The second sphere consists of dominions (lordships), virtues (strongholds) and powers (authorities) which deals with matter (that is creation) and ruling spirits. If you will – the heavenlies. Note again in Daniel, the “Prince of Persia” resisted the angel bringing the answer to Daniel’s prayer. Gabriel freed that angel from battle so he could complete his task. Note that the angel identifies Michael as a “chief angel”. Implication? This was a spiritual battle and contains levels of responsibility.
Four words are translated as ‘dominion’ in the New Testament: katakurieuo (2634) which is to exercise dominion or lordship or overcome (I’ve conquered you therefore I have control over you); kratos (2904) which is to have dominion, power or strength (See my muscles? I’m bigger and stronger than you); kurieu (2961) have dominion or lord over, or exercise authoritative control over you (I have a higher position than you so I dominate you); and kuriotes (2963) which is a ruler as in government (as in president of the US).
These are Angels of Leadership. They regulate the duties of other angels, making known the commands of God. But the Strong’s definition would also imply influence over the governments of man. Thinking Daniel again, the ‘Prince of Persia’ didn’t physically rule Persia but apparently controlled those people who did.
Jesus spoke to the disciples how man exercises authority by bringing others under submission but the disciples should exercise authority by serving those over whom they have responsibility, leading by example (Matt. 20:25-27, John 13:1-17). Paul cautions the Romans (or us) not to let sin (spiritual wickedness) have dominion over them because they are now under grace, living for Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:8-18). Where our treasure is, that’s where our heart will be. Whom do we love? We can’t serve two masters (Matt. 6:19-24), two masters cannot have dominion over us at the same time, so we give dominion over to Jesus (Rom. 6:16-19). If not Jesus, then to whom? We have free will to make a decision, but just who influences that decision? As angels carry out God’s commands, Jesus explains in the parable of the tares in the field, there is also a counter force in operation in our midst (Matt. 13:24-30, 13:36-43).
Two Greek words are used as virtues: arête (703) which is translated as praise, virtue or excellence and is akin to manliness (true); and dunamis (1411) which is ability, power (explosive power), strength or miraculous work.
Virtues are known as the ‘spirits of motion’ and control the elements. They are sometimes referred to as "the shining ones." They govern all nature. They have control over seasons, stars, moon; even the sun is subject to their command. Now, when I say control, they are the ones who implement God’s will over all these things. They are also in charge of miracles and provide courage, grace, and valor, as Father directs. And no, I’m not bypassing the Holy Ghost, the breath of God. In the beginning there were no angels to command so God created (even angels) by speaking, as His breath put things into action. Once He created angels, they, then carried His commands into action. Not replacing the Holy Ghost but as Father spoke, they carried His words into action.
When the multitude sought to be healed by Jesus, virtue (power) went out from Him and healed them all (Luke 6:19) remember the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34). Because we know Jesus, He has called us to glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). That means to follow Him and His example! Paul followed Jesus and encourages us to do the same as he did, to be like our Lord (1 Corinth. 11:1). Being ‘like’ Jesus is understanding His will and abiding in His power and His love. If we truly love Him, we keep His commandments (John 14:15).
So, virtues help us to walk in the excellence of Jesus Christ. Now, don’t get me wrong here, angels don’t replace the Holy Ghost. Angels don’t abide “in” us so whatever encouragement they bring is external whereas the Holy Ghost operates within us, thus guiding our hearts to make choices. As children of God, we don’t have to wait for an angel to show up. The Holy Ghost is already in us! Yet angels are there to help as needed.
The two Greek words are translated as powers are dunamis (1411) which again is ability, power (explosive), strength or miraculous work and then, exousia (1849) which is having jurisdiction, liberty, power, right or strength. One is active, one is passive. One exercises the power and the other is having the authority to exercise that power. And notice the potential (in scripture) to interchange ‘virtue’ and ‘power’. Jesus had the authority and the ability to heal the woman at the well.
Powers are Warrior Angels against evil, defending the spiritual realm and humans. They are known as potentates. They fight against evil spirits who attempt to wreak chaos through or upon human beings. I again refer to Daniel chapter ten.
These angels reflect some of the characteristics of God as they perform their responsibilities. They obey and serve Father, not because they ‘have to’, but because they ‘desire to’ and they serve Him with all their God-given talents, that is abilities. (hint, hint, what about us?)
