Saturday, 22 December 2012

Angels in different religions

Hindus believe in the spirit of angels
The existence of angels have long been debated.  But in different scriptures of different religions, angels have always been mentioned. They are commonly identified to be messengers of God.  Their existence has been first recorded ever since the Greek and Mesopotamian civilizations.  These winged creatures were later on, were no longer messengers.  The become protectors and guardians of humans.

Angels have been perceived, described and named in different ways different religions. But even so, they seen to be unified in one thought.  That angels existed to enrich the spirituality and lives of people.

Christian

For Christian belief, angles have been created by God before creating the universe and mankind.  They are messengers that act on matters that are very important for spirituality, like the annunciation of Mary and the resurrection of Christ. They serve as guardians, protectors and helpers of God.

Angels would frequently appear as human beings.  Unlike to what is commonly known, angels are not cute babies with wings.  According to the Bible, angels during the annunciation of Mary were described by the shepherds as adults.  While, on the Christ’s tomb, the women met two men and informed them of the resurrection of Christ.  They are often bathed with light that make it difficult to look at them directly and define their exact features. 

There are also some Christian traditions citing that we are assigned with our angels on a specific ritual, like baptism.  But theologians quite agree that the dead and their spirits do not necessarily become angels.  There are some who believed that those who died and lived a righteous life would become angels in the afterlife, but there are nothing mentioned in the Bible about this.

Islam

Muslims also believed in angels. Actually they have archangels that they believed in:  Archangel Gabriel who delivered the message of the Qu’ran to Muhammad, Archangel Michael who is said responsible for rain, thunder and rewards to good people on Earth, Archangel Raphael who’s responsibility is to announce the arrival of Judgement Day, and the Angel of Death who separates the body and the soul on the time of death.

Latter Day Saints (Mormons)

Latter-Day Saints accept that angels are for real.  They are here to be a messenger and at the same time make sure that the work of the Lord is followed and implemented on Earth.  Angels are prominently mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants which play a major role in the construction of Mormon belief.

Latter-day Saints believed that angels are actually participating in daily tasks.  They are not only supernatural beings who appear from time to time, but they exist along with the people.

Hindu

Hindus take what cannot be seen as a very serious and important matter.  They would believe that every tree or river crossing is a home for spirits.  In India, they have what we would call deva or devata, they are referred to as the “shining one” of locals. Hindi scriptures would say that there are about 33 million devas in existence. 

For Hindu, the Divinity and the spirituality behind these angels are more important that the angels themselves.  They would believe that devas are only manifestations of a higher and supreme being.

Judaism

The same in Christians, Hebrew describes angels to be the messengers of God.  Not only are they messengers but also the implementer of God’s will.  All angels owe their existence to God since they were created by God.

Their appearance is not necessarily like a human being. They can assume likeness to humans, but otherwise they are still divine.  They also believed that angels can sit, walk, speak Hebrew and fly.  Hebrew Bible frequently mentions the angels in its books

What is Angelology?

Angelology is the study of angels
Angels are a popular image in modern culture. A lot of this popularity comes images of kindly messengers running around helping the underprivileged and giving those who've been through dark times a chance at redemption. This image isn't exactly a new one. The Bible has had quite a few angel tales in it. Everyone knows the story of Mother Mary and there's an entire book, Tobias to be specific, in the Old Testament where an angel pretty much sets up a guy for marriage.

But still all those Bible stories are kind of sparse compared to the whole field of literature and study that has sprung up around them. After all, the idea of angels has been around since the Old Testament and quite a few scholars, starting from Jewish tradition in the Biblical times, have taken up the opportunity to study this field of theology, calling it angelology. It might all seem hokey, but they're all pretty passionate about this stuff and it shows in the large amounts of stuff they have managed to come up with from the ancient times onwards. There are actually some pretty active angelologists around.

Of course, since angels are kind of hard to find on the ground, much of their ideas of angels come from the Bible and more fanciful sources like the Apocrypha, technically non-official books of the bible, along with more mystical sources like the Kabbala. All of those sources are mixed in with personal theories, assumptions and a few choice bits of folklore. It all seems a bit of a mish-mash of ideas, but like fine wine, the development of angelic theory has pretty much settled down through the ages to a definitive set of beliefs.

Medieval Christian theologians pretty much set down the definitive angelic hierarchy. Since they were pretty much enamored by the number three, the holy number of the trinity, these theologians divided the angels into three spheres, basing most of their beliefs from New Testament books like Ephesians and Colossians. Each sphere was then divided into another three sets. The first sphere is composed of the angels seen in the Old Testament: the Seraphim, Cherubim and the Thrones.

