Thursday, 10 January 2013

Are angels real?

There has been a long-standing debate about the credibility of angels.  Are they for real or just a product of our imagination and spirituality?  What’s the real deal? 

We think angels as messengers from God, they are the bringers of whether it is good or bad news.  Angels are only not reflected in Christian and Jewish faith.  It is also depicted in Islam and even in Mormon.  traces of angel belief can be traced as early as the Assyrian and Mesopotamian civilization. 

Traces of angel belief were also identified in ancient Greece and in Persia.  Angels would have different names, for Vikings they were the valkyries, Hindus call them apsaras and in Africa they were called orisha. 

While in Christian religion, angels are depicted to be spirits who are on earth to protect humans from danger and temptations.  As protectors, angels were often referred to as guardian angels.  Every person is said to have their own guardian angel.  This Christian belief started since fifth century. 

Angels had served inspiration for different artists, they have long been subject of different art forms.  They were often depicted with joy, beauty, and peace.  Their intentions to being with humans is said to redeem, uplift faith and trust.  There are a lot people testifying to angels helping out in dealing with pain and guilt.

Angels are often visualized to be people with bird wings.  People would often testify that a sweet smell of flowers would accompany them along with the sweet sounds of bells, chimes and trumpets.  People who have testified to angelic presence would see light around the figure and would feel intense good emotions like love, warmness, peacefulness and sense of being. 
Angels, as they appeared in most art forms, would be cute, chubby babies with wings or the spirits of dead relatives and friends.  But in the Bible, angels are depicted as adults with wings.  Angles do not appear completely like this, according to some testimonials, because of the brightness that surrounds the angles, you would also see the glimpse of the face, arms, or legs. Actually in the Bible, the angels in Jesus tomb were described as two men.  During the annunciation of Mary, the angels were also human beings without wings.  There are a few exceptions, saying angels to be winged creatures.

Are all angels good? 

Not all of angels are good, there are fallen angels which people believed to be demons.  This thought would come from the Hebrew text where it is mentioned that there were angels cast of from heaven and about one-third of the angels went down to Earth. 

For some angels are referred to be products and conjured by the imagination.  Some would believe that we turn into these supernatural beings to explain the things that are difficult to explain and understand.  Nowadays, angels are describe to be ordinary people who make extraordinary acts and giving out random kindness to people.  There are a lot of people testifying to mysterious strangers helping people in time of need, offers kind words but then after changing the course of other people’s lives, they would disappears suddenly.

This long ongoing debate about the existence of angels is not going to be resolved anytime soon.  The world and our life is just wonderful and mysterious the possibilities are endless.  But everybody seems to agree on one point though, we need more angels, whether there are divine or among us humans.

Angels: Faithful messengers of different faiths

There's a lot of angel imagery in the modern world. Angels are on greeting cards, commercials, movies, and television shows. Some of them are far fetched, but some are actually pretty good depictions of them. There are some depictions that actually push the limits of what some consider as appropriate, Supernatural's rather uncaring Castiel for one. There's actually some pretty good reasons from departing from what most people see as angels being Micheal Langdon-like figures of cheap salvation.

Let's be pretty clear: angels aren't exactly unique to the Christian faith. Christianity is based on Judaism and it also shares roots Islam. Angels have been mentioned in the Bible's Old Testament and the Hebrew Faith is pretty much based on the Old Testament, with the prophet Daniel having the honor of being the person who has the most dealings with them; although they were briefly mentioned in the stories of Jacob and Lot.

Elohim is what the Jews called angels and they're actually what early Christians based their belief in angels on. Popular angels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael have their roots in Jewish literature. It's pretty safe to say that the early Christians, the core group of which were converted Jews, co-opted quite a bit of this imagery into their own beliefs.

Christianity, the faith most associated with angels, has angels a-pleny. Some theologians believe that some were actually made up out of the blue to correspond with a particular idea or theme, but nonetheless, most Christians still believe in them. The New Testament pretty much has a whole army of them marching through - announcing Christ's birth to Mary, Joseph, and random shepherds, angels at Christ's tomb on his resurrection and various other tales where they helped apostles escape imprisonment.

Christianity, with its large and early dominance, also has the honor of having a multitude of depictions of angels ranging from mosaics to stained-glass to sculpture. Even today's modern icons of angels are pretty much Christian-based - who can forget Micheal Langdon's classic Highway to Heaven and the more recent Touched by an Angel starring Roma Downey.

Not to be outdone, Islam has its own share of angelic beings - they are a cousin faith to Christianity after all and actually have a surprising similarity in angelic beliefs. One of the six basic beliefs in Islam is the belief in angels or Malaekah, which pretty much means if you don't believe in them then your faith isn't exactly up to snuff. We can see also see the appearance of the popular trio of angels: Gabriel as Jibril, Michael as Mikaaiyl, and Raphael as Israfil. However, angels in Islam are viewed pretty differently - all angels have no free will and were created expressly to serve God.

Zoroastrianism and the Bahá'í faith also share a belief in angels, although Zoroastrianism's belief probably developed around the same time as that of Judaism's. The ancient faith had a dozen angel-like figures who were representatives of Mazda, the Supreme God, though they were more like his limbs rather than his creations.

Bahá'í is a fairly new religion and combines several belief systems into one, emphasizing that all faiths had a similar underlying component: the love of God. It's no wonder that it managed to gain angel figures - though these are people who have been totally embraced by God that they have overcome their human frailties and now are more spirit than human.

As you can see, angels aren't just a Christian monopoly. They can be seen in all faiths and sizes. So you'll always be sure that an angel's got your back.

Angel ranks

Angels have their own hierarchy and angel ranks. The first is the seraphim, which is said to be the caretakers of God’s throne. The word seraphim in itself means “the burning ones” because they are literally always heated up with love and support for the God. The seraphims have six wings. One pair on their faces and the other pairs they use to fly.

The next in line is the cherub, which are the guardians of the lights and the stars. These angels are often depicted as small and cuddly but the truth is cherubs have other images. They can be a man, an ox, a lion and lastly an eagle. The face of the ox is however said to be their true form.

Next in the tier are the Elders or the Thrones. They are also knows as Erelim or Ophanim, which are angels that were mentioned in the New Testament’s Colossians. They are considered to be the symbols of God’s justice and authority and have also been mentioned in the last chapter in the bible, the Revelation.

On another level are the Dominions. In some sectors, they are also called as Hashmallim. They are the ones tasked to regulate the duties of lower angels. Among all the other angels, they are the only ones with scepters that have orbs on top. They wield these scepters or use their swords. They also have a pair of light feathery wings and are extremely perfect in appearance. In fact, it is the Dominions whose images are often the image from which most angel depictions are base on.

The virtues on the other hand are the next in line. Their primary duty is to supervise the actions of nature and heavenly bodies so that disasters can be averted. They ensure that everything in nature are in order. The term virtue is actually derived from the Greek term dunamis which translates directly to Virtue.

The next one is the Powers which is the guardians of people’s conscience. They are perhaps the one always being depicted as advisors to people when they are on a crossroad. They are also responsible for distributing the power for humankind. They are also warrior angels who defend the heaven and God. No power have ever fallen from grace but according to legends, Satan was a former power angel who fell to hell.

The principalities is another angel rank which is often depicted to be wearing crowns and carrying scepters. They carry out the orders that are given by the other angels in higher ranks as well as to oversee groups of people. They are also said to inspire people to do things for the arts and the Sciences.