Thank you for visiting Seraphim. Our website is an online informational portal about angels, specifically covering the Seraphim rank. Here we explore a wide variety of different aspects of these heavenly beings, such as their place in the angelic hierarchy, their role in both Christianity and Judaism, as well their presence in contemporary culture, art, music, technology, and more. Many new essays and articles have been added to our website recently, so we do encourage you to thoroughly browse through the site for further reading.
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The word Seraphim which originates from Hebrew, is the plural version of the word Seraph. So obviously when you say Seraphim, you are referring to more than one Seraph angel. The Seraphim are a high ranking class of celestial beings, which were first mentioned in the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh as it's properly called. Subsequent references to the Seraphim then appeared in further Hebrew religious scripture, where they became slightly more developed, and described as having a human like form.
During later Biblical periods the Seraphim also passed into Christian writings, where they would eventually be incorporated into the Christian angelic hierarchy, and listed as the highest order of angels. The early Christians placed more emphasis on them than they had ever been granted previously in Jewish scripture, thus redefining them in the process. Most of the early Christian scripture that contained direct references to the Seraphim, were noncanonical, meaning that these writings are not considered official.
The one reference to the Seraphim in the Old Testament, can be found in Isaiah Chapter 6, verses 1 through 3, which is Isaiah's vision. The passage reads, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were Seraphs, each with six wings, with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another, holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory".
In Orthodox Judaism, the Seraphim are part of a unique and complex angelic hierarchy, where they occupy the fifth rank out of ten ranks of angels, all of which are outlined within the exposition of Maimonides. To highlight the importance of these angels within the Jewish religious context, the prophet Isaiah's vision of the Seraphim is repeated in prayer several times throughout a typical Jewish religious service. Orthodox Judaism holds the traditional belief in many angels, including frequent references to the Seraphim in Jewish scripture.
When it comes to the literal belief in angels within Judaism, it should be noted that it is not universal among all practicing conservative or orthodox Jews. Jewish reformists and reconstructionists generally do not believe in angels at all, although they do retain written references to them for strictly metaphorical purposes. A similar parallel can also be found within Christianity as well, with many conservative Christians believing in angels and spiritual beings, and then on the other hand there many who do not believing them.
Within Christian theology, the Seraphim occupy the highest rank of angels, and are the direct caretakers of God's throne. Circling the heavenly seat, they are locked in an eternal song referred to as the Trisagion song. The first mention of the Seraphim within the Christian New Testament is in the Book of Revelation Chapter 4, verses 6 through 8. This verse goes on to describe them in more detail than the first mention of them in the Old Testament, and has allowed scholars to understand them more. For the scripture excerpt, read on.
And before the throne there was a sea of glass, and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and were full of eyes inside and out. Without stopping day or night they were saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming very soon.
Far outside of the traditional Christian or Judaic religious context, one can find a seemingly unlimited number of references to the Seraphim, from New Age or Neopagan religious scripture, to music, art, comic books, commercial brands, and video games. Over the centuries the Seraphim have in very many ways transcended their historic religious origins, and risen to the elevation of a near universal human icon, open to unlimited cross cultural interpretation. One may even go so far as to say they represent human aspirations.
Where the Seraphim will journey from here, is anyone's guess. They've quite literally become a part of human expression altogether, though references to their attributes are as old as written language itself, the Age of Information has taken them to many new shores. One quite notable example is in the extremely popular Japanese video game franchise Final Fantasy, where the main villain Kefka of Final Fantasy VI, attains the power of the Three Goddesses, and is transformed into a Seraph with six large golden wings.
I thought that I would add a very brief overview of the Cherubim angels here on the front page of our website, as occasionally they're confused with the Seraphim rank of angels. This will just be a quick crash course or summary, as I do plan to write a more in depth essay on them later down the road, so for those of you interested in reading more on them please stay tuned. If you have a question about the Cherubim angels, then please be sure to contact our staff, and we will do our best to answer it in a timely fashion.
The Cherubim, similar to the word Seraphim, is plural. The word Cherubim refers to more than one Cherub angel. A Cherub is a supernatural being referenced throughout both the Old and New Testament of the Bible. Like the Seraphim, the Cherubim were originally a Judaic rank of angels, and they eventually were incorporated into Christian scripture as well, appearing in numerous books including the Book of Revelation. Other notable examples of them in literature are in John Milton's 17th century epic poem, Paradise Lost.
