What is a Seraphim?

    




What is a Seraphim?


The Seraphim are highest angelic class. The Bible mentions that the Seraphim have 6 wings and are Guardians of God Throne, who continually worship him. They minister to the Lord, serve as mediums of communication between Heaven and Earth ,and are God’s agents of purification, as demonstrated by their cleansing of Isiah’s sins before he began his ministry.(Isaiah 6:6-7). They are said to have a fiery passion to do God's work. Over time many great theologians have expanded on who the Seraphim are and what is their role:


Pseudo-Dionysius the Areaopagite in his Celestial Hierarchy, drew upon the Book of Isaiah in fixing the fiery nature of seraphim in the medieval imagination. Seraphim in his view helped the Deity maintain perfect order and are not limited to chanting the trisagion. Taking his cue as well from writings in the Rabbinic tradition, the author gave an etymology for the Seraphim as "those who kindle or make hot" 

The name seraphim clearly indicates their ceaseless and eternal revolution about Divine Principles, their heat and keenness, the exuberance of their intense, perpetual, tireless activity, and their elevative and energetic assimilation of those below, kindling them and firing them to their own heat, and wholly purifying them by a burning and all-consuming flame; and by the unhidden, unquenchable, changeless, radiant and enlightening power, dispelling and destroying the shadows of darkness

Origen wrote in On First Principles that the Seraphim, in the Book of Isaiah, are the physical representation of the Christ and the Holy Spirit. His rationale comes from the idea that nothing "can wholly know the beginnings of all things and the ends of the universe" aside from God. Origen concludes this section in writing about the Seraphim as beings that have the knowledge of God revealed to them which elevates the role of the Seraphim to divine levels:

Nevertheless whatever it is that these powers may have learned through the revelation of the Son of God and of the Holy Spirit-and they will certainly be able to acquire a great deal of knowledge, and the higher ones much more than the lower-still it is impossible for them to comprehend everything; for it is written, 'The more part of God's works are secret. (Origen. De Principiis: On First Principle. pp. Chapter III section 14.)

This quote suggests that Origen believed the Seraphim are revealed this knowledge because of their anointed status as Son of God and the Holy Spirit. He was later criticized for making such claims and labeled a heretic by the Christian church. However, his theory about the Seraphim, as referred to in Isaiah, would be reflected in other early Christian literature, as well as early Christian belief through the second century.

Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae offers a description of the nature of seraphim:

The name "Seraphim" does not come from charity only, but from the excess of charity, expressed by the word ardor or fire. Hence Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii) expounds the name "Seraphim" according to the properties of fire, containing an excess of heat. Now in fire we may consider three things.

First, the movement which is upwards and continuous. This signifies that they are borne inflexibly towards God.

Secondly, the active force which is "heat," which is not found in fire simply, but exists with a certain sharpness, as being of most penetrating action, and reaching even to the smallest things, and as it were, with superabundant fervor; whereby is signified the action of these angels, exercised powerfully upon those who are subject to them, rousing them to a like fervor, and cleansing them wholly by their heat.

Thirdly we consider in fire the quality of clarity, or brightness; which signifies that these angels have in themselves an inextinguishable light, and that they also perfectly enlighten others.

The seraphim took on a mystic role in Giovanni Pico della Mirandola's Oration on the Dignity of Man (1487), the epitome of Renaissance humanism. Pico took the fiery Seraphim—"they burn with the fire of charity"—as the highest models of human aspiration: "impatient of any second place, let us emulate dignity and glory. And, if we will it, we shall be inferior to them in nothing", the young Pico announced, in the first flush of optimistic confidence in the human capacity that is the coinage of the Renaissance. "In the light of intelligence, meditating upon the Creator in His work, and the work in its Creator, we shall be resplendent with the light of the Cherubim. If we burn with love for the Creator only, his consuming fire will quickly transform us into the flaming likeness of the Seraphim."


Our burning love for God has led to us to looking after the thing He Loves the Most, His Children.  Our hashtags of #SeraphimSister and #SeraphimBrother are a representation of the fact that we are all God's Children and need to help each other as a family should.


That is why we named ourselves after the Seraphim because we are focused on ministering to God’s children (mentally, physically and spiritually), while continually giving him thanks and praise, and improving our understanding of his Word.


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