Angel

Angel

Overview

Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messenger
Courier
A courier is a person or a company who delivers messages, packages, and mail. Couriers are distinguished from ordinary mail services by features such as speed, security, tracking, signature, specialization and individualization of express services, and swift delivery times, which are optional for...

s of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 in the Hebrew and Christian Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

s along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of (mal'akh) in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 (Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

); a similar term, ملائكة (Malāīkah), is used in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. The Hebrew and Greek words originally mean messenger, and depending on the context may refer either to a human messenger (possibly a prophet or priest, such as Malachi
Malachi
Malachi, Malachias or Mal'achi was a Jewish prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He had two brothers, Nathaniel and Josiah. Malachi was the writer of the Book of Malachi, the last book of the Neviim section in the Jewish Tanakh...

, "my messenger", but also for more mundane characters, as in the Greek superscription that the Book of Malachi
Book of Malachi
Malachi is a book of the Hebrew Bible, the last of the twelve minor prophets and the final book of the Neviim...

 was written "by the hand of his messenger" (ἀγγήλου)) or to a supernatural messenger, such as the "Mal'akh YHWH
Angel of the Lord
The Angel of the Lord is one of many terms in the Hebrew Bible used for an angel. The Biblical name for angel, מלאך mal'ach, which translates simply as "messenger," obtained the further signification of "angel" only through the addition of God's name, as The Angel of the Lord (or the Angel of...

," who (depending on interpretation) is either a messenger from God, an aspect of God (such as the Logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

), or God Himself as the messenger (the "theophanic angel.")

The term "angel" has also been expanded to various notions of spiritual beings found in many other religious traditions.

Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God's tasks.

The theological study of angels is known as angelology.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Angel'
Start a new discussion about 'Angel'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messenger
Courier
A courier is a person or a company who delivers messages, packages, and mail. Couriers are distinguished from ordinary mail services by features such as speed, security, tracking, signature, specialization and individualization of express services, and swift delivery times, which are optional for...

s of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 in the Hebrew and Christian Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

s along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of (mal'akh) in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 (Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

); a similar term, ملائكة (Malāīkah), is used in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. The Hebrew and Greek words originally mean messenger, and depending on the context may refer either to a human messenger (possibly a prophet or priest, such as Malachi
Malachi
Malachi, Malachias or Mal'achi was a Jewish prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He had two brothers, Nathaniel and Josiah. Malachi was the writer of the Book of Malachi, the last book of the Neviim section in the Jewish Tanakh...

, "my messenger", but also for more mundane characters, as in the Greek superscription that the Book of Malachi
Book of Malachi
Malachi is a book of the Hebrew Bible, the last of the twelve minor prophets and the final book of the Neviim...

 was written "by the hand of his messenger" (ἀγγήλου)) or to a supernatural messenger, such as the "Mal'akh YHWH
Angel of the Lord
The Angel of the Lord is one of many terms in the Hebrew Bible used for an angel. The Biblical name for angel, מלאך mal'ach, which translates simply as "messenger," obtained the further signification of "angel" only through the addition of God's name, as The Angel of the Lord (or the Angel of...

," who (depending on interpretation) is either a messenger from God, an aspect of God (such as the Logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

), or God Himself as the messenger (the "theophanic angel.")

The term "angel" has also been expanded to various notions of spiritual beings found in many other religious traditions.

Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God's tasks.

The theological study of angels is known as angelology. In art
Angels in art
Angels have appeared in works of art for millennia.Angel-shaped beings appear in ancient Mesopotamian and Greek art and were probably the inspiration for the popular Christian image of angels....

, angels are often depicted with wings; perhaps reflecting the descriptions in Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

 4:6-8 -- of the Four Living Creatures (τὰ τέσσαρα ζῷα) and the descriptions in the Hebrew Bible—of cherubim and seraphim (the chayot
Chayot
The Chayot or Hayyoth are a class of Merkabah, or Jewish Mystical Angel, reported in Ezekiel's vision of the Merkabah and its surrounding angels as recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel describing Ezekiel's vision by the river Chebar.Chayot are ranked first on Maimonides' Jewish...

 in Ezekiel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

's Merkabah
Merkabah
Merkabah is the throne-chariot of God, the four-wheeled vehicle driven by four "chayot" , each of which has four wings and the four faces of a man, lion, ox, and eagle...

 vision and the Seraphim of Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

). However, while cherubim and seraphim have wings in the Bible, no angel is mentioned as having wings.