These angels worked to guard God's divine throne. The next sphere were governors of the heaven, making sure everything ran smoothly. They are divided into the Dominions, the Virtues, and the Powers. Finally, the last sphere dealt the most with humans, delivering messages to them and guarding them against demons: the Principalities, Archangels, and just plain Angels.

General divisions like these helped systematize the theology behind angels. It was all very serious business back then. Both the Fourth Lateran Council and the First Vatican Council each had definite things to say about angels based on the research of angelologists. Even then, study did not stop of course.Shifting on individual angels, especially the named ones in the Bible were another part of angelology.

The popular belief in seven Archangels is pretty much one of the results of these studies. The archangels, according to angelologists, were charged with the protection of nationes. Also, each had a specific name that could be used to invoke their protection: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Zerachiel and Remiel. Occult imagery has co-opted some of these ideas and usually use them in magical rituals of protection.

As you can see, the study of angels can be pretty complicated. A lot of work has been put into it through the years and it's become part of modern mythology. Angels aren't just winged fellows with harps and all of this is proves that.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Angel facts


Angels are tasked with protecting children
Many people may not be aware but there are several truly amazing facts about angels, most especially since it literally bears reference in the Bible no less than 300 times- all the way from Genesis to Revelation.
Other religious manuscripts and literature bear similar and fascinating facts about the existence of angels and how it continues to captivate and awe mankind.

In the Bible, the angel is portrayed at the beginning as a carrier of messages from God, while in the closing passages of Revelation the angel is the bearer of the message from Jesus Christ.

Here are some amazing facts that are seen in the Bible....

*****Angels also care for soldiers and members of the military. This is evidenced in scripture where it was identified that the very first Gentile convert was a military officer.

Acts chapter 10 verses 3 and 4 states that "About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in to him, and said to him, ‘Cornelius!’ and fixing his gaze upon him and being much alarmed, he said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ And he said to him, ‘Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God "

In the same book if Acts, the scriptures vividly describe that no prison or jail cell can detain an angel, many instances of which angels have appeared to many Christian followers like Peter and Paul, among others, who were freed by angels from confinement in prison.

*****Angels are tasked to keep watch and safeguard little children. Jesus Christ fondly spoke of children being under the care of angels.

*****The scriptures also declare that angels are subject to Jesus Christ as the Supreme Commander, thus, angles cannot perform the works of the Holy Spirit nor can they grant forgiveness of man’s sins, as stated in I Peter chapter 3 verses 21 and 22.

*****A great multitude of angels descended on Mt. Sinai, the place where the prophet Moses received the tablet bearing the laws god wanted to bring to His people the Israelites, which had reference to the scriptures where the psalmist declared "Why do you look with envy, O mountains with many peaks, at the mountain which God has desired for His abode? Surely, the Lord will dwell there forever. The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness" (Psalm 68:16,17)

*****Angels also live in constant communion with God, who continually praise and worship Him. "And Zacharias said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years,’ And the angel answered and said to him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God: and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring to you this good news." (Luke 1:18,19)

*****Heaven remains to be the center of activity for angels and there exists the busiest traffic of angels from heaven to earth and back, which clearly indicates that to deny the existence of angels and of heaven is to deny the Deity of Christ.

Jesus Christ often spoke both of angels and heaven and one good example can be found in the book of John chapter 1 verses 50 and 51, "Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.’ And He said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

These are but some amazing facts about angels, but if you find the time to read through the Bible, you may be surprised to discover a lot more amazing facts about angels that you may have ever imagined.

Angels in Islam




A number of angels are mentioned in the Koran
Angels are not just unique to Christianity. They are also mentioned in the Koran, the holy book of Islam. This wouldn't surprise religious scholars who know that Islam and Judaism share the same roots and those roots have noteable references to angels. However, Islam's angels are significantly different from their Christian and Jewish cousins.

Islamic angelic tradition is pretty sparse. This is because, unlike Christian and Jewish religious scholars, Islamic theologians do not consider the study of angels as an important topic. In their opinion, if the Koran does not directly talk about a particular subject, there's no need to study it. Of course, there's a hierarchy, but they are of the belief that it's none of their business. Why worry about something that's not broken after all? Besides, angels have no free will - they do everything that God commands, their supernatural powers focused on their goal.

