Your guide to those with gossamer wings, halos, and horns.
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The word Angel ("malakh," in Hebrew) derives from
the Sanskrit word angiras which translates to "a divine
spirit;" from the Persian angaros, meaning a
courier; and from the Greek word angelos, a
messenger. The Arabs borrowed their word for angel,
malak, from the Hebrews. To most people an
angel conjures up images of an ethereal being who
acts as an intermediary between God and humanity.
In this sense, the Greek word "daimon" is closer in
meaning than angelos. In pre-Christian and early
Christian days, the words angel and daimon (or
demon) were used interchangeably, as can be found
in the writings of Paul and John.
The Hebrew concept of an angel comes from Persia
and Babylonia during the Captivity. Of the three
angels named in the Old Testament, Michael and Gabriel's
names were both taken directly from Babylonian
mythology and Raphael originated in the apocryphal
Book of Tobit. Sales says, in his version of The Koran,
"Preliminary Discourse," that "This whole doctrine
concerning angels, Mohammed and his disciples
borrowed from the Jews, who [,in turn,] borrowed the
names and offices of these beings from the Persians."
Enoch's writings that date back to the most
ancient of Christian times, and even before,
name many angels and demons. These, however were
ignored in the New Testament gospels, though they
did begin to show up in books of the same period
that were not influenced by church law. They were
even popular in Jewish gnostic, mystic, and
It was during the eleventh through thriteenth
centuries that the study of angels really
flourished. Countless thousands of angels showed
up, a lot of them created by mixing up the letters
of the Hebrew alphabet, or by just adding the
suffix "el" to any word that could hold up to it.
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|Angels are bodiless, ethereal beings of light,
in spite of that fact they are commonly depicted
as either having or inhabiting bodies, winged,
and, usually, clothed. An angel who serves the
devil is considered to be a fallen angel or demon.
In his "On Dreams," angels appeared to Philo to
be incorporeal beings of wisdom. Yet, he did
note that, contrarily, rabbis of the time
thought of angels as solid human-like beings.
To the Roman Catholics, angels were either made
prior to, in the days just before, or at the same
time as the creation of man and the universe.
To the Jewish, angels are created anew every
morning and continue to be born with each
of God's breaths.
The psuedo-Dionysians believe that of their nine
celestial choirs, angels are the lowest of the
orders, with Seraphim being highest. Even the
archangels only rank eighth, despite the fact that
the greatest of angels are often called archangels.
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