It is a collection of ancient writings including the books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, used by the Christian church. It can also be the Hebrew Scriptures, the sacred book of Judaism, or a book or collection of writings constituting the sacred text of a religion [Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin biblia, from Greek, pl. By the fifth century A. Later the word passed into the western church, for its use in the Latin, thus "The Books" became "The Book. Testament was a translation of the Hebrew word berith "a covenant" to render the Greek word diatheke Latin testamentum first occurring in Tertullian A.
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These beings serve as His attendants, like courtiers of an earthly king, and also as His agents to convey His messages to men and to carry out His will. Terminology These beings are clearly designated by the English word "angel. Ugaritic lak "to send". It is applied frequently to human agents e. This term was rendered in the Greek Bible by angelos which has the same variety of meanings; only when it was borrowed by the Latin Bible and then passed into other European languages did it acquire the exclusive meaning of "angel.
Often the angel is called simply "man. As a result of this diversity, there are some passages where it is uncertain whether a human or superhuman messenger is meant. The Bible also speaks of winged creatures of angelic character called cherubim and seraphim, who serve a variety of functions. A further ambiguity is due to the fact that the Bible does not always distinguish clearly between God and His messenger.
Thus, Hagar encounters an angel, but later addresses "the Lord that spoke unto her" Gen. It is God who commands the sacrifice of Isaac; later Abraham is addressed by the angel of the Lord from heaven Gen. The angel of the Lord appears to Moses in the burning bush Ex.
So, too, in the Gideon story, Gideon speaks sometimes with God, sometimes with the angel of God Judg. Some scholars infer from this phenomenon that the angel was not regarded as an independent being, but simply as a manifestation of the Divine power and will. Others suppose that in the earliest version of these stories a human being was confronted directly by God, and that later scribes toned down the boldness of this concept by interposing an angel.
But frequently the phrase "host of heaven" means the heavenly bodies Deut. Similarly, Isaiah ch. One of the seraphim purifies Isaiah by a symbolic act, so that, unlike Micaiah, he becomes not a witness to but a participant in the ensuing deliberation of the council cf. In the ancient cosmic hymn Psalms —3, 6—19, the goodness of God is praised by the assembly of the holy beings because, the psalmist emphasizes, He is incomparably greater than they and they stand in awe of Him Ps.
This last is similarly stressed in two other early compositions see Ex. Not improbably, the motif arose in an age when it was not yet a platitude that "the assembly of the holy beings" or "the company of the divine beings" Ps. So, no doubt, did the practice of representing those beings as standing before God, who alone is seated I Kings ; Isa. The exception, Isaiah , only confirms the rule: the speaker there is a pagan. Related to the deuteronomic idea that the Lord actually assigned the heavenly bodies and the idols to the Gentiles but chose Israel to worship him Deut.
For these passages are obviously nothing but a bold development of Deuteronomy —9. Their doctrine is that the fates of nations are determined by combats among the celestial "ministers" to whom they have been assigned and that despite Deut. The angels seen by Jacob ascending and descending the ladder Gen. The Angel of the Lord The narrative books offer many instances of an angel — rarely, two or more — delivering a message or performing an action, or both.
The angel appears in human form, and sometimes is not immediately recognized as an angel. The appearance of an angel to Hagar Gen. Further, three "men" visit Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac; two of them go on to Sodom to warn Lot to flee and to destroy the city Gen. The angel of God appears to Jacob in a dream, says "I am the God of Beth-El," and bids him return to his home ff. The angel of God plays a role, not entirely clear, in the events at the Sea of Reeds Ex.
In the Book of the Covenant, God promises to send His angel to lead the Israelites and to overcome the obstacles to their entrance into the promised land. The angel is visible to the she-ass, but Balaam cannot see the angel until the Lord opens his eyes Num.
When the "captain of the host of the Lord" appears to Joshua, the latter does not at first realize that his visitor is an angel Josh. The same is true of the emissary who foretells the birth of Samson, and whose angelic nature is made manifest only when he ascends to heaven in the altar flame ibid.
