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Berserker's avatar

Who are the most important angels in Christianity?

Asked by Berserker (33506points) January 30th, 2015

That is, according to The Bible. Who are the most important angels, and what are their jobs? There’s Michael, Gabriel, any others? Do they have some kind of hierarchy they go by? I need at least four angels, if there are that many. Ones mentioned in The Bible, or at least ones most Christians agree about on being important. Important as in having big roles.
I’m aware that Lucifer was an angel, but he doesn’t count because he’s fallen. I need “active” angels. Thanks. :)

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9 Answers

chyna's avatar

Michael as one of the leading angels is considered “Prince” of the heavenly hosts, and appears three times in the Book of Daniel (10:13, 10:21, and 12:1). He is the only one in the Bible referred to as an Archangel (Jude 1:9), and serves a major role in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation. The angel Gabriel first appears twice to Daniel (Daniel 8:16 and 9:21), but is best known for the Annunciation to Mary that she would be the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God (Luke 1:26–38). The Book of Tobias (Tobit) 12:15 names Raphael as “one of the seven who stand before the Lord.” Revelation 8:2 also refers to the seven angels who stand before the Lord. The seven are Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the three named in the Bible, and Raguel, Remiel, Saraqael, and Uriel, named in Enoch 20:1–8, a book found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the Bible of the Oriental Orthodox Church of Ethiopia.
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Berserker's avatar

Kick ass, thanks. Also, I wonder how come all their names end in “el”.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Good observation.

According to this, El is “a word meaning might, power”.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Cherubim and Seraphim?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Strauss's avatar

“El”, in addition to being a kabbalistic syllable of power, is also an ancient Hebrew word for the “Most High”, indicating that these beings are emissaries and messengers of God.

Although these beings are generically referred to as “angels”, there are actually nine angelic orders, angel being the lowest.

The are Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, then Archangels and Angels.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Where does all of that mythology come from? I’m pretty sure it’s not in the bible. Is that from the early catholic church, or does it pre-date Christ in Jewish theology?

Strauss's avatar

@gorillapaws Because I’m posting from my phone right now, I don’t have specific sources to cite other than my own memory.

I do recall reading a similar list in a part of the Mass known as the Preface; however, I’m not sure how far back that particular prayer goes, historically speaking.

I also recall a theological book from the Middle Ages having to do with Angelic Orders. I believe that much of the information came from Rabinnical or Kabbalistic sources. I’ll check back in the next couple days with some links.

Strauss's avatar

@gorillapaws That got me to thinking so much I got right over to my laptop so I could get some references.

Dionysius the Aeropagite wrote “De Coelesti Hierarchia” (in English, The Celestial Heirarchy some time in the fifth century of the Common Era.

The Jewish Rabbi Maimonedes wrote in the 12–13th centuries about angelic orders, referring to pre-Christian texts.

There are references to angelic-like beings in Zoroastrian traditions dating back to about 500 BCE, and possibly as far back as 2000 BCE

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