Etymology



The word angel in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 is a fusion of the Old English word engel (with a hard g) and the Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 angele. Both derive from the Latin angelus which in turn is the romanization
Romanization
In linguistics, romanization or latinization is the representation of a written word or spoken speech with the Roman script, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language uses a different writing system . Methods of romanization include transliteration, for representing written...

 of the ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 ἄγγελος (angelos), "messenger", which is related to the Greek verb ἀγγέλλω (angellō), meaning "bear a message, announce, bring news of" etc. The earliest form of the word is the Mycenaean
Mycenaean language
Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language, spoken on the Greek mainland, Crete and Cyprus in the 16th to 12th centuries BC, before the hypothesised Dorian invasion which was often cited as the terminus post quem for the coming of the Greek language to Greece...

 a-ke-ro attested in Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

 syllabic script.

Philosophy


Philosophically, angels are "pure contingent spirits."
Philo
Philo
Philo , known also as Philo of Alexandria , Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew, was a Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher born in Alexandria....

 of Alexandria identifies the angel with the Logos as far as the angel is the immaterial voice of God. The angel is something different than God Himself, but is conceived just as a God's instrument. According to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, just as there is a First Mover, so, too, must there be spiritual secondary movers. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 (13th century) expands upon this in his Summa contra Gentiles
Summa contra Gentiles
The Summa contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas has traditionally been dated to 1264, though more recent scholarship places it towards the end of Thomas’ life, 1270-73 . The work has occasioned much debate as to its purpose, its intended audience and its relationship to his other works...

and Summa Theologica
Summa Theologica
The Summa Theologiæ is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas , and although unfinished, "one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature." It is intended as a manual for beginners in theology and a compendium of all of the main...

.

Judaism



The Bible uses the terms מלאך אלהים (mal'akh Elohim
Elohim
Elohim is a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language. When used with singular verbs and adjectives elohim is usually singular, "god" or especially, the God. When used with plural verbs and adjectives elohim is usually plural, "gods" or...

; messenger of God), מלאך יהוה (mal'akh YHWH; messenger of the Lord), בני אלהים (b'nai Elohim; sons of God) and הקודשים (ha-qodeshim; the holy ones) to refer to beings traditionally interpreted as angels. Later texts use other terms, such as העליונים (ha'elyoneem; the upper ones).

Scholar Michael D. Coogan notes that it is only in the late books that the terms "come to mean the benevolent semidivine beings familiar from later mythology and art." Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

 is the first biblical figure to refer to individual angels by name, mentioning Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 (God's primary messenger) in Daniel 9:21 and Michael
Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

 (the holy fighter) in Daniel 10:13. These angels are part of Daniel's apocalyptic visions and are an important part of all apocalyptic literature. Coogan explains the development of this concept of angels: "In the postexilic period, with the development of explicit monotheism, these divine beings—the 'sons of God' who were members of the divine council—were in effect demoted to what are now known as 'angels', understood as beings created by God, but immortal and thus superior to humans." This conception of angels is best understood in contrast to demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s and is often thought to be "influenced by the ancient Persian religious tradition of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

, which viewed the world as a battleground between forces of good and forces of evil, between light and darkness." One of these "sons of God
Sons of God
Sons of God is a phrase used in Levantine Bronze and Iron Age texts to describe the "divine council" of the major gods.- The term "sons of God" :...

" is "the satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

", a figure depicted in (among other places) the Book of Job
Book of Job
The Book of Job , commonly referred to simply as Job, is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God, and finally a response from God. The book is a...

.

In post-Biblical Judaism, certain angels took on particular significance and developed unique personalities and roles. Though these archangels were believed to rank among the heavenly host
Heavenly host
Heavenly host refers to an army of good angels mentioned in the Bible. It is led either by the Archangel Michael, Jesus, or by God himself. Most descriptions of angels in the Bible describe them in military terms, such as encampment , command structure , and combat...

, no systematic hierarchy ever developed. Metatron
Metatron
Metatron or Mattatron is the name of an angel in Judaism and some branches of Christian mythology. There are no references to him in the Jewish Tanakh or Christian Scriptures...

 is considered one of the highest of the angels in Merkabah
Merkabah
Merkabah is the throne-chariot of God, the four-wheeled vehicle driven by four "chayot" , each of which has four wings and the four faces of a man, lion, ox, and eagle...

 and Kabbalist
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 mysticism and often serves as a scribe; he is briefly mentioned in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and figures prominently in Merkabah mystical texts. Michael, who serves as a warrior and advocate for Israel , is looked upon particularly fondly. Gabriel is mentioned in the Book of Daniel
Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

 , the Book of Tobit
Book of Tobit
The Book of Tobit is a book of scripture that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon, pronounced canonical by the Council of Carthage of 397 and confirmed for Roman Catholics by the Council of Trent...

, and briefly in the Talmud, as well as in many Merkabah mystical texts. There is no evidence in Judaism for the worship of angels
Worship of angels
The term worship of angels primarily relates to either excessive honouring angels in Judaism and Christianity.-In Judaism:The Jewish Bible strictly prohibits worship of any other than God...

