Are Seraphim the Same as Angels?

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 for the 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 them 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 we’ll look into cherubim and then angels. Stay tuned.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 5-7, and today’s post is on Isaiah 6:2.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in Dear Theophilus, Isaiah: 40 Prophetic Insights about Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

2 Comments

  • Jerry Posted March 14, 2015 7:32 am

    Rock concert…nice!

    • Peter DeHaan Posted March 14, 2015 10:16 am

      I imagine the seraphim would be there, too – if only we could see them!

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