An angel with a drawn sword is the agent of the pestilence in the days of David II Sam. The old prophet pretends he has received a revelation from an angel I Kings An angel appears once in the Elijah stories ibid. The angel of the Lord appears two times in Psalms: in , he protects the righteous; and in —6, he brings doom upon the wicked.
In the Hagiographa Other references to angels in the Psalms are scattered throughout the book. In a few places, angels are called on to join with the rest of creation in praising God Ps. In Psalms —12, God commands His angels to protect the faithful from harm. The other Hagiographa have little to say about angels. The only possible allusion, in Proverbs , is doubtful. In Job, aside from the references to the "sons of God," angels are mentioned only by the three friends and Elihu.
The friends point out that even the angels, the holy ones, are not flawless, and that man is still further from perfection Job ; ; Elihu speaks of an angelic intercessor for man ibid —24 , but the passage is obscure. The subject matter of the Five Scrolls is such that no special significance need be attached to their silence on the subject of angels Eccles.
Silence of the Prophets The prophets, except Ezekiel and Zechariah, say almost nothing about angels. In all pre-Exilic prophecy, there are just two passages in which angels are mentioned.
One is the rather obscure reference to the Jacob story in Hosea —6; contrast v. It has been explained as a satirical attack on the cult of the angel or divinity Beth-El see Ginsberg , in: JBL , 80 , —7; cf. Thereafter, Isaiah makes no mention of angels is obscure and probably not Isaianic. Jeremiah is completely silent on the subject; so is according to the critical theory the roughly contemporaneous Book of Deuteronomy.
In the Exilic period, Deutero-Isaiah does not mention angels Isa. Finally, it should be noted that the priestly code regarded by many scholars as post-Exilic, though others consider it very ancient does not allude to angels, except for the provision that cherubim are to be depicted on the Ark cover.
This array of facts cannot be dismissed as mere accident, especially since angels appear so often in the narrative portions of the Pentateuch, in the historical books, and in the prophetic writings of Ezekiel and Zechariah.
Perhaps David Neumark overstressed this disagreement as a major issue of biblical thought see: e. But the issue was certainly not unimportant. Later, this same man in linen takes live coals from the fire between the cherubim, to be used in setting the city afire ff. Chapters 11—39 of Ezekiel do not mention angels.
But in the visions of the rebuilt Temple ch. During the vision Ezekiel also receives instruction directly from God; and after chapter the "man" is not mentioned again. In Zechariah, angels are almost constantly present. The book consists largely of symbolic visions, explained to the prophet by "the angel that spoke with me" , 14; —7; —5; —10; —5. The "angel of the Lord" appears several times; he intercedes with God on behalf of Israel —13 ; he presides over the rehabilitation of Joshua and rebukes the Satan for accusing the latter ff.
A number of other angels are reported to be standing by. Zechariah also applies the term "man" to angelic beings ff. For the first time in the Bible the angels in Zechariah appear to be acquiring an independent life on their own. Daniel The Book of Daniel repeats much about angels which is found in earlier parts of the Bible.
It tells of innumerable attendants around the Divine throne , and reports that an angel saved the three men in the furnace , 28 and Daniel from the lions It sometimes calls an angel "man"; one angel is described as a man clad in linen ; ; cf.
But Daniel has strong affinities with the extra-biblical apocalypses, and so presents many new features in regard to angels. The revelations received by Daniel are either symbolic visions, which an angel interprets ch. Zechariah, too, had visions which an angel explained. But he also delivered prophecies received directly from God; such a thing never occurs in Daniel.
In the latter book, too, angels do not merely carry out orders, but have some powers of initiative: "The matter has been decreed by the ever-wakeful ones, the sentence is by the word of the holy ones" Moreover, the angels now have proper names: Gabriel ; and Michael ; This is the only biblical book in which angels have distinct personalities.