There are, of course, several angels named in Islamic tradition, each accorded their duties by God. Some of them are actually quite familiar. Jibril is Gabriel, transliterated in Arabic, of course. His job is to be God's voice to his prophets. He was the one who delivered the Koan in its entirety to the prophet Muhammad and this has made him a pretty honored angel. Another familiar angel is Mikaaiyl or Michael as we know him.

Instead of being Heaven's general, in Islam, he is the angel of mercy, dispenser of rain, a very big thing when you're living in the desert. He's also in charge of the just reward of virtuous people, a long way from the demon slayer of Christian tradition. The name Israfil sounds unfamiliar, but just take out that initial "is" and you get Raphael. He's got the dubious honor of blowing his trumpet that ends the world on Judgement Day.

Of course, there are some original angels among the bunch named in the Koran and in the Hadith, the oral stories about Muhammad. Probably the most famous is Malak al Maut, the Angel of  Death, though popular tradition calls him Azrael, which is strange considering he isn't even named in the Koran. His job, if it wasn't obvious enough from his title, is pretty much to take the souls of people at death to be judged.

Other angels mentioned in the Koran are Maalik, the guardian of Hell, and Ridwan, the keeper of Heaven. Note that Maalik is not a fallen angel. Islamic tradition states that angels cannot fall because since they do not have free will, they cannot rebel. Maalik's there because Allah wants him to make sure that no one escapes. He stays there with nineteen other angels to make sure that sinners receive their well-deserved punishment. Kiraamun and Kaatibeen double-team to record all the good and bad deeds a person has done, while another pair, Munkar and Nakir interview them in the afterlife about it.

As is typical of angel imagery, most Islamic sources describe angels by their wings, though some of them can be overkill. Two to four wings is the usual count, but Gabriel and Michael are said to have thousands of wings sprouting from their back, signifying their power and position. Some aren't even human in appearance - 70 thousand headed angels are said to sing praises to Allah in Heaven.

All in all, you can see how differently Islam views its angels. It's like looking at a weird fun house mirror - there's a certain familiarity that we can almost recognize, but there's a telling difference in the way we see things.

Introduction to angels


Angels and archangels are necessary part of our faith. They are believed by many people to be the guardians that help us avoid injury and also help us to choose the right path.

Of course, there are people who also say that angels go both ways – the good and the bad. It is up to us to choose which advice we will follow. There are even depictions of angels from both heaven and hell sitting on both sides of the conscience. They are each saying their own tips for the day and influencing the way we think.

Despite this, angels have always been depicted as the good and kind ones that help us along the way. They are even sometimes pictured in artworks as small cuddly ones, the cherubs, that do harmless mischief. They also have the trademark wings, white cloth and halo.

Angels are considered by many people to be an important part of faith


The word angel comes from old French word angele and the old English term engel. These words are said to mean messenger. In the bible, angels act as go betweens. They tell the message of God and what He wants to enforce on earth. The very first biblical figure that made a reference to God is Daniel who referred to angels by their names. He particularly had a scene with Angel Gabriel.

The earliest known depiction of an angel was in the catacomb of Priscilla, which was in existence since the third century. The angel there do not however have wings. There were also angels found in sarchophagus, lamps and reliquaries. One of the most famous example is the Angel in the Sacrifice of Isaac picture in the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus.

Angels eventually had wings. In 1930, a sarcophagus in Istanbul was discovered to have an image of an angel with wings. The time frame for the sarcophagus was set to the time of Theodosius I. According to St. John Chrysostom, the addition of wings into their image is a symbolism of the heights they can reach and the sublimity of their existence.

The most famous of the angels is Angel Gabriel, which is believed to be the leader of all the angels. He is classified as an archangel, which is at the top of the hierarchy. He has been mentioned several times in the bible and is believed to be even the one who delivered the Koran to the prophet Muhammad.

Another famous angel is Raphael, who is said to be the healer. He helps sick people and is generally called upon to help with terminal illnesses and grave wounds.

Angel Barchiel on the other hand is the Angel for the month of February. He is actually not an angel of love but is dubbed as the bringer of hope for mankind.

Angel Michael on the other hand is often depicted as the warrior, defending the heavens from demons. He has a military cloak on and has a profile that is symmetrically perfect.

There is also Metatron, which is very popular in Judaism. This angel is mentioned in Merkabah and Kabbalist texts and beliefs and is considered to be the highest in rank. He is also mentioned in the Talmud.

There are many more mentions of angels since then. In fact, it has become for us a symbol of goodness, of peace and of hope.