In the New Testament the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in the traditional role of messenger to inform her that her child would be the Messiah, and other angels were present to herald his birth. An angel appeared at Jesus' tomb, frightened the Roman guards, rolled away the stone from the tomb, and later told the myrrh-bearing women of Jesus' resurrection. Two angels witnessed Jesus' ascent into Heaven and prophesied his return. When Peter was imprisoned, an angel put his guards to sleep, released him from his chains, and led him out of the prison. Angels fill a number of different roles in the book of Revelation. Among other things, they are seen gathered around the Throne of God singing the thrice-holy hymn.
Angels are frequently depicted as human in appearance, though many theologians have argued that they have no physical existence. (Hence the frequently recounted tale of Scholastics arguing about how many angels could fit on a pinhead; if angels possess physical bodies, the answer is "a finite number", if they do not, the answer is "an infinite number".) Seraphim are often depicted as six wings radiating from a center — either concealing a body, or without a body. Starting with the end of the 4th century, angels were depicted with wings, presumably to give an easy explanation for them travelling to and from heaven. Scholastic theologians teach that angels are able to reason instantly, and to move instantly. They also teach that angels are an intermidary to some forces that would otherwise be natural forces of the universe, such as the rotation of planets and the motion of stars. Angels possess the beatific vision, or the unincumbered understanding of God (the essence of the pleasure of heaven). Furthermore, there are more angels then there are anything else in the universe (although when first written this would have probably not included atoms since atomic structure was not known).
Some Christian traditions hold that angels are organized into three major Hierarchies which are subdivided into orders Choirs, and list as many as ten orders of angels. This is particularly clear in the work of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, an unknown 5th century author whose work The Celestial Hierarchy gives the names that have become part of tradition: Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim. In this hierarchy, the Cherubim and Seraphim are typically closest to God, while the Angels and Archangels are most active in human affairs. Many of these names come from verses in the bible which would appear at first to be refrencing a literal thing, although retroactively sudgesting that they really mention angels can also make sense in the context. For example the verse in Paul "our strugle is not with earthly things but with principlaities and powers" (meaning according to most theologians the fallen angels of those choirs, used as an example of all the fallen angels).
Some Christian traditions also hold that angels play a variety of specific roles in the lives of believers. For instance, each Christian may be assigned a guardian angel at their baptism (although never defined by the Catholic or Orthodox churches, nevertheless it is personally held by many church members and most theologians). Each consecrated altar has at least one angel always present offering up prayers, and a number of angels join the congregation when they meet to pray. In the story of the 40 martyrs of Sebaste, in which 40 Christian Roman soldiers were ordered to stand naked on a frozen lake in the snow until they renounced their faith, angels were seen descending from Heaven placing the crowns of martyrs on their heads.
Certain Christian traditions, especially the Reformed tradition within Protestantism hold that references to the "Angel of the Lord" are references to pre-Incarnation appearances of Jesus Christ.
Some medieval Christian philosophers were influenced by the views of Maimonides, and accepted his view of angels. Today, these views of angels are still technically acceptable within many mainstream Christian denominations. However, for all practical purposes most Christian lay people know little or nothing of these views, and do not accept them.
Satan and the demons are thought by Christians to be angels who rebelled against God and fell from Heaven.
A belief in angels is central to the religion of Islam, beginning with the belief that the Quran was dictated to the Prophet Muhammed by the angel Gabriel.
In the Quran, Jewish and Gnostic angelologies seem to be intermingled. In Muhammed's time the old Arabian goddesses (Al-Lat, Al-Uzz
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