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p. 9



   THE Angels consist of nine classes and three orders, upper, middle and lower. The upper order is composed of Cherubim, Seraphim, and Thrones: these are called 'priests' (kumrê), and 'chief priests,' and 'bearers of God's throne.' The middle order is composed of Lords, Powers and Rulers4: these are called 'priests' (kâhnê), because they receive revelations from those above them. The lower order consists of Principalities, Archangels and Angels: and these are the ministers who wait upon created things. The Cherubim are an intellectual motion5 which bears the throne of the holy Trinity, and is the chief of all motions; they are ever watchful of the classes of themselves and those beneath them. As concerning the epithet 'full of eyes6,' which is applied to them, the eyes indicate the mystery of the revelations of the Trinity. Their head, and the foremost and highest among them, is Gabriel, who is the mediator between God and His creation. The Seraphim are a fiery motion, which warms those below it with the fire of the divine love. The six wings which each of them is said to possess7 indicate the revelations which they receive from the Creator and transmit to mankind. The Thrones are a fixed motion, which is not shaken by the trials which come upon it. The Lords are a motion which is entrusted with the government of the motions beneath it; and it is that which prevents the demons from injuring created things. The Powers are a mighty motion, the minister of the will of the Lord; and p. 10 it is that which gives victory to some rulers in battle and defeat to others. The Rulers are a motion which has power over the spiritual treasures, to distribute them to its companions according to the will of the Creator. This class of angels governs the luminaries, the sun, moon, and stars. The Principalities are a defined motion which possesses the direction of the upper ether, of rain, clouds, lightning, thunder, whirlwinds, tempests, winds, and other ethereal disturbances. The Archangels are a swift operative motion, into whose hands is entrusted the government of the wild beasts, cattle, winged fowl, reptiles, and everything that hath life, from the gnat to the elephant, except man. The Angels are a motion which has spiritual knowledge of everything that is on earth and in heaven. With each and every one of us is an angel of this group--called the guardian angel--who directs man from his conception until the general resurrection. The number of each one of these classes of angels is equal to the number of all mankind from Adam to the resurrection. Hence it is handed down that the number of people who are going to enter the world is equal to the number of all the heavenly hosts; but some say that the number is equal to that of one of the classes only, that they may fill the place of those of them who have fallen through transgressing the law; because the demons fell from three classes (of angels), from each class a third part. If then it is an acknowledged fact that there are three orders of angels, and in each order there are three classes, and in every class a number equivalent to that of all mankind, what is the total number of the angels? Some say that when the angels were created, and were arranged in six divisions--Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels--the three lower divisions reflected (saying), 'What is the reason that these are set above, and we below? for they have not previously done anything more than we, neither do we fall short of them.' On account of this reflection as a cause, according to the custom of the (divine) government, Justice took from both sides, and established three other middle classes of angels--Lords, Powers, and Rulers--that the upper might not be (unduly) exalted, nor the lower think themselves wronged. As for the dwelling-place of the angels, some say that above the firmament there are waters, and above them another heaven in the form of infinite light, and that this is the home of the angels. Here p. 11 too is God without limit, and the angels, invisible to bodily eyes, surround the throne of His majesty, where they minister to 'the tabernacle not made with hands1.' Others say that, from the beginning, when God created the angels, until the second day, in which the firmament was made, all the classes of angels dwelt in the upper heavens; but when the firmament was made, they all came down below it, with the exception of three classes--the Cherubim, Seraphim, and Thrones2--who remained above it. These surrounded and supported the Shechinah of God from the beginning of the world until our Lord ascended unto heaven; and after the Ascension, behold, they surround and support the throne of the Christ God, who is over all, until the end of the world. The Expositor3 and his companions say: 'The tabernacle which Moses made is a type of the whole world.' The outer tabernacle is the likeness of this world, but the inner tabernacle is the similitude of the place that is4 above the firmament. And as the priests ministered in the outer tabernacle daily, while the high priest alone entered into the inner tabernacle once a year; so of all rational beings, angels and men, no one has entered (the place) above the firmament, save the High Priest of our confession, Jesus Christ5. The fathers, when they have been deemed worthy at any time to see our Lord in a revelation, have seen Him in heaven, surrounded by the Cherubim and Seraphim. Hence some say that there are angels above the heavens. All these celestial hosts have revelations both of sight and of hearing; but the Cherubim have revelations by sight only, because there is no mediator between them and God. The angels have an intellect superior to that of the rest of rational beings; man has stronger desire, and the demons a greater degree of anger.



p. 9

2 Chap. vi in the Oxford MS.

3 'Dionysium Areopagitam sequitur Bassorensis in hac materia. Sufficit nomen tantum Hierarchiae coelestis dixisse.' Schoenfelder, note 28, p. 10.

4 Colossians i. 16, 'thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.'

5 'Motion' or 'movement,' Zau`â. 'Angelus est substantia intellectualis semper mobilis.' Schoenfelder, note 29, p. 10.

6 Rev. iv. 6, 8; Ezek. i. 18.

7 Isaiah vi. 2.

p. 11

1 Heb. ix. 11.

2 According to the 'Cave of Treasures,' these were created on the first day. See Bezold's translation, p. 1, and Brit. Mus. Add. 25,175, fol. 1 b, col. 1. {This is not the same MS. Budge translated in his own edition of the book.}

3 Or Commentator, that is Theodore of Mopsuestia. See Assemani, Bibl. Orient., iii. 1. 30.

4 Schoenfelder, similitudinem aetheris, qui etc.

5 Heb. ix. 7.