Angels and Demons

I found a pamphlet with the above title while going through my old possessions. It was a very simple piece but too much of a pity to just throw away, so I’ve typed it out completely, without making any attempt to correct grammar or expression, etc. The author(s) and sources for the content were not provided.

Since ancient times, mankind has been intrigued by the angels, those awe-inspiring, luminous beings, who hover somewhere between God and man in their flight through spirit, imagination and, possibly, the sky. Theologians have spent lifetimes debating them. Artists have spent careers painting them. One in every ten popular songs invokes angels in some form. They appear on Christmas cards and wedding invitations, they abound as souvenirs, jewelry and religious and semi-religious bric-a-brac. But what are angels exactly? What role to they play in our modern lives?

What are angels?

Angels are pure spirits created by God. They are the ministers of His will, working for Him and for the ultimate benefit of mankind.

The word angel comes from the Greek angelos, which means messenger. In the Old Testament, with two exceptions, the Hebrew word for angel is malak, which also means messenger.

How to we know angels exist?

The Scriptures give us no indication of the precise time of the creation of angels; their existence is assumed at the earliest times. In the New Testament they are numerous and seven hierarchies are mentioned: Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. The Old Testament specifically mentions two others: Seraphim and Cherubim. Both the New Testament and Old Testament refer also to the fallen angels.

Why did God create angels?

The Creator Himself is so powerful and glorious that He cannot be approached in person by human beings. He alone “hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see”. (1 Tim 6:16). Angels do not have man’s shortcomings, and can therefore act for God and represent Him when communicating with men and women. They bridge the huge gap between the holiness and perfection of God in heaven and the shortcomings of dying people on this planet. Angels were made immortal (that is, never to die).

The fallen angels (demons)

All angels were created good by God. To merit eternal happiness the angels needed to exercise their freedom by actively desiring union with God. Since angels are endowed with intuitive knowledge and determinant will, they were given only one unretractable chance to choose good or evil. Those who chose evil did so freely and decisively.

By refusing to take part in building up the kingdom of God, the rebellious angels are bound eternally by their choice. Although they continue to suffer the penalties of their sin, their capacity to tempt humans has not been denied them. The fallen angels, or demons, influence our human imagination and present evil as an attractive choice. Although they retain a limited dominion over the world, they lure humans to sin. Out of jealousy for our human capacity for goodness and holiness, they often attack to the point of completely dominating us by diabolic possession. Although the Church is cautious about this phenomenon, it believes possession by demons is possible and has sanctioned the rite of exorcism to be used in extreme cases by authorized exorcists.

Lucifer is a fallen angel commonly associated with Satan, the embodiment of evil and enemy of God.

Lucifer, who himself succumbed to pride, was the first and mightiest angel to be created. With intelligence, radiance, beauty, and power unmatched among all of the angels in Heaven, Lucifer was second in majesty only to God Himself.

Unfortunately, Lucifer became ambitious and self-centred, eventually deciding to prove his power by raising his throne to the height of God’s throne. When Lucifer enacted his scheme, he was instantly hurled out of Heaven, along with a third of the heavenly host who chose to follow him.

The Angelic hierarchy

First Triad

Seraphim

The guardians before God’s throne, referred to as “the fiery spirits”. They are usually pictured with flames and six wings; two covering their faces, two covering their feet, and two for flying. They constantly sing God’s praise, calling, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts”. (Isaiah 6:3) It was from this order that Lucifer emerged. Before his fall from grace, he was considered the angel who outshone all others.

Cherubim

Cherubim, the second highest in the nine hierarchies of angels are the guardians of God’s glory and symbolize God’s power and mobility. They are double-winged and are humanlike in appearance. Catholic tradition describes them as angels who have an intimate knowledge of God and continually praise Him.

Thrones

Thrones are the angels of pure humility, peace and submission. They appear as a beryl-colored wheel-within-a-wheel, their rims covered with hundreds of eyes and reside in the area of the cosmos where material form begins to take shape. They support the Throne of God and consider how God’s decisions should be manifested. The lower hierarchies of angels need the Thrones to access God.

Second Triad

Dominions

These are the angels who bring you the teachings of intuition. Through them the majesty of God is manifested. They carry scepter and sword to symbolize their given power over all creation, decide what needs to be done to accomplish God’s will and regulate the duties of angels to ensure the universe keeps working as it should. They appear in human shape, wearing a triple crown to signify their position over the physical form.

Virtues

Drawing on God’s force to work miracles on earth, the “brilliant” or “shining ones” are the angels of miracles, encouragement and blessings. Virtues are the ones who become involved whenever people are struggling with their faith. They work hand-in-hand with the Thrones to bestow grace and reqards on those who have overcome deeds in their physical lives.

Powers

Powers are warrior angels who defend the cosmos and humans against evil. They are known as potentates. It is the job of the Powers to keep the universe in balance by preventing the fallen angels from taking over the world.

Third Triad

Principalities

The guardian angels of cities, nations and rulers. They keep watch over nations and attempt to inspire their leaders to make wise decisions. Often depicted wearing soldier’s garb and sandals, they are seen in human form. They provide strength to the tribes of Earth to pursue and endure their faith.

Archangels

The “chief-angels”, they carry God’s messges to humans and command God’s armies of angels in constant battle with the “Sons of Darkness”. They look after the affairs of mankind and act as guardian angels to leaders of world movements. These are the angels who stand around God’s throne, ready to carry out the divine and most important decrees to humans. According to the book of Revelation, there are seven Archangels who stand in the presence of God, but only four are mentioned in the Old Testament: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel.

Angels

Being closest to humans, Angels are the intermediaries between God and mortals. Assigned by God to every human being at the time of his or her birth, they assist every aspect of life in the universe. They deal with the aspects of everyday life and act as the direct gateway for information, knowledge and communications between humankind and God. These angels are seen with human bodies, wings and clothed in various garments depending on the traditions and visual acceptance of the human they have “been assigned to”.

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