The Ranks of Angels: The Hierarchy
Throughout time, millions of people have felt the grace and guidance of Angels. People in all walks of life have been helped, guided, saved or just confronted by their Guardian Angels and are more than eager to share their encounters with anyone willing to listen.
George Washington spoke of his Guardian Angel often, and credited his success at Valley Forge to “an inspiring visit from a heavenly being.” Abraham Lincoln often called upon the healing powers and wisdom of the Angels to help guide him and heal the nation in times of death and devastation. Stories of encounters with these Celestial Beings have been around since the beginning of written history.
Angels are all around and watching over us. They are more popular and more visible today than ever before. And even though they have always been with us, it seems as though we are just discovering them. In spite of all the skepticism, human belief in these Heavenly Beings has withstood the test of time and lately more people are willing to come forward and share their stories of encounters with these Heavenly visitations.
Anyoe whose life has been touched by an Angel will agree wholeheartedly that these Angels are indeed messengers from God.
According to the dictionary an Angel is “a celestial attendant of God; one of a class of Spiritual Beings who, in Medieval Angelology, were the lowest of the nine celestial orders: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.” However for most people, an Angel is an Angel, regardless of their so called ‘rank’.
The Rank of Angels:
In the 5th Century A.D., a Middle Eastern Scholar named Dionysius studied the references to Angels in the Scriptures and other non-biblical sources. He concluded that there were 9 “classes.” or “choirs” of Angels which were divided into 3 “spheres.” Even though there are some minor discrepencies in the field of Angel scholars, Dionysius’ Hierarchy of Angels is still accepted today and are as follows (starting with those closest to God)”
1st Sphere – Seraphim, Cheribum and Thrones
2nd Sphere – Dominions, Virtues and Powers
3rd Sphere – Principalities, Archangels and Angels.
SERAPHIM – sometimes called “the burning ones” because they are closest to God and radiate Pure Light. These are the Angels who constantly sing God’s praise, and whose duty it is to regulate the heavens. (Lucifer is said to have been one of the Seraphim who had outshone all the others untill he became the head of the fallen angels).
CHERUBIM - sent to guard the gates of Eden. Originally they were depicted as the bearers of God’s Throne, as the charioteers, and as powerful beings with four wings and four faces. However, in modern times, Cheribum have evolved into chubby babies with wings.
THRONES - called the ‘many eyed ones’ have the duty of carrying out God’s decisions. They are often represented as firey wheels.
DOMINIONS – their job is to regulate the duties of the other Angels and ensure that God’s wishes are carried out.
VIRTUES – the Angels of Grace who bring God’s blessings to Earth, usually in the form of miracles. Known as the ‘brilliant’ or “shinning'” ones, they are associated with acts of heroism and bring courage when needed.
POWERS - their job is to prevent the ‘fallen angels’ from taking over the world and keeping the Universe in balance. They are also seen as the Angels of birth and death.
PRINCIPALITIES – the Guardian Angels of cities, nations and rulers, and guards against the invasion of evil angels.
ARCHANGELS - probably the best known of all Angels. They carry God’s most important messages to humans. They also command God’s ‘armies’ of Angels in the constant battle with the “sons of darkness.”
ANGELS - the Celestial Beings closest to humans. They act as intermediaries between the Almighty and humanity. Often called our “Guardian Angels.”
Angels and atheists: Angels may appear to anyone, regardless of religious backgrounds or beliefs. Case in point… in 1985 a Russian space scientist defected and then told what had happened to 6 cosmonauts aboard the Soyuz 7 space station. After orbiting the Earth for 155 days, a band of Angels had miraculously appeared outside their spacecraft. Leonid Kizim, Vladimir Solevev and Oleg Artkov were working on routine medical experiments when suddenly they were nearly blinded by a brilliant orange light from outside the orbiting laboratory. It took a few seconds for their eyes to adjust to the astonishing radiance, but then, according to the secret report, they saw “seven giant figures in the form of humans, but with wings and mist-like halos as in the classic depiction of Angels. They appeared to be hundreds of feet tall with a wingspan as great as a jetliner.”