Of the Principalities, Archangels and Angels, and of their last Hierarchy.

There remains for us the reverent contemplation of that sacred Order

which completes the Angelic Hierarchies, and is composed of the

Divine Archangels and Angels. And first, I think, I

ought to explain to the best of my ability the meanings of their holy

The name of the Celestial Principalities signifies their Godlike

princeliness and authoritativeness in an Order which is holy and

most fitting to the princely Powers, and that they are wholly turned

towards the Prince of Princes, and lead others in princely fashion,

and that they are formed, as far as possible, in the likeness of the

Source of Principality, and reveal Its superessential order by the

good Order of the princely Powers.


The choir of the holy Archangels is placed in the same threefold

Order as the Celestial Principalities; for, as has been said, there is

one Hierarchy and Order which includes these and the Angels. But

since each Hierarchy has first, middle and last ranks, the holy Order

of Archangels, through its middle position, participates in the two

extremes, being joined with the most holy Principalities and with

the holy Angels.

It is joined with the Princedoms because it is turned in a princely

way to the superessential Principality and, as far as it can attain,

moulds itself in His likeness, and it is seen to be the cause of the

union of the Angels with its own orderly and invisible leadership. It

is joined with the Angels because it belongs to the interpreting

Order, receiving in its turn the illuminations from the First Powers,

and beneficently announcing these revelations to the Angels; and by

means of the Angels it shows them forth to us in the measure of the

mystical receptivity of each one who is inspired by the divine

Illumination. For the Angels, as we have said, fill up and complete

the lowest choir [the use of the word 'choir' suggests - song which suggests metaphor]

of all the Hierarchies of the Celestial Intelligences

since they are the last of the Celestial Beings possessing the angelic

nature. And they, indeed, are more properly named Angels by us

than are those of a higher rank because their choir is more directly in

contact With manifested and mundane things [like a song].

The highest Order, as we have said, being in the foremost place near

the Hidden One, must be regarded as hierarchically ordering in a

bidden manner the second Order; and the second Order of

Dominions, Virtues and Powers, leads the Principalities, Archangels

and Angels more manifestly, indeed, than the first Hierarchy, but in

a more hidden manner than the Order below it; and the


revealing Order of the Principalities, Archangels and Angels

presides one through the other over the human hierarchies so that

their elevation and turning to God and their communion and union

with Him may be in order; and moreover, that the procession from

God, beneficently granted to all the Hierarchies, and visiting them

all in common, may be with the most holy order.

Accordingly the Word of God has given our hierarchy into the care

of Angels, for Michael is called Lord of the people of Judah, and

other Angels are assigned to other peoples. For the Most High

established the boundaries of the nations according to the number of

the Angels of God.

If someone should ask why the Hebrews alone were guided to the

divine Illuminations, we should answer that the turning away of the

nations to false gods ought not to be attributed to the direct guidance

of Angels, but to their own refusal of the true path which leads to

God, and the falling away through self-love and perversity, and

similarly, the worship of things which they regarded as divine.

[Like Paul says; "the very thing I thought would save me, slew me]

Even the Hebrews are said to have acted thus, for he says, 'Thou

hast cast away the knowledge of God and hast gone after thine own

heart'. For our life is not ruled by necessity, nor are the divine

irradiations of Providential Light obscured because of the freewill of

those under Its care; but it is the dissimilarity of the mental eyes

which causes the Light streaming forth resplendently from the

Goodness of the Father to be either totally unshared and unaccepted

through their resistance to It, or causes an unequal participation,

small or great, dark or bright, of that Fontal Ray which nevertheless

is one and unmixed, eternally changeless, and forever abundantly

shed forth.


For even if certain Gods not alien to them presided over the other

nations (from which we ourselves have come forth into that

illimitable and abundant sea of Divine Light which is outspread

freely for all to share), yet there is one Ruler of all, and to Him the

Angels who minister to each nation lead their followers.

Let us consider Melchisadek, the hierarch most beloved of God - not

of vain gods, but a priest of the truly highest of Gods - for those

wise in the things of God did not simply call Melchisadek the friend

of God, but also priest, in order to show clearly to the wise that not

only was he himself turned to Him who is truly God, but also, as

hierarch, was the leader of others in the ascent to the true and only


Let us also remind you in connection with your knowledge of

hierarchy that Pharaoh was shown through visions by the Angel

who presided over the Egyptians, and the Prince of Babylon was

shown by his own Angel, the watchful and overruling Power of

Providence. And for those nations the servants of the true God were

appointed as leaders, the interpretations of angelic visions having

been revealed from God through Angels to holy men near to the

Angels, like Daniel and Joseph.

