The Diverse Roles Of Heavenly Beings
We all know that humans are not God’s first “family”, in terms of chronological creation. Spiritual beings, the sons of God, were created even before God laid the foundations of Earth (Job 38:4-7).
While we could probably not comprehend the conplexity of these beings’ natures, I’ve found that we tend to oversimplify it. Too often Christians think of heaven just being filled with a bunch of angels and nothing else. However, the Bible describes a wide array of different types of spiritual beings.
The word angel is a descriptor. It doesn’t describe what these beings are in essence. ”Angel” means “messenger”- it describes what these beings do; not what they are. It’s like the word “teacher.” “Teacher” describes what someone does, while “Human” describes what someone is.
I’m pretty sure that spiritual beings don’t assume all humans have only one occupation (teaching), so why do Christians assume that all good spiritual beings in heaven must be messengers (angels)?
God has probably tasked spiritual beings with a wide array of jobs and purposes. The Bible tends to be somewhat ambiguous when it comes to the spiritual realm, so we will not fully understand the complexity of it all until we get to heaven. What this article will do is describe a few of the roles and hopefully help you understand just how diverse spiritual beings truly are.
Archangels are essentially high-ranking angels. The main archangel mentioned in the Bible is the Archangel Michael, who is also referenced as a prince, which we will cover later. Other angels thought to be archangels include Gabriel and Raphael. The Apocrypha also mentions other archangels such as Uriel or Jeremiah. However, they aren’t specifically mentioned in the Bible.
Seraphim (or Seraph)
Seraphim are a type of spiritual being that are associated with the throne of God. They are believed to praise God without ceasing. The Book of Isaiah describes their appearance. It is important to note that these descriptions may not be literal. They may be descriptions using human imagery to describe heavenly things which can’t be precisely described by words.
Seraphim are described as having six wings. Two cover the face and the feet, and two are used to fly.
It is also important to note that seraphim are not angels and they are not a type of angel. Some say that seraphim are actually serpents.
Cherubim (or Cherub)
Cheribum are a type of spiritual being, most known for guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were expelled. They are described as having four wings and four faces- one of a lion, human, ox, and eagle. Their feet are also like hooves of a bull. As with seraphim, these descriptions might not be literal. Some say the four animals pertaining to their faces may be representations of different characteristics of Christ. Of course, there isn’t a definitive answer, so what you believe is up to you.
Ophanim are known as the “wheels within wheels” of the chariot seen by Ezekiel in his vision. They are considered to be the actual wheels of the Lord’s Chariot. These are lesser known beings. Other texts describe them as beings who never sleep and who guard God’s throne.
They may also be the equivalent of the “thrones” mentioned in Colossians 1:16.
Ephesians 6:12/ Colossians 1:16
These verses describe a bunch of other spiritual beings. These include:
- Principalities (princes)- These beings essentially guard and/or rule entire nations in the spiritual realm. The Bible mentions them several times. They fight each other, most likely for spiritual influence and power. The Archangel Michael is mentioned as a prince. Other princes mentioned are the “prince of Persia” and “prince of Grecia.”
- ”Rulers of the darkness of this world”
- Thrones- (see Ophanim) they are said to inspire faith and to be messengers for lower angels
- Dominions- they are said to maintain order in the world
These beings aren’t mentioned much in the Bible and their roles are unclear. More information about them can be found in other texts like the Apocrypha.
This term is used to describe angels who rebelled against God along with Lucifer. It is important to remember that the term “fallen angels” is not found anywhere in the Bible. Rather, it is a term we use to categorize “evil” angels.
Also, contrary to popular opinion, fallen angels are not demons.
Demons are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim giants. These spirits are cursed to still hunger and thirst, even though they do not have a body to satisfy these desires. This is why demons seek possession, even if it is an animal like a pig.
Demons aren’t really heavenly beings, but I figured to include them in case anyone is curious about them.
It’s important to know about these beings because the spiritual world is very much real and affects us all. Too often I feel like Christians minimize the role these beings play in the grand scheme of things.
The reason why I made this article is to help people understand that not all spiritual beings are angels. There is so much more diversity to them and it’s important to remember that. Like us, they all have unique roles and purposes.
© 2019 Lou Tenant