Angels Watching Over Us

James R. CoffeyStarred Page By James R. Coffey, 26th Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

According to a 2009 survey, 77% of Americans believe in some description of angels. While skeptics often relate a belief in angels to irrational superstition and wishful thinking, countless new spiritual perspectives surface each year which include the possibility of angels among us. There can be little doubt but that the interest and acceptance of angels with continue for some time to come.

Messengers

The word angel comes from the Greek, angelo, which mean “messenger.”

For thousands of years, thousands of translations, countless written descriptions and oral accounts speak of divine winged messengers draped in pure, white robes, underscoring humankind’s ageless belief and fascination with angels.

Fundamental to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the concept of angelic beings is very similar in all three faiths: spiritual beings created by God before the world was created, whose role is to glorify God, minister to God, and particularly, to act as God's messengers to humans in matters of great importance (such as the announcement to Mary in Christianity and the revelation of the Qur'an in Islam).

While the Bible and Koran refer to them often, those are just two religious texts among many for which angels are actual, factual entities serving a variety of important spiritual purposes. (A belief in angels is the second article of faith in Islam, and their ever-presence is pivotal to many Biblical accounts.) Angels are also a key element of Baha’i, Zoroastrianism, and Hindu faiths.

Depictions

According to a 2009 survey conducted by Ohio University and Scripps Howard News Service, 77% of American believe in some description of angels. Angels are frequently depicted as human in appearance, though many theologians argue that they have no physical, corporal existence.

Beginning at the end of the 4th century, angels began to be depicted with wings, presumably to provide an acceptable understanding of their ability to travel back and forth from heaven, or were sometimes depicted as supernatural spirits. Seraphim (divine creatures related to cherubim and now accepted as synonymous with angels) of the Old Testament are often depicted with six wings radiating from a center--either concealing a body, or without a body altogether.

Scholastic theologians teach that angels are able to reason and transport themselves instantly, and are intermediaries to natural forces of the universe such as the rotation of planets and the motion of stars.

Angels are said to possess the “beatific vision,” or an intimate understanding of God. Furthermore, before the discovery of the atom, it was commonly accepted that there are more angels then there are anything else in the universe.

Hierarchy

Religious perception of angels during the Middle Ages was greatly influenced by the theory of "angelic hierarchy" set forth in The Celestial Hierarchy, associated with Dionysius the Areopagite of the 5th century.

Some Christian traditions hold that angels are organized into three major hierarchies which are subdivided into orders or choirs, and list as many as ten orders of angels. This is particularly clear in The Celestial Hierarchy which gives the names that have become part of the angelic tradition: (from lowest to highest) angels, archangels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominions, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim. In this hierarchy, cherubim and seraphim are typically perceived as closest to God, while angels and archangels are most active in human affairs and serve a number of functions, (while some having nothing to do but worship their Lord).

Others angels are sent to deliver messages to creatures on earth or are sent as protectors of earthlings. Still others are sent to do battle with devils, who are viewed as initiators of evil temptations.

Some Christian traditions hold that angels play a variety of specific roles in the lives of believers.

For instance, each Christian may be assigned a “guardian” angel at their baptism. Each consecrated altar has at least one angel always present offering up prayers, and a number of angels are said to join the congregation when they meet to pray.

In the story of the forty martyrs of Sebaste in which forty Christian Roman soldiers were made to stand naked on a frozen lake in the snow until they renounced their faith, angels were seen descending from heaven, placing the crowns of martyrs on their heads.

New Testament

While the New Testament predates the angelic hierarchy developed in later centuries, the foundation of this doctrine can be inferred in many passages. For example, the distinction of good and bad angels is recognized in Luke 1:19 (regarding Gabriel), Rev. 9:11 (regarding Abaddon or Apollyon), Mark 1:13 and 3:22 (Satan and Beelzebub), with rank implied in Jude 9 (archangel Michael), Rom. 8:38; Col. 1:16 and 2:10 (principalities and powers thrones and dominions). Angels occur in groups of four or seven in Rev 7:1, also seeming to imply hierarchy.

Perhaps most significant to Christianity is the role the archangel Gabriel played in the New Testament, appearing to Mary in his traditional role of messenger to inform her that her child would be the Messiah, with other angels said to have been present to herald his birth.

Angels also appeared at Jesus' tomb, frightened the Roman guards, rolled away the stone from the tomb, and later told the myrrh-bearing women of Jesus' resurrection. Two angels witnessed Jesus' ascent into heaven and prophesied his return.

