Are Seraphim the Same as Angels?

Quick, are seraphim angels?

Until recently I would have said “yes” without hesitation. That’s what I was taught. However, after researching last week’s post Holy, Holy, Holy, I’ve reached a different conclusion.

First, the dictionary says seraphim are “celestial beings.” Celestial implies heaven or the divine (God). I equate celestial to the supernatural or the spiritual realm. So, that makes seraphim supernatural beings or creatures from the spiritual realm (in contrast to us in the physical realm).

Second, I was surprised to discover that we only see seraphim in two verses in the Bible, both in the same passage, written by Isaiah. Isaiah doesn’t call them angels. He does say they have three pairs of wings and they fly. Interestingly, they only need two wings for flight.

In Isaiah’s vision, these seraphim are in the temple, worshiping God. Their adoration is not subtle. On the contrary, it is intense. Their voices reverberate and the temple fills with smoke. (That sounds like a Christian rock concert to me, which gives us something else to contemplate.) In addition to worshiping God, one seraph talks to Isaiah.

That’s it; that’s all we know about seraphim: they’re not angels, they worship God, and they can fly and talk.

Next Thursday we’ll look into cherubim and then angels. Stay tuned.

[Isaiah 6:1-7]

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