Note: Bold, colored font and brackets [ ] are mine.



What the traditional number of the Angels [messengers from and of the Word] signifies.

"This also is worthy, I think, of intellectual consideration, that the

scriptural tradition respecting the Angels gives their number as

thousands of thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand,

multiplying and repeating the very highest numbers we have, thus

clearly showing that the Orders of the Celestial Beings are

innumerable for us; so many are the blessed Hosts of the

Supermundane Intelligences, wholly surpassing the feeble and

limited range of our material numbers. And they are definitely

known only by their own supermundane and celestial Intellect and

the knowledge which is granted to them all-bounteously by the

All-knowing Mother-Wisdom of the Most High God, which is

superessentially at once the substantiating Cause, the connecting

Power, and the universal Consummation of all principles and

 What is the meaning of the formal semblances of the Angelic

Powers? What of the fiery and the anthropomorphic? What is meant

by their yes, nostrils, ears, mouths, touch, eyelids eyebrows their

manhood, teeth, shoulders, arms, hands, heart, breasts, backs, feet

and wings? What are the nakedness and the vesture, the shining

raiment, the priestly insignia, the girdles? What are the rods, spears,

battle-axes and measuring-lines? What are the winds and clouds?

What is meant by their brass and electron? What are the choirs and

the clapping of hands? What are the colours of the various jewels?


What is the form of the lion, the ox, the eagle? What are the horses,

and their various colours? What are the rivers, the chariots, the

wheels? What is the so-called joy of the Angels?

Let us, if you are so disposed, now relax our mental vision from the

effort of the contemplation of the sublimity of the Angels, and

descend to the particularized, all-various expanse of the manifold

diversity of forms in angelic images; and then return analytically

from them, as from symbols, ascending again to the simplicity of

the Celestial Intelligences [2nd. Corinthians, 11:3]. But first let me point out clearly to you

that the explanations of the sacred likenesses represent the same

Orders of Celestial Beings sometimes as leading, and again being

led, and the last leading and the first being led, and the same ones,

as has been said, having first, middle and last powers. But there is

nothing unreasonable in the account, according to the following

method of unfoldment.

If, indeed, we said that some are first governed by those above

them, and afterwards govern those Orders, and that the highest,

whilst leading the lowest ranks, are at the same time being led by

those whom they are leading, the statement would be obviously

absurd and wholly confused. But if we say that these holy Orders

both lead and are led, but not the same ones, nor by the same ones,

but that each is led by those above itself, and in turn leads those

below it, we may reasonably say that the Scripture in its sacred

symbolic presentation sometimes rightly and truly assigns the same

powers to the first, middle and last ranks.

Wherefore the eager upward tending to those above them, and the

constancy of their revolution around them, being guardians of their

own powers, and their participation in the providential power of


proceeding forth to those below them through their own

inter-relations, will truly befit all the Celestial Beings, although

some pre-eminently and universally, others in a partial and lower

degree >[if you can hear all of this [symbolisms] at once, you can see; while the scriptures are talking in allegory, they in turn roll-over into a parable then metaphor, paradox and then back to a metaphor vibrating around a 'center' collection of the energies of the resonating frequencies' of the vibrations until the 'center' resonates stronger than the 'outer' and causes all to reverberate in harmonic syntheses. Then - there is the 'understanding' of the message - without controversy. As we saw before; it is like a song. 'She took my heart and broke it apart.' This is the 'outer'. The 'inner', or 'center,' is quite different. When you can see the 'inner' you no longer see the 'outer'. They are 'one.' Thus, to say; 'She took my heart and broke it apart' is simply saying something that really has no 'image' but a knowing; an understanding. Spiritually speaking or the invisible interpretation would be, someone is cheating and it hurts the ego and pride. In other words, the word is fashioned 'in continuance' ref: Psalm 139:16
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Also;

  1. Isaiah 28:10
    For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
  2. Isaiah 28:13
    "But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken". [Snared and taken by the parable or metaphor if their intents and desires were not pure, ( Hebrews 4-12 ) etc., and caused to believe a 'LIE' and be damned. There again, the 'LIE' of Romans; 3:7].

