Angels are collection of spiritual beings intermediate between God and men. Created by God, they are spirits that abide with God and also minister to humans on earth. Different types of angles exist in traditional belief and many angels are given different roles. The many different duties of angels include attending to God's throne, acting as personal guardians to humans, and acting as messengers of God to men on earth.
Different orders and types of angels
Jewish belief does not specify any fixed ordering of the different classes or types of angels. Christianity, on the other hand has established a particular hierarchy of the different types of angels that attend to God and men. Found in The Celestial Hierarchy by St. Dionysius the Areopagite written in the 5th century, he ranks the orders of angels. In ascending order the ranks of angels are angels, arch-angels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominations, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim. Holding the highest rank, seraphim attend directly to God, while the rank of angel involves visