• The word "angel" means "messenger" and this word expresses the nature of angelic service to the human race. From the days of man's life in paradise, mankind has known of their existence, and its almost universal recognition is reflected not only in Judaism but in most other ancient religions as well.

    When Adam was expelled from paradise after his fall, one of the cherubim with a flaming sword was set to guard the gates of Eden (Gen. 3:24). When Abraham sent his servant to Nahor, he encouraged him by telling him that the Lord would send His angel before him and prosper his way (Gen. 24: 7, 40). Jacob saw angels both in a dream—the vision of the ladder—and when awake—when returning home to Esau he saw a host of the angels of God. In the Psalter there are constant references to angels, and we also read of them in the Book of Job and the prophets. The Prophet Isaiah saw the seraphim surrounding the throne of God, and the Prophet Ezekiel saw cherubim in his vision of the Temple of God (Is. 6:1-7, Ezek. 10:1-22.)

    In the New Testament, the Book of Revelation contains much information about angels and many references to them. An angel announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias; so also did an angel announce the birth of the Savior to the most holy Virgin Mary and appear in a dream to Joseph. A mighty host of angels sang the glory of Christ's nativity; an angel announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds and stopped the Wise Men from returning to Herod; angels ministered to Jesus Christ during His temptation in the wilderness; an angel appeared to Him in the Garden of Gethsemane; angels announced His Resurrection to the myrrh-bearing women; and at His ascension angels proclaimed, His second coming. Angels loosed the bonds of Peter and the other Apostles (Acts 5:19) and of Peter alone (Acts 12:7-15); an angel appeared to Cornelius the Centurion, telling him to send for Peter who would instruct him in the word of God (Acts 10:3-7). An angel announced to Paul that he was to appear before Caesar (Acts 27:23-24) and the vision of angels is the foundation of the Revelation of St. John.


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