of human-like angels. But, since they don’t change our perception of what angels look like, we’ll focus on the Biblically accurate angels who would actually be scary.
Now, the question is, if, as Genesis reminds us, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” suggests that God creates beautiful things, why are angels made to be terrifying rather than beauty incarnate?
One theory is that humans would find angels terrifying because we would not be able to comprehend their eldritch forms. They’re mighty creations that stand by and are of service to God. As a result, when angels appear to us, their presence can emit their powerful presence.
Another theory is that angels are spiritual creatures who exist outside of time and space. So, recreating their image, complete with their heavenly light and presence as well as supernatural strength and force, using fragments of recognizable patterns that our brains can understand can be very difficult. It can lead to a rather unsettling image of angels in our minds.
This is why we compare their appearances to other creatures we know exist on Earth and can easily recognize.