For there is one Sovereign and Providence of all, and we must never

suppose that God was leader of the Jews by chance, nor that certain

Angels, either independently, or with equal rank, or in opposition to

one another, ruled over the other nations; but this teaching must be

received according to the following holy intention, not as meaning

that God had shared the sovereignty of mankind with other Gods, or

with Angels, and had been chosen by chance as ruler and leader of

Israel, but as showing that although one all-powerful Providence of

the Most High consigned the whole of mankind to the care of their


own Angels for their preservation, yet the Israelites, almost alone of

them all, turned to the knowledge and light of the true God.

Therefore the Word of God, when relating how Israel devoted

himself to the worship of the true God, says, 'He became the Lord's

portion'. Moreover it shows that he too, equally with other nations,

was given into the charge of one of the holy Angels, in order that he

might know through him the one Principle of all things. For it says

that Michael was the leader of the Jews, clearly showing that there is

one Providence established superessentially above all the invisible

and visible powers, and that all the Angels who preside over the

different nations lift up to that Providence, as to their own Principle,

as far as is in their power, those who willingly follow them.

[The Word is written to feed every aspect of the human Motive and Intent

for its inquiry into the mystery of the words . 'The way's of a MAN seemeth

right - in his own eyes but the ends there-of are death {spiritual ignorence}.'

What this implies is the 'angels,' or messages that are interwoven in the stories,

will let you believe whatever will satisfy your intent and desire or reason for searching the scripture.

Text for this is in Hebrews 4:12; 'For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper

than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,


The Word, without 'enlightenment,' as we have seen is called the law, the strength of sin [1 Corinthians 15:56].

This 'law' will give you, if you have ego, pride etc., the impression that you are the one,

the one God has called, and the one to save the world. This is how religious movements and doctrines develop

and evolve into what they are today. Reference: Hebrews 7:28; 1 Timothy 6:16; Romans 7:4-14, and many more.

There are enumerable levels of snares and traps in this metaphorical cocoon that envelops this Fontal Ray that dwells in

center or midst of these symbolic, allegorical paradoxes. These are the protective coverings or veils and swaddling

clothes that protect the Tree Of Life - the hidden manna.]


Recapitulation and summary of the Angelic Hierarchies.

We have agreed that the most venerable Hierarchy of the

Intelligences, which is close to God, is consecrated by His first and

highest Ray, and uplifting itself directly to It, is purified, illuminated

and perfected by the Light of the Godhead which is both more

hidden and more revealed. It is more hidden because It is more

intelligible, more simplifying, and more unitive, It is more revealed

because It is the First Gift and the First Light, and more universal

and more infused with the Godhead, as though transparent. And by

this again the second in its own degree, and by the second the third,


and by the third our hierarchy, according to the same law of the

regular principle of order, in divine harmony and proportion, are

hierarchically, led up to the super-primal Source and End of all good

orders, according to that divinely established law.

Each Order is the interpreter and herald of those above it, the most

venerable being the interpreter of God who inspires them, and the

others in turn of those inspired by God. For that superessential

harmony of all things has provided most completely for the holy

regulation and the sure guidance of rational and intellectual beings

by the establishment of the beautiful choirs of each Hierarchy; and

we see that every Hierarchy possesses first, middle and last powers.

But to speak rightly, He also divided each rank in the same divine

harmonies, and on this account the Scriptures say that the most

divine Seraphim cry one to another, by which, as I think, it is clear

that the first impart to the second their knowledge of divine things.

[The scriptures are s t r e c h e d out; in continuance are they fashioned;

here a little, and there a little, line upon line precept upon precept and so on].

This may fittingly be added, that each Celestial and human

intelligence contains in itself its own first, middle and last powers,

which are manifested in a way analogous to the aforesaid ordination

belonging to each of the Hierarchical illuminations; and accordingly

each intelligence, as far as is right and attainable to it, participates in

the most spotless purity, the most abundant light, and the most

complete perfection. For nothing is self-perfect nor absolutely

un-indigent of perfection, save only That which is truly self-perfect

and above all perfection. [As is the enlightened mind]



Why all the Celestial Hierarchies in common are called Celestial Powers.

