The hierarchy of angels is a traditional Christian conception of the great chain of being, elaborated in the Middle Ages and given its popular form by Jacobus de Voragine’s “The Golden Legend”.
The first three ranks are Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.
These are followed by Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities (or Potentates), Archangels and Angels.
Seraphim are the highest-ranking type of angel in Christianity.
They’re charged with the care and singing of heavenly praises, contemplation, and adoration. Seraphim stand on either side of God’s throne to worship him.
Whenever they fly through Heaven, their wings brush against each other to produce a continuous sound like that of harps or cymbals.
Seraphim were created by God before everything else existed – even time itself! For this reason they’re sometimes called “the eternal ones” or “the angels from eternity.”
It is said that their light, which comes from God Himself, has such intensity that it cannot be looked upon directly by other divine beings except for one another and Him.
Cherubim are second-highest ranking type of angel in Christianity. The first mention of them is in Genesis 3:24 where they guard the Garden of Eden.
Cherubim have four different forms. Some appear as oxen or lions, others appear with wings or multiple heads.
Each has a human face to remind us that God’s Spirit can take form in many different ways.
Cherubim are the only angels who have more than one face.
Cherubim are wild, untamable creatures. No matter how tame they seem at first, when they get angry their fury is terrible to behold!
For this reason it’s important not to show them disrespect or make them angry.
Thrones (who first appeared in Isaiah 6:1) and serve as the Angels of God’s throne. Situated about the throne, they serve as his ministers and fulfill whatever he commands.
Thrones never look at God directly; instead they use their six wings to cover themselves from head to foot.
In this way they never see God’s face, but have a glimpse of his feet instead.
Thrones are always wanting to know more about the will and purpose of God. They want to be better servants because they’re aware that their service is only partial satisfaction for them.
Thrones have no creative power themselves, so they can’t create anything new. But they also have no destructive power, so they can’t destroy either.
Dominions (also called Dominations or Lordships) are Angels that carry out God’s commands and keep the universe running smoothly.
They’re often depicted as older men wearing a crown and a blue cloak with a golden sash. In art they usually hold a scepter as a symbol of their power.
In the Bible, Dominions are first mentioned as one of the three angels who visited Abraham at Mamre (Genesis 18:1).
Dominions love doing things right and to perfection. They make sure that nothing is ever lacking in God’s creation.
The main task of a Dominion is always to praise God.
Virtues are Angels of the third rank of angels in Christianity. They work hard to fight evil spirits and guard against those that might harm humans, animals or nature itself. Their main task is to protect us from demons and other dark forces.
They’re often depicted with a golden crown surrounded by a white scarf with a red cross. Virtues fight hard against the forces of darkness, and their efforts are especially needed in these days when people can’t be trusted to do what’s right without their help.
It is said that the angels at the Ascension of Jesus were from the order of Virtues.
The name “Powers” first appears in the Bible in Ephesians 1:21 where it says that Christ has given all things into their hands.
In some places Powers are called Planetary Angels because they rule over the planets of our solar system. They also exercise authority over the zodiac and, for all we know, they may even be in charge of angels!
Powers are most often depicted as strong men who carry either a banner or a scepter.
Powers don’t like to talk about themselves or their work. Instead they want people to see them working hard and assisting others.
They love helping out with big projects involving huge numbers of people.
Principalities have various responsibilities for overseeing groups of people on Earth or sections of the universe; their duties range from caring for individual souls to governing nations to supervising other types of angels.
They may also be responsible for organizing meetings between archangels and humans who need divine assistance with important decisions.
This rank of angel is often depicted as a heavenly duke or a prince who has authority from God to rule over a country or nation.
Jesus tells his disciples at Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority has been given me in heaven and on earth” so they too have supreme power or rule over everyone and everything.
Archangels are believed to be perfect in every way, and they act with love for humanity. Archangels can manifest themselves in many forms; sometimes they appear as an ordinary human being, other times as a disembodied voice or something else.
The archangel Michael is known for appearing as a warrior angel who fights against evil spirits to save people who are in danger.
Archangel Gabriel is known for his abilities to communicate messages from God or higher beings to human beings, and he also appears in a more gentle form when a person needs comfort from problems in life.
Angels receive and carry out orders from the archangels and it is their duty to help people on Earth with prayer, healing and protection.
Angels are at their most powerful when they work in groups. Angels assist mankind with spiritual gifts given to them by God. They are servants of the Lord who make it possible for people on earth to communicate with heaven.
Angels maintain a constant vigilance to witness and record the events of human life. They rejoice in the good that God is doing through His people. And it is no wonder, because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).