Pope Shenouda III series
BY HIS HOLINESS AMBA SHENOUDA III,
POPE AND PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA
AND OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE OF
ALL THE PREDICATION OF SAINT MARK
Translated from the Arabic first edition, Dec. 1998
Available from: http://www.copticchurch.net
Name: The Angels
Author: His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
Editor: Orthodox Coptic Clerical College, Cairo
First Edition: December 1998
Press: Amba Rueiss, (Offset), The Cathedral, Abbassia
Deposition number at "The Library": 98/16901
I.S.B.N. 977 - 5345 -53 - 7
All rights reserved to the author
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
Pope and Patriarch of the See of Alexandria and of all the
Predication of the Evangelist St. Mark
In the Name of
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
the One God,
This pamphlet speaks to you about:
The creation of the angels as souls of light
Their number, their holiness, and their ranks
The archangel Mikhail and the archangel Gabriel
The cherubim and the seraphim
The work of the angels with God
Their work in the second coming
Their work in annunciation and in delivering messages
Their work in mercy, and their guarding
Their work in punishment
Satan, his origin, his fall, his work, his deception, his
Pope Shenouda III
In this pamphlet we shall talk to you about the angels:
about their being souls of light, about their holiness, their
number, their power, and their ranks.
We shall mention the cherubim and the seraphim, and
the rest of the ranks. Then w e shall mention some examples of
the divine apparitions in the name of "the angel of the Lord".
Atfer that, we shall talk about the kinds of angels' work,
their work in the service of God, in the second coming, in
annunciation and delivering messages. And also their merciful
deeds, their guarding, their punishment and others deeds........
We shall end with a word about Satan as chief of the
the 12th of Kiahk 1715
Feast of the archangel Mikhail
Pope Shenouda III
SOULS OF LIGHT
Angels are souls. They were created on the first one of the six
days; when God said: "Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3).
And there was light. The angels were a part of that light,
according to what the angel was describled as being "an angel of light"
(1 Cor. 10:14). It was said likewise about their creation: "Who makes His
angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire" (Ps. 104:4).
Therefore they are beautiful heavenly souls of light
And when it was said: "In the beginning God created the heavens and
the earth" (Gen. 1:1), what was meant is that He created the heavens with
all that they contained, and all who were in them, these are the angels.
As an example of the illumination of the angels, it was said in the
Apocalypse: "After these things I saw another angel coming down from
heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his
glory" (Revelation 18:1). That one with whose glory the earth was
illumanited, must necessarily have been of extreme beauty, and also
having magnificent power and illumination.
Also it was said about the angel of the Resurrection who rolled the
stone: "His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as
snow" (Matt. 28:3).
And in the story of the deliverance of the apostle saint Peter from
prison, it was said: "Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him and a
light shone in the prison" (Acts 12:7).
How many are the examples of the illumination of the angels!
What is most important about the angels, is that they are pure souls
who are qualified by their holiness.
Therefore we say to the Lord about them in our prayers: "Your pure
angels" (in the prayer of the offerings). Also we say in the prayer of "the
breaking" in the holy mass: "the holy angels". The Bible also surnames
them: "the holy angels" (Matt. 25:31).
They are holy, and do not sin although they have the freedom of will.
They have passed the examination. Those of them who have
succeeded were crowned with righteousness.
That reminds us of the word of the apostle saint Paul: "I have fought
the good fight, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the
crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to
me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His
appearing" (2 Tim. 4: 6 -8).
He who will obtain the crown of righteousness on the last Day, will
live in righteousness in the eternity where there will be no sin anymore.
Thus the angels in their righteousness are distinguished from the
wicked angels (the devils) who were tested and failed, and lost their
Therefore we liken to the angels, those who arrive at the extreme
righteousness as human beings.
The monks who live the life of righteousness are thus described, in
their nearness to God, as being earthly angels. Thus also it was said of
saint Stephanos, the first deacon, who was "full of the Holy Spirit and
wisdom" and "full of faith" (Acts 6: 3,5), that "all who sat in the council,
looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel"
By this righteousness, they were also called: "the sons of God"
(Job 1:6), "nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and
are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection" (Luke 20:36).
It was said about the righteous in the Kingdom that "they neither
marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven"
They are in perfect purity as regards the body, and they are naturally
far away from corporal intercourse, but rather there is no sex and no
gender in them.
