Monday, January 13, 2014

Angels in Different Religions

Angel of the LORD called to Abraham
Judaism

Basics
Angels in Judaism, or malachim, are messengers of God who help carry out God's work and plans.

Form
Angels are purely spiritual beings who do not have a physical form though Maimonides, the great Jewish sage and biblical commentator, later wrote that physical descriptions of angels were metaphorical.

Intervention
According to Judaism, angels intervene in stores in the Torah (the first five books of the bible) as God's messengers, such as when an angel stops Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac. There is also the famous story of Jacob wrestling with an angel.  But in general, angels initiate the communication from God, not vice versa.  There is no angel worship in Judaism, and Jews believe that is only God who determines what happens on earth - angels merely carry out god's will.

Important Angels
Traditionally, Michael is a guardian of the people of Israel.  He carries out God's mission of kindness.  Gabriel is the angel of judgment and strength.  Uriel is an angel who illumines the right path.  Rapheal is a healer.

Source: The Big Book of Angels by Editors of Beliefnet