All About Angels

At one point or the other, we must have heard a thing or two about angels from various sources.Angels are an integral part of the christian and islamic faith.They are reported to be the guardians who help us weigh things and choose the right path hence, avoiding disasters . Another school of thought also says that angels go both ways – the good and the bad which is also documented biblically. There are even depictions of angels( representing our good and bad sides) sitting on both sides of the human conscience giving advice and influencing the way we think.
Inspite of this, angels have mostly been depicted as the good and kind beings that help us along the way, sometimes being pictured in artworks as small cuddly ones, the cherubs, that do harmless mischief. Angels are also sometimes represented as having the trademark large wings, white robes and halo.
The modern word angel comes from the 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 spread the message of God and enforce His will on the earth. The very first biblical figure that made a direct reference to them is Daniel who referred to the angels by their names. He particularly had a scene with Angel Gabriel.
The earliest documented depiction of an angel was in the catacomb of Priscilla, which has been in existence since the third century. The angel there does not however have wings. There were also angels found on sarchophagi, lamps and reliquaries. One of the most famous example is the Angel in the Sacrifice of Isaac picture in the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus.
With time however, angels eventually where represented with 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 John Chrysostom, the addition of wings to 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, who is believed to be the leader of all the angels. He is classified as an archangel, which is 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 those 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, who 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 also many other angels mentioned in various instances.

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