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Myths and Folklore Wiki

Angels are celestial beings and messengers for Yahweh and Baal.


  • In Hebrew (angel מַלְאָךְ mal’akh, plural: מלאכים mal’akhim angels)
  • In Ancient Greek; angels known as ἄγγελος (ángelos).
  • In Latin: angels are called "angelus." (Plural: angeli)
  • In Arabic: angels known as (ملائكة, Malaika, singular ملأك Mal'ak and ملَك Malak, colloquial singular: ملاك Malāk).
  • In Persian: angels known (ملائک singular ملک)
  • All of these terms translate literally into English as "messenger."


Within the Hebrew and Christian bibles there are only a few types of angelic beings mentioned, and no official lists of angelic hierarchies exist.

Types of Angelic Beings Found in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles:[]

  • Angels
  • Archangels
  • Cherubim
  • Ophanim (Ezekiel's wheel)
  • Seraphim
  • the Offspring of God (b'nei or bene Elohim)
  • Fallen Angels:
    • Satan (Lucifer)
    • Satan's demons (Powers and Principalities)
    • the Children of God (b'nei or bene Elohim) (In some interpretations)
    • the Nephilim (human/angel hybrids)

Angels in Extra-Biblical Jewish Texts[]

These lists and categories are found outside of the Hebrew bible. As such, their canonicity is dependent on the particular tradition or sect of Judaism.

Ranks and Hierarchies:[]

The Jewish philosopher Maimonides (1135-1204) lists the hierarchy of angels as follows (from highest rank to lowest):[1]

  • Chayot Ha Kodesh
  • Ophanim
  • Erelim
  • Hashmallim
  • Seraphim
  • Malakhim
  • Elohim
  • b'nei Elohim (Children of God)
  • Cherubim
  • Ishim

The hierarchy of angels found in the Zohar, a text in Kabbalah, is as follows (from highest rank to lowest):[2]

  • Malakhim
  • Erelim
  • Seraphim
  • Chayot Ha Kodesh
  • Ophanim
  • Hashmallim
  • Erelim
  • Elohim
  • Bene Elohim
  • Ishim

From the Maseket Atzilu, another text in Kabbalah, the list of angels is as follows (no particular order):[3]

  • Seraphim
  • Ophanim
  • Cherubim
  • Shinanim
  • Tarshishim
  • Ishim
  • Hashmallim
  • Malakhim
  • Bene Elohim
  • Erelim

In the Berit Menuchah, another text in Kabbalah, the list of angels is as follows (no particular order):[4]

  • Erelim
  • Ishim
  • Bene Elohim
  • Malakhim
  • Hashmallim
  • Tarshishim
  • Shinanim
  • Cherubim
  • Ophanim
  • Seraphim

Lastly, in the Kabbalah text the Reshit Chochmah, the list of angels is as follows (no particular order):[5]

  • Chayot Ha Kodesh
  • Ophanim
  • Seraphim
  • Cherubim
  • Erelim
  • Tarshishim
  • Hashmallim
  • Elim
  • Malakim
  • Ishim

Guardian Angels:[]

The concept of guardian angels permeated throughout the ancient Semitic world. Within both non-canon apocryphal texts and the Aggadah, rabbinic narrative, angels are shown to be guardians for both individual kings and entire nations. The guardian angels of other nations are similar in concept to the "Powers and Principalities" mentioned by the Christian Paul or Tarsus' in his letter to the Ephesians, being seen as evil and hostile to Israel. The guardian angels of other nations are seen as being linked to the nations themselves, so that if the nation is punished, the angel is punished, and if the nation falls, so does the angel.[6]

Belief in personal guardian angels varies based on the sect of Judaism. In Hasidic Judaism it is believed that God, as opposed to angels, watches over individuals. Though it is believed with each mitzvah, or religious duty, a person accomplishes an angel is created that protects that person and vouches for that person during judgement after death.[7]

"One who fulfills one mitzvah (commandment) acquires himself a single defending angel. One who commits one transgression acquires one accusing angel. Repentance and good deeds serve as a shield before retribution."
-Rabbi Eliezer ben (son of) Yaakov (1st Century)[8]

Belief in personal guardian angels can be found in Reform Judaism, where it is believed that a person can have one, or even several guardian angels.[9]

The Archangels:[]

Within Judaism the number of archangels varies depending on sect. In most cases it is believed that there are seven.