, but there is evidence for the invocation
Invocation
An invocation may take the form of:*Supplication or prayer.*A form of possession.*Command or conjuration.*Self-identification with certain spirits....

 and sometimes even conjuration
Conjuration
Conjuration is used in many video games, mainly RPGs, where it is usually referred to as summoning.* A notable example is the Final Fantasy franchise which incorporates summoning of monsters to fight alongside the characters....

 of angels.

Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

 explained his view of angels in his Guide for the Perplexed
Guide for the Perplexed
The Guide for the Perplexed is one of the major works of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, better known as Maimonides or "the Rambam"...

II:4 and II:6:
According to Kabalah, there are four worlds and our world is the last world: the world of action (Assiyah). Angels exist in the worlds above as a 'task' of God. They are an extension of God to produce effects in this world. After an angel has completed its task, it ceases to exist. The angel is in effect the task. This is derived from the book of Genesis when Abraham meets with three angels and Lot meets with two. The task of one of the angels was to inform Abraham of his coming child. The other two were to save Lot and to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah were cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and later expounded upon throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and Deuterocanonical sources....

.

Famous angels and their tasks:
  • Malachim
    Malakh
    In Judaism an angel is a messenger of God, an angelic envoy or an angel in general who appears throughout the Hebrew Bible, Rabbinic literature, and traditional Jewish liturgy.-Etymology:...

     (translation: messengers), general word for angel
  • Michael
    Michael (archangel)
    Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

     (translation: who is like God), performs God's kindness
  • Gabriel
    Gabriel
    In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

     (translation: the strength of God), performs acts of justice and power
  • Raphael (translation: God Heals), God's healing force
  • Uriel
    Uriel
    Uriel is one of the archangels of post-Exilic Rabbinic tradition, and also of certain Christian traditions...

      (translation: God is my light), leads us to destiny
  • Seraphim (translation: the burning ones), sing and praise God
  • Malach HaMavet
    Death (personification)
    The concept of death as a sentient entity has existed in many societies since the beginning of history. In English, Death is often given the name Grim Reaper and, from the 15th century onwards, came to be shown as a skeletal figure carrying a large scythe and clothed in a black cloak with a hood...

     (translation: the angel of death)
  • Satan
    Satan
    Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

     (translation: the adversary), brings people's sins before them in the heavenly court
  • Chayot
    Chayot
    The Chayot or Hayyoth are a class of Merkabah, or Jewish Mystical Angel, reported in Ezekiel's vision of the Merkabah and its surrounding angels as recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel describing Ezekiel's vision by the river Chebar.Chayot are ranked first on Maimonides' Jewish...

     HaKodesh (translation: living beings)
  • Ophanim (translation: arbits) Guardians of the Throne of God

Christianity




Early Christians inherited Jewish understandings of angels, which in turn may have been partly inherited from the Egyptians. In the early stage, the Christian concept of an angel characterized the angel as a messenger of God. Angels are creatures of good, spirits of love, and messengers of the savior Jesus Christ. Later came identification of individual angelic messengers: Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

, Michael
Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

, Raphael, Uriel
Uriel
Uriel is one of the archangels of post-Exilic Rabbinic tradition, and also of certain Christian traditions...

, and Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

/Lucifer
Lucifer
Traditionally, Lucifer is a name that in English generally refers to the devil or Satan before being cast from Heaven, although this is not the original meaning of the term. In Latin, from which the English word is derived, Lucifer means "light-bearer"...

. Then, in the space of little more than two centuries (from the third to the fifth) the image of angels took on definite characteristics both in theology and in art.

By the late fourth century, the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 agreed that there were different categories of angels, with appropriate missions and activities assigned to them. Some theologians had proposed that Jesus was not divine but on the level of immaterial beings subordinate to the Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

. The resolution of this Trinitarian dispute included the development of doctrine about angels.

The angels are represented throughout the Christian Bible as a body of spiritual beings intermediate between God and men: "You have made him (man) a little less than the angels..." . Some Christians believe that angels are created beings, and use the following passage as evidence: "praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts... for He spoke and they were made. He commanded and they were created..." . The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) declared that the angels were created beings. The Council's decree Firmiter credimus (issued against the Albigenses) declared both that angels were created and that men were created after them. The First Vatican Council
First Vatican Council
The First Vatican Council was convoked by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1868, after a period of planning and preparation that began on 6 December 1864. This twentieth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, held three centuries after the Council of Trent, opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned...

 (1869) repeated this declaration in Dei Filius
Dei Filius
Dei Filius is the incipit of the dogmatic constitution of the First Vatican Council on the Catholic faith, which was adopted unanimously on 24 April 1870....

