There are many types of angels, but first and foremost, they are God’s messengers. They come down from Heaven to protect His creations and guide us towards the right path. They are known to handle various tasks from God such as sending messages to humanity and guiding us through every decision. What most people don’t know, however, is that the angels in heaven follow an angelic hierarchy regarding these tasks that God gives them. They have an organized structure, according to Christian theology, which are only assigned to them by God. There is even a difference between biblically accurate angels and the ones we see in cartoons or paintings. In fact, an accurate angel is far from a beautiful human with blonde hair and porcelain skin.
You can even ask yourself, why learn about the hierarchy of angels and the biblical description of angels? Regardless of your religious beliefs, angels and demons have become a popular discussion because of their holy and unholy nature, respectively. They have been muses of artworks such as films, paintings, novels, and even songs. Learning about the angels in the Bible can help inspire you in your pursuit of artistic expression and even add extensive knowledge about the religious orders that follow it. Not to mention, they’re pretty interesting too.
Information regarding angels is scarce when it comes to their descriptions and various tasks. Still, we’ve compiled an extensive list featuring Judaism and Christianity views on angel names and roles for you to know about.
Origins of Angels
Have you ever wondered how many types of angels there are? All the types of angels have been organized by theologists and Christians into one hierarchy based on information from the Bible. According to the Old Testament, angels are said to have been created by God to become his agents. They are completely unique to each other and are gifted with the knowledge of the world. We know them to be celestial beings filled with light and wisdom. Some people also call them Malachi, which comes from the word “Malach”, a Hebrew translation of the word messenger.
It is said that they do not marry nor die, and their prime purpose is to protect those who fear God. Despite their popularity, you can only find two angel names mentioned in the Bible: Archangel Michael and Angel Gabriel. In the Bible, only Angel Michael is called an archangel.
So what do angels actually look like? The real angel form depends on what type of angel is being discussed. In truth, not all angels have human-like characteristics. Incidentally, learning about what a veritable angel looks like is not the same as learning what a real demon looks like. While demons were angels who rebelled against God, they also lost His blessing and changed into different forms, as results.
The angel definition varies from different religions. In this article, we feature only two religions: Christianity and Judaism. When it comes to the angelic hierarchy of Christianity, there are three layers to note. Theologists place angels of Heaven in the first sphere. The second sphere is where the angels govern the human race. And lastly, the third sphere, in which they have contact with humanity.
We begin with the types of angels in the first sphere. The first sphere has angels that live only in Heaven and serve as God’s high-ranking officers. These positions are quite similar to executive positions in the corporate world. Angels belonging to the first sphere are also the only ones who have direct conversations with God Himself.
First on the list of first sphere angels are seraphim angels. The direct translation for the word seraphim is “burning ones”. They are said to have the most burning loyalty and love for God, also making them the closest to Him. Lucifer, who betrayed God, was one of the closest Seraphim.
You can find physical descriptions written in the passage of Isaiah 6:1 to 8. According to the Bible, an accurate Seraph has six wings with a fire-like appearance. These wings are used to cover their feet and faces so they could fly. Moreover, seraphim are powerful celestial beings. Legend says that a single seraphim’s voice can shatter a building and fill it to the brim with smoke. A seraph had touched Isaiah using coal, who then became a prophet because of this event.
Cherubim angels are the righteous protectors of the Garden of Eden. They stand guard over God’s garden with flaming swords. Cherubs are some of the most powerful angels in existence. According to the Bible, cherubim angels constantly forgive the sins of humanity and often implore God to have more patience with us.
In the Bible, cherubs are the most discussed of the types of angels. You will find passages of them in the Book of Revelation, Ezekiel, Genesis, Chronicles, 1 Kings, and Exodus. They are described as having four faces representing man, birds, wild animals, and domestic animals. Cherubs also have four wings filled with eyes, the body of a lion, and the feet of an ox.
Thrones angels are the third most powerful angels. They were given the knowledge of God’s works and even a fellowship with Jesus Christ Himself. People believe these angels to be the representation of God’s justice. Angelology states that they reflect on the judgment needed regarding heavy decisions.
You will rarely find them mentioned in the Bible. However, you may find them mentioned in the apocryphal passages of Levi and Enoch. Throne angels are equal to Judaism’s ophanim angels. Paul himself mentioned them in Colossians 1:16.
The second sphere refers to the types of angels that deal with Earth. This is the group that governs humanity, depending on their assigned tasks. They do not have direct communication with God, but some have direct connections with humans.
