Hierarchy of Heaven

Hierarchy of Heaven

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Not all angels are created equal. Some have special permissions and roles. This is according to not only the bible, but other non-canonical texts, like Thomas Aquinas?s Summa Theologica, and writings from Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.

There are 3 Spheres of Angels, with each containing subdivisions and classifications for each type of angel.

Before getting into it, it?s interesting to note that contrary to mainstream belief, human beings do not become angels after death. The Christian Canon specifically dictates that human beings become something greater than angels in heaven after their death. The logic behind this is that human beings have had to endure the trials and tribulations of Earth, and those that have maintained their faith throughout their time here are worthy of a higher designation than even an Archangel.

But then again Archangels are one of the lower classifications of angel. You?ll see what I mean?

First Sphere

The angels in the first sphere of Heaven serve as heavenly servants to God.

Seraphim

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The name means ?The burning ones? and they are the highest angelic class. They take care of God?s throne and shower him in praise 24/7 (or whatever Heaven time is like). They have six wings- two covering their face, two covering their feet, and two to fly.

Technically Seraphim don?t have the status of angel. Instead they?re a division of holy messenger. But theologians tend to lump them in with angels, and if it?s good enough for them, it?s good enough for me.

Cherubim

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These guys guard the way to the tree of life and to the throne of God. They have 4 faces- man, ox, lion, and eagle. They have four feet and a lion body with oxen feet.

There has been a giant misunderstanding over the past few centuries with Cherubim and Putti getting mixed up. Putti are those little pudgy babies you see draping cloths over the nude parts of paintings. Cherubim are downright terrifying.

Thomas Aquinas believed Satan to be a Cherubim before he fell.

Thrones

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These are bizarre (as if nothing else to do with angels isn?t bizarre). Thrones are described as elders carrying the throne of God. These are believed the be the same as the 24 elders described in the book of Revelation.

They are also described as fiery wheels with 100 eyes on the rims. I?ll let you Google that.

Second Sphere

This sphere is made up of heavenly governors, subjecting matter to God?s will and guiding spirits to follow God?s rules.

Dominions/Lordships

These look like beautiful human beings. They are responsible for keeping lower angels in line. It?s not too common for Lords to make themselves known to humans.

Virtues/Strongholds

These angels carry out miracles and heavenly signs.

Powers/Authorities

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These are warrior angels that keep the cosmos in check, often fighting demons. Samael is a Stronghold angel and the archangel of death, often being depicted with a scythe. In Kabbalah he is described as ?The severity of God.?

Third Sphere

These angels serve as guides and heavenly messengers to human beings.

Principalities/Rulers

These guys are usually depicted as wearing crowns or holding scepters. Their job is to carry out the tasks dealt to them by upper echelon angels, and to deliver blessings. They are credited with inspiring breakthroughs in art and science.

Archangels

Image for postI imagine that if you walked past this the eyes would follow you like in Scooby-Doo

A distinction must be made here. There?s a difference between archangels and Archangels. Archangels (capitalized) are the angels you are probably most familiar with. Michael is the most famous of these. In the case of Archangels, these rank above all others, even Seraphim, and Michael is the highest ranked Archangel of all. Archangels are said to be the guardian angels of nations, concerned with matters of politics, economics, and military matters. There are seven Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Remiel, and Sariel.

archangels (not capitalized) are the second lowest choir of angel. They are given the distinction ?arch? to signify their status above the common angel.

Angels

These are the lowest order of angel. These angels are mostly concerned with ongoing matters of living beings on Earth. Guardian angels are in this choir. They are meant to serve humanity.

Metatron

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Metatron might be considered an Archangel, but really is in a class by himself.

The bible story of Enoch is that he lived 365 years on Earth and then God took him, body and soul, to live in heaven.

He was given a high distinction in heaven, becoming an Archangel named Metatron. He is tasked with being the holy scribe and chronicler of heaven.

In the Talmud, the central text for Rabbinic Judaism, Elisha ben Abuyah and saw Metatron sitting down in the presence of God. This is strictly forbidden. Metatron is the only angel given permission to sit in God?s presence, given his role as scribe. He is often called the Prince of Presence.

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