Angels are called supernatural beings who are messengers of God. Usually this creature is like a person, but has wings behind. Angels are often mentioned in different religions, in the same Bible they are spoken of more than once. In the most important events of human history, described by holy books, these God’s messengers are always present nearby.
The image of angels is reflected in culture and art. For centuries, artists and sculptors have dedicated themselves to the creation of winged images. It could be innocent cherubs in Renaissance paintings, and there could be grieving angels on tombstones.
But for a long time studying the angels and their nature, mainly on the basis of legends and objects of art, a person greatly modified their original appearance. We attribute to them those traits that were not and could not be in the original sources. In any case, the study of the Bible, rather than pictures of creatures with wings, can dispel some myths about angels.
Each of us has our own guardian angel.
There are a lot of stories about how the angels protect us, and sometimes these mysterious strangers even save people from death. The very phrase “guardian angel” also implies such a caring creature. Is it not pleasant to think that someone is constantly watching us and at the expense of his intellect and the gift of foresight invisibly directs us to the right path, guarding against trouble. It’s only in the Bible that nothing is said about the individual guardian angel that every person has. True, in several places you can find references to guardian angels. Thus, in Matthew chapter 18:10, it says: “Do not despise any of these little ones. For, I tell you, angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. ” This passage is usually interpreted as a description of angels who observe all true Christians and children. But only here there are no words that everyone has his own personal angel. And this idea generally appeared recently, becoming the result of the evolution of history. In the Middle Ages, stories often appeared about how the saints met with the angels who protected them. Gradually, the stories were transformed. They began to say that angels come to a person already in everyday life. Such stories began to appear in the XVIII-XIX centuries. And by the twentieth century, the myth has already developed that each of us has his own guardian angel, invisibly present and protecting from troubles.
Cherubs are angels with the appearance of an infant.
In art, you can often see images of cherubs. They look like little naked children, just as charming and plump. Only these creatures have wings. In fact, such an image was invented by angels artists, in the Bible, the cherubs are described in a completely different way. These are very specific angels. God brought them closer to him, forcing him to serve himself. People do not have cherubic relations. In the Old Testament these creatures are mentioned quite often, while they are not nice at all. In the Book of Genesis, it is mentioned how two cherubs were given the task of guarding the tree of life. In chapter 1: 5-11, Ezekiel gives a complete description of these creatures. In Scripture, they appear very similar to humans, but their legs end with calf’s hoofs. Each cherub had four wings, hiding their human hands, and also four faces. When these angels moved their faces did not unfold. From the front, they always had a human face, behind them – eagles, to the left – a bull, and to the right – a lion’s one. At the same time, each cherub seemed to be on fire. Ezekiel describes the angels as a living chariot of God, reasonable at the same time, a power that is subject to the Lord alone. He said that God moves in a chariot, whose wheels and protrusions cherubs. The four together represent the wisdom of the main divine creation – man, and also the power of the lion, the earthiness and heaviness of the bull, the freedom of the eagle and the power of the lion. In their areas, all these beings are the best.Each cherub with one pair of wings covers his body, and the other stretches. In this case, the wings themselves are also covered in the eyes. Apparently, the description has nothing to do with fat and cute babies.
Cherubs are good beings. Cherubim look at us from the pictures with kind eyes.
They smile, and behind them they have charming wings. Often in their hands, artists put up harps. But in the Bible, these angels are not at all so pretty. Thanks to Indiana Jones, we were able to view the cover of the Ark of the Covenant – the Throne of Mercy. There are depicted cherubs, whose faces and bodies are hidden under pairs of wings. The other pair they pull together, thus forming a throne. According to the Scriptures, such a Throne signifies the presence of an angry God, threatening death. Every year the high priest conducted the ceremony, performing the sacrifice and sprinkling this Throne of Mercy with the blood of animals. So people asked the Lord not to be angry with them for another year. And to fearlessly approach the Throne, another special ritual was required. It was believed that any violation of the rules would become a mortal sin for the priest. And there were not any who would disrespectfully treat the relic. Each year the cherubim were given a blood offering. And only after the crucifixion of Christ, this ceremony was discontinued. It was believed that his bloody sacrifice was already enough to propitiate the cherubim.
People themselves can become angels.