Finally, the idea that each nation has an angelic patron, whose actions and destinies are bound up with those of his nation, is encountered for the first time. Mention is made of the patrons of Persia and Greece , 20 ; and Michael is the champion of Israel ; on this concept cf.
In the Apocrypha In post-biblical literature angels frequently manifest themselves as independent beings, distinguishable by their own names and individual traits. Contrary to the general impression gained from the Bible, certain allusions contained in it lead to the assumption that in the earlier periods of Jewish history angels played a more independent role in popular mythology than in the post-biblical period.
It was not, however, until the Hellenistic period of Jewish history that the conditions existed for a special doctrine of angels. This led to attempts to explore the nature and individual character of the angels. Furthermore, Jewish literature of this period sought to teach the mysteries of nature, of heaven, of the end of days, etc.
This type of apocalyptic wisdom literature assumed that the secrets of the universe could be found only beyond the range of earthly surroundings — by means of angels. The development of the concept of angels was also deeply influenced by the syncretism which characterized the Hellenistic Age.
By means of the wisdom of the Chaldeans which enjoyed great prestige among the Diaspora Jewry, see Dan. Old Babylonian tales of intercourse between gods and legendary heroes, and of books containing heavenly wisdom, were thus made to concur with Jewish legends; however, in order to avoid contradiction with the monotheistic character of Judaism, they were ascribed to the world of angels.
One such example was Enoch, a figure created under the influence of Babylonian concepts, who appears as the bearer and creator of human culture, and as the transmitter of heavenly wisdom to the early generations of man; his authority is derived exclusively from his constant communication with angels. Various sources treat Noah and Abraham in the same manner, ascribing their wisdom to their intimate knowledge of the world of angels.
In addition, various religious concepts accepted by the Jewish people under the influence of pagan magic and demonology — insofar as they were not in direct contradiction to monotheism — were eventually incorporated into the doctrine of angels. Among the Jewish Sects The doctrine of angels was not evenly spread among the various parts of the Jewish people.
The apocalyptic wisdom teachers imparted the knowledge that they had secretly acquired through their contact with angels, only to a narrow circle of the specially initiated.
Consequently, the doctrine of angels found its widest distribution among the secret societies of the Essenes. The latter Jos.
Jewish Concepts: Angels & Angelology
In the Tanakh Hebrew Bible [ edit ] The Tanakh reports that angels appeared to each of the Patriarchs , to Moses , Joshua , and numerous other figures. God promises to send one to Moses in Exodus , and sends one to stand in the way of Balaam in Numbers The Book of Psalms says "For His angels will charge for you, to protect you in all your ways" Psalms Almost every appearance of this figure in the Tanakh complies to the following pattern: The narration introduces the angel of the LORD; He behaves as if he were a deity, e. Exodus ; The interlocutors of this figure address and revere him in a way reserved exclusively to a deity. As such, the incident leaves the reader with the question whether it was an angel or a deity who had just appeared. The most widespread theological ones try to deal with the problem by introducing additional concepts: the angel might be an earthly manifestation of God, some kind of avatar of God himself.
Ancient Hebrew writings
These beings serve as His attendants, like courtiers of an earthly king, and also as His agents to convey His messages to men and to carry out His will. Terminology These beings are clearly designated by the English word "angel. Ugaritic lak "to send". It is applied frequently to human agents e.
Gods Army - "Hebrew Cabalist Writings"?
In one form or another, the belief in angels appears in the earliest stages of Jewish history, and continues to live in the spiritual world of the Jews and those professing the religions that sprang from Judaism; namely, Christianity and Mohammedanism. To admit of a comprehensive survey of the historical development of Angelology, the subject may best be treated according to three periods: 1 the Biblical, 2 the Talmudical and Midrashic, and 3 the Medieval. The Biblical Period: Denomination. Other appellations are , or "Sons of God," Gen. Angels appear to man in the shape of human beings of extraordinary beauty, and are not at once recognized as angels Gen.