, the "Dogmatic constitution on the Catholic faith". Of note is that the Bible describes the function of angels as "messengers" and does not indicate when the creation of angels occurred.

Many Christians regard angels as asexual and not belonging to either gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 as they interpret Matthew 22:30 in this way. Angels are on the other hand usually described as looking like male human beings. Their names are also masculine. And although angels have greater knowledge than men, they are not omniscient, as Matthew 24:36 points out.

Interaction with angels



The New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 includes many of interactions and conversations between angels and humans. For instance, three separate cases of angelic interaction deal with the births of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 and Jesus Christ. In Luke 1:11, an angel appears to Zechariah
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

 to inform him that he will have a child despite his old age, thus proclaiming the birth of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 And in Luke 1:26 the archangel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary in the Annunciation
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

 to foretell the birth of Jesus Christ. Angels then proclaim the birth of Jesus in the Adoration of the shepherds
Adoration of the shepherds
The Adoration of the shepherds, in the Nativity of Jesus in art, is a scene in which shepherds are near witnesses to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It is often combined with the Adoration of the Magi, in which case it is typically just referred to by the latter title...

 in Luke 2:10. Angels also appear later in the New Testament. In Luke 22:43 an angel comforts Jesus Christ during the Agony in the Garden
Agony in the Garden
The Agony in the Garden refers to the events in the life of Jesus between the Last Supper and Jesus' arrest. Jesus' struggle praying and discussing with God, before accepting his sacrifice, before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane also denotes a state of mind - agony.-Scriptural...

. In Matthew 28:5 an angel speaks at the empty tomb, following the Resurrection of Jesus
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 and the rolling back of the stone by angels. Hebrews 13:2 reminds the reader that they may "entertain angels unaware".

Since the completion of the New Testament, the Christian tradition has continued to include a number of reported interactions with angels. For instance, in 1851 Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 approved the Chaplet of Saint Michael
Chaplet of Saint Michael
The Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel is a chaplet resulting from a reported private revelation by the Archangel Michael to the Portuguese Carmelite nun Antónia d'Astónaco...

 based on the 1751 private revelation
Private revelation
In the teaching of the Catholic Church, a private revelation refers to visions and revelations from God to a specific Christian which have taken place since the completion of the New Testament...

 from archangel Michael to the Carmelite nun Antonia d'Astonac. And Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 emphasized the role of angels in Catholic teachings in his 1986 address titled "Angels Participate In History Of Salvation", in which he suggested that modern mentality should come to see the importance of angels.

As recently as the 20th century, visionaries and mystics have reported interactions with, and indeed dictations from, angels. For instance, the bed-ridden Italian writer and mystic Maria Valtorta
Maria Valtorta
Maria Valtorta was a Roman Catholic Italian writer and poet, considered by many to be a mystic. Her work centers on Catholic Christian themes...

 wrote The Book of Azariah
The Book of Azariah
The Book of Azariah is a book by the Italian author and Roman Catholic mystic Maria Valtorta. It was written in 1946 and 1947 in Viareggio, Italy where Valtorta was bedridden for several decades...

based on "dictations" that she directly attributed to her guardian angel Azariah, discussing the Roman Missal
Roman Missal
The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.-Situation before the Council of Trent:...

 used for Sunday Mass in 1946 and 1947.

Iconography



The earliest known Christian image of an angel—in the Cubicolo dell'Annunziazione in the Catacomb of Priscilla
Catacomb of Priscilla
The Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria in Rome, Italy, is situated in what was a quarry in Roman times. This quarry was used for Christian burials from the late 2nd century through the 4th century. Some of the walls and ceilings display fine decorations illustrating Biblical scenes...

 (mid-third century)—is without wings. In that same period, representations of angels on sarcophagi, lamps and reliquaries also show them without wings, as for example the angel in the Sacrifice of Isaac scene in the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus
Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus
The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a marble Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus, who died in 359. It has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture." The sarcophagus was originally placed in or under Old St...

 (although the side view of the Sarcophagus shows winged angelic figures).

The earliest known representation of angels with wings is on the "Prince's Sarcophagus", discovered in the 1930s at Sarigüzel, near Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, and attributed to the time of Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 (379-395). From that period on, Christian art has represented angels mostly with wings, as in the cycle of mosaics in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major , known also by other names, is the largest Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy.There are other churches in Rome dedicated to Mary, such as Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but the greater size of the...

 (432–440). Four- and six-winged angels, drawn from the higher grades of angels (especially cherubim and seraphim) and often showing only their faces and wings, are derived from Persian art and are usually shown only in heavenly contexts
Heaven (Christianity)
Traditionally, Christianity has taught Heaven as a place of eternal life and the dwelling place of Angels and the Throne of God, and a kingdom to which all the elect will be admitted...