In movies, it often shows how people after death turn into angels. In fact, the Bible does not say anything about it, even the righteous do not get it right. And in several places in the Bible it is explicitly said about the impossibility of such a transformation. People and angels are created by God, but with different purposes. Hebrews, in 1:14, explicitly states that the angels were created specifically to extend a helping hand to those who believe in the Lord. In Genesis chapter 1:26 it is said that angels are spiritual beings who, by the will of God, can take not only the form of a person, but also any other. But Peter’s book says: “And it was revealed to them that they do not serve themselves, but to you, through the wisdom revealed to you through those whose mouths the Holy Spirit, sent from heaven: the wisdom that the angels look at for a long time.” The Holy Spirit bears the truth to man, the angels want to hear the same revelations. In this case, they have never been people.
Angels can be female.
Numerous paintings of biblical scenes show male angels. But in the cemetery tombstones, the angels are depicted as inconsolable women with wings. It’s only in the Holy Scripture that nothing is said about the female field of angels. It is not worth comparing them with people and attributing some biological characteristics peculiar to us. They have no relation to sex and gender. Throughout the Bible, angels are described exclusively as men. Even the very word “angelos” from the New Testament has a masculine gender, and it does not have a feminine gender at all. The names of only two angels are mentioned – Gabriel and Michael, while others are simply called “he”. About the winged female being in the Bible is said only once. In the Book of Zechariah, at the head of 5: 9, there is a mention of such beings flying in the form of visions, also a scroll also flies there. But nowhere is it said that they were angels. And the very idea of female angels appeared centuries after the creation of the Bible. Until the 4th century there were no artistic images of angels at all, at least, we know nothing about it. So Christianity tried to distance itself from the worship of images and idols inherent in other religions. And after the appearance of portraits of angels in art, they were associated with winged beings from other ancient mythologies, for example, with the pagan Nika. So the female appearance of the angels appeared.
Angels have nimbuses.
If you imagine a classic Biblical angel, he will appear in fluttering robes with wings and a halo.That’s only about the existence of these creatures, the last thing in the Bible does not say. In this script, nothing is said about the halos. Something like the “business card” of religious art can be considered the rays of light, which came from the famous characters from the Bible – Moses and Christ. And the halo itself appeared above the images of the saints only in the fourth century. Initially, such a glow was placed over the person seated on the throne by Christ. Gradually, the halo was considered a symbol of good, it was also painted over angels. And by the sixth century the saints had also acquired a halo. But Christians did not invent a halo, and they borrowed this idea. She appeared in the Ancient Syria and Egypt, where the kings were depicted with halos on their heads, like wreaths. The divine illumination emphasized the connection of rulers with the supreme beings. Yes, and in ancient Rome, often emperors painted in crowns and in the rays of light. So Christian artists just borrowed a successful symbol, which took root.
The angels had two wings.
It turns out that the artists painted angels not only with a halo, but also with wings. And more precisely, we are talking about two wings. And in this case, nothing is said about it in the original, that is, in the Bible. And although angels are often called “flying”, who said they were Diptera? It is quite logical that if these creatures moved through the air, then they also had wings. And speaking of the number, a couple of such natural adaptations are seen right away. One of the highest places in the hierarchy of angels is occupied by seraphim. They stand right before the throne of the Lord and literally burn with love for their master. This is an example for the rest. In the book of the prophet Isaiah it is generally said that every seraphim has six wings. But just for the flight it takes only a couple. Two more cover the face, and the third – the legs. The cherubs are described as angels with four wings. In the Christian paintings of the early period, angels descended from heaven on their wings. A vivid example are the images on the sarcophagi of the Romans. For example, on the tombstone of the policy of Junius Basus there is a scene from the Bible where the angel is Abraham and asks him to bring his son to the sacrifice. But in the Bible, when describing this event, nothing is said about the wings, whereas on the sarcophagus they already appeared. The picture dates back to the year 359, therefore, around that time, ideas about the appearance of angels were formed. By the end of the IV century, they were already drawn everywhere in this form. It can be said that since then the angels have become firmly associated with winged pagan deities.
There is the Angel of Death.