 But we must begin to deal with the remaining part of our discourse,

and must ask, in first explanation of the forms , why the Word of

God prefers the sacred symbol of fire almost above all others

  1. Deuteronomy 4:24
    For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
  2. Deuteronomy 9:3
    Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.
  3. Hebrews 12:29
    For our God is a consuming fire.
  4. Genesis 3:24
    So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims (messages), and a flaming sword (words of fire, i.e., metaphor, allegories symbolism, parable, paradox etc..) which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life i.e. the truth.
  5. [The "Tree Of Life" is the hidden message inside the "WORD" which is referred to as "GOD". The truth is hidden inside its Father. I and my Father are ONE. The "Tree Of Life" also represents; the "Word" of Christ, or, the "Sword of The Spirit." Ephesians, 6:17; Revelation, 2:17; 19:12,13; 1st. Peter, 1:23].
  6. The literal "Word" of scripture will deceive a dishonest heart [Hebrews 4:12 ] into believing the lie, the lie that Romans 3:7 speaks of.

For you will find that it is used not only under the figure of fiery wheels,

but also of living creatures of fire, and of men flashing like lightning

who heap live coals of fire about the Heavenly Beings, and of

irresistibly rushing rivers of flame. Also it says that the Thrones are

of fire, and it shows from their name that the most exalted Seraphim

themselves are burning with fire, assigning to them the qualities and

forces of fire; and throughout, above and below, it gives the highest

preference to the symbol of fire [fire, burns away the image...'Our God,

'knowledge, is a consuming fire. It protects the tree of life in the center. This FIRE is also the 'SERPENT' that protects the hidden word within.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:].

Therefore I think that this image of fire signifies the perfect

conformity to God of the Celestial Intelligences For the holy

prophets frequently liken that which is superessential and formless

to fire which (if it may lawfully be said) possesses many

resemblances as in visible things to the Divine Reality. For the

sensible fire is in some manner in everything, and pervades all

things without mingling with them, and is exempt from all things

and, although wholly bright, yet lies essentially hidden and

unknown when not in contact with any substance on which it can

exert its own energy. It is irresistible and invisible [spiritual], having absolute

rule over all things, bringing under its own power all things in

which it subsists. It has transforming power, and imparts itself in

some measure to everything near it. It revives all things by its

revivifying heat, and illuminates them all with its resplendent

brightness. It is insuperable and pure, possessing separative power,

but itself changeless, uplifting, penetrative, high, not held back by


servile baseness, ever-moving, self-moved, moving other things. It

comprehends, but is incomprehensible, un-indigent, mysteriously

increasing itself and showing forth its majesty according to the

nature of the substance receiving it, powerful, mighty, invisibly

present to all things. When not thought of, it seems not to exist, but

suddenly enkindles its light in the way proper to its nature by

friction [contradiction causes friction], as though seeking to do so, uncontrollably flying upwards

without diminishing its all-blessed self- giving ['Christ, the Power of God

and the Wisdom of God'].

Thus many properties of fire may be found which symbolize

through sensible images the Divine activities. Knowing this, those

wise in the things of God have portrayed the Celestial Beings under

the figure of fire, thus proclaiming their likeness to the Divine, and

their imitation of Him in the measure of their power [Hebrews, 12:28,29].

But they also invest them with the likeness of men because of the

human powers of intellect and aspiration, the straight and erect

form, the inherent power of guiding and governing; and because

man, although least in sense- perception in comparison with the

powers of irrational creatures, yet rules over them all through the

pre-eminence of his intellect, the lordship of his rational knowledge,

and the intrinsic freedom of his unconquerable soul.

Thus it is possible, I think, to find in the various parts of our bodies

fitting symbols of the Celestial Powers by taking, for example, the

power of sight as an image of their most transparent upliftment to

the Divine Light, their single, free, unresisting reception of that

Light, their responsiveness and pure receptivity without passion to

the divine illuminations. The human power of distinguishing odours signifies the power to

receive the inconceivable and most fragrant divine influences, as

An Angel as envisioned by Rembrandt far as is attainable, and the definite recognition and utter rejection of

others not of this kind.


The power of the ears denotes participation in and conscious Gnostic

receptivity to divine inspiration. The power of taste represents an

abundance of spiritual food and the reception of divine streams of


The power of touch symbolizes the power of distinguishing that

which is of advantage from that which is harmful ['rightly dividing the word of truth']. The eyelids and

eyebrows represent the guarding of intellectual conceptions in divine

contemplations. The images of youth and vigour denote their

perpetual bloom and vigour of life. The teeth symbolize the

distribution of the sustaining perfection supplied to them; for each

Intellectual Order, receiving a unitive conception from the Divine,

with Providential Power divides and multiplies it for the proportionate up-liftment of the one below.