, as opposed to performing tasks on earth. They often appear in the pendentive
Pendentive
A pendentive is a constructive device permitting the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room. The pendentives, which are triangular segments of a sphere, taper to points at the bottom and spread at the top to establish the continuous circular or...

s of church dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

s or semi-dome
Semi-dome
A semi-dome, also called a "half-dome", is the term in architecture for half a dome , used to cover a semi-circular area. Similar structures occur in nature.-Architecture:...

s. Prior of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the Greek world, the Greek goddess Nike
Nike (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nike was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of Pallas and Styx and the sister of Kratos , Bia , and Zelus...

 and the god Eros
Eros
Eros , in Greek mythology, was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid . Some myths make him a primordial god, while in other myths, he is the son of Aphrodite....

 were also depicted in human-like form with wings.

Saint John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

 explained the significance of angels' wings:

In terms of their clothing, angels, especially the Archangel Michael, were depicted as military-style agents of God and came to be shown wearing Late Antique military uniform. This uniform could be the normal military dress, with a tunic to about the knees, an armour breastplate and pteruges
Pteruges
Pteruges refers to the decorative skirt of leather or fabric strips worn around the waists of Roman and Greek warriors and soldiers, as well as the similarly-fashioned epaulette-like strips worn on the shoulders or later, especially in the Middle East during the Middle Ages, the back of the...

, but was often the specific dress of the bodyguard of the Byzantine Emperor, with a long tunic and the loros, the long gold and jewelled pallium
Pallium
The pallium is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has always remained unambiguously...

restricted to the Imperial family and their closest guards. The basic military dress was shown in Western art into the Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 period and beyond (see Reni picture above), and up to the present day in Eastern Orthodox icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

s. Other angels came to be conventionally depicted in long robes, and in the later Middle Ages they often wear the vestments of a deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

, a cope
Cope
The cope is a liturgical vestment, a very long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. It may be of any liturgical colour....

 over a dalmatic
Dalmatic
The dalmatic is a long wide-sleeved tunic, which serves as a liturgical vestment in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, and United Methodist Churches, which is sometimes worn by a deacon at the Mass or other services. Although infrequent, it may also be worn by bishops above the alb and below...

; this costume was used especially for Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 in Annunciation
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

 scenes—for example the Annunciation in Washington
Annunciation (van Eyck, Washington)
The Annunciation is an oil painting by the Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck, from around 1434-1436. It is in the National Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C. It was originally on panel but has been transferred to canvas. It is thought that it was the left wing of a triptych; there has...

 by Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges and considered one of the best Northern European painters of the 15th century....

.

Latter Day Saints



Adherents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (generally referred to as "Mormons") view angels as the messengers of God. They are sent to mankind to deliver messages, minister to humanity, teach doctrines of salvation, call mankind to repentance, give priesthood keys, save individuals in perilous times, and guide humankind.
^ Deseret (1966) p.36.

Latter Day Saints believe that angels are the spirits of humans who are deceased or who have yet to be born, and accordingly Joseph Smith taught that "there are no angels who minister to this earth but those that do belong or have belonged to it." As such, Latter Day Saints also believe that Adam
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

 (the first man) is now the archangel Michael
Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

, and that Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

. Likewise the Angel Moroni first lived in a pre-Columbian American civilization
Nephite
According to the Book of Mormon, a Nephite is a member of one of the four main groups of settlers of the ancient Americas. The other three groups are the Lamanites, Jaredites and Mulekites. In the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were a group of people descended from or associated with Nephi, the...

 as the 5th-century prophet-warrior named Moroni
Moroni (prophet)
The Angel Moroni is an angel that Joseph Smith, Jr. said visited him on numerous occasions, beginning on September 21, 1823. According to Smith, the angel was the guardian of the golden plates, which Latter Day Saints believe were the source material for the Book of Mormon, buried in a hill near...

.

Joseph Smith, Jr. described his first angelic encounter thus:
Most angelic visitations in the early Latter Day Saint movement
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

 were witnessed by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who both claimed (prior to the establishment of the Church in 1830) to have been visited by the prophet Moroni
Moroni (prophet)
The Angel Moroni is an angel that Joseph Smith, Jr. said visited him on numerous occasions, beginning on September 21, 1823. According to Smith, the angel was the guardian of the golden plates, which Latter Day Saints believe were the source material for the Book of Mormon, buried in a hill near...

, John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

, and the Apostles Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

, James
James, son of Alphaeus
Saint James, son of Alphaeus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He is often identified with James the Less and commonly known by that name in church tradition....

, and John
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

. Later, at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple
Kirtland Temple
The Kirtland Temple is a National Historic Landmark in Kirtland, Ohio, USA, on the eastern edge of the Cleveland metropolitan area. Owned and operated by the Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints , the house of worship was the first temple to be...

