Truth Revealed about
Our Amazing Angelic Beings
from our Angel Messenger Creative Team
If you love angel lore, you want to know as much about angels as possible. There’s much to know! Angels have been a part of the world’s spiritual traditions since the beginning of time. In another article, we shared some angel history, and a bit of angelic magic and mystery. Our ultimate goal is to discover the truth about angels and archangels – who or what are they? How do they help us? To reveal these truths, we still have some historical facts and figures to discover.
First, let’s try to determine how many angels there are in Heaven.
The most recent angel count was done by fourteenth century Kabbalists, who set the number at 301,655,722. Wow! Other calculations say that nine choirs of angels each have 6,666 legions and each legion has 6,666 angels, making for in the range of 400 million angels, give or take a few. As angels can’t reproduce, that number is (theoretically) fixed. However, in some historical documents, it is said that many men have become angels. For example, the patriarch Enoch became Metatron, Jacob became Uriel, Elijah became Sandalphon and St. Francis became Rhamiel, so there is a possibility after millennia that a few more angels have joined the angelic realms.
So, it is safe to say that the number of angels in heaven is unknown. What about the archangels?
Some theories suggest that there are twelve archangels, some say ten, some have different ideas. The most popular lists in western spirituality seem to say that the archangels are seven in number. We know from modern wisdom traditions that these archangels advocate for humans on the spiritual plane and that they serve as messengers between heaven and earth. Some say archangels are Divine envoys, that they are of the highest angelic orders and that they are leaders of legions. Others say they are of the lowest order and dwell far from the throne of Divine Spirit.
The most popular lists of archangels include Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, Camael, Jophiel and Zadkiel. Others substitute Sandalphon, Haniel, Raziel, and Metatron, among others. There are countless other angelic names to choose from, and many ‘ordinary’ angels are raised to the level of archangel, depending upon what tradition you refer to. There are also innumerable characteristics assigned to each of the angels.
In ancient times, it was easy to name and to ascribe powers to angels. One simply decided upon a quality one wished an angel to reflect, then matched a Hebrew word with that virtue and added the suffix ‘el’ (supreme god) or ‘irion’. The result was a virtuous angel, ready to do your bidding. Through this system, for example, the word hod, meaning “splendor” or “vigor,” became the angel Hodiel. Initially, Hodiel would have served as a private angel, offering the person who named him strength in times of trouble and glory in times of war. Over time, Hodiel was given official status as the victory angel of God.
How many angels gained their attributes through this method is unknown, but what is sure is that throughout history, in times of strife, angels became less thought of as the attendants of the Divine and increasingly became benevolent helpers of man. The ancients lived in times of war, discord, conflict and uncertainty and they needed angelic help and protection! So, they custom-designed angels perfect for their every need. Angels began to govern everything from moral virtues to personal destiny, from health to love. They were there to solve tribulations, bring luck and provide safety. So, in olden times, when someone was in need, they simply called on their personal angels and their wishes were fulfilled.
In the earliest centuries, if you were wealthy, a politician or had ties to religious officials, your special angel might have been adopted by the church, assigned holy features and elevated to canonical status. Thus, angels like the Cherubim (originally Akkadian, human-faced creatures carved of stone, with wings and lion’s haunches) became over time the guardian angels with swords of fire in Genesis and eventually, the chubby babies adorning your Valentine’s cards. Angels, like humans, have evolved through history. And their evolutionary path depends upon what religion or spiritual tradition you follow. The Islamic Gabriel, for example, is not the Jewish Gabriel or the Christian Gabriel – in these traditions, Gabriel is variously described, among other things, as male and female, and as belonging to the Cherubim, the Virtues, and the Archangel orders. His qualities and duties in these traditions are as different as heaven and earth.
Today, hundreds of books talk about the characteristics of angels. Some writers base their revelations on personal dreams or visions, others on research or on hearsay recorded by authors of history, and still others merely employ their wildest imaginings. There is no agreed-upon compendium of angels. Angels’ traits and the myriad services they offer to humankind are flexible and adjustable! But one thing is certain: all angels have pleasing personas, human-like qualities and supernatural powers.
There is no way to explain concisely who the angels are or how our modern view of angels came to be – except to say that myriad concepts through time, belief and imagination have been jumbled up and tossed about, and have floated down upon the earth – like so many feathers – for the delight of all. And, as to whether there are 300 million or 400 million angels, or if there are seven, ten, twelve or a hundred archangels, perhaps we have to admit that it is impossible to know. Is the answer out there?
The truth is, sadly, no one source seems to offer a reliable, comprehensive guide. For all of us angel enthusiasts who need to know, it may be that no such document even exists. Perhaps it just comes down to belief. So, we’ll call on our angels for help, direction and guidance and in our next installment, we’ll delve into more down-to-earth facts about our wonderful heavenly hosts.
Listen! Can you hear the flutter of wings?
In a followup article we examine how the legions of angels were divided into spheres and choirs and how the archangels found themselves demoted from the first sphere, next to the throne of God, to the third sphere, in service to human beings. Read The Choirs Revealed about Our Amazing Angelic Beings here.
Then if you missed the first article about how angels became prominent in our world today read An Ultimate Guide to Our Amazing Angelic Beings here.
Much Love & Angel Blessings,
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