According to the non-canon apocryphal text, the Book of Enoch (300-100 BC), the seven archangels are as follows:[10]

  • Uriel (Means: "God is my light."), set over the world's luminaries and over Sheol (Jewish underworld).
  • Raphael (Means: "It is God who Heals."), set over the spirits of men.
  • Raguel (Means: "Friend of God."), who chastises the world of the luminaries.
  • Michael (Means: "Who is like God?"), set over the people of Israel.
  • Sariel (Means: "God turns."), set over the spirits who seduce the spirits to sin.
  • Gabriel (Means: "God is my strength."), set over paradise, the Seraphim, and the Cherubim.
  • Jerahmeel (Means: "God is merciful."), set over the resurrection.

According to tradition within Kabbalah there are ten archangels- one angel for every hierarchy of angel given in Maimonides' writings. These archangels have dominion over the hierarchy they are associated with. The list of archangels goes as follows:[11]

  • Metatron (Means: "One who serves behind God's throne."), leads the Chayot Ha Kodesh. Metatron is the angel form for the patriarch and prophet Enoch.
  • Raziel (means: "Secrets of God."), leads the Ophanim.
  • Tzaphkiel (means: "Knowledge of God."), leads the Erelim.
  • Zadkiel (means: "Righteousness of God.", leads the Hashmallim.
  • Chamuel (means: "One who seeks God."), leads the Seraphim.
  • Raphael (means: "It is God who Heals."), leads the Malakhim.
  • Haniel (means: "the Joy of God."), leads the Elohim.
  • Michael (means: "Who is like God?"), leads the Bene Elohim.
  • Gabriel (means: "God is my Strength."), leads the Cherubim.
  • Sandalphon (mean's: "Co-brother." (In reference to being the spiritual brother of Metatron.)), leads the Ishim. Sandalphon is the angel form of the prophet Elijah.

Other Angelic Beings from Jewish Extra-Biblical Texts:[]

  • Azazel: in the Book of Enoch there is an angel named Azazel, who was the leader of a rebellious group of angels called "the Watchers." who have been linked to the "Children of God," found in Genesis 6:4. These angels came down to earth to reproduce with human women, producing the monstrous Nephilim. Azazel is also blamed for teaching human the arts of making weaponry and cosmetics. Most forms of Christianity do not recognize Azazel as canon, and interpret the few times he's mentioned in the Hebrew bible to be references to the scapegoat from the atonement ritual at Yom Kippur.[12][13] In Islam, Azezel (Also spelled "Azazil", "Azazel" and "Uzayzeel") is the former name of Iblis (Satan), before his fall from grace. In some Islamic traditions Azazil is not an archangel, but a type of jinn.[14]
  • Azrael: This is an angel of death found in the Zohar, a text in Kabbalah. Azrael is said to receive the prayers of the faithful after death, command legions of angels, and is associated with the southern cardinal direction. Azrael is not canon in most forms of Christianity, but is an important angel in Islam.[15][16]
  • Chalkydri: In the Second Book of Enoch (likely the 7th century AD), there is a creature called the "Chalkydri," or the "Kalkydra," which translates to English as either "Brazen Hydras," or "Copper Serpents." these serpentine creatures are considered to be a type of archangel.

