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Eli Gomez
Eli Gomez

Angel



Abrahamic religions often depict angels as benevolent celestial intermediaries between God (or Heaven) and humanity.[1][2] Other roles include protectors and guides for humans, such as guardian angels, and servants of God.[3] Abrahamic religions describe angelic hierarchies, which vary by religion and sect. Some angels have specific names (such as Gabriel or Michael) or titles (such as seraph or archangel). Those expelled from Heaven are called fallen angels, distinct from the heavenly host.




angel



The word angel arrives in modern English from Old English engel (with a hard g) and the Old French angele.[7] Both of these derive from Late Latin angelus, which in turn was borrowed from Late Greek ἄγγελος angelos (literally "messenger").[8] Τhe word's earliest form is Mycenaean a-ke-ro, attested in Linear B syllabic script.[9] According to the Dutch linguist R. S. P. Beekes, ángelos itself may be "an Oriental loan, like ἄγγαρος (ángaros, 'Persian mounted courier')."[10]


The rendering of "ángelos" is the Septuagint's default translation of the Biblical Hebrew term malʼākh, denoting simply "messenger" without connoting its nature. In the Latin Vulgate, this meaning becomes bifurcated: when malʼākh or ángelos is supposed to denote a human messenger, words like nuntius or legatus are applied. If the word refers to some supernatural being, the word angelus appears. Such differentiation has been taken over by later vernacular translations of the Bible, early Christian and Jewish exegetes and eventually modern scholars.[11]


In Zoroastrianism there are different angel-like figures. For example, each person has one guardian angel, called Fravashi. They patronize human beings and other creatures, and also manifest God's energy. The Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, although there is no direct reference to them conveying messages,[12] but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they initially appeared in an abstract fashion and then later became personalized, associated with various aspects of creation.[13]


Michael D. Coogan notes that it is only in the late books that the terms "come to mean the benevolent semi-divine beings familiar from later mythology and art."[20] Daniel is the biblical book to refer to individual angels by name,[21] mentioning Gabriel in Daniel 9:21 and Michael in Daniel 10:13. These angels are part of Daniel's apocalyptic visions and are an important part of apocalyptic literature.[20][22]


In Daniel 7, Daniel receives a dream-vision from God. [...] As Daniel watches, the Ancient of Days takes his seat on the throne of heaven and sits in judgement in the midst of the heavenly court [...] an [angel] like a son of man approaches the Ancient One in the clouds of heaven and is given everlasting kingship.[23]


Philo of Alexandria identifies the angel with the Logos inasmuch as the angel is the immaterial voice of God. The angel is something different from God himself, but is conceived as God's instrument.[30]


Four classes of ministering angels minister and utter praise before the Holy One, blessed be He: the first camp (led by) Michael on His right, the second camp (led by) Gabriel on His left, the third camp (led by) Uriel before Him, and the fourth camp (led by) Raphael behind Him; and the Shekhinah of the Holy One, blessed be He, is in the centre. He is sitting on a throne high and exalted[31]


According to Kabbalah, there are four worlds and our world is the last world: the world of action (Assiyah). Angels exist in the worlds above as a 'task' of God. They are an extension of God to produce effects in this world. After an angel has completed its task, it ceases to exist. The angel is in effect the task. This is derived from the book of Genesis when Abraham meets with three angels and Lot meets with two. The task of one of the angels was to inform Sara and Abraham of their coming child. The other two were to save Lot and to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.[21]


... This leads Aristotle in turn to the demonstrated fact that God, glory and majesty to Him, does not do things by direct contact. God burns things by means of fire; fire is moved by the motion of the sphere; the sphere is moved by means of a disembodied intellect, these intellects being the 'angels which are near to Him', through whose mediation the spheres move ... thus totally disembodied minds exist which emanate from God and are the intermediaries between God and all the bodies [objects] here in this world.


Maimonides had a neo-Aristotelian interpretation of the Bible. Maimonides writes that to the wise man, one sees that what the Bible and Talmud refer to as "angels" are actually allusions to the various laws of nature; they are the principles by which the physical universe operates.


