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Angels

1st September 2008, mgh

 

5) Archangel

There are only two references to 'archangel' in the Bible. The word means “chief Angel”, indicating there is one greater than the others.

we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (1Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the slanderer he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, 'The Lord rebuke thee'. (Jude 1:9)

Jude calls this chief angel “Michael”, The source above that Jude quotes (Zechariah 3:2) does not give the name, however, an angel speaking to Daniel says Michael is of the angelic “chief princes” who helped him.

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:13)

It is to be noted that the angels here are actively involved in the life of the prince of Persia, even though this prince may not see them, and may withstand them. The name Michael is a title and means “One like God”.

Gabriel

Apart from Michael the only other angel mentioned by name is Gabriel, a name meaning “man (or warrior) of God”, possibly, again, a title. He is first mentioned in the book of Daniel where he reveals the future. There is another reference to Gabriel at the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus.

The Cherub and Cherubim

The word Cherub is an untranslated Hebrew word most probably meaning “living creature”. Cherubim is the plural. Cherubim first appear to guard the garden of Eden holding flaming swords. They appear again as carvings in the tabernacle made from beaten gold over the mercy seat on the ark. They are a representative of the characteristics of the power of the God of Israel, Yahweh. There were two in the temple having four wings each (2 forward and two back with two meeting in the centre over the mercy seat). Ezekiel sees them in a vision and describes them,

And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another;.. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. (Ezekiel 1:5-11)

They were associated with fire and with carrying Yahweh. David also saw Yahweh riding the Cherubim in vision,

And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind. (2Samuel 22:11)

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