Types of Angels
How many types of angels are there? In truth, there are many different orders and classifications created by different
churches and spiritual groups.
Personally, I believe that every angel is assigned a specific "job".
The list provided on this page is by no means definitive, but I’ve tried to give as much information as possible.
The material presented here come from different sources, including the Bible, other religious texts, religious lore, popular angel books, literature, and recent accounts of people who claim to have had encounters with angels.
Like in everything else, use your own intuition and judgment to discern the truth.
The most widely accepted classification of angels in the one created by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, which appeared on his De Coelesti Hierarchia (The Celestial Hierarchy).
Pseudo-Dionysius concluded that there were 9 orders of angels: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions (also known as Dominations), Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.
In his book Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas divided the 9 orders of angels into 3 categories:
First Sphere - Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones
Second Sphere – Dominions, Virtues and Powers
Third Sphere – Principalities, Archangels, and Angels
Pseudo-Dionysius and Thomas Aquinas based their classifications on passages from the Bible, including:
Isaiah 6:2 - Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (KJV)
Genesis 3:24 - So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (KJV)
Ezekiel 10:18-19 - Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord's house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. (KJV)
Here's more information about the angel hierarchy and about some of the types of angels mentioned here.
And here are more angels in the Bible.
Other Angel Types...
... from the Christian and Hebrew Traditions
I found these types of angels to be quite interesting, even though they are less known that the traditional nine angel choirs.
Aeons. According to Gnostic tradition, the first Aeon emanated from God, and from this Aeon emanated the next Aeon. Some Gnostics believed that the head of the Aeons was Abraxas. Other important Aeons are Pistis Sophia, the female embodiment of wisdom, and Dynamis, the male symbol of power.
Archons . Similar to Aeons and Archangels in ranking, Archons are said to be very powerful spiritual beings.
Bene Elohim. The Bene Elohim (also known as Bene Elim) belong to the order of the Thrones. The word means "sons of God".
Elohim. In Hebrew, the word Elohim is the plural of Eloha, which means god. Elohim is used as a plural word to refer to a singular concept, such as god, goddess or the God of Israel. Elohim literally means "angels, gods, rulers".
Erelim. Similar to the Bene Elohim.
Forces. An angel choir similar to the Powers, they were named by St. John of Damascus. This is one of the many angel choirs proposed through history.
Flames. These types of angels are another angel choir that is not part of the traditional (or better known) angelic hierarchy. Flames appear in Jewish lore.
Hasmalim. High-ranking angels, these types of angels are similar to the Seraphim and Cherubim.
Ischim. Found in Jewish lore, the Ischim are said to be made of fire and ice. They inhabit the fifth heaven.
Issim. Angels with tasks similar to those of the Thrones.
Malachim. An order of angels in the Hebrew lore, equated to the Virtues.
Origins. A type of angel mentioned in the Book of Enoch.
Scribes. Angels in charge of recording the deeds of humankind.
Sebalim. An order of singing angels.
More types of angels
Each angel type listed below performs tasks that puts him or her in direct contact with human beings.
Guardian angels. Also known as tutelary angels or tutelary spirits, guardian angels are some of the best known angel types.
Many people believe that each individual has a guardian angel. Many take it a step further, suggesting that cities, nations, and even trees and plants have their own guardian spirits.
Devas. The word Deva comes from the Sanskrit language and it means "deity" or "god". More recently, many spiritual groups use the word Deva to refer to nature spirits or elementals. Here's additional information about nature angels.
One modern example of communication between humans and Devas is the Findhorn Community, founded by Peter and Eileen Caddy, and Dorothy MacLean. With the help of the angels of nature, they were able to grow a magnificent garden in a very sterile environment.
Divine specialists. Some spiritual mystics affirm that certain types of angels have skills and powers that can help us with specific activities.
For instance, some angels serve as our guardians, others act as our guides, and yet others function as divine healers. These mystics say that if you have a specific need, you need to call on an angelic specialist. For example, there are:
- Healing angels
- Angels of love
- Angels of communication
- Angels of manifestation
- Angels of protection
- Angels of abundance
- Angels of creativity
Additional kinds of angels...
And here are more types of angels found in Jewish legend, literature and various theological texts. Some are better known than others.
Angels of the Earth. According to many legends, the main task of this type of angel is to oversee the Earth and its inhabitants. They act as protectors and guides.
In Jewish tradition, there are seven angels of the Earth:
According to Thomas Heywood, a 17th Century angel expert and author of Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels, there are four angels of the Earth and each is in charge of one of the four cardinal points:Angel of Fire
. A fearsome angel, this celestial being has been a source of inspiration for artists and musicians. Two well-known works inspired by this fiery angel are:
- Marc Chagall’s painting Descent of the Red Angel
- Sergei Prokofiev’s opera Angel of Fire
Some believe that the Archangel Uriel (whose name means the flame of God or the light of God) is the angel of fire.
Chariots of God. This is the name used in the Bible to refer to the angels or hosts of angels. You can find a mention to the Chariots of God in Psalm 68.
Chieftains. Found in Qabalah lore, chieftains are said to be angels in charge of countries and nations. They serve as protectors.
Gonfalons. Mentioned in Paradise Lost by John Milton, they are a group of angels who form the "Imperial Host".
Guards. This sentry-type of angel also appears in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
There you have it. These are some of the types of angels found in lore, literature and sacred texts.
What are Angels? - Go to the Jesus Resurrection Info site to explore this fascinating topic.
Guardian Angels - Information about tutelary spirits.
Angel Hierarchy - The best-known classification of angels.
References and further reading:
--Angels A to Z - A Who's Who of the Heavenly Host by Matthew Bunson
--The Celestial Hierarchy by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
--Summa Theologica (The Summa Theologiæ) by Thomas Aquinas
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