When Peter was imprisoned, an angel put his guards to sleep, released him from his chains, and led him out of the prison.

Angels also fill a number of different roles in the book of Revelation, among other things, they are seen gathered around the throne of God singing the "Holy, holy, holy" hymn.

Modern close encounters

While skeptics often relate a belief in angels to irrational superstition and wishful thinking, many prominent visionaries and contemporary mystics have reported interactions with and even dictations from angels. For example, the bed-ridden Italian writer and mystic Maria Valtorta wrote The Book of Azariah based on "dictations" that she directly attributed to her guardian angel Azariah, discussing the Roman Missal used for Sunday Mass in 1946 and 1947.

More recently, mystic and medium Danielle Egnew is referenced in Steve Barney’s book, The Sacred and the Profane as a prominent example of modern day communication with angels, during which Egnew reports channeled angelic messages of individual assistance as well as future world events such as those of 2012.

Between 1992 and 2009, the belief in angels among Americans rose an estimated 5% according to several studies. A major contributor to this demographic is undoubtedly the New Age community, that has come to embrace all forms of spiritual communion.

And with countless new spiritual perspectives surfacing each year, many of which include the possibility of angels among us, there can be little doubt but that the interest and acceptance of angels with continue for some time to come.

References:
http://www.missionislam.com/knowledge/Angels.htm
http://www.skepdic.com/angels.html
http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/beliefs/angels.htm
A Book of Angels, Sophy Burnham

Related Articles:
Soul, Self, and the Brain
The Mystical Experience
Religious Conversion


Images via Wikipedia.org


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Tags

And Seraphim, Angel, Angelos, Angels, Angels Amongst Us, Angels And Demons, Angels Who Watch Over Us, Archangels, Bahai, Bible, Bible Names, Bible Points, Bible Prophecy, Bible Reading, Bible Scholar, Bible Story, Bible Teaches, Cherubim, Dionysius The Areopagite, Dominions, Hindu, Hindu Deities, Hindu Ritual, Hinduism, Koran, Old Testament, Peter, Powers, Principalities, The Celestial Hierarchy, The Sacred And The Profane, The Story Of Christmas, Thrones, Virtues, Zoroastrianism

Meet the author

author avatar James R. Coffey
I am founder and head writer for James R. Coffey Writing Services and Resource Center @ http://james-r-coffey-writing-services.blogspot.com/ where I offer a variety of writing and research services including article composition, ghostwriting, editing...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Denise O
26th Dec 2010 (#)

Not only well written but, well researched. Loved the pictures also. Great job.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Jerry Walch
26th Dec 2010 (#)

Ditto Denise's comments, good buddy.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
27th Dec 2010 (#)

Thanks, Denise and Jerry. Much ppreciated.

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author avatar mountainside
28th Dec 2010 (#)

Wonderful information, there are angels among us, seen and unseen. Take good care.

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author avatar Jack Vorster
28th Dec 2010 (#)

Very informative. Just think, if it weren't for the presence of Angels and their protection it is doubtful whether one single human being would be left on the earth.

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author avatar Paul Lines
28th Dec 2010 (#)

A fasinating insight into a subject that impacts on the lives of so many. Thanks James

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author avatar D in The Darling
29th Dec 2010 (#)

Wow! James,
Are you that younger brother of Jesus?
This is an amazing piece of work.
The effort put into this is so conspicuous by it's quality. In Islam, there are two angels assigned to every person. One on the left, who records all bad deeds and the one on the right who records good deeds. Since God loves us and wants to save all of us, the angel on the right often pleads with the one on the left not record everything immediately coz we might do a great act of good which might far outweigh the wrong we had just done or we might just realize our wrong and repent!
Hey, let me not get carried away. Thanks for sharing and the star speaks out loud and clear! Well done!

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author avatar James R. Coffey
29th Dec 2010 (#)

High praise indeed, dinthedarling. Guess the angel on the right was inspiring me! Many thanks!

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author avatar Highlander1
5th Jan 2011 (#)

This is one of my favorites!

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author avatar James R. Coffey
5th Jan 2011 (#)

Very nice to know that, Highlander1.

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author avatar Greenfaol
10th Jan 2011 (#)

This is an amazing article. Really well done on all levels, and more than worthy of it's star. Thank you for sharing, off to read another of your article :D

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author avatar James R. Coffey
10th Jan 2011 (#)

Thank you and . . . thank you!

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author avatar Angelique Newman
14th Jan 2011 (#)

Wonderful article James! Very thorough and well researched. I definitely believe in angels.

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