A Gaggle of Angels

The first mention of an angel in biblical myths is in Genesis 16:7 where Abram’s concubine, Hagar, pregnant with Abram’s “seed,” has fled into “the wilderness” to escape Sarai’s jealous wrath.  “And an angel of Yahweh found her (Hagar) at the water well (or “fountain of waters”) in the wilderness…” verse 7 tells us.  It should be noted that at this point of the myth neither Abram nor Sarai have yet had the letter H added to their names.  (The significance of adding the letter H and the hidden meaning of “wilderness” and “water well” are revealed in The Celestial Scriptures.)

This introduction to “angels” into the story also carries with it a glut of subtle clues that only the  in-crowd of priestly reciters were privy to, for they used a sacred language style to disguise “holy” meanings to themselves and away from the uneducated masses.  As a result the writing gets a little confusing at times.  For example, as the “angel” speaks to Hagar, that which is being spoken shifts from a kind of third-person messenge-service pronouncement to words being spoken by God himself.  It should be noted that in the earliest presentations of “angels,” this was an intentionally indistinct method of storytelling by overlapping the deity with the lesser “angel” image to convey the illusion that “angels” were simply an expression of God’s presense.

Belief in multiple gods, as recognized in Pagan cultures, was regarded by the Judaic authors to be irreligious, but their various “angels,” entrusted with essentially the same attributes and responsibilities, was held to be a  different story.

Later in Genesis, two angels are portrayed as arriving at the door of Abraham’s nephew Lot, who lived in Sodom.  Oddly, Lot addressed the pair as “My Lord” (Genesis 19:18).  The message given by the pair was apparently presented as something like a singing telegram: “Flee there quickly (to the near-by city of Zoar) because I cannot do a thing until you get there.”  Lot protests that Zoar “…is a little city” and that “it is near.”  (Why the word is was stressed is explained in The Celestial Scriptures.)

As noted in Time Frames and Taboo Data, the archangel lineup from Judaic lore cagily personified our solar system’s planets.  Thus the archangel Michael personifies the Sun; Gabriel, the Moon; Raphael, the planet Mercury; Samael, the planet Mars; Sadkiel, the planet Jupiter; and  Cassiel, the planet Saturn.  The archangel Arnad was the last to be enlisted into the ranks of archangels and represented the young planet Venus.  A Talmudic passage freely acknowledges that the names of the angels, the names of the months, and even the letters of the alphabet were brought  from the exile in Babylon.

Christians got the holy lowdown on angels when the Council of  Bishops was assembled by Pope Liberius in 364 to determine what would and would not be considered canon.  Strictly regulated were rituals, precedents, heresy, baptism, fasts, angel worship, etc.  There was agreement that  referring to angels by name was forbidden. 

The Jewish recognition of angels that had been carried over into Christian myth became a near obsession during the Dark Ages.  By 787  the Second Council of Nicaea determined that angels might receive reverential obeisance, but were not to receive divine worship.  It was also determined after much haggling that nine orders of angels existed wherein archangels made up the eighth level—or next highest in management duties. 

Of course angels became a prominent feature in Muslim lore also for, as noted earlier, it was the angel from Jewish myth that comes to Abram’s concubine Hagar.  “And an angel of Yahweh found her (Hagar) at the water well in the wilderness” (Genesis 16:7) and told her that God  would “greatly muliply thy seed” and the son that she would bear was to be named Ishmael.  The Mohammedans therefore look upon Hagar as Abram’s true wife and upon Ishmael as the favorite son.  Thus the genealogical traditions of Hebrews and Arabs were made to unite and provided the foundation for the establishment of Islam.  And by borrowing from Judaic/Christian fabrication of angels, it was easy to accept that when Mohammed went into battle at Badr and Mecca he had allegedly been assisted by 1000 to 3000 angels.

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One Response to “A Gaggle of Angels”

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