Being angels they live constantly in the life of the spirit, as spiritual
beings, walking permanently in the spirit, without mixture with material
We say to the Lord in the gregorian mass "Thousands of thousands
stand before You. Ten thousands times ten thousands present their
sevice to You".
That is millions and tens of millions. This is rather a simple remark
about their very huge number.
This expression has been taken from one of the visions of the
prophet Daniel where he says about the Lord: "A thousand thousands
ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him"
(Daniel 7:10). Likewise saint John the visionary said in the book of the
Apocalypse: "I heard the voice of many angels around the throne .......
and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and
thousands of thousands" (Apoc. 5:11). The psalmist says in the psalm:
"The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of thousands"
What we say in the "prayer of the breaking" in the mass of saint
Bassilios, is enough: "the innumerable multitude of the heavenly
powers". It was also said in the book of the prophet Jeremiah: "As the
host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured"
HAVING STRENGH AND POWER
The psalmist says in the psalm about angels: "Bless the Lord, you
His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, hearing the voice of
His word" (Psalm 103:20).
The angels are so strong "that the angel of the Lord went out, and
killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand;
and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses, all
dead" (2 Kings 19:35). What strength is that?! There is no army among
the strongest armies in the world who can be described in this manner.
Also the two angels who went to Sodom "struck tne men who were at
the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that
they became weary trying to find the door" (Genesis 19:11).
When king Herod raised his heart and: [So on a set day Herod,
arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them.
And the people kept shouting: "The voice of a god and not of a man!"
Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not
give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died]
(Acts 12: 21-23).
We note that the angel of the Resuurection, when he came to the
tomb, made a great earthquake, and rolled back the stone (Matt. 28:2).
Let us not forget also what is written in the book of the Apocalypse
about the strength of the angels who had the seven trumpets, and the giant
dreadful events which they made when they sounded. (Apoc. 8: 5-13).
The visionary saint John says: "I saw still another mighty angel
coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on
his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had
a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his
left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars"
There are ranks of angels, (or crews and groups):
Among them there are the angels (the powers or the hosts).
We say about the Lord pointing to them: "the Lord of hosts", as the
prophet Micaiah likewise said: "I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and
all the host of heaven standing on His right hand and His left"
(2 Chron. 18:18).
And among them the archangels. They are seven.
The visionary saint John said about them in the book of the
Apocalypse: "And I saw the seven angels who stand before God"
(Apoc. 8:2). And he said that they are: "the seven Spirits of God sent out
into all the earth" (Apoc. 5:6). He described them as being lamps and
said: "And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices.
Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven
Spirits of God" (Apoc. 4:5), or the seven spirits of angels who are God's.
The commander of these is Mikhail, who is surnamed the
"Commander of the army of the Lord" (Joshua 5:14).
THE ARCHANGEL MIKHAIL
This name of his is a Hebrew name meaning "who is like God".
He is in a general manner, the commander of the angels . The Holy
Church asks for his intercession in every mass, in the hymns, prayers, and
songs. His feast is monthly celebrated on the twelfth of every Coptic
month, and the miracles which he has operated are mentionned. There are
some books which were written about these miracles. Some families have
the habit of making "the cakes of the angel" (feteer el malak) and they
distribute them to their friends and loved ones, and they remember that a
miracle (relatively to these cakes) happened to a certain family by means
of the archange Mikhail.
The icon of the archangel Mikhail is set up in every church, where
he is dressed in a soldier's dress as "commander of the army of the Lord".
He has a spear in his hand by which he pierces Satan who appears as a
dragon, as it is written in the book of Revelation: "And war broke out in
heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon". Michael
triumphed in that war, and he cast the devil out of heaven
(Apoc. 12: 7-9). We have chosen this icon of the archangel Michael to be
the image which is printed in this pamphlet of "the Angels".....
Thus a church is built up in every monastery on the topmost of the
tour, as the archangel Mikhail is considered the guardian of the
How many are the churches which are built in the name of the
archangel Mikhail in cities in all the continents, as a sign of his love and
In view of the greatness of the archangel Mikhail, the proselites of
the doctrinal deviation of "the witnesses of Yehovah", believe that the
Lord Christ is the archangel Mikhail!! and so also believe the doctrinally
Because of the love of people for the archangel Michael, many
people are called by his name, whether in the Hebrew or in the Coptic
language (Mikhail), or by his name in English (Michael), or in French
(Michel). They are also called by the name of "Malak" (meaning angel),
or "Abdel Malak" (meaning the servant of the angel).
Many jews in the Old Testament were called by his name (look in the
dictionary of the Holy Bible).
