”malakh” (Hebrew) The word derives from angiras (Sanskrit), a divine spirit; from the Persian angiros, a courier; from the Greek angelos, meaning a messenger. In Arabic, the word is malak (a Jewish loan word). In popular usage an angel denotes a supernatural being intermediate between God and man (the Greek ”daimon” being a closer approximation to our notion of angels than angelos). In early Christian and pre-Christian days, the term angel and daimon (or demon) were interchangeable, as in the writings of Paul and John. The Hebrews drew their idea of angels from the Persians and the Babylonians during the Captivity. Angelology came into full power in the 11th-13th centuries when the names of thousands of angels appeared, many of them created through the juggling of letters of the Hebrew alphabet, or by simply adding the suffix ”el” to any word which lent itself to such manipulation. An angel, though immaterial, is usually depicted as having a body (or inhabiting a body), pro tem, and as winged and clothed. In Roman Catholic theology, angels were created in the earliest days of Creation, or even before, tota simul, at one and the same time. In Jewish tradition, angels are ”new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23) and continue to be formed with every breath God takes. In the pseudo-Dionysian system with its 9 heavenly choirs, angels as an order rank lowest in the scale of hierarchy, the seraphim ranking highest. The archangels rank 8th, despite the fact that the greatest angels are referred to as archangels. If an angel is in the service of the devil, he is a fallen angel or demon.
Tree of Life