It would seem that they encourage us to do the works of God because we also, desire to serve Father. The ruler of any nation should be influenced by the “powers”. And again, influencing powers could be angelic or demonic (to which power do we listen?).
We see that there are powers are in the heavens for when tribulation comes, they shall be shaken (Mark 13:14-25). Father intends for us to know the powers and principalities we face (Eph. 3:9-12) and face them boldly. For when God is with us who can be against us (Rom. 8:31). Father created all things through Jesus (Col. 1:12-17). We should receive all help from God but reject those influences from the evil one.
This sphere might be called “God’s governors”.
Third on our list, but actually The first sphere, are the angels closest to Father, which includes Seraphim who continually glorify and praise God, Cherubim who protect God’s throne and then Thrones who serve God’s justice and authority.
Think about it. When we enter into God’s presence (spiritually, we enter His throne room) and can’t help but praise Him. Have any of us been praying and suddenly find ourselves in our God-given spiritual language? We enter His presence and we are under His protection. And when we enter His presence we are willing subjects to His justice and authority which are administered (to us), but only for our benefit. Whatever Father does, is always for our benefit (Rom. 8:28).
These angels help us to deal with our heart, our relationship with our heavenly Father.
Only one Hebrew word is used for seraphim. Saraph (8314) fiery (serpent) or seraph. They apparently appear as fire, though it is suggested that their color is more like a brilliant copper.
Interestingly seraphim are only mentioned in the Old Testament by name and described once in the book of Revelation. In the book of Isaiah, the seraphim were above God’s throne and cry to each other “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.” They are described as having six wings, two to cover their face, two covering their feet and two with which to fly. Isaiah declared himself a man with unclean lips so it was seraphim which took a coal from the altar and purged Isaiah’s lips (Isaiah 4:1-7). The seraphim are not named in the book of Revelation, but rather described as they cry out “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty which was and is and is to come,” giving glory and praise to Him who sits upon the throne. John says that, along with the wings, they are like four beasts - a lion, a calf, the face as a man and a flying eagle, and full of eyes (Rev. 6:6-9).
Seraphim are around the throne of God praising and magnifying Him. When we want to praise and glorify God, it is most likely the seraphim encouraging us. After all, when we don’t know how to pray, father helps us through the Holy Ghost abiding in our heart (Rom. 8:26-27) and it is He Who reveals the deep things of God to us (1 Corinth. 2:9-12). But, again, too much of the world does not have the Holy Ghost within. Even some Christians won’t allow the Holy Ghost full operation in their lives (another discussion). So Father still has angels in the ready so we don’t dash our feet against a stone (Psalm 91:11-12, Matt. 4:6).
Again, except for Hebrews chapter nine, cherub or cherubim are only mentioned in the Old Testament and oddly enough, a unique exception used once in Ezra and once in Nehemiah, the same word is translated as either singular, or plural, one or a group. Otherwise there is no difference in how the term is used. Interestingly the word used only twice is keruwb (3742) which means cherub, but it is also translated ‘imaginary figure. And note the word Keruwb (3743), spelled with a capital ‘K’, otherwise, they are the same word, same meaning. Why Ezra and Nehemiah use the capital ‘K’? I don’t know. Maybe a bible scholar can help us out.
Cherubim rank after the seraphim and are the second highest in the hierarchies of choirs of angels. The Old Testament does not reveal any evidence that the Jews considered them as intercessors or helpers from God but they were closely linked in God's glory. They are manlike in appearance and double-winged (one set of two wings) and are guardians of God's glory. They symbolize then, God's power and mobility. In the New Testament, they are alluded to as celestial attendants as in the Apocalypse (Rev. 4:6). And an image of two cherubim was placed on the top of the Ark of the Covenant with their wings touching as they stretch out over the mercy seat (Exod. 25:10-22). Roman Catholic tradition describes them as angels who have an intimate knowledge of God and continually praise Him (like the Seraphim). Also, after Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden in Eden, Father set cherubim and a flaming sword (hmmm, a seraphim?) to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24) so that Adam and Eve could no longer partake of the tree of life and live forever in a state of sin. Thank you Jesus for your cleansing blood!
In respect to angels, two words are used for thrones in the Old Testament and one in the New.
In the Hebrew, kicce (3678) means covered or canopied, seat, stool or throne yet its root word kacah (3780) implies to hide for secrecy, cover, conceal or overwhelm. The other Hebrew word used is korce (3764), derived from kicce and is translated only as throne.
The Greek word thronos (2362) is a seat, stately seat or throne.