, Smith and Sidney Rigdon
Sidney Rigdon
Sidney Rigdon was a leader during the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement.-Baptist background:...

 claimed to have been visited by Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, and subsequently by Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, Elias
Elias
Elias is the Latin transliteration of the Greek name , which in turn is the Hellenized form of the , meaning "Yahweh is my God". Another form of Eliyahu in English is Elijah.The name belonged most notably to Elijah , the Hebrew prophet...

, and Elijah.

People who claimed to have received a visit by an angel include the other two of the Three Witnesses
Three Witnesses
The Three Witnesses were a group of three early leaders of the Latter Day Saint movement who signed a statement in 1830 saying that an angel had shown them the golden plates from which Joseph Smith, Jr. translated the Book of Mormon and that they had heard God's voice testifying that the book had...

: David Whitmer
David Whitmer
David Whitmer was an early adherent of the Latter Day Saint movement who eventually became the most interviewed of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon's Golden Plates.-Early life:...

 and Martin Harris. Many other Latter Day Saints, both in the early and modern church, have claimed to have seen angels, though Smith posited that, except in extenuating circumstances such as the restoration, mortals teach mortals, spirits teach spirits and resurrected beings teach other resurrected beings.

Islam


Angels (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: ملائكة , Malāʾikah; Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

: Melek) are mentioned many times in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 and Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

. Islam is clear on the nature of angels in that they are messengers of God. They have no free will
Free will in theology
Free will in theology is an important part of the debate on free will in general. This article discusses the doctrine of free will as it has been, and is, interpreted within the various branches of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism...

, and can do only what God
God in Islam
In Islamic theology, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular . God is unique and inherently One , all-merciful and omnipotent. According to the Islamic...

 orders them to do. An example of a task they carry out is that of testing individuals by granting them abundant wealth and curing their illness. Believing in angels is one of the six Articles of Faith
Articles of Faith
Articles of faith are sets of beliefs usually found in creeds, sometimes numbered, and often beginning with "We believe...", which attempt to more or less define the fundamental theology of a given religion, and especially in the Christian Church....

 in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

Bahá'í Faith


In his Book of Certitude
Kitáb-i-Íqán
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Koran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is...

Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith, describes angels as people who ‘have consumed, with the fire of the love of God, all human traits and limitations’, and have ‘clothed themselves’ with angelic attributes and have become ‘endowed with the attributes of the spiritual’. 'Abdu’l-Bahá describes angels as the ‘confirmations of God and His celestial powers’ and as ‘blessed beings who have severed all ties with this nether world’ and ‘been released from the chains of self’, and ‘revealers of God’s abounding grace’. The Bahá’í writings also refer to the Concourse on High
Concourse on High
The Concourse on High is a Bahá'í term for the gathering of God’s prophets, and His holy and chosen souls....

, an angelic host, and the Maid of Heaven
Maid of Heaven
Maid of Heaven refers to a vision that Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith had of a maiden from God, through whom he received his mission as a Messenger of God.In his Súriy-i-Haykal Bahá’u’lláh describes his vision as follows:...

 of Bahá’u’lláh's vision.

Non-Abrahamic traditions


"Angel" is sometimes used as a translation of related concepts in non-Abrahamic traditions.

Zoroastrianism



In Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 there are different angel-like figures. For example, each person has one guardian angel, called Fravashi
Fravashi
A fravashi is the guardian spirit mentioned in the Avesta of an individual, who sends out the urvan into the material world to fight the battle of good versus evil...

. They patronize human beings and other creatures, and also manifest God’s energy. The Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, although there is no direct reference to them conveying messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazdā is the Avestan name for a divinity of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism...

 ("Wise Lord", God); they initially appear in an abstract fashion and then later became personalized, associated with diverse aspects of the divine creation.

Indian religions


In Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, the term deva
Deva (Hinduism)
' is the Sanskrit word for god or deity, its related feminine term is devi. In modern Hinduism, it can be loosely interpreted as any benevolent supernatural beings. The devs in Hinduism, also called Suras, are often juxtaposed to the Asuras, their half brothers. Devs are also the maintainers of...

is sometimes translated as "angel" (besides "god" or "deity"). But essentially deva is not an angel. Instead deva is the embodiment of a natural element with explicit manifestation in physical realms.

Sikhism



In Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

, the references to angelic or divine deities is often objected as the religion focuses on the liberation of the soul and ultimately joining with Waheguru. However, in early scriptures written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Guru Nanak Dev
Guru Nanak was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. The Sikhs believe that all subsequent Gurus possessed Guru Nanak’s divinity and religious authority, and were named "Nanak" in the line of succession.-Early life:Guru Nanak was born on 15 April 1469, now...

 indicate specific heavenly deities to help in the judgment of the soul.

