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Series P: Pubs - how many wings does an angel have?

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Alexander Howard
1307515.  Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:50 am Reply with quote

A fun Christmas episode this week. Then came the question 'How many wings does an angel have?" The answer given was that cherubim have four and seraphim have six.

However, going over all the mentions of them, cherubim and seraphim are not angels; they are never described as such and in fact they only ever appear as allegorical images in visions. Moses was commanded to weave images of cherubim and seraphim into the hangings of the tabernacle and to cast images of two cherubim for the lid of the ark of the covenant, but as he was also given the commandment not to make any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, that suggests there are no cherubim or seraphim - they are no more than allegories.

Other cultures of the Fertile Crescent have cherubim with two wings - the vast Assyrian 'lions' in the British Museum are an example.

Actual angels as described in the bible generally appear just as ordinary people, for example wandering into the camp to tell Abraham that Sarah will have a son. They also appear in more active roles - whenever I hear some starry-eyed character describing nurses as 'angels', I think of 2 Kings 19:35.


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