The shoulders, arms and hands signify the powers of activity and

accomplishment. The heart is a symbol of that Divine Life which

imparts its own life-giving power beneficently to those within its

care. We may add that the chest, being placed over the heart,

represents the indomitable power which guards its own life-giving

dispensations. The back denotes that strength which holds together

all the life-giving powers. The feet signify the power of motion,

swiftness and skillfulness in the ever-moving advance towards divine

things [also; faith]. Wherefore the prophet described the feet of the Celestial

Intelligences as being covered by their wings which symbolize a

swift soaring to the heights, and the heavenly progression up the

steep, and the exemption from everything earthly through the

upward ascent. The lightness of the wings shows that they are

altogether heavenly and unsullied and un-trammeled in


their up-lift-ment on high. The naked and unshod feet symbolize their

free, easy and unrestrained power, pure from all externality, and

assimilated, as far as is attainable, to the Divine Simplicity.

But since that single and manifold Wisdom both clothes the naked

and assigns to them implements to carry, let us unfold, as far as we

can, these sacred garments and instruments of the Celestial


Their shining and fiery vestures symbolizes, I think, the Divine

Likeness under the image of fire, and their own enlightening power,

because they abide in Heaven, where Light is: and also it shows that

they impart wholly intelligible Light, and are enlightened


Their priestly garment symbolizes their authority as leaders to the

mystical and divine contemplations, and the consecration of their

whole life. The girdles denote their guardianship of their own

generative power, and their state of unification, for they are wholly

drawn together towards their essential unity surrounding it in a

perfect circle with changeless sameness [the 'seamless' robe].

The rods are tokens of the authority of sovereignty and leadership

and the true directing of all things. The spears and battle-axes

represent the power of dividing incongruous things and the keen,

vigorous and effectual power of discrimination. The measuring-lines

and carpenters' tools are figures of the power of foundation and

erection and perfection, and whatever else belongs to the

providential guidance and up-lift-ment of the lower orders.

Sometimes, however, the implements assigned to the holy Angels

symbolize the divine judgment upon ourselves; for some are figures

of His corrective discipline of avenging justice, others of freedom


from difficulties, or the perfection of disciplinary instruction, or the

restoration to our first happiness, while others signify the addition

of other gifts, great or small, sensible or intelligible; and no acute

mind would have any difficulty at all in finding the correspondence

between the visible symbols and the invisible realities.

The name winds given to the Angels denotes their swift operations,

and their almost immediate impenetration of everything, and a

transmitting power in all realms, reaching from the above to the

below, and from the depths to the heights, and the power which

uplifts the second natures to the height above them, and moves the

first to a participative and providential upliftment of the lower.

But perhaps it may be said that the name winds, applied to the aerial

spirit, signifies the Divine Likeness in the Celestial Beings. For the

figure is a true image and type of Divine Energy (as is shown more

fully in the Symbolical Theology in our fourfold explanation)

corresponding to the moving and generative forces of Nature, and a

swift and irresistible advance, and the mystery, unknown and

unseen by us, of the motive principles and ends. For He says:

'Thou knowest not whence it cometh nor whither it goeth.' The

Scriptures also depict them as a cloud, showing by this that these

holy Intelligences are filled in a supermundane manner with the

hidden Light, receiving that first revelation without undue glorying,

and transmitting it with abundant brightness to the lower Orders as a

secondary, proportionate illumination; and further, that they,

possess generating, life-giving, increasing and perfecting powers by

reason of their intelligible outpourings, as of showers quickening

the receptive womb of earth by fertilizing rains for life-giving



The Scriptures also liken the Celestial Beings to brass and electron,

and many coloured jewels. Now electron, [an alloy of silver and

gold] resembling both gold and silver, is like gold in its resistance to

corruption unspent and undiminished, and its undimmed brightness;

and is like silver in its shining and heavenly lustre. But the

symbolism of brass (in line with the explanations already given)

must resemble that of fire or gold. Again, of the many coloured

varieties of stones, the white represents that which is luminous, and

the red corresponds to fire, yellow to gold, and green to youth and

vigour. Thus corresponding to each figure you will find a mystical

interpretation which relates these symbolical images to the things above.