Azrael
Azrael
Azrael is the name of the Archangel of Death in some extrabiblical traditions. He is also the angel of death in Islamic theology and Sikhism. It is an English form of the Arabic name ʿIzrāʾīl or Azra'eil , the name traditionally attributed to the angel of death in some sects of Islam and Sikhism,...

 (as Azraa-eel) is named as the angel of death in the Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Granth Sahib
Sri Guru Granth Sahib , or Adi Granth, is the religious text of Sikhism. It is the final and eternal guru of the Sikhs. It is a voluminous text of 1430 angs, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708...

, the holy scripture and the final Guru of the Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

s.

In So Dar and Raag Asa Sat Guru
Satguru
Satguru does not merely mean true guru. The term is distinguished from other forms of gurus, such as musical instructors, scriptural teachers, parents, and so on...

 Nanak mentions clearly two beings Chitar and Gupat who record the deeds of men. These beings are Angels assigned with this Divine task by the Creator. Chitar records the deeds that are visible to all and Gupat records that which is hidden in thought or secret action. Their names themselves allude to the tasks which the All Mighty has bestowed upon them. The celestial beings are often seen at the gates of heaven, dressed in the most adorned and decorated gowns, holding the records on the actions and feelings of the soul in the line for judgement.

Brahma Kumaris


In Brahma Kumaris religion, it is taught that every member becomes angel of light (faristha in Hindi) and that founder Dada Lekhraj
Dada Lekhraj
Lekhraj Khubchand Kripalani , , also known as Bhai or Dada Lekhraj was the Co-founder of Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University movement...

 has already become perfect man and angel Brahma
Brahma
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Mānu, and from Mānu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the...

 through practise of Raja Yoga.

Theosophy


In the teachings of Theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

, Devas
Deva (New Age)
A deva in the New Age movement refers to any of the spiritual forces or beings behind nature. According to Theosophists Charles Webster Leadbeater and Alice A. Bailey, devas represent a separate evolution to that of humanity. The concept of devas as nature-spirits derives from the writings of...

are regarded as living either in the atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

s of the planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s of the solar system
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

 (Planetary Angels) or inside the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

 (Solar Angels) (presumably other planetary system
Planetary system
A planetary system consists of the various non-stellar objects orbiting a star such as planets, dwarf planets , asteroids, meteoroids, comets, and cosmic dust...

s and star
Star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s have their own angels) and they help to guide the operation of the processes of nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 such as the process of evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 and the growth of plants; their appearance is reputedly like colored flames about the size of a human. It is believed by Theosophists that devas can be observed when the third eye
Third eye
The third eye is a mystical and esoteric concept referring in part to the ajna chakra in certain spiritual traditions. It is also spoken of as the gate that leads within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness...

 is activated. Some (but not most) devas originally incarnated as human beings.

It is believed by Theosophists that nature spirits, elementals (gnome
Gnome
A gnome is a diminutive spirit in Renaissance magic and alchemy, first introduced by Paracelsus and later adopted by more recent authors including those of modern fantasy literature...

s, undines, sylphs, and salamanders
Salamander (legendary creature)
The salamander is an amphibian of the order Urodela. As with many real creatures, pre-modern authors often ascribed fantastic qualities to it , and in recent times some have come to identify a legendary salamander as a distinct concept from the real organism. This idea is most highly developed in...

), and fairies
Fairy
A fairy is a type of mythical being or legendary creature, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural or preternatural.Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term...

 can be also be observed when the third eye
Third eye
The third eye is a mystical and esoteric concept referring in part to the ajna chakra in certain spiritual traditions. It is also spoken of as the gate that leads within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness...

 is activated. It is maintained by Theosophists that these less evolutionarily developed beings have never been previously incarnated as humans; they are regarded as being on a separate line of spiritual evolution called the “deva evolution”; eventually, as their souls advance as they reincarnate
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

, it is believed they will incarnate as devas.

It is asserted by Theosophists that all of the above mentioned beings possess etheric bodies
Etheric body
The etheric body, ether-body, æther body, a name given by neo-Theosophy to a supposed vital body or subtle body propounded in esoteric philosophies as the first or lowest layer in the "human energy field" or aura...

 that are composed of etheric matter
Etheric plane
The etheric plane is a term introduced into Theosophy by Charles Webster Leadbeater and Annie Besant to represent one of the planes of existence in neo-Theosophical and Rosicrucian cosmology. It represents the fourth[higher] subplane of the physical plane , the lower three being the states of...

, a type of matter finer and more pure that is composed of smaller particles than ordinary physical plane matter
Matter
Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

.