Our Church believes that the archange Mikhail is the angel of the
Resurrection, as it came in (Matt. 28). Therefore we say in the "prayer of
the breaking" at Easter: [Mikhail, the commander of the angels, came
down from heaven, and rolled back the stone from the mouth of the tomb,
and announced the women who carried the spices and fragrant oils
saying: Christ is risen from the dead"].
It is said of him in the book of the prophet Daniel: "Michael ...... the
great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people" (Dan. 12:1).
In spite of the greatness of the archangel Michael, we see his
humility, as it was mentionned in the epistle of Jude: [Yet Michael the
archangel, in contending with the devil when he disputed about the body
of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said:
"The Lord re buke you!"] (Jude 9).
And we note that the archangel Michael is the one who came to help
the archangel Gabriel, when the devil, "the prince of the kingdom of
Persia", stood before him to oppose him. (Dan. 10: 11-13).
His name is mentionned in (Dan. 10:12), and in (Jude 9), and
THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL
He is also one of the commanders of the angels. His name in Hebrew
means the strength of God or the power of God. Sometimes the
pronunciation of his name is Ghobrial.
He is the one who announced to the priest Zacharias that his sterile
wife will give birth to a son who will be called John (Luke 1:13). He
mentionned some prophecies about that son, that show the knowledge of
the future by the angels, according to a manifestation to them by God;
and that he has the power to punish that great priest. He said to him: "I
am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to
you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and
not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did
not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time"
(Luke 1: 19-20).
Also he is the one who announced the Holy Virgin with the divine
Incarnation from her. (Luke 1:26); and said to her; "The Holy Spirit will
come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;
therefore also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of
God" (Luke 1:35).
He was not only an announcer, but was also an elucidator.
This appears in the vision of the prophet Daniel, who when he was
perplexed in its explanation, the Lord said: "Gabriel, make this man
understand the vision" (Dan. 8:16). And yet another time: "O Daniel, I
have now come forth to giv e you skill to understand" (Dan. 9: 21-22).
That shows also the deep understanding of the angels, and the
knowledge of the future which was given to them by God. In the same
vision, we see that the archangel Gabriel touched him and he was
strengthened, and he made him stand after lying on earth (Dan. 8:18),
There are other archangels, as Rafael (his feast is on the 3rd of the
month of Nassye, and Sourial (his feast is on the 27th of Toobah, and
three others whom the clerical custom has mentioned.
Among the angelical ranks, there are also the cherubim and the
THE CHERUBIM AND THE SERAPHIM
The word cherubim is plural; and its singular is cherub. The word
seraphim is plural; and its singular is seraph.
The word seraphim is mentioned only in the sixth chapter of the
book of Isaiah. They praise God saying: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of
hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" Therefore the mission of this
rank of angels is praise. It was said in the song of saint Antonius that he is
standing in the ceremonial of praise, or in the ceremonial of praise.
The expression "full of eyes" which was said about this rank
reminds us of the vast knowledge which includes every place, and
that they do not see things only from one point of view; and that is what I
like to describe the pastors with it, that they should be full of eyes.
The name cherubim has been cited many times in the Holy Bible.
We say about the cherubim a nd the seraphim in the holy mass, what
is mentioned in the book of the prophet Isaiah: "each one had six wings:
with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two
he flew" (Is. 6:2).
Their covering of their faces with two wings shows their fear and
veneration before the divine majesty. Their covering of their feet with
two wings shows their modesty. It is a lesson for the women who walk or
sit with nude, or nearly nude, legs.
We read much also about the cherubim in the book of the prophet
We find a relation between them and the four unincarnated living
beings who were mentioned in the book of the Apocalypse: the first is
like a lion, the second is like a bull, the third is like a human being, and
the fourth is like an eagle. (Apoc. 4: 6-7).
That is the same as what came about the cherubim in (Ez.1:15).
God ordered his prophet Moses to make two cherubim of gold "And
the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat
with their wings" (Ex. 25: 18-26).
Among the other ranks of the angels, there are:
The thrones, the domininions, (or the lords), the principalities, and
the powers (Col. 1:16).