Now that these things have been defined, the reason for applying the

general name, Celestial Powers, to all the Angelic beings demands

our consideration. For we cannot say of these, as we can of the

Angels, that the Order of the holy Powers is the last of all;

moreover, the higher Orders of beings, indeed, have part in the

illuminations of the lowest, but the last by no means possess those

of the first. And for this reason all the Divine Intelligences are called

Celestial Powers, but never Seraphim or Thrones or Dominions;

since the lowest do not share in the whole characteristics of the

highest. For the Angels, and the Archangels above them, and the

Principalities, and the ranks which are placed by theology after the

Powers, are frequent1y called by us Celestial Powers, in common

with all the other holy [spiritual] beings.

But we deny that in using the general name, Celestial Powers, for all

we cause any confusion with regard to the characteristics of each

Order. For all the Divine Celestial Intelligences are divided,

according to the supermundane account of them, into three groups in

respect of their essence, power and activity; and when we name all

or some of them, loosely, Celestial Beings or Celestial Powers, we

are referring to them indirectly in terms of that essence or power

which each possesses .

But we must not assign the highest characteristics of the holy

Powers (which we have already well distinguished) to all the natures

wholly below them, for this would bring confusion into the


clear and harmonious Order of Angels: for, as we have frequently

rightly shown, the highest Orders possess in fullest measure the

holy characteristics of the lower, but the lowest do not possess the

pre-eminent unitive principles of those more venerable than

themselves, because the First Radiance is imparted to them through

the first Orders according to their capacity. [light and darkness are both alike from the enlightened perspective]


Why the Hierarchs among men are called Angels.

Those who earnestly study the holy Scriptures sometimes ask, 'If

the lowest ranks [the law] do not possess to the full the powers of those

above them, why is our Hierarch called in the holy Word the Angel

of the Omnipotent Lord?'

This, however, does not contradict what has been already defined.

For we say that the lowest choirs do not possess the integral and

pre-eminent power of the higher Orders, since they receive it

partially, in the measure of their capacity, in accordance with the one

harmonious and binding fellowship of all things.

For example, the choir of the holy Cherubim participates in higher

wisdom and knowledge, whilst the Orders below them are

themselves also partakers of wisdom and knowledge, but more

partially, and in a lower degree proportioned to their capacity. For

the universal participation in wisdom and knowledge is shared by all

the Divine Intelligences, but the degree of participation, whether

immediate and first, or second and inferior, is not common, but is

determined for each by its own rank. This also may be rightly said


of all the Divine Intelligences, that even as the first possess in the

highest degree the holy characteristics of the Orders below them, so

the lowest possess the powers of the higher, not in equal measure,

but in a subordinate degree. [this is how the 'well-shaft' works both ways at once]

Therefore I do not think it unreasonable that the Scriptures should

call our hierarchs Angels, since they participate according to their

own power in the interpretative characteristic of the Angels, and

uplift themselves, as far as is possible to man, into an assimilation to

the Angels as revealers of truth.

You will find, moreover, that the Word of God not only calls these

Celestial Beings above us Gods, but also gives this name to saintly

men amongst us, and to those men who, in the highest degree, are

lovers of God; although the First and Un-manifest God

superessentially transcends all things, being enthroned above all,

and therefore none of the beings or things which are can truly be

said to be wholly like Him, save in so far as those intellectual and

rational beings who are wholly turned towards union with Him, as

far as is in their power, and who, uplifting themselves perpetually,

as far as possible, to the Divine Radiance, in the imitation of God (if

it be lawful so to speak) with all their powers, are thought worthy of

the same divine name.


The reason why the prophet Isaiah is said to have been purified by the Seraphim.

Let us now deal to the best of our ability with the question why the


Seraph is said to have been sent to one of the prophets. For

someone may feel doubt or uncertainty as to why one of the beings

of the highest rank is mentioned as cleansing the prophet, instead of

one of the lower ranks of Angels.

Some, indeed, say that according to the description already given of

the inter-relation of all the Intelligences, the passage does not refer to

one of the first of the Intelligences nearest to God, as having come

to purify the hierarch, but that one of those Angels who are our

guardians [guardian is symbolic for the "veil" that protects the Word Of Truth.

It is guised in metaphor, allegory etc.] was called by the same name as the Seraphim

because of his sacred function of purifying the prophet [to "purify" is to chasten,

otherwise we are bastards and not Sons], for the reason that the

remission of sins and the regeneration of him who was purified to

obedience to God was accomplished through fire ['our God is a consuming fire'].