Contemporary belief in angels


A 2002 study based on interviews with 350 people, mainly in the UK, who said they have had an experience of an angel, describes several types of such experiences: visions, sometimes with multiple witnesses present; auditions, e.g. to convey a warning; a sense of being touched, pushed, or lifted, typically to avert a dangerous situation; and pleasant fragrance, generally in the context of somebody's death. In the visual experiences, the angels described appear in various forms, either the "classical" one (human countenance with wings), in the form of extraordinarily beautiful or radiant human beings, or as beings of light.

In the US, a 2008 survey by Baylor University
Baylor University
Baylor University is a private, Christian university located in Waco, Texas. Founded in 1845, Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.-History:...

's Institute for Studies of Religion, published by TIME
Time
Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects....

 Magazine, which polled 1,700 respondents, found that 55 percent of Americans, including one in five of those who say they are not religious, believe that they have been protected by a guardian angel during their life. An August 2007 Pew
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1990, Donald S...

 poll found that 68 percent of Americans believe that "angels and demons are active in the world", and according to four different polls conducted in 2009, a greater percentage of Americans believe in angels (55%) than those who believe in global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 (36%).

According to the Gallup Youth Survey, in a Teen Belief in the Supernatural poll in 1994, 76% of 508 teenagers (aged 13–17) believe in angels, a greater percentage than those who believe in astrology, ESP, ghosts, witchcraft, clairvoyance, Bigfoot, and vampires. In 1978, 64% of American young people believed in angels; in 1984, 69% of teenagers believed in angels; and by 1994, that number grew to 76%, while belief in other supernatural concepts, such as the Loch Ness monster
Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid that is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next....

 and ESP, have declined. In 1992, 80% of 502 surveyed teenage girls believe in angels, and 81% of Catholic teens and 82% of regular church attendees harbored beliefs in angels. According to another set of Gallup polls, designated towards all Americans, in 1994, 72% of Americans said they believed in angels, while in 2004, 78% of the surveyed Americans indicated belief in angels, with the percentage of Americans that did not believe in angels dropping from 15% to 10%, and the percentage of Americans that were "not sure" dropping from 13% to 11%.

In Canada, a 2008 survey of over 1000 Canadians found 67 percent believe in angels.

See also

  • Apsara
    Apsara
    An Apsara , also known as Vidhya Dhari or Tep Apsar in Khmer, Accharā or A Bố Sa La Tư , Bidadari , Biradali , Widodari and Apson , is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in...

  • Archangel
    Archangel
    An archangel is an angel of high rank. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism and by most Christians. Michael is the only archangel specifically named in the Protestant Bible...

  • Dakini
    Dakini
    A dakini is a tantric deity described as a female embodiment of enlightened energy. In the Tibetan language, dakini is rendered khandroma which means 'she who traverses the sky' or 'she who moves in space'. Sometimes the term is translated poetically as 'sky dancer' or 'sky walker'. The dakini, in...

  • Ethereal being
    Ethereal being
    Ethereal beings, according to some belief systems and occult theories, are mystic entities that usually are not made of ordinary matter. Despite the fact that they are believed to be essentially incorporeal, they do interact in physical shapes with the material universe and travel between the...

  • Fallen angel
    Fallen angel
    Fallen angel is a concept developed in Jewish mythology from interpretation of the Book of Enoch. The actual term fallen angel is not found in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. Christians adopted the concept of fallen angels mainly based on their interpretations of the Book of...

  • Gandharva
    Gandharva
    Gandharva is a name used for distinct mythological beings in Hinduism and Buddhism; it is also a term for skilled singers in Indian classical music.-In Hinduism:...

  • Guardian angel
    Guardian angel
    A guardian angel is an angel assigned to protect and guide a particular person or group. Belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity...

  • Hierarchy of angels
    Hierarchy of angels
    The most influential Christian angelic hierarchy was that put forward by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in the 4th or 5th century in his book De Coelesti Hierarchia . During the Middle Ages, many schemes were proposed, some drawing on and expanding on Pseudo-Dionysius, others suggesting completely...

  • List of films about angels
  • Nephilim
    Nephilim
    The Nephilim are the offspring of the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" in Genesis 6:4, or giants who inhabit Canaan in Numbers 13:33. A similar word with different vowel-sounds is used in Ezekiel 32:27 to refer to dead Philistine warriors....

  • Shoulder angel
    Shoulder angel
    A shoulder angel is a plot device used for either dramatic or humorous effect in animation and comic strips . The angel represents conscience and is often accompanied by a shoulder devil representing temptation. They are handy for easily showing inner conflict of a character...

  • Sons of God
    Sons of God
    Sons of God is a phrase used in Levantine Bronze and Iron Age texts to describe the "divine council" of the major gods.- The term "sons of God" :...

  • Watcher or Grigori

External links