In Christianity there is a majestic image of an angel coming to a man for his life. This creature is beautiful in its gloomy otherworldly depth and inevitability. But he only has one goal, and people do not like it very much. There are several passages in the Bible that relate to angels depriving people of life. This is stated in Exodus, in the history of Easter, chapter 11: 4-5, and also in the Second Book of Samuel, chapter 19:35. In the latter case, we read how an angel killed 185,000 Assyrians. However, in the modern sense, we consider the Angel of Death to be the very death. In the Bible, these creatures are engaged not only in depriving people of life. Their actions in this respect are just the fulfillment of the next orders of the Lord. In Jewish traditions, the very idea of the Angel of Death is completely meaningless. Only God, and not some of his messengers, have power over life and death. But gradually the gloomy image has got and in religious canons. They began talking about the Angel of Death named Samael. The first mention of him was so insignificant that it is difficult to even trace their appearance. In the days of the Amorites in the period 220-370, more frequent references to Samael, as the angel of death, began to appear. In those ancient texts, angels become deadly and vindictive messengers, and Samael himself put on the mantle of the main Angel of Death. He was destined to move from a purely religious character to folklore.Samael has ceased to fulfill God’s will, now he is at his will to people and deprives them of life. And the body of this creature according to folk legends was completely covered with eyes. This allowed the angel to see everything that is going on around. In the Jewish tradition, Samael is associated with Cain. It is said that it was this angel who inspired him with the desire, giving strength, to kill his brother.
Gabriel is an important angel.
There are four references to this character in the Bible. For the first time it is said that he comes to earth for every Christmas. That is why people so revere it. It was Gabriel who became the messenger who informed Maria about her choice for the role of the mother of her son. And in other cases he acted as an envoy. Meanwhile, it is customary to consider Gabriel to be not just an ordinary ordinary angel, but an archangel. They occupy a place in the heavenly hierarchy above ordinary angels. But there are other angelic ranks above them, the hierarchy of spiritual beings in general is rather complicated. The Bible says that the angelic hierarchy has three levels, or spheres. In each of them there are three more subgroups. The closest sphere to God is the first sphere, it includes seraphim, cherubim and thrones. It is the first rank among those mentioned and is the highest among the angels. The second sphere includes dominance, teaching people to own their feelings, and rulers – to lead the peoples. These angels work miracles and protect good people from devilish temptations. The last niche is the lowest, since it is farthest from God. There are archons, or beginnings. They lead the angels of the lowest rank. It is believed that every earthly kingdom has its own archon, which is responsible for the reign of kings. These angels watch to the throne of the most worthy people who will rule in the name of God. And already directly below them are the archangels, including Gabriel. Below are only simple angels who from time to time are to people, perform little miracles and help, if necessary. Below in the heavenly hierarchy, only people. They are farthest away from God. So from the point of view of such a hierarchy, Gabriel, although one of the few angels with a name, has a very low status. And even the appearance of the baby Jesus in nurseries did not give him any significance.
Angels only bring good to people.
Usually angels are perceived as good beings who help people. Even if these messengers of God are sowing death, they only carry out his order. But there is one interpretation of the biblical texts, which directly blames the angels for a worldwide flood. But then all people died, except for Noah and his family. The book of Genesis says that shortly before those events our planet was a home not only for people, but also for the nefilim (nefilim). These creatures were born from the “sons of God” and “daughters of men.” Quite popular is the interpretation that considers such “sons” angels. They came to Earth, and stayed here, enjoying the pleasures, including the carnal. In the Book of Judah, chapter 1: 6, the Nephilim appear as beings who abandoned their lawful home, changing it to earthly. And in Genesis they are called descendants of certain divine beings and earthly women. Who it was – Christians continue to argue. But in the theology of the Jews, everything is much simpler. When God saw that his creatures, Hazael and Samsaveel, had become corrupted, he sent them to Earth. Angels had to prove that people can themselves be responsible for their future. But on Earth, they not only discovered for themselves the forbidden angels of pleasure. Samsaveil also violated one of the most sacred vows. He told the mortal woman the true name of God. Legends say that the angel was forbidden to go back to heaven as punishment, but that same woman, Ishtar, was lifted up and left among the stars. Samsaveil eventually repented of his misdeed, but he was never allowed to return, leaving between Heaven and Earth. According to other legends, as many as 18 angels entered into a connection with earthly women and left behind their offspring.In either case, both stories end in the same way. This sinful sin caused God to destroy all the created name on Earth, including the descendants of the angels – nephilim-giants.