Even if you haven't touched the Bible, you probably have an idea on what they look like. They're those elegant heavenly beings with long white robes, swan like wings on perhaps a halo on top. We also know angel babies or cherubs look like those small, chubby, cute infants clasping a bow and arrow. That kind of thing you might see in a Valentine's Day card except well, that's not what Angels actually look like. Not according to the Bible. These are biblically actor angels. They’re horrifying abominations are more suited to an H. P. Lovecraft novel. Not really the Bible. So what are these things? Why did they look this way and how we got Angel so wrong?
Okay, so angels come from the Old Testament, the first half the Bible for Christians or the whole Bible known as Tanakh for Judes. The Old Testament was written down in Baden Day, Israel and Palestine, from about the sixth century BC to the third century BC. Although many scholars believe the biblical stories themselves are much older, we get the word angel from the Greek Angelos, originally from the Hebrew word Ma’Lakh which roughly translates to messenger. These messengers appear in the Old Testament a number of times. They carry God's messages from heaven on Earth and sometimes act on his behalf. For example, you might recognize the angel of death in the Passover Story that slaughtered all the first sons of the Egyptians. Or perhaps the angel that struck 70,000 israelites to death. And the angel that single handedly killed 185,000 Syrian soldiers in one night. When they appear in the Bible they are described as having wings.
In fact, they look like any ordinary person in the late biblical texts such as Daniel. Some even get names Gabriel, Rafael and Michael. Okay, this all sounds familiar, but they're not quite the nightmare material freak abominations we saw before the Angels known as Ma’Lakh
There's a hierarchy of them, and depending on who you ask, your classic humanoid angels are actually pretty far down the ladder. In the Middle Ages, a Jewish scholar known as Maimonides drew up a hierarchy of angels, and if you look here your classic humanoid angels, the Ma’Lakh are pretty low down but not quite as low as charity.
Forget those chubby winged angels. Accord to the Bible. Cherubins are animal human hybrids. The first time we see them is in the Book of Genesis. Right after Adam and Eve have been kicked out the garden. Their job is to guard the Garden of Eden from mankind, the best description of Cherubins comes from the Book of Ezekiel. It opens with a proficy, experiencing a profound vision. In his vision, Ezekiel describes them as living creatures, but their later revealed in Chapter 10 is cherubin, in his count is as follows. In the middle of it was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance. They are human form. Each had four faces and each of them at four wings. Their legs were straight on their souls. Their feet were like the soul of a class foot, and they sparkled like burnished bronze under their wings. On their four sides, they had human hands on. The four had their faces and their wings, Thus their wings touched one another. Each wing moves straight ahead without turning as they moved. As for the appearance off their faces before had the face of a human being. The face from line on, their right side, facing ox on the left side, on the face of an eagle, such with their faces. Their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies, each move straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they went without turning. As they went in the middle of the living creatures, there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and throw among the living creatures. The fire was bright and lightning issued from the fire, the living creatures darting to and froze like a flash of lightning.
The cherubin don't look like average angel. Instead, they look more like the mythical beasts in ancient Mesopotamia, especially the Babylonian era Lamassu which is the wings of an eagle. The body of a lion and the head of a king thes would act as guardians to sacred places like temples or the palace or city walls, and formed a similar role to the biblical cherubin. They look similar to their Egyptian cousin the spinx, or the Hittite gryphon. Many believe that these biblical angels were descendants of these mythological creatures from Mesopotamia. There have been a lot of cultural exchange on. The same sorts of mythical creatures would crop up across these regions.
Cherubin in late Christianity may have been imported from Greek and Roman myths. Boring from the shapes off Cupid or pluto
Moving up the list. We get the Seraphim. They have six wings to use for flying and the other pair for covering the angels face on a third path for covering the angel’s feet they described in the book Desire as follows. Seraphim were in attendance above him. Each had six wings, with two they covered their faces and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called the other and said, Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord of hosts. And the whole Earth is full of his glory.
In mediaeval Christian theology, Seraphim is the highest choir of the angelic hierarchy. They're the caretakers of God's throne again, continuously singing Holy, holy, holy all day, every day. So, Seraphim name comes from the word Seraph “to burn”. So Seraphim may mean something like the burning ones.
Where do they come from? Going further into surfing's name reveals its origins. The Hebrew word for a venomous serpent of the desert is Saraph. In ancient Egypt, the cobra was often refer to us the flaming one, an image of which was worn by the Pharaoh. Thus, Saraph, maybe the Hebrew word for Cobra. And perhaps where are Seraphim get their winged appearance from.
Now to the strangest beings in the Bible, the Ophanim or simply known as the wheels. They're a pair of interlocking gold wheels with eyes around the outside, and they hover and float in the sky in the same visions before Ezechiel describes them alongside the Cherubin.
As I look to the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the forthem. As for the appearance of the wheels and the construction, their appearance was like the gleaming off barrel. And the four, the same form, their construction being something like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without veering as they moved. Their
rims were tor and awesome for the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. When the living creatures moved, the wheels move beside them, and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels froze. Wherever the spirit would go, they went and the wheels rose along with them, For the spirit to the living creatures was in the wheels. The wheels are beings who meant to carry God's throne, making them some of the holiest and certainly the strangest beings in the Bible.
Where do these wheels come from? Well, no one really knows this one. Conspiracy theorists believe that Ezechiel is describing UFO due to its strange shape and movement, or perhaps seeing that this all takes place in a trippy vision, it could be the product off the prophet ingesting a psychedelic plant. More grounded scholars interpret the wheels metaphorically, a standard for God's unknowability or some other often quite elaborate interpretation.
But ultimately no one really knows much more about the wheels they never mentioned anywhere else. There's some confusion about whether these eldritch abominations known as charity in Seraphim Orphan are really, actually angels, perhaps heavenly being isn't that a description of him? Whatever it may be the Bible's view of heaven is not the exclusive domain of these beautiful winged humanoids. If heaven is in fact real, you'll likely be spending a literal eternity alongside these winged monstrosities instead.