The lords were mentioned in the book of the prophet Zacharias. One
of the lords, having seen Satan opposing the great priest Joshua, said:
"The Lord rebuke, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke
you!" (Zechariah 3:2). That means that this lord (one of the rank of the
lords or dominions), said to Satan: "The Lord rebuke you", or God rebuke
God has been described as the Lords of the lords (Apoc. 19:6), in
relation to this rank; and also the Lord of anyone who has the surname of
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD
The Lord appeared many times in the Old Testament in the form
of an angel, and with the name "the angel of the Lord". There are
many examples of that. Among them:
His apparition to the prophet Moses in the bush:
The third chapter of the book of the Exode tells about the prophet
Moses that "the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from
the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with
fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said: "I will now turn
aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn". So when the
Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst
of the bush and said: "Moses, Moses!" And he said: "Here I am". Then
He said: "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet,
for the place where you stand is holy ground. Moreover He said: "I am
the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the
God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon
God." (Exode 3:2-6).
Here God appeared in the form of the angel of the Lord ....... and said
to Moses: "I am the God of your father".
His appearance to Joshua, the son of Nun:
He appeared to Joshua in the form of a man who stood opposite him
with his sword drawn in his hand. When Joshua asked him who was he?
He replied: "as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him:
"What does my Lord say to His servant?" Then the Commander of the
Lord's army said to Joshua: "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place
where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so" (Joshua 5: 12-15).
Here the Lord appeared in the form of the archangel Michael.....
His appearance to Manoah and his wife:
The wife of Manoah "was barren and had no children. And the
Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman" and announed to her that she
will conceive and bear a son, who is Samsun; and that "the child shall be
a Nazirite to God". "So the woman came and told her husband, saying:
"A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the
countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome, but I did not ask Him
where He was from, and He did not tell me His name" (Judges 13: 2:6);
and the Angel of God came to the woman again and her husband was
with her. "Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord: "What is your
name?" ....... And the Angel of the Lord said to him: "Why do you ask
My name, seeing it is wonderful?" (Judges 13:18). We note that it was
said in the book of Isaiah about the Lord in His Incarnation: "And His
name will be called Wonderful" (Isaiah 9:6).
And when Manoah presented an offering, [it happened as the flame
went up toward heaven from the altar, the Angel of the Lord ascended in
the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on
their faces to the ground ....... And Manoah said to his wife: "We shall
surely die, because we have seen God! But his wife said to him: "If the
Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering
and a grain offering from our hands"] (Judges 13: 2023).
THE WORK OF THE ANGELS
Angels have work to do as regards God, and as regards men.
As regards God, they execute His will, in all swiftness and without
They do not use their own thinking in the scrutiny of this will, as
men do!! But rather the psalm says about them: "who do His word,
heeding the voice of His word" (Ps. 103:20). Therefore we pray in the
Lord Prayer saying to the Lord: "Your will be done on earth as it is in
heaven", or as it is completely and rapidly executed in heaven by means
of Your angels, let it be so done on earth......
Therefore God sends them for the ministry to help people toward
salvation; as the Bible says: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth
to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" (Heb. 1:14).
Therefore some pastors who minister to the execution of the will of
God, and the care of His children, are surnamed "angels".
Thus we see that the Lord sent messages by the hands of his servant
the visionary John to the seven churches in Asia, to the angel of the
church of Ephesus, to the angel of the church of Smyrna, to the angel of
the church of Pergamos, etc....... that is: He has sent to the pastors of these
It was likewise said about saint John the Baptist that he is the angel
who will prepare the way before the Lord (Mark 1:2), (Mal. 3:1).
The angels have likewise their work in praising God, as we have said
about the seraphim.
So they work in praise and in ministry......
ANGELS IN THE SECOND COMING
They will accompany the Lord in His second coming, and they will
have work to do:
As it has been said: "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of
His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his
works" (Matt. 16:27). And also: "When the Son of Man comes in His
glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then he will sit on the throne of
His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will
separate them one from another" (Matt. 25: 31:32).
They will be present in the Judgement, and the Lord will charge
them with some work:
In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the Lord described them as
"the reapers". He said: "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in
the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out
His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend,
and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of
fire" (Matt. 13: 39-42).
The general resurrection will begin with trumpets and the angels'
The apostle says about that: "For the Lord Himself will descend
from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the
trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first" (1 Thess. 4:16). He
said also: "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible"
(1 Cor. 15:52).
Even before the resurrection, during the last events which will
precede the resurrection, the Apocalypse has shown the role of the angels
and of the trumpets (Apoc. 7-10).
We mention the following points about their work as regards men:
They carry good news for human beings, according to the
commandment of the Lord to them. There are many examples of that, and
we mention from them:
God sent his angel Gabriel to the priest Zacharias to announce to
him that his wife Elisabeth will give birth to his son whose name is John,
who will be a Nazirite to the Lord, and he "will also be filled with the
Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb" (Luke 1: 13:15).