And they say also that the passage simply says one of the Seraphim, not of those

established around God, but of the purifying powers which preside

over us.

But another suggested to me a solution of the problem by no means

unlikely, for he said that the great Angel, whoever he may have

been, who fashioned this vision for the purpose of instructing the

prophet in divine matters, referred his own office of purification first

to God, and after God to that first Hierarchy. And is not this

statement true? For he who said this said that the Divine First Power

goes forth visiting all things, and irresistibly penetrates all things,

and yet is invisible to all, not only as superessentially transcending

all things, but also because It transmits Its Providential Energies in a

hidden way through all things. Moreover, It is revealed to all

Intellectual Natures in due proportion [here a little and there a little,

line upon line, precept upon precept etc.], and bestows the radiance of

Its Light upon the most exalted beings through whom, as leaders, It

is imparted to the lower choirs in order according to their power of

divine contemplation; or to speak in more simple terms, by way of

illustration (for although natural things do not truly resemble God,


who transcends all, yet they are more easily seen by us), the light of

the sun passes readily through the first matter, for this is more

transparent, and by means of this it displays more brightly its own

brilliance; but when it falls upon some denser material it is shed

forth again less brightly because the material which is illuminated is

not adapted for the transmission of light, and after this it is little by

little diminished until it hardly passes through at all. Similarly, the

heat of fire imparts itself more readily to that which is more adapted

to receive it, being yielding and conductive to its likeness; but upon

substances of opposite nature which are resistant to it, either no

effect at all or only a slight trace of the action of the fire appears; and

what is more, when fire is applied to materials of opposite nature

through the use of other substances receptive to it the fire first heats

the material which is easily made hot, and through it, heats

proportionately the water or other substance which does not so

easily become hot.

Thus, according to the same law of the material order, the Fount of

all order, visible and invisible, supernaturally shows forth the glory

of Its own radiance in all-blessed outpourings of first manifestation

to the highest beings, and through them those below them participate

in the Divine Ray. For since these have the highest knowledge of

God, and desire pre-eminently the Divine Goodness, they are

thought worthy to become first workers, as far as can be attained, of

the imitation of the Divine Power and Energy, and beneficently

uplift those below them, as far as is in their power, to the same

imitation by shedding abundantly upon them the splendour which

has come upon themselves; while these, in turn, impart their light to

lower choirs. And thus, throughout the whole Hierarchy, the higher

impart that which they receive to the lower, and through the Divine

Providence all are granted participation in the Divine Light in the

measure of their receptivity [the Word, reigns on the just and unjust - alike.

Light is in the darkness but the darkness comprehends it not.

This is the same as 'Paul's Lie. Even though it is a lie it is also the truth.

The dual Pyramid chamber' we read earlier].


There is, therefore, one Source of Light for everything which is

illuminated, namely, God, who by His Nature, truly and rightly, is

the Essence of Light, and Cause of being and of vision. But it is

ordained that in imitation of God each of the higher ranks of beings

is the source in turn for the one which follows it; since the Divine

Rays are passed through it to the other. Therefore the beings of all

the Angelic ranks naturally consider the highest Order of the

Celestial Intelligences as the source, after God, of all holy

knowledge and imitation of God, because through them the Light of

the Supreme God is imparted to all and to us. On this account they

refer all holy works [spiritual understanding], in imitation of God [the 'image'], to God as the Ultimate

Cause, but to the first Divine Intelligences as the first regulators and

transmitters of Divine Energies.

Therefore the first Order of the holy Angels possesses above all

others the characteristic of fire, and the abundant participation of

Divine Wisdom, and the possession of the highest knowledge of the

Divine Illuminations, and the characteristic of Thrones which

symbolizes openness to the reception of God. The lower Orders of

the Celestial Beings participate also in these fiery, wise and

God-receptive Powers, but in a lower degree, and as looking to

those above them who, being thought worthy of the primary

imitation of God, uplift them, as far as possible, into the likeness of God.

These holy characteristics in which the secondary natures are

granted participation through the first, they ascribe to those very

Intelligences, after God, as Hierarchs.

