THE REALM OF ANGELS AND "SPIRITUAL SPACE"
Paul intimated this in his Romans letter:
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.
OF ANGELS TO
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:
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:
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:
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.
FUNCTIONING IN SPIRITUAL SPACE
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:
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:
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:
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.
ANGELS IN ACTION
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:
TYPES, FORMS AND ROLES OF ANGELS
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:
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:
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:
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:
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
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