Dominion angels are angels who watch over the lesser angels and pass the message of God given by those of the First Sphere. Folks believe Lordships show favor and guidance to specific nations of their choosing. These angels can give their guidance to chosen rulers of a country.
Dominions rarely appear in front of humans despite their direct communication to some monarchs, presidents, and emperors. These angels prefer to create order and balance. They are said to look strikingly similar to the common angel images with one pair of wings, except they have scepters or swords covered with light orbs.
Virtues angels are also known as the “angels of motion.” You can also call them “the shining ones.” Virtues possess the power of the elements, and they prefer to guide those who are managing wildlife, domestic, and natural land. The Bible states that virtues angels provide miracles on Earth. These angels are celestial beings who persuade humanity to care for their relationship with God. Virtues angels bless those dealing with hardships so that they may have the strength not to crumble through every challenge.
The existence of the virtues can be shown throughout the Bible. A perfect example would be when the ground shook during the death of Christ, with the Sanctuary’s veil being split into two. Another example would be during the process of Moses’ retrieval of the Ten Commandments when there was a large thunderstorm.
Some people call power angels by another name: authorities. These angels represent the holy battle. God constantly sends them to war with demons. Authorities are usually dealing with demons who have ill-intent towards humanity. Images of authorities always show imposing armor and weapons worn by the angel. One of the authorities once chained a demon in a location no one on Earth knows.
Powers are also in charge of the balance in mankind’s power aside from being the soldiers of God. These angels have been in battle with demons within realms we cannot see. People say that power angels defend us from temptation and are summoned through our prayers.
Angelology experts believe angels belonging to the third-sphere adapted to speaking the human tongue. These angels are often dealing with the affairs of the human race personally. They go down to represent God under the command of higher-level angels. Angelologists believe third-sphere angels closely relate to humans.
Principalities, also known as rulers and princedoms, are under the direct command of dominions from the second sphere. Dominion angels order the principalities to guide massive organizations. These organizations also include the nations that some dominions watch over.
Principalities command the lesser angels in smaller groups. These angels are always fashioned with a crown or scepter, signifying leadership and obedience.
How many archangels are there? Christians have constantly heard about the different archangel names. Additionally, people took the archangel word from the Greek language. If you were to directly translate it, it would mean “chief angel.”
Contrary to popular belief, archangels are only part of the third sphere, making them one of the lesser angels compared to the seraphim. Take note that archangels and Archangels have different meanings. Archangels with a capital “a” possess the most high-ranking messengers from God to Earth. They come with prophecies that they communicate to humans.
Angels (Personal or Guardian Angels)
Angels are the lowest ranking of the types of angels of Christianity. They are the ones more invested with the comings and goings of mankind. These angels are the furthest from God in likeness and power. However, they are strong, celestial, and holy in their own right.
You may have a guardian angel assigned directly for you. Similarly, guardian angels guide their chosen humans to take only the right and good decisions.
Types of Angels in Judaism
Judaism is the most ancient monotheistic religion on the entire globe. Furthermore, this was also the religion of Jesus Christ. Judaism believes in the Messiah, the prophesied savior who God sent down to earth. While Christians believe that Christ is the Messiah, some variants of Judaism claim otherwise. According to the Old Testament, Abraham was the first man to witness God. In Judaism, God is often in contact with mankind. It’s a contrast to Christianity, which teaches us that angels are sent down from heaven because mankind cannot handle God’s presence directly.
People consider the Old Testament angels as Judaism’s angels. Similarly, the sightings and descriptions of the angels were arranged into an angelic hierarchy, with archangels ruling over different types of angels. These archangels are Michael, Gabriel, Metatron, Tzaphkiel, Raziel, Chamuel, Zadkiel, Haniel, Raphael, and Sandalphon.
Chayot Ha Kodesh
Chayot Ha Kodesh are the highest-ranking angels in Judaism. They are equivalent to the Seraphim. Chayot Ha Kodesh are the types of angels that are assigned to carry God’s throne and are also responsible for keeping Earth in place. Just like the seraphim, the Chayot Ha Kodesh have a physically bright body that appears to be on fire. The Kabbalah states that Metatron, one of the archangels of God, is the leader of their group. The direct translation of their name is the “holy living ones.” In fact, theologists believe them to be the ultimate form of angels. As a result, they are the most powerful among the types of angels in Judaism.
The Internet has found adoration for the ophanim angels. Internet users affectionately call them “eye angels.” They are the guardian angels of God’s throne and are equivalent to the thrones angels of Christianity.