The same angel Gabriel was sent to the Holy Virgin Mary to
announce to her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her, and she will
conceive and give birth to a Son and will call Him Jesus, and "that Holy
One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1: 26-35).
Likewise an angel appeared in a vision to Joseph and announced him
the birth of Christ. (Matt. 1: 20-23).
And an angel announced the shepherds saying: "there is born to you
this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord"
(Luke 1: 11). Then he appeared with [a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, goodwill toward men!"] (Matt. 2: 9 -14).
God has many times sent an angel to deliver a message.
For example: "an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream,
saying: "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and
stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to
destroy Him" (Matt. 2:13).
"Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared
in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying: "Arise, take the young Child and
His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young
Child's life are dead" (Matt. 2: 19-20).
So, it is possible for an angel to deliver a message during
awakeness or during a dream.
MERCY, ASSISTANCE, AND PROTECTION
Very often times angels are called the angels of mercy, because of
their pity toward human beings, and their offering to them whatever
assistance they need, whether to individuals or to groups, as it was said
about the mercy of the Lord toward the afflicted:
"In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His
Presence saved them" (Isaia h 63:9).
Also: "The Angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear
Him, and delivers them" (Ps. 34:7).
So, they rescue, deliver, save, and stand with human beings during
afflictions. The Lord says also about the work of the angels: "For He shall
give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their
hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone"
(Ps. 91: 11-12).
The idea of the guarding angel arose from all these points.
It is not necessary that every individual needs an angel to guard him.
A single angel is able to guard a whole city. And it is possible that God
charges an angel to guard a certain person.
When the patriarch Jacob wanted to bless the two sons of Joseph,
Ephraim and Menasse, he remembered the angel who accompanied him
and guarded him, and said:
"The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads"
Here, the Angel saves, and also blesses.
As it was said that the angels are angels of mercy, likewise God may
send them for punishment. They execute His will whether for mercy or
for punishment .......
Let us not forget that the first angel who was mentioned in the Bible,
was for punishment, for God when He chased Adam from the paradise,
"He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming
sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life"
Likewise we have mentioned in the talk about the strength and
power of the angels, some examples of punishment, as striking the
Sodomites with blindness (Gen. 19), striking Sennacherib's army
(2 Kings), and as raising the sword against Jerusalem for destruction
(2 Sam.), and as striking king Herod because he did not give praise to
God (Acts 12), and as the angels who have the trumpets in the book of the
Apocalypse (Apoc. 7 -10).
We read in the story of the rich man and Lazarus that the rich
man died and w as buried. But the poor Lazarus "died, and was carried
by the angels to Abraham's bosom" (Luke 19:42).
That does not mean that the angels carry all the souls of the dead,
but only the souls of the righteous. Satan takes hold of the souls of the
wicked and brings them down with him into hell.
We remark that in Christianity, there is no angel of death named
Azarael who captures the souls of the dead. This name absolutely does
not exist among the names of the angels.
The angels carry our prayers to God.
It was mentioned in the book of the Apocalypse thus: "Then another
angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given
much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints
upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the
incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the
angel's hand" (Apoc. 8: 3 -4).
That is inaccordance also with what was mentioned in (Apoc. 8:5).
Some people se e a spiritual meditation in the ladder on which "the
angels of God were ascending and descending" (Gen. 28:12): that the
angels ascend to God with the prayers of people, and that they descend
from Him carrying what the people need.......
The angels pity the sinners whom they see, and they ask
forgiveness for them.
That is evident in a wonderful way from the story of the seraphim
with the prophet Isaiah: When Isaiah said: "Woe is me, for I am undone!
because I am a man of unclean lips" (Is. 6:5), the heart of the angels did
not bear that, and "Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his
hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he
touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips,
your iniq uity is taken away, and your sin purged" (Is. 6: 6-7).
Believe me, when I had read this expression, I was very amazed! and
I said to myself: "Here is a seraph giving an absolution to Isaiah in the
presence of God!" Then I said again: but rather he notifies him with the
forgiveness of God, because of his knowledge of the divine will.
Likewise he who confesses his sins takes the absolution from God at the
hands of the priest.....
The pity of one of the seraphim toward Isaiah, and his wiping of his
lips with a flaming coal from the altar, is a symbol of some earthly angels
among the monks who praise God in the manner of the seraphim, and the
ministry may sometimes compel them to wipe the lips of certain people
with a flaming coal from the altar.