Christians inherited Jewish understandings of angels, which in turn may have been partly inherited from the Egyptians.[32] In the early stage, the Christian concept of an angel characterized the angel as a messenger of God. Later came identification of individual angelic messengers: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel.[33] Then, in the space of little more than two centuries (from the 3rd to the 5th) the image of angels took on definite characteristics both in theology and in art.[34] Ellen Muehlberger has argued that in late antiquity, angels were conceived of as one type of being among many, whose primary purpose was to guard and to guide Christians.[35]


In the New Testament, the existence of angels, just like that of demons, is taken for granted.[37] They can intervene and intercede on behalf of humans. Angels protect the righteous (Matthew 4:6, Luke 4:11). They dwell in the heavens (Matthew 28:2, John 1:51), act as God's warriors (Matthew 26:53) and worship God (Luke 2:13).[38] In the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, angels behave as psychopomps. The Resurrection of Jesus features angels, telling the woman that Jesus is no longer in the tomb, but has risen from the dead.[39]


Three separate cases of angelic interaction deal with the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. In Luke 1:11, an angel appears to Zechariah to inform him that he will have a child despite his old age, thus proclaiming the birth of John the Baptist. In Luke 1:26 Gabriel visits Mary in the Annunciation to foretell the birth of Jesus. Angels proclaim the birth of Jesus in the Adoration of the shepherds in Luke 2:10.[40]


According to Matthew 4:11, after Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, "...the Devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him." In Luke 22:43 an angel comforts Jesus during the Agony in the Garden.[41] In Matthew 28:5 an angel speaks at the empty tomb, following the Resurrection of Jesus and the rolling back of the stone by angels.[40]


In 1851 Pope Pius IX approved the Chaplet of Saint Michael based on the 1751 reported private revelation from archangel Michael to the Carmelite nun Antonia d'Astonac.[42] In a biography of Gemma Galgani written by Germanus Ruoppolo, Galgani stated that she had spoken with her guardian angel.


Pope John Paul II emphasized the role of angels in Catholic teachings in his 1986 address titled "Angels Participate In History Of Salvation", in which he suggested that modern mentality should come to see the importance of angels.[43]


According to Augustine of Hippo, "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel'."[45] Gregory of Nazianzus thought that angels were made as "spirits" and "flames of fire", following Hebrews 1, and that they can be identified with the "thrones, dominions, rulers and authorities" of Colossians 1.[35]


By the late 4th century, the Church Fathers agreed that there were different categories of angels, with appropriate missions and activities assigned to them. There was, however, some disagreement regarding the nature of angels. Some argued that angels had physical bodies,[46] while some maintained that they were entirely spiritual. Some theologians had proposed that angels were not divine but on the level of immaterial beings subordinate to the Trinity. The resolution of this Trinitarian dispute included the development of doctrine about angels.[47]


Thomas Aquinas (13th century) relates angels to Aristotle's metaphysics in his Summa contra Gentiles,[49] Summa Theologica,[50] and in De substantiis separatis,[51] a treatise on angelology. Although angels have greater knowledge than men, they are not omniscient, as Matthew 24:36 points out.[52] According to the Summa Theologica, angels were created instantaneously by God in a state of grace in the Empyrean Heaven (LXI. 4) at the same time when he created all the contents of the corporeal world (LXI. 3). They are pure spirits whose life consists in knowledge and love. Being bodiless, their knowledge is intellectual and not through senses (LIV. 5). Differently from humans, their knowledge is not acquired from the exterior world; moreover they attain to the truth of a thing at a single glance without need of reasoning (LV. a; LVIII. 3,4). They know all that passes in the external world (LV. 2) and the totality of creatures, but they don't know human secret thoughts that depends on human free will and thereby are not necessarily linked up with external events (LVII. 4). They don't know also the future unless God reveals it to them (LVII. 3).[53]


According to Aquinas, angels are the closest creatures to God. Therefore, like God, they are constituted by pure form without matter.[54] Each angel is a species which a unique individual belongs to; angels differ one from another by way of their unique and irrepetible form. In other words, form -and not matter- is their principle of individuation.[55]


The New Church denominations that arose from the writings of theologian Emanuel Swedenborg have distinct ideas about angels and the spiritual world in which they dwell. Adherents believe that all angels are in human form with a spiritual body, and are not just minds without form.[56] There are different orders of angels according to the three heavens,[57] and each angel dwells in one of innumerable societies of angels. Such a society of angels can appear as one angel as a whole.[58] 041b061a72


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