Three words imply the obvious – a throne or seat of authority yet kacah implies an aura of overwhelming mystery.
Thrones are the Angels of pure humility, peace and submission. They reside in the area of the heavens where material form begins to take shape. The lower Choirs of Angels need the Thrones to access God (tradition).
Why has God formed people the way He has (Rom. 9:20)? Father reveals some things to us and other things He holds back that we might obey all that He has said (Deut. 29:29). The obvious and the mystery. The revealed. The hidden.
Who can give council to God (Isa: 40:13, Rom. 11:34), but for us, we might call this sphere “God’s counsellors”. Not that they council God but they are responsible to forward ‘God’s council to us (remember Daniel chapt. 10). And keep in mind, they do not replace the Holy Ghost but are available when people can’t or won’t listen to the Holy Spirit.
So, as we see the first sphere, the seraphim, cherubim and thrones are closest to God’s throne in responsibility (and literally). The area that deals with man’s heart. The second sphere, the dominions, virtues and powers get a little closer to (our) home dealing with the realm between God’s throne and earth, the atmosphere around us. While the third sphere, principalities, archangels and angels, deals more directly with us, the natural man. Consider the three final temptations Jesus faced when in the wilderness: turn the rock to bread, jump off – the angels will catch You and I’ll give You all this, just bow down and worship me (says Satan) (Matt. 4:11)
Take note that each sphere deals with man’s three battlefronts (body, soul, spirit (heart)), but each choir within each sphere also has an area of responsibility.
We’ve just done a cursory look at this but think about it. Not only does each sphere deal with a segment of man’s battlefield, but each of the three choirs within each sphere also deals with a phase of battle. Again, Seraphim, Cherubim and thrones influence man’s heart; Dominions, Virtues and Powers carry responsibility over man’s soul or spirituality; and Principalities, Archangels and angels have a responsibility over man’ existence. There is a link between man and God through each sphere and through the choirs in each sphere.
A side item Father showed me (no extra charge) is how He has established the church in a similar fashion. He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists some pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints (heart), the work of the ministry (soul) and edifying the body (us) of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12). The evangelist opens the door so the natural man can enter into the body of Christ, the pastor and teacher help us with an understanding of our spirituality (soul, how we live in Christ) and apostles and prophets help us to expand and connect our heart (relationship) with our heavenly Father.
Don’t be fooled. Since God has established an hierarchy for His angels, Satan (a fallen angel) would most likely have done the same as he came from the same background. Satan was once Lucifer who was an angel of light (Luke 10:18). He decided to rebel. So we must fight the enemy (Satan and his devils) in three areas of our lives and Father has provided us angelic help in each of those areas. Paul tells us that we don’t wrestle against other people but rather the spiritual forces that motivate them (Eph. 6:10-13). So, Jesus tells us to pray for our fleshly enemies (Matt. 5:24) for Father would that none should perish but all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). However, not all will receive, but those who hear and heed Father’s call will enter in (Matt. 7:13-14). Those who refuse the Lord into their lives are but mere pawns for the enemy, whether they admit it or not!
Father has also given us the “natural help” (other people) in this world which reflects the spiritual help He gives us so we don’t fight alone, we have help. That’s why when the body of Christ is unified (1 Corinth. 12:1-27), we have brothers and sisters who will stand with us contending with the enemy (Eph. 6:18, James, 2:15-18).
One last note: Think of our spiritual warfare as being like an army going into battle. As a soldier, we’re handed a rifle (or a firearm of some sort), ammunition, grenades, etc. We have our weapons of warfare and we’re ready to go into battle. We are prepared to fight, right? But we also have artillery, from both land and sea, supporting us and if that isn’t enough, we have air support through various aircraft. Think, angelic support in the natural, the spiritual and the heart of man??? No, it’s not an exact correlation, but hopefully it does help us to understand (a little) how God deals with us. Yes?
OK, one more note: The Holy Ghost abides within our heart and will guide and direct us in what we say and do. All we have to do is listen and obey. However, there are times we need an ‘external’ nudge or help and that’s why angels are watching over us, ready to go into action in times when we may not hear or be listening to the Holy Ghost.
My prayer is that this stimulates your interest to know that angels do interact with us and for us in many ways. I’m not equipped to go any farther with this, but, by the grace of God, it will stimulate some of us do a little thinking – and maybe do our own research.
So, are angels watching over us? Hmmmm. Do you think?