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Don Stewart :: Are Angels Organized in Ranks?

Don Stewart
Scripture teaches that God is a God of order. Paul told the church at Corinth that God wants everything done orderly.

but let all things be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).

Various Orders

Consequently we find that Scripture gives testimony to various orders of angels.

for by Him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers - all things have been created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).

The thrones, dominions, rulers, and powers speaks of various orders of angels. Each of these terms has a specific meaning that corresponds to earthly realities. Though there is probably some overlap between the terms, it does say, at the very least, that there are different ranks of angels.

They Are Organized

These various orders are well-organized.

Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, with all the host of heaven standing beside Him to the right and to the left of Him (1 Kings 22:19).

Their organization is like that of an army.

For day by day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army like the army of God (1 Chronicles 12:22).

Angels Over The Elements

According to the Bible, there are also angels that have authority over certain elements. They include: fire, water, and the pit.

Over The Fire

Scripture tells us of an angel who has authority over the fire.

Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe" (Revelation 14:18).

Over The Water

There is also an angel who has charge over the waters.

Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: "You are just in these judgments, You who are and who were, the Holy One, because You have so judged (Revelation 16:5).

Pit

There is also an angel who has authority over the pit, or the abyss.

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the pit; he opened the shaft of the pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft (Revelation 9:1,2).

Archangels

There is an archangel, or chief angel, according to Scripture.

For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

Scripture tells us that his name is Michael.

But when the archangel Michael contended with the Devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but rather said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude 9).

He is the only archangel named in Scripture, though there may be others.

Own Army

Michael the archangel has his own army of angels.

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels also waged war (Revelation 12:7).

An army with a leader suggests organization.

Summary

The Bible says that angels are well-organized in ranks. Though we are not told much about their classifications, we do know that there are various orders. Among the orders of angels are those who have authority over the elements. We are told from Scripture that certain angels have authority over fire, water, and the pit, or the abyss. This is a further testimony that angels are organized. The Bible also says that an archangel or "chief angel" exists. This also suggests organization. Beyond this, we can only conjecture.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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