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(Last updated 7/3/00)

In Scripture we are give some basic understanding of how things work in our lives on this planet. We also are shown a little bit about the heavenly realms (i.e., "other dimensions"). There is an order to the physical world, the spiritual realm and to the Godhead.

Paul intimated this in his Romans letter:

Romans 1:19-20 - Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead ...

The difficulty we face lies in comprehending the connection and relationships between God, the things of this world and what is going on in the "spiritual realm." Our discussion will now focus on the interaction between God, the heavenly realms and the physical world, beginning with the role of angels as seen in Scripture.


Angels play an important role in the book of Revelation, being involved with many of God's judgments upon the earth. The term "angel" has to do with being a "messenger" or "worker" (Hebrew: mal'akh) -- one who is sent to bring about God's presence by carrying out His will. As such, even the "bad angels" (demons) are subject to the will of God and serve His purpose.

Although we may think of this in terms of miraculous events (i.e., walls tumbling down), in the mystical levels of study if the Scriptures, such as those found in the Qumran scrolls1, we find that the main purpose of angels is to give mankind instruction in the mysteries of truth. Alternately, the evil angels attempt to mislead and confuse in these areas.

This is an important concept, as in the book of Revelation we have Yeshua telling John to deliver messages of truth to each of the angels overseeing a particular Messianic community:

Revelation 1:19 - The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Earlier in the study we linked angels to the concept of "spiritual mass." This is not to say that these beings have any permanent physical form. We are using that term to draw an association with things in the physical realm where there is a relationship between mass, energy and the constant of light.

The realm of angels is (generally) outside of our physical space. In this relationship between spiritual light, mass and energy, angels act as messengers or agents of change in the prophetic sense, causing God's word/will to be carried out in the earthly/physical realm. Angels are not the only means by which God "accomplishes things," (i.e., His Messiah, Holy Spirit and the Shekina are all said to have such roles, even haSatan and the other evil angels serve God's purpose).

As mentioned earlier, God's word/will would be the equivalent of "spiritual light," as this is constant (unchanging). Although there are different "aspects" of God revealed at different times (i.e., judgment and mercy), God does not change.

Consider this spiritual light to be the "cause" in a cause and effect relationship. The "effect" would be the equivalent of "spiritual energy," (i.e., miracles, or revelation revealed to man). As Maimonides taught, "every form in which an angel is seen exists in the vision of prophecy."2

The following chart depicts the relationship between spiritual light, mass and energy:

Dimension Spiritual Light Spiritual Mass Spiritual Energy
Characteristic Constant Entity Prophetic fulfillment
Definitive Aspect/Will of God Angel/Spirit/Shekina/Messiah Miracle/Enlightenment
Function Cause Messenger/Worker Effect
Example #1 Judgment Angels Bowls/trumpets in Revelation
Example #2 Mercy Shekina Israel's miraculous protection
Example #3 Knowledge Spirit Discernment of Scripture
Example #4 Wisdom Messiah Creation

There can be a "reversal of roles" with spiritual energy and light. Prayer is an example of where our spiritual energy can "cause" God to act from His spiritual dimension:

James 5:15-16 - And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

As it is God's Spirit living within us that prompts us to pray, God is both the cause and the effect regarding prayer and all other "spiritual transactions" between man and Himself. Cause and effect are inseparable and dependent upon each other, as with God, the beginning is the end, and the end the beginning.

An example of this reciprocal cause and effect can be seen with God and Pharaoh in the book of Exodus. As God's spritual actions (from the heavenlies) caused Pharaoh to act a certain way (here on earth), so did Pharaoh's actions "cause" God to act a certain way. Although, from our physical point of view, the Exodus events were taking place in linear time (with Pharaoh having "free will"), from the spiritual perspective, they were outside of time, as God is both the Aleph and the Tav ("Alpha and Omega") -- the cause and the effect.


Angels function in the realm of spiritual space. Here, the concepts of "near" and "far" do not relate to measurable distance, as in physical space. Rather, the term near means "similar to," and far means "different" or "opposite." In spiritual space, things that are opposite cannot, by definition, be brought together (i.e., Holy God and sinful man). This can only be accomplished in the physical realm.

For instance, in physical space, man has to deal with both good and evil simultaneously within himself. The concept of this internal struggle is expressed in Judaism as man having a "good inclination" (Hebrew: yetzer tov), and an "evil inclination" (Hebrew: yetzer hara), within him.