God did not create him as a devil. But he was one of the cherubim;
and having fallen down, he became a devil or a stubborn contestor of
God said about him: "You were the anointed cherub who covers"
(Ez. 28:14, 16).
He said about his qualities: "You were the seal of perfection, full of
wisdom and perfect in beauty ...... I established you; you were on the holy
mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery
stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till
iniquity was found in you" (Ezekiel 28: 12, 14-15). It is the tragedy of
Thus were his high rank and his glorious qualities, till he fell.
This cherub (Satan) fell by means of pride.
The story of his fall is mentioned in the book of the prophet Isaiah.
The Scriptures say about him: "For you have said in your heart: "I will
ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will
also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the
north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the
Most High" (Is. 14: 13-14). And it was said of him in the book of the
prophet Ezekiel: "Your heart was lifted up because of your b eauty; you
corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor" (Ez. 28:17).
With the fall of Satan, he made many other angels fall with him.
These have become among his forces and hosts. They have become
devils like him, opposing God. The Scriptures have surnamed them:
"spiritual hosts of wickedness" (Eph. 6:12). Among them were "rulers
But the Scriptures did not mention that anyone of the rank of the
thrones fell, because they symbolise the divine presence, nor from the
rank of the seraphim, because they represent the praise of God and the
divine love, from their name which means "the powerful with fire", or
"the flaming with love".
With the fall of Satan, he lost his place in heaven and descended
The book of the Apocalypse says about that: "And war broke out in
heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and th e dragon
and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for
them in heaven any longer. So the gre at dragon was cast out that serpent
of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world, he was
cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Apoc. 12: 7-9).
The archangel Michael confronted him with an army of righteous angels,
and he conquered him, and threw him out of heaven, together with his
With the fall of these angels, who are souls, they were surnamed the
"unclean spirits" (Matt. 10:1), or "the evil spirits" (Acts 19:12), and
sometimes the "deceiving spirits" (1 Tim. 4:1).
Although the devils, with their fall, have lost their purity,
nevertheless they have not lost their nature as angels with the strength
which they possess.
The strength of the devil appeared fo r instance, in his test of the just
Job. He was able to bring down fire from heaven, and it "burned up the
sheep and the servants" (Job 1:16). He was able to raise up "a great wind"
which "came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of
the house, and it fell on the young people," and they were dead.
(Job 1: 16,19).
The devil was able also to strike Job "with painful boils from the
sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a
potsherd with which to scrape himself" (Job 2; 7-8).
Likewise a devil withstood Gabriel twenty-one days, while he was
going to deliver the prophet Daniel, and he delayed him till "Michael, one
of the chief princes, came to help" him:" (Dan. 10:12-13).
The devils of the country of the Gadarenes (Legion) were able to
enter the swine, and they drowned them into the sea" (Luke 8:33).
Likewise their strength appears in witchcraft, and their support of
Satan works also in deceiving and cheating.
As the apostle saint Paul said: "for Satan himself transforms himself
into an angel of light": (2 Cor. 11:14).
He has in this domain numerous stories with the saints: for example,
once he appeared to a father of the desert and said to him: "I am the
archangel Gabriel, and I was sent to you". Then the saint humbly replied
to him: "May be you have been sent to another one and you have lost
your way. As for me, I am a sinner and do not deserve th at an angel
appears to me".
To have more information, you can read our book: "The wars of the
The Lord said about Satan that "he is a liar and the father of it"
The devils have done many other actions, and they have killed
many people. Therefore the Lord gave to his disciples "power over
unclean spirits, to cast them out (Matt. 1 0:1). The Lord gave us, in spite
of the strength of the devil, "the authority to trample on serpents and
scorpions and over all the power of the enemy" (L uke 10:19).
In the book of the biography of saint Antonios (which was written
by saint Athanassius), there is a long sermon which he said about the
weakness of the devils.
The most dangerous action which Satan will do, is his support for
the Anti-Christ who will cause the general "falling away" at the end of
time. That is about which the apostle saint Paul said: "The coming of the
lawless one is according to the working of Satan; with all power, signs,
and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deceptio n among those who
perish", "whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and
destroy with the brightness of His coming" (2 Thess. 2: 8-10).
As to the end of Satan, it is "the lake of fire and brimstone".
The book of the Apocalypse says about that: "The devil, who
deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the
beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night
forever and ever" (Apocalypse 20:10).