Compliments of The American Heritage Dictionary: "an·gel ( ³n"j…l) n. 1. a. Theology An immortal, spiritual being attendant upon God...."
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" -Hebrews 1:14.
An excerpt from Days Of Praise:
"The Wonderful Angel
"'And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?' (Judges 13:18).
"This intriguing encounter occurred during one of Israel's periods of apostasy and servitude, when the people had been ruled for forty years by the pagan Philistines. There was one godly couple in the trible of Dan, however, who evidently had long been praying for a son, and God finally answered their prayers. 'The angel of the LORD' came to give the good news to Manoah and his wife. The remarkable son who was to come was mighty Samson, who later would free his people.
"But it is the Angel, Himself, who is most intriguing here. His name was 'Secret,' meaning 'too marvelous even to comprehend.' The same word is translated 'Wonderful' in Isaiah 9:6, where it is cited as a name of the coming divine Son, whose name would also be 'the mighty God' and 'everlasting Father.'
"This 'angel of the LORD' was thus none other than God the Son in one of His rare preincarnate appearances, or theophanies, when the invisible God manifested Himself visibly to man. There are many created angels (Hebrew 12:22), or 'messengers,' of God, but on certain occasions, this one who is called 'the Angel of the LORD' (also 'the Angel of His presence,' as in Isaiah 63:9, and 'the Angel which redeemed me,' as in Genesis 48:16) is clearly none other than God Himself. In such cases, it could only have been the preincarnate Christ, for the Bible says: 'No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him' (John 1:18).
"God had already revealed Himself in this way to great men of God, and now even to an unknown couple. Eventually this Angel, whose name is Wonderful, 'was made flesh, and dwelt among us' (John 1:14), and will one day dwell with His people forever (Revelation 21:3). HMM"
Another excerpt comes from "The Illustrated Guide to the Bible" by J. R. Porter:
"Israel had always pictured Yahweh as surrounded by a court of heavenly spirits who acted as his agents and messengers. For example, when God says 'Let us make humankind in our own image' in Genesis 1.26, he may be addressing these beings .... In postexilic Judaism there appeared a developed hierarchy of angels, with six or seven ranks. At the head of the angelic host were four senior angels (archangels) who had individual names containing the element el, meaning 'god': Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel. The functions of the angels were to praise God in heaven and to act as intermediaries between God and human beings (the word angel comes from the Greek angelos, 'messenger'). They also protected Israel and other nations...."
From a book I bought at Stop & Shop.. "Fascinating Facts From the Bible" by Jeff Rovin:
"Who's who among angels?
"The hierarchy of angels was formalized by religious scholars in the 4th century, who based their rankings on the writings of Paul, among others (including Ephesians 1:21, Colossians 1:16, and others).
"from the most powerful and hollowed, the rankings are:
Again from Jeff Rovin's book:
"What was the angel Michael's second best-known act?
"His best-known deeds revolve around his conflict with Satan (Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:7-9).
"However, it was also Michael who was sent by God to tell Daniel that the Lord would protect him from the Persians (Daniel 13)."
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