December 30, 2023

When reading the Bible, sometimes we burn from curiosity about what the Garden of Eden and the First World looked like, what the spiritual realm looks like, and what kind of creatures dwell in there.

Although we find various names for the celestial beings in the Bible, we certainly do not know whether there is a hierarchy among the angels, and if so, we cannot say what it is like exactly.

For example, the word “Seraphim” is translated from Hebrew as “bright, fiery.” From the Bible we know that these are heavenly six-winged beings: ”Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”“ (Isaiah 6:2-3)

Other winged celestial creatures are called cherubim. The etymology (origin) of this word is controversial. Based on some passages of Scripture, we can come to the conclusion that Seraphim and Cherubim are the closest to God.

After Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, it was the Cherubim with a flaming sword who was assigned by God to guard the entrance to this earthly paradise (Gen. 3:24).

Two cherubim cast in gold are made at either end of the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-20). According to 2 Samuel 22:11, the Lord ”… rode upon a cherub as He flew, soaring on the wings of the wind.“ (2 Samuel‬ ‭22‬:‭11‬)

In the book of the prophet Ezekiel, there is also the following description of them: ”Each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Then the cherubim rose up. They are the living creatures that I saw by the River Kebar.“ (Ezekiel 10:14-15)

Archangel Michael is known as a warrior who, with his angels, fought with the devil and a third of the angels who followed him (Rev. 12:7). Also, the prophet Daniel mentions him as one of the princes (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1).

In addition to Michael, the angel Gabriel is also called by name, who announced to Mary that through her our Savior Jesus Christ would be born into this world (Luke 1:26-27). Daniel speaks of him as a man who delivered messages to him in answer to his prayers (Dan. 9:21-22). Although angels are spiritual beings, this indicates that they can take human form.

Concerning man, Scripture says: “For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But someone in a certain place testified, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands.” (Hebrews 2:5-7). This is a quote from Psalm 8:4-6. Hence we see that even though the angels are a little higher than people, they desire to look into the mystery of redemption, revealed to us: “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, concerning the things which are now reported to you by those who have preached the gospel to you through the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven—things into which the angels desire to look.“ (1 Peter 1:12).

Are there guardian angels? This assumption is based on the following Scripture: ”See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.“ (Matthew 18:10). It sounds as if every person has his own angel.

I believe that the Lord did not give us clarity about the hierarchy of angels for two reasons: it would lead man to honor and worship angels along with God, which the angel, whom the Apostle John saw, forbade by saying: ”… See that you not do that. I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!” (Revelation 19:10), or people would begin to delve into things that distract from the main thing – following the Lord.

While we are curious to know more about spiritual reality, should we become overly involved with it? In the time of the Apostle Paul, there were already people like the Gnostics, who were looking for something supernatural and mystical, trying to look into the spiritual realm. However, Paul warned against such people, saying: ”Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.” (Colossians 2:18-19). Paul emphasizes that it is not necessary to know everything about the spiritual world.

The irony here is that the Gnostics not only mixed Christianity with philosophy and myths (the worldly concepts of the time), but also considered themselves especially spiritual, while Paul saw them as carnal.

Interestingly, times change, but echoes of the past reveal themselves today, when those who most claim a special relationship with the Holy Spirit are, in fact, often puffed up with their fleshly minds.

May the Lord be with us and keep us from evil!

Max Volkov in Christ