But now, since this has been sufficiently explained, I think,

according to our ability, let us pass on to the sacred unfoldment of

the symbolism which depicts the Celestial Intelligences in the

likeness of beasts.

The form of a lion must be regarded as typifying their power of

sovereignty, strength and indomitableness, and the ardent striving

upward with all their powers to that most hidden, ineffable,

mysterious Divine Unity and the covering of the intellectual

foot-prints, (7) and the mystically modest concealment of the way

leading to divine union through the Divine Illumination.

The figure of the ox signifies strength and vigour and the opening of

the intellectual furrows to the reception of fertilizing showers [also; apostle]; and

the horns signify the guarding and unconquerable power. The form

of the eagle signifies royalty and high soaring and swiftness of flight

and the eager seizing of that food which renews their strength,

discretion, and ease of movement and skill, with strong intensity of

vision which has the power to gaze unhindered, directly and

unflinchingly upon the full and brilliant splendour of the brightness

of the Divine Sun.


The symbolism of horses represents obedience and tractability. The

shining white horses denote clear truth and that which is perfectly

assimilated to the Divine Light the dark, that which is hidden and

secret; the red, fiery might and energy; the dappled black and white,

that power which traverses all and connects the extremes,

providential1y and with perfecting power uniting the highest to the

lowest and the lowest to the highest.

If we had not to bear in mind the length of our discourse, we might

well describe the symbolic relations of the particular characteristics

of animals already given, and all their bodily forms, with the powers

of the Celestial Intelligences according to dissimilar similitudes: for

example, their fury of anger represents an intellectual power of

resistance of which anger is the last and faintest echo; their desire

symbolizes the Divine Love; and in short, we might find in all the

irrational tendencies and many parts of irrational creatures, figures

of the immaterial conceptions and single powers of the Celestial

Beings. This, however, is enough for the prudent, for one mystical

interpretation will sufficiently serve as an example for the

explanation of others of a similar kind.

We must now consider the representations of the Celestial Beings in

connection with rivers and wheels and chariots. The rivers of flame

denote those Divine Channels which fill them with super-abundant

and eternally out- pouring streams and nourish their life-giving


The chariots symbolize the conjoined fellowship of those of the

same Order; the winged wheels, ever moving onward, never


turning back or going aside, denote the power of their progressive

energy on a straight and direct path in which all their intellectual

revolutions are supermundanely guided upon that straight and

unswerving course.

The figure of the spiritual wheels can also have another mystical

meaning, for the prophet says that the name Gel, Gel is given to

them, which in the Hebrew tongue means revolutions and

revelations. For the divine fiery wheels truly revolve, by reason of

their ceaseless movement, around the highest Good Itself, and they

are granted revelations because to them the holy hidden Mysteries

are made clear, and the earthly are lifted up, and the high

illuminations are brought down and imparted to the lowest orders.

The last thing for us to explain is the joy attributed to the Celestial

Orders. For they are utterly above and beyond our passionate

pleasures. But they are said to rejoice with God over the finding of

that which was lost, as well befits the Godlike mildness of their

nature, and as befits their beneficent and boundless joy at the

providential salvation of those who are turned to God, and that

ineffable bliss in which holy men have often participated when the

illuminations of God have divinely visited them [and it is beauty unutterable

when these revelations are seen].

Let this be a sufficient account of those sacred symbols which,

although it falls far short of their full interpretation, will yet, I think,

contribute to prevent us from lingering basely in the figures and

forms themselves. [i.e., the letter or images of the Words]

If you should point out that we have not mentioned in order all the

Angelic powers, activities and images described in the scriptures,

we should answer truly that we do not possess the supermundane

knowledge of some, or rather that we have need of another to


guide us to the light and instruct us; but others have been passed

over for the sake of proportion, as being parallel to what has been

given; and the hidden Mysteries which lie beyond our view we have

honoured by silence.


(1) 'A chain likewise extends from on high, as far as to the last of

things, secondary natures always expressing the powers of the

natures prior to them, progression indeed diminishing the similitude,

but all things at the same time, and even such as most obscurely

participate of existence, bearing a similitude to the first causes, and

being co-passive with each other and with their original

causes.'- Proclus, Theology of Plato, VI.4

(2) 'For everything which is converted hastens to be conjoined with

its cause and aspires after communion with it.'- Proposition XXXII.

Proclus, Metaphysical Elements.