Paul alludes to this struggle in his Romans letter:

Romans 7:15-23 - For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Furthermore, as God's holiness and man's sinfulness are opposite from each other in the spiritual sense, he created the Tabernacle/Temple (spiritual space) and the sacrificial system (spiritual time) in this physical realm for us, as a means to deal with our sin. Eventually, the act of Messiah dying in the physical realm was required to bridge this gap. Here, YHWH Himself came in a "Temple of flesh" - in a human form that served as a temporary dwelling place for His holiness as He walked among us.

The idea of such a "temporary shelter" is seen in the Feast of Succot where "booths" are built and lived in during the week. Succot is also called the Feast of "Booths" or "Tabernacles." In Judaism this is the feast most associated with the Messianic kingdom.

As such we are told:

John 1:14 - And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The word "dwelt" in the above passage is skenoo in the Greek (Strongs #4637), and means, to reside, as God did in the Tabernacle of old. God literally "tabernacled" among us in a temporary human body (which acted as spiritual space here on earth, as did the physical Tabernacle/Temple), in order to accomplish what had to be done in this physical realm.

As angels have no physical bodies they do not have the same internal struggle with good and evil that man does -- they are one or the other, good or bad, in either case ultimately serving God's purpose. Angels are differentiated by their task -- resulting in the spiritual energy they produce in the physical realm.

The Midrash teaches the same idea, expressing it in a different manner:

Midrash Rabbah 50:2 - One angel cannot have two missions. Neither can two angels share the same mission.

The concept of angels not being separated by physical space, but by mission, is important to understand and will be addressed in a subsequent section on "Ezekiel's Chariot." The idea of one angel not having two tasks is seen in the Related Studies section: Angel Case Study: Book of Daniel.

Angels are relegated to a specific status or "spiritual plane." They are also called Omdim, meaing "Those who stand," because they can never grow spiritually. When angels praise God, it is an honor to God, but it has no effect on their own spiritual condition. In this sense, man has a great advantage over angels as he can achieve higher spiritual levels. When man praises God, he himself grows. Man accomplishes this by learning and doing God's Torah, through which he attaches himself to God.

In 1 John 2:4 it says that if we say we know Him and do not keep His commandments (Torah) we are liars. It is by doing Torah that we come to know Him.


In one of the more important episodes of their involvement, angels were directly involved with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. This is mentioned in Acts 7:38,53; Galatians 3:19 and Hebrews 2:2, though not made so clear in the Tenakh ("Old Testament.") There is a hint of this in Deuteronomy 33:2, but the greatest mention is found in the Talmud. Incidently, this is not the only time when the "New Testament" refers to events not found in the pages of the Tenakh, but present in other Jewish writings.

Angels were also very involved with the arrival of the Torah in the flesh - Yeshua:

  • Angels informed Joseph and Mary what God was doing
  • It is possible that the "star" the magi saw and followed was an angel (see below)
  • Angels heralded His birth
  • An angel instructed the magi not to return to Herod
  • An angel told Joseph to flee to Egypt -- and later to return to the land of Israel
  • Angles came to comfort Him after haSatan had tempted Him
  • Angels appeared at his tomb
  • Angels appeared to the disciples when Yeshua ascended to heaven


Angels can manifest themselves in a number of forms. For the most part they "operate" sight unseen in a separate "dimension" but can "cross over" to the dimension we exist in. Both "good" and "bad" angels can take on human form and closely interact with us:

  • We might be "entertaining" them unaware (Hebrews 13:2).
  • The disciples seem to have believed in "guardian angels," that may have even resembled the person they were "assigned to." (Acts 12;15).
  • Satan's angles can take on the appearance of "men of God" and deceive us (2 Corinthians 11:15).
  • Angels once left their "abode" and had relations with human women (Jude 6).
  • Throughout the Gospels, we see that around Yeshua's time there were many instances of evil angles inhabiting humans in the form of "demon possession." Among the scrolls found at Qumran is one with incantations to exorcise demons.

Humans can also be given sight into the realm of angels, as was the case in 2 Kings, chapter 6. The prophet Elisha could see into another dimension that his servant did not have access to. On the one hand, there was a real physical threat to them "at that time" and "in this dimension." On the other hand, they had nothing to fear as God's angels, though in another "dimension" were ready to protect them.