Angels in Eastern Orthodox Christianity[]

Ranks and Hierarchies:[]

This list is canon for people of the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith. Angels in Eastern Orthodox Christianity there are nine ranks of angels divided into three hierarchies (listed from highest to lowest):[17]

First Hierarchy:

  • Rank 1: Seraphim
  • Rank 2: Cherubim
  • Rank 3: Thrones

Second Hierarchy:

  • Rank 4: Dominions
  • Rank 5: Virtues
  • Rank 6: Powers

Third Hierarchy:

  • Rank 7: Principalities
  • Rank 8: Archangels
  • Rank 9: Angels

Guardian Angels:[]

Besides the nine ranks of angels, Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that each individual person possesses a "Guardian Angel." Most Orthodox Christians believe a person receives their guardian angel during baptism, after which the angel watches over and protects that person for the remainder of their life.

In Orthodox Christianity a person can pray to the guardian angel for protection or pray to the guardian angel so that the guardian angel may pray to God on their behalf.[18] This form of prayer is considered separate from worshiping the angel, which is forbidden.

The Archangels:[]

There are thought to be thousands of archangels in Orthodox Christianity. Even so, only a few are named. Within Orthodox Christianity there are seven archangels that a person may pray to for protection or for intercessory prayer, just like one might do with their personal guardian angel. The seven Archangels are:

  • Michael (Means: "Who Is Like God?") found in Dan 10:13,12:1; Jude 1:9 and Rev 12,8.
  • Gabriel (Means: "God Is my Strength."), found in Dan 8:16,9:21, and Lk 1:19-26.
  • Raphael (Means: "It Is God who Heals."), Tobit 3:17, 12:15
  • Uriel (Means: "God Is my light.") found in 2 Ezdras 4:36, 4:1
  • Salathiel (Means: "Intercessor to God."), found in 2 Esdras 5:16
  • Jegudiel (Means: "Glorifier of God.")
  • Barachiel (Means: "Blessed by God.")

In some Orthodox traditions another archangel, Jeremiel (Means: "the raising up to God."), found in 3 Ezdras 4:36, is prayed to as well.[19][20]

Satan (Lucifer) is believed to have formerly been an archangel before his fall from grace.[21]

Angels in Catholic Christianity[]

Ranks and Hierarchies:[]

The ranks of angels in Catholicism are identical to the ranks found in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, though they are not divided into three separate hierarchies. In Catholicism the nine ranks of Angels are referred to as "Choirs.[22]"

Guardian Angels:[]

Like Orthodox Christians, Catholics also believe in guardian angels. Unlike Orthodox Christians, Catholics believe a person receives their guardian angel at conception. The view on weather a person has only one guardian angel throughout their lives, different angels at different periods of one's life, or multiple guardian angels at once varies from theologian to theologian. Like Orthodox Christianity, a Catholic may pray to their guardian angel for protection or intercessory prayer. Catholics, like Orthodox Christians do not believe in worshiping angels.[23]

The Archangels:[]

In Catholicism there are only three archangels that are named:

  • Michael
  • Gabriel
  • Raphael

The four other archangels found in Orthodox Christianity are included because the texts they are from are not part of Catholic canon scriptures. Similar to Orthodox Christianity, Catholics can pray to these three archangels for protection or for intercessory prayer.[24]

It is uncertain if Satan (Lucifer) was an archangel in Catholicism, because it not stated in scripture weather Satan was an archangel or not.[25]

Angels in Protestant Christianity[]

Ranks and Hierarchies:[]

Views on angels can vary wildly between different denominations of Protestant Christianity. In general, Protestants only follow what can be found in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Many are unaware of any formal hierarchies of angels. Protestants that are aware of the nine choirs of angels typically believe that the choirs are descriptions of tasks assigned to different angels, not a differing type or rank in a hierarchy.[26] Some protestants consider the Four Living Beings and the Ophanim to be separate kinds of divine beings from angels.