It is said that ophanim angels do not need sleep and prefer to guard God’s Heavenly throne. Meanwhile, their name comes from the Hebrew word “ophan”, which means wheel. The prophets describe ophanim angels as spirits trapped in moving wheels. Raziel the archangel is the leader of the ophanim angels.
Archangel Tzaphkiel leads the group of erelim angels. A passage in Isaiah mentions their existence. The direct translation of the word erelim is “valiant ones.” However, religious people associate them with death and tragedies.
Erelim angels accompanied King Hezekiah during the war between Jerusalem and its invaders. During that time it was the Neo-Assyrian King Sennacherib who had plans of invading the Holy Land.
Hashmallim angels are the types of angels led by archangel Zadkiel. People know hashmallim angels for their kindness, gracefulness, and bountiful love. Theologists acknowledge Archangel Zadkiel as the “angel of the Lord.” Zadkiel even showed kindness and mercy towards Abraham. This event happened during Abraham’s sacrificing of Isaac in Genesis.
A passage by Ezekiel describes them as having the color of amber. Moreover, hashmallim creates powerful storms. According to Sir Francis Bacon, they are like electricity. He further describes them as having the same presence and color when rubbing amber and cloth together.
Those who practice Judaism believe seraphim are the most just angels. The prophet Isaiah describes them in the Bible as having three pairs of wings covering their face, feet, and one used to fly. The prophet Isaiah explains that he discovered them singing to each other praises in God’s name.
While Christianity’s hierarchy of angels claims that seraphim angels are of the highest rank, Judaism thinks otherwise. Seraphim in Judaism are not the most powerful angels. However, both religions agree on their powerful presence. Archangel Chamuel leads the seraphim.
Some people spell malakhim as “malakim”. People describe these types of angels as beautiful and merciful. The archangel Raphael leads the group of malakhim angels. Malakhim is the Hebrew translation of the word “messenger” and people also know them as the “angels of presence.”
God assigned the malakhim to send messages of his Word to the human race. Because of this, they are often in communication with prophets such as Moses, Isaiah, and in some religions, Jesus Christ.
Archangel Haniel leads a band of elohims against the never-ending battle between good and evil. Elohim angels are powerful representations of divine principles. Out of all the types of angels, elohim angels have the most powerful forms of love.
God assigned the Elohim angels various tasks. They are the chosen angels who maintain the order of the creations, restore balance and harmony in chaos, and provide gifts to beings deemed to be useful in the plan of God Himself.
Archangel Michael is the leader of the Bene Elohim. You can find archangel Michael as the most mentioned angel in the Bible. The Torah presents Michael as the great prince, who is the leading warrior against evil.
Bene Elohim is a direct translation of the sentence “sons of God.” Theologists and historians prefer the term “sons of Man” instead. This is because “Sons of God” could refer to the angels who married human women rather than the Bene Elohim angels. People also call them ben elohim, beni elohim, and b’ne elohim. Bene Elohim angels have possession of white flames and have the strength of 70,000 myriads. They go hand in hand with Ishim angels.
Archangel Gabriel leads the cherubim angels. Their mission from God is to give guidance to those suffering from their sins, therefore growing distant from God Himself. Yahweh ordered the cherubim to guard the Garden of Eden. This happened during the first sin.
Just like the Christian version of cherubims, they are not humanlike at all. They are similar to chimeras, a mixture of beasts and man. However, despite their unusual appearances, cherubims are extremely tolerant of humans. They constantly guide mortals to the right path while protecting the Garden of Eden with their flaming swords.
People consider ishim angels as “angels of Earth.” Their tasks involve working for the Kingdom of God in our world. These angels constantly have direct communication with humankind, or so they say. Ishim is a Hebrew word with meanings such as personalities, personages, and individuals. Another name for ishim angels is eshim, which means sparks, fires, and conflagrations.
People believe Ishim angels to have souls of beautiful and just men. Most importantly, God gave them the task of singing His praise, something that Christian churches mimic in these times. Archangel Sandalphon leads the group of ishim.
Did you enjoy learning about the different types of angels? We hope you did. Angels are messengers of God, beings filled with light and wisdom. People look towards them as symbols of love, honor, justice, and a pathway to paradise. Others even specialize in angelology, the study of angels, purely out of fascination with them. Hopefully, the knowledge you learned today about these angels will help you have more clarity with your own choices. Still, the temptation to do wrong or the strength to do well all depends on you, regardless of whether you believe in angels or not.