Angel Hierarchy or Choirs
In the ancient Western world, particularly medieval Europe, it was believed that angels were arranged in hierarchical order. Perhaps because the angels were believed to continually sing praises of God, the levels of the angelic hierarchy came to be referred to as choirs.
In the sixth-century theologian Dionysius the Areopagite – and an outline by Thomas Aquinas was formed and arranged into the nine choirs, which are grouped into the three hierarchies (perhaps reflecting the Trinity)
Angel Hierarchy – in descending order of closeness to God.
Angels of Pure Contemplation
Angels of the Cosmos
Angels of the World
Govern All Creation
Govern All the Cosmos
Govern All the World
The Nine Orders of Angels
According to Dionysus each name of the choir indicates its divine nature.
The name Seraphim means both “those that burn” and “those that warm.” The seraphim are in continuous revolution around God, thus the heat they emit is like lightning.
The highest order, the six-winged ones, surround the throne of God, singing ceaselessly, they are angels of love, light, and fire.
The name Cherubim means “fullness of knowledge” or effusion of wisdom.” This choir has the power to know and contemplate God, and the capacity to understand and communicate divine knowledge.
The guardians of the fixed stars, keepers of celestial records, bestowers of knowledge. In the Talmud cherubim are equated with the order of wheels, also called ophanim. Chief rulers are Ophaniel, Rikbiel, Zophiel, and, before his fall, Satan.
The term Thrones, or the “many eyed ones,” is and indication of their close prozimity to the throne of God. This is the order closest to God and they receive directly from him divine perfection and awareness.
Bring God’s justice to us. They are sometimes called wheels and in the Jewish Kabbalah,CHARIOTS or the MERKABAH. The occult book, the Zohar, ranks wheels above seraphim, but other sources place them as cherubim, the whole thing being confused. The ruling prince is Oriphiel or Zabkiel or Zaphiel.
The holy Dominions have the power to elevate themselves and are liberated from all earthly desires and yearnings. It is their job to regulate the duties of the angels.
Regulate angelic duties. Through them is manifested the Majesty of God. They hold an orb or sceptre as an emblem of authority, and in Hebraic lore, the chief of this order is named Hashmal or Zadkiel.
The name of the Virtues indicate a firm and steadfast courage in all angelic activities. Known as the “brilliant” or “shining ones,” the virtues are assoicated with acts of heroism.
Work miracles on earth. They are bestowers of grace and valor.
The Powers are on the same level as the dominions and virtues and possess the power and intelligence that is subordinate only to God. They keep the universe in balance. Camael is believed to be “chief” of this choir.
Stop the efforts of demons to overthrow the world, or else they preside over demons, or perhaps (according to St. Paul) they are themselves evil. Ertosi, Sammael, or Camael (depending on source)is chief of the Powers.
The Principalities are the legions of angels who protect religions. They provide strength to the tribes of Earth to pursue and endure their faith. Among those considered “chief” of the principalities are Nisrock, originally and Assyrian deity considered in occult writings to be the chief chef to the Demon Princes of Hell; and Anael, one of the seven angels of creation.
Protectors of religion. Nisroc, in Milton, is “of principalities the prime,” and others, according to various sources, are named Requel, Anael, and Cerviel.
The Archangels are “messenger which carry Divine Decrees.” They carry God’s messages to human and are ultimately in command of God’s armies of angels who constantly battle the Son of Darkness, with Michael at the helm.
While Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael are generally agreed to be three of the seven archangels, the idenity of the other four is subject to debate. Possible candidates are Urile, Raguel, Zadkile,Saraqael, Remile, Anael, Orifiel, Uzziel,, Raziel, and Metatron. The Koran only recognizes four and actually names only two, Djibril (Gabriel) and Michael.
Guardians of people and all physical things.
The order of Angels is closest to human kind. It is the job of this order to act as guardians and messengers, and at its helm is placed Michael, prince of the Jewish people, who leads all the angels in their post and guardians of nations. In fact, according to Dionysius, God established the boundaries of the nations according to the number of angels.
Guardians of people and all physical things.