Guardian Angels:[]

Though guardian angels are a popular belief among Protestants, guardian angels are typically not considered canon because they are not found in either the Hebrew Bible or New Testament. There are no standard views on guardian angels among Protestants.[27]

The Archangels:[]

Typically Protestants are only aware of, or only recognise, the categories of "angel" and "archangel." Protestants typically do not believe in individual angels that are not explicitly referenced in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. Therefore, the only named angels in Protestantism are Michael, Gabriel, and Satan (Lucifer). Some protestant denominations only recognize Michael as being an archangel.[28]

Protestants, unlike Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christians, do not believe in offering prayers to Angels and instead only offer prayers to God.[29]

It is uncertain in Protestantism whether Satan is an archangel or some other kind of angel.

Angels in Islam[]

Angels Mentioned in the Quran and Canon Hadith:[]

The Quran lists several angels by name, as well as various categories of angels. The angels and their responsibilities are as follows:[30][31][32]


  • Jibril (Judeo-Christian, Gabriel and Paraclete): the angel in charge of communicating Allah's words to His prophets.
  • Israfil (Judeo-Christian; Raphael): He is in charge of blowing the trumpet to mark the Day of Judgment.
  • Mika'il (Judeo-Christian; Michael): This angel is in charge of rainfall and sustenance.
  • Malak al-Mawt (Judeo-Christian; Azrael and Raguel): This character is in charge of taking possession of souls after death.

Guardian Angels:[]

  • Kiraman Katibin: these two angels, named Raqib and Atid, sit on every person’s right and left shoulder to record his/her good or bad deeds..
  • Mu'aqqibat (the Protectors, Judeo-Christian Watchers): these angels protect a person from sickness, ill-fate, and death unless God allows it.

Angels of Judgement:[]

  • Munkar and Nakir (Hadith only): After death, these two angels will question souls in the grave about their faith and deeds.
  • Harut and Marut: (Judeo-Christian: Samyaza and Azazel) the two angels of Babylon who came to earth and taught men some of ‘black magic’ such as breaking up family, marriage, and so on, as a test.

Angels of Heaven:[]

  • Ridwan (Hadith only; Judeo-Christian: Raziel): the angel who serves as the guardian of paradise.
  • Hamalat al-'Arsh (Judeo-Christian; Thrones): these angels are the throne bearers of God.

Angels of the Netherworld:[]

  • Malik: the guardian of hell.
  • Zabaniya: nineteen guards in hell that serve under Malik.

Angels of Weather:[]

  • Ar-Ra'd (the Thunder): the angel of thunder.
  • Unnamed angels who drive the clouds.
  • Unnamed angels who distribute provisions of rain.

Non-Abrahamic Angel-Like Beings[]


Magian Religions (Manichaeism, Yazdânism, and Zoroastrianism):[]

  • Amesha spentas (archangels)
  • Fravashis (guardian angels)
  • Yazatas (angels)

Angels in Literature and Fiction[]

  • Ascended demon: a literary trope where a demonic character manages to overcome their intrinsically-evil nature in order to become a force for good.
  • Flügel: a mortal angels and birds hybrids they are resemble humans due to their mortality and fallen angels due to their black wings and lacking for haloes. They are exist only in RPG games and arts/literatures from isekai genre.
  • Shoulder angel and devil: a plot device where a character's conscience is represented as an angel on their right shoulder, while the character's passions and temptations are represented by a devil on their left shoulder.



  1. Jewish angelic hierarchy.
  2. Jewish angelic hierarchy.
  3. Jewish angelic hierarchy.
  4. Jewish angelic hierarchy.
  5. Jewish angelic hierarchy.
  17. Orthodox Belief On Angels
  22. What Are the Nine Choirs of Angels?
  29. Catholic and Protestant Angel Beliefs - Bill Webber - Beliefnet
  30. Angels in Islam – Kube Publishing
  31. Malaikah - Muslim beliefs - Edexcel - GCSE Religious Studies Revision - Edexcel - BBC Bitesize.
  32. The Existence of Angels in Islam

External links[]