'The soul ought first to examine its own nature, to know whether it

has the faculty of contemplating spiritual things, and whether it has

indeed an eye wherewith to see them, and if it ought to embark on

the quest. If the spiritual is foreign to it, what is the use of trying?

But if there is a relationship between us and it, we both can and

ought to find it.' Plotinus, Ennead, V. 1- 3

(3) 'The progressions of beings, however, are completed through

similitude. But the terminations of the higher orders are united to the

beginnings of second orders. And one series and indissoluble


order extends from on high through the surpassing goodness of the

First Cause and His unified Power. For because indeed He is One

He is the supplier of union; but because He is the Good He

constitutes things similar to Him prior to such as are dissimilar . And

thus all things are in continuity with each other. For if this continuity

were broken there would not be union.'- Proclus, Theology of

Plato, VI.11.

(4) 'Everything which proceeds in the divine orders is not naturally

adapted to receive all the powers of its producing cause. Not in

short, are secondary natures able to receive all the powers of the

natures prior to themselves, but the latter have certain powers

exempt from things in in inferior order, and incomprehensible by the

beings posterior to themselves.'-Proposition CL. Proclus,

Metaphysical Elements.

(5) 'There are nine Orders of Angels, figures of the nine Archetypes

in God; and each one obtains a name corresponding to the property

in God which it exhibits.' Further, the Cherubim are those 'who

may be called loving Wisdoms, as those first may be called wise

Loves. For there is in each both love and wisdom. But in the first,

inasmuch as they are nearer to God, the very Sun of Truth, this

exists in a far greater degree. ... Such then is the difference between

these Orders: namely, that in the latter is knowledge proceeding

from love; in the former is love proceeding from knowledge.' 'In

the third rank are those who, from their unity, simplicity, constancy

and firmness, are sometimes called Thrones, sometimes Seats; who'

themselves also are wise and loving. But from their simplicity, they

have the attributes of unity, power, strength, fortitude,

steadfastness. Which very attributes the Cherubim and Seraphim

also possess.... Steadfastness comes from simplicity, simplicity

from purification. For when each object is purified back to its own


simple nature, then, being uncompounded, it remains indissoluble

through its unity. Whence it is clear that purification is assigned to

the Thrones. Moreover, when a thing is purified, it is illumined, and

after it is illumined, it is perfected. This last office is given to the

Seraphs, the other to the Cherubs. Among them all, in every

threefold manner, there is a striving with all their might to imitate

God; who is Purification Itself, the Parent of unities; who is the very

Illumination of those unities; who is lastly the very Perfection of the

illuminated. Power cleanses, clear truth makes serene, finished love

makes perfect.' 'Thus does God beam forth with firmness, wisdom

and love in the Thrones, Cherubs and Seraphs, which threefold

system of the Divine Ray goes forth, and causes that in the Powers,

Virtues and Dominions there should be reflected His divine and firm

Power, His wise Virtue and the most loving Dominion; and that the

Trinity of God, coequal in Itself, should shine with softened lustre,

filling now the second place under that first one.' 'Among all the

Angels, from the higher ones even down to us, there is a mutual and

alternate announcement proceeding from above; as they receive and

deliver in turn what they announce in a marvelous and most

beautiful order. Since among the Angels themselves there is an order

of all ordinances after the pattern of the Order of all.... But every

announcement is a receiving, informing, purifying, enlightening,

perfecting and representing of the Divine Truth; the Light of which

as it goes forth in order and shines upon all, so distinguishes and

marks each object in a wonderful manner, that everything shines

forth in it in its own proper quality, and stands out and appears in its

own nature, with its individual powers and office, exhibiting in its

own degree some perfection in God, in whom all perfection is in its

highest; nay, rather, who is Himself the proper Perfection of every

one, perfecting all things, in whom there is nothing perfect but

Himself.' John Colet, Works, J.H. Lupton, ed., (London: G. Bell,



(6) 'For all things concur with each other through similitude, and

communicate the powers which they possess. And first natures,

indeed, impart by illumination the gift of themselves to secondary

natures, in unenvying abundance. But effects are established in their

causes. An indissoluble connection, likewise, and communion of

wholes, and a colligation of agents and patients, are surveyed in the

world.'-Proclus, Theology of Plato, VI.4

(7) The lion was said by the ancients to erase his footprints with his tail."

What you have been reading or, studying, is one of the most beautiful ways of

rendering how "darkness" (the image) explains "how", "why" and "where"

the "Light" is hidden.


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