(Part 2) Angelic Class: Seraphim

The word “seraphim” means fiery serpent. We can know for sure that these seraphim do not look like serpents because they are described in other passages as having four faces. This name first comes up in Numbers 21:6, which says, “So the LORD sent venomous snakes among the people, and many of the Israelites were bitten and died.” The Berean Study Bible translation translates only the Hebrew word nachash as “venomous snakes,” but does not translate the word saraph, Heb. Strong’s #8314 (seraph, noun), which means fiery serpent or burning for the verb form of saraph. It does this because it also means figuratively a poisonous snake, due to the word being used in Numbers 21:6 for a person feeling the sensation of burning after being bitten by a snake. Other Bible translations do have the word “fiery serpents.”

The reason they are called seraphim is that their appearance resembles fire, as the word seraph means, see below.

13 In the midst of the living creatures was the appearance of glowing coals of fire, or of torches. Fire moved back and forth between the living creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. -Ezekiel 1:13 BSB

Above Him stood seraphim, each having six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. -Isaiah 6:2 BSB

These four seraphim are also called “four living creatures” in Revelation 4:8 & Ezekiel 1:8 and Cherubim in Ezekiel 10:7-8. These creatures are full of eyes, front and back and on their wings (Ezekiel 10:12 & Revelation 4:6). Each of the four living creatures also has four faces; that of a man, that of an ox, that of a lion, and that of an eagle (Ezekiel 1:10). These seraphim stand in the presence of the Lord giving Him praises (Isaiah 6:3 & Revelation 4:8). They are mentioned in Isaiah 6:2-3, Ezekiel 1 & 10, and Revelation 4. The only difference from all those passages is that in Ezekiel chapters 1 & 10, they are described as only having four wings, and in Isaiah 6:2 and Revelation 4:8, they have six wings. It doesn’t say why Ezekiel only saw four wings and Isaiah and John saw six. I can conclude that most likely they are the same creatures, but Ezekiel, for whatever reason, didn’t notice the other two wings, as it is mentioned in other places that they do cover their bodies with four wings and at other times, two wings are touching each other. Either, they are similar creatures, one with four wings, and the other with six, or Ezekiel didn’t see that extra detail.

These creatures move as fast as lightning…14 The creatures were darting back and forth as quickly as flashes of lightning. -Ezekiel 1:14 BSB

The power of their wings when they flow sounded like the voice of God…24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the roar of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. -Ezekiel 1:24 BSB

The names “seraphim”, “cherubim”, and “living creatures” are words to describe their appearance and their rank in God’s angelic army.

They seem to guard the Throne of the Almighty God so logically, they must be seriously powerful and nothing unauthorized can enter God’s Throne. No one can sneak behind them since they are full of eyes and have four faces. Their swiftness and the ability to see 360 degrees all around them make them very powerful creatures. These seraphim seem to be high ranking in the angelic hosts, as they are stationed in God’s Throne.

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