There is also the possibility of them either taking the form of, or acting through or upon an animal, as is the case with Balaam's donkey in Numbers 22, or the lion's mouths being shut in Daniel 6:23.

Angels are also referred to in terms related to fire:

  • In Genesis 3:24, Adam and Even, upon being banished from the Garden of Eden, are kept from re-entering by a pair of cherubim and a flaming sword.
  • In Psalm 104:4 - Angels are referred to as both wind and fire. The book of Hebrews makes reference to this Psalm as well.

Angels are referred to as "wheels" in Ezekiel's "chariot" vision. This will be covered in detail later in this study.

There are also teachings to the effect that angels have a close association with the stars and planets -- that their governing forces are "controlled" by these beings. Maimonides supports this in his Guide3 as do other sources such as the book of Enoch.

The Zohar associates "stars" with the demons that Messiah fights with in the end of days, and to the Messiah Himself.4

The Qumran community classified angels in the Dead Sea Scrolls as follows5:

  • Ministering Angels - who attend to God and to man
  • Angels of Sanctification - who stand as witnesses regarding the Covenants and ordinances and who serve to sanctify men called to holy service (i.e., the priesthood).
  • Angels of the Presence - who manifest the supernatural emanations of God. They are also called Angels of the Face.
  • Cherubim - the "higher" angels of Ezekiel's book, who are said to have "wings" and who mark the place of the chariot throne.
  • Ophanim - the "lower" angels of Ezekiel's book, also called a wheel within a wheel. These angels are said to connect the lowest heavenly realm to the ones above.
  • A hierarchy of seven angels who oversee the work of all other angels (archangels).

Scripture only gives us the proper name of two archangels -- Michael and Gabriel. It would seem, according to the book of Enoch, that the names of the seven are most likely; Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Phanuel, Uriel, Sariel (aka Sarakiel) and Raguel. The book of Enoch also states Seraphim and Ophanin as watching the throne of God's glory.6

Lastly, the most "mysterious" of the spiritual beings found in Jewish literature, Metatron, is given many titles throughout the Talmud, Midrash Rabbah and Zohar, including:

  • Angel of the Universe (Soncino Talmud - Mas. Chullin 60a, footnote 11)
  • Genius of the Universe (Soncino Talmud - Mas. Yevamoth 16b, footnote 10)
  • Prince of the Universe (Soncino Talmud - Mas. Yevamoth 16b, footnote 10)
  • Chief of the angels (Soncino Zohar, Vol. 2, p. 209a, p. 226b)
  • the chief of the Chieftains with the power charged with the sustenance of mankind (Soncino Zohar Glossary)
  • the head of the "world of creation" (Soncino Zohar Glossary)
  • the "servant" or the "body" of the Shekinah (Soncino Zohar Glossary)
  • the angel of the Lord  (Soncino Zohar, Vol. 3, p. 186a)
  • the head of the Academy who pronounces sentence on all (Soncino Zohar, Vol. 3, p. 186a)
  • the heavenly High Priest (Soncino Zohar, Vol. 2, p. 15a)
  • the Intercessor (Soncino Zohar, Vol. 2, p. 15a)
  • the elder of his house (Soncino Zohar, Vol. 1, p. 181b)
  • the watchman  (Soncino Zohar, Vol. 2, p. 131a, 164a, 226b)
  • "His Servant" (referring to Isaiah 50, Soncino Zohar, Vol. 2, p. 131b)

The Talmud says that Metatron is regarded as the angel who went before the Israelites in the wilderness7 and whose name is similar to that of his master.8 The Zohar also says that the angels of Ezekiel's chariot vision are in the midst of a "wheel" (Hebrew: ofan), and that this "wheel" is Metatron -- "who is more exalted than all the other hosts."9

1. Manual of Discipline, column 4
2. Moses Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed, Part II, section 6
3. ibid
4. Soncino Zohar Vol. 1, p. 119a, Vol. 2, p. 7b
5. Psalms Scroll, column 5-6, Blessings scroll, column 3
6. Book of Enoch, LXX, 9
7. Soncino Talmud - Mas. Avodah Zarah 3b, footnote 21,
8. Soncino Talmud - Mas. Yevamoth 16b, footnote 10
9. Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 21a