Though artistic interpretation can be fairly loose when it comes to the Seraphim, it is extremely varied in regard to the Cherubim. The original Jewish depictions of them are thought to resemble an angelic or mythical being similar to that of a griffin, possessing a lion's body, and an eagle's wings and head. In Christianity however, the Cherubim are often portrayed in artistic iconography as a four winged creature with more than one head, usually that of man, lion, eagle, and ox. The gothic interpretations can be quite scary looking.
During the Renaissance a tremendous amount of confusion arose over the attributes and characteristics of the Cherubim, when on numerous occasions they were confused with putti angels, winged children who are generally depicted holding small golden trumpets. So to set the record straight, a Cherub is a mighty and fearsome winged beast and guardian of Eden, not the quite opposite innocent childlike being. The confusion is still widespread even in today's day and age, and you can blame the Renaissance artists for it.
Like the Cherubim and Seraphim, the Ophanim are a class of celestial beings that surround God's throne, and because of that they are sometimes confused with one another. So for clarity's sake, I've written a brief overview of the Ophanim below. If you are interested in reading additional information about the Ophanim class of angels, then please stay tuned as I plan to write an in depth essay. If you have any questions about the Ophanim, then do feel free to send our website administration an email, and we will do our best to answer it.
Ophanim, like Seraphim and Cherubim is a plural word, and when used refers to more than one Ophan angel. The Ophanim class of angels are first mentioned in the Book of Enoch, where they are described as a celestial being that eternally stand watch over God's throne. They are noted as having an unusual physical appearance, often described as being great circular wheels or round disks upon God's holy seat, having bodies covered with many eyes, and burning with a bright glowing heavenly light or eternal flame.
As the aforementioned physical description would imply, the translated Hebrew word Ophanim literally means "wheel". When describing them in Ezekiel Chapter 1, verses 15 through 16, the scripture reads "Now as I looked at the living beings, behold, there was one wheel on the earth beside these living beings, one for all four of them. The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance or workmanship being as if one wheel were within another".
Outside of the Judaic and Christian religious context, Ophanim are often referenced in popular culture. Such examples include the anime television series Digimon Frontier, the Grateful Dead song Estimated Prophet, the fantasy novels The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as numerous video games. Though not quite as popular as the Seraphim or Cherubim due to their unusual aesthetic qualities, the powerful symbolism and historical meaning that they evoke still seems to resonate across many diverse cultures.
I have decided to add one final description here on the front page, and hopefully put all confusion to rest regarding who the Seraphim are. This description is for the Nephilim, though I doubt they're confused with the Seraphim often because they're much lesser known, the words obviously have a similar ring to them. As with the Cherubim and Ophanim descriptions, this will be just a brief overview, as I plan to write a more detailed essay about the Nephilim later on down the road. Please stay tuned for that to be published here.
The Hebrew word Nephilim is again plural, and refers to more than one Naphal. The Nephilim are beings first mentioned in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 6, verses 1 through 4, they also appear in other Biblical scripture, as well as some non canonical Jewish texts. In these writings the Nephilim are described as the giant half human offspring of the Sons of God. It's commonly thought that the Sons of God is a direct reference to fallen angels, who not only lived amongst mankind before the Great Flood, but took human wives.
Biblical references to the Nephilim draw many stark parallels to stories often mentioned in Greek and Norse Mythology, where gods reproduced with human beings, resulting in humans with extreme powers, or in some cases extreme vulnerabilities. One such example would be the Greek Titans, who like the Nephilim were not only giants amongst men, they were also a fearsome warrior race who conquered many foes on the battlefield. Probably the most well known Nephilim in this context, would be the Biblical giant Goliath.
Other depictions of the Nephilim apart from their physical grandeur, refer to them as being intertwined with the evil and wickedness of all mankind. It was this corrupting influence over the human race that would eventually lead to the Great Flood, and Noah's building of an ark. Though the flood seems to have been mostly aimed at removing their wickedness from the earth, Genesis Chapter 6, verse 4, says that the Nephilim inhabited the earth both before and after the flood, and well into the time period of both Moses and King David.