When you think of “heavenly beings” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Angels? That’s a very fair and normal conclusion to jump to. After all, we frequently hear references to God and his angels but are all heavenly bodies (besides from God) at a similar level? We already know that there are angels and archangels, with one being a higher, more individual being that serves closer to God and has a higher range of powers or abilities. What of the other beings? In this article, we will explore a number of heavenly beings that have been heavily referenced throughout a number of religious texts. We’ll explore the Cherubim, Seraphs and more.
Exploring the Heavens
You may be wondering to yourself what other beings exist in heaven. The truth is that we have no idea how many others exist. We’ve only gathered snapshots of what heaven may be like and only through books such as the Bible can we see what beings have visited us here on Earth in the past.
Many of us reach out to angels but even through direct contact, we can only see small glimpses of what they are like. The common depiction of an angel is a humanoid figure with wings, specifically two wings. So let’s take a look at a few examples of other beings who don’t match this popular image. We’ll start off by looking at the Cherubim.
What are Cherubim? Well, according to the Abrahamic faiths, Cherubim are unique heavenly beings who serve God directly. The Cherubim definition and their appearance differ from one source to the next which makes it incredibly difficult to pin down.
This is perhaps why so few people have heard of them as there is no clear understanding of what they actually are. The Cherubim are said to have served many different roles. For example, they guarded the Garden of Eden, stopping those from entering who were unworthy of doing so.
The Cherubim were created on the third day and it’s said that because of this, they are non-corporeal. This means that they lack a physical body and their form can alter from one state to the next. This would perhaps explain that lack of a consistent depiction.
The most common form, particularly within Christianity, is of a baby with wings. These depictions often show the Cherubim as having two wings (1 pair) but it’s just as common to hear of them having 4 (2 pairs).
Varying Cherubim References
There are, however, more varied depictions of the Cherubim. The Bible itself, within the book of Ezekiel, describes the Cherubim as having many faces: one of a lion, one of an ox, one of an eagle, and one of a human. It is said that this represents the various forms of life on Earth: humanity, domesticated, wild, and birds.
The legs of the Cherubim take on many different forms, appearing as hooves but straight and gleaming like metal. The number of pairs of wings can also vary from 2 to 4 and even to 6 or more. So it seems that there isn’t one singular Cherubim form.
The Seraphs or Seraphim definition may seem a little strange at first, although they do seem to take on a more solid form than the Cherubim. Seraphim angels are often depicted as having 6 wings: two that cover their body, two for flying and two that tower over their heads, covering their face in the process.
Their role in heaven is almost entirely shrouded in mystery as they only appear within the religious texts once. What we do know is that a Seraphim angel is the highest rank of all angels in heaven within Christianity.
However, their rank does differ depending on which book or religion you view them from. For example, within Judaism, they are considered to be the fifth level of angels.
The name itself can be translated as meaning noble or “burning ones” and they are believed to circle the throne of God. Their fiery disposition and passion often lead to artist interpretations cloaking them in a shade of red. But what is their purpose and role? Well, they maintain order within the heavenly realm and remind all those who dwell within it to worship God.
It is said that they circle his throne chanting “holy, holy, holy”, potentially for all eternity. So you can probably see that there is quite a difference, both visually and otherwise, between the Cherubim and Seraphim.
You may be wondering why they cover their faces with their wings. Within the Bible and Torah, God mentions quite specifically that if anyone were to look upon his face, they would not survive. At this stage, he is referring specifically to mankind.
However, despite the fact that angels are considered higher beings than mere mortals, being exposed to God eternally in the manner that these angels are would have a powerful effect. It is therefore suggested that they cover their faces to protect themselves.
The Four Living Creatures
The Cherubim and Seraphs are not alone when it comes to heavenly beings that are less popular. Have you heard of the four living creatures? These beings are limited to the end of the New Testament within the Bible. The book of Revelation mentions these creatures which seem to embody all other forms of heavenly being.
They have the features of the Cherubim through the appearance of eagle, lion, ox and human features but they repeatedly praise God and fly around with their 6 wings in the same manner as the Seraphs.
We can’t say for sure what these beings are and whether they bring good tidings or seek to punish the sinner. For all, we know they could just be another form of Cherubim that simply goes by a different name. All that we can say for sure is that they are incredibly powerful.