He who gave this explanation used to say that the vision was shown

to the prophet by one of those holy and blessed Angels who preside

over us, by whose enlightening guidance he was raised to


that intellectual contemplation in which he beheld the most exalted

Beings (to speak in symbols) established under God, with God and

around God; and their super-princely Leader, ineffably uplifted

above them all, established in the midst of the supremely exalted


The prophet, therefore, learned from these visions that, according to

every superessential excellence, the divine One subsists in

incomparable pre-eminence, excelling all visible and invisible

powers, above and exempt from all; and that He bears no likeness

even to those first-subsisting Beings; and moreover that He is the

Principle and Cause of all being, and the Immutable Foundation of

the abiding stability of things that are, from which the most exalted

Powers have both their being and their well-being. Then he was

instructed that the Divine Powers of the holy Scriptures, whose

sacred name means 'The Fiery Ones', and of which we shall soon

speak, as far as we can, led the up-liftment of the fiery power

towards the Divine Likeness [there-by removing the imagery].

When the holy prophet saw in the sacred vision of the six-fold wings

the most high and absolute up-lift-ment to the Divine in first, middle

and last Intelligences, and beheld their many feet [foundations] and many faces [teachings],

and perceived that their eyes [understanding] and their feet were covered by their

wings [passage-ways to enlightenment], and that the middle wings were in ceaseless movement, he

was guided to the intelligible knowledge of that which was seen

through the revelation to him of the far-reaching and far-seeing

power [Christ ,the power of God and the wisdom of God] of the most exalted Intelligences,

and of their holy awe which they have in a supermundane manner in the bold and persistent and

unending search into higher and deeper Mysteries, and the perfect

harmony of their ceaseless activity in imitation of God, and their

perpetual upward soaring to the heights.


Moreover, he also learned that divine and most glorious song [prophecy] of

praise; for the Angel who fashioned the vision gave, as far as

possible, his own holy knowledge to the prophet. He also taught

him that every participation in the Divine Light and Purity, as far as

this may be attained, is a purification, even to the most pure. Having

its source in the Most High God, it proceeds from the most exalted

causes in a superessential and hidden manner, traversing the whole

of the Divine Intelligences, and yet it shows itself more clearly, and

imparts itself more fully to the most exalted Powers around God.

But as to the secondary or last intellectual powers, or our own

powers, in proportion as each is further from the Divine Likeness,

so the Divine Ray enfolds Its most brilliant light within Its own

ineffable and hidden Unity. Moreover, It illuminates the second

Orders severally through the first, and in short, It comes forth

originally into manifestation from the Un-manifest through the first


The prophet was taught by the Angel who was leading him to light

that the divine purification, and all the other divine activities shining

forth through the First Beings, are imparted to all the others in the

measure of the fitness of each for the divine participations.

Wherefore he reasonably assigned to the Seraphim, after God, the

characteristic of imparting purification by fire. And there is nothing

unreasonable in the representation of the Seraph as purifying the

prophet; for just as God Himself, the cause of every purification,

purifies all, or rather (to use a more familiar illustration), just as our

hierarch, when purifying or enlightening through his priests or

ministers, may himself be said to purify and illuminate, because


those orders which he has consecrated refer their sacred activities to

him, so also the Angel who purifies the prophet refers his own

purifying power and knowledge to God as its origin, but to the

Seraph as the first - working Hierarch-as though saying with angelic

reverence when instructing him who was being purified: 'There is

an exempt Source and Essence and Creator and Cause of the

purification effected in you by me, He who brings into being the

First Beings, and holds them established round Himself, and

preserves their changeless stability, and guides them towards the

first participations in His own Providential Energies.' (For this, so

he said who taught me, shows the mission of the Seraph.) 'But the

Hierarch and Leader, after God, the first Order of the first Beings,

by whom I was taught to perform the divine purifications, is that

which purifies thee through me; and through it the Cause and

Creator of all purification brought forth His Providential Energies to

us from the hidden depths.'

Thus he taught me, and I in turn impart it to thee. It is for thy

intellectual and discriminating skill either to accept one of the two

reasons given as a solution of the difficulty, and prefer that to the

other as probable and reasonable and perhaps true, or to find from

thyself something more akin to the real truth, or learn from another

(God indeed giving the word, and Angels directing it), and then to

reveal to us who love the Angels a clearer, and to me more welcome

view, if such should be possible.

Note: Another way of seeing how all this interacts with the story of Isaiah is put forth beautifully in "The Ascension Of Isaiah," found in The New Testament Apocrypha Volume ll by Hennecke - Scheneemelcher and published by The Westminister Press of Philadelphia. Pages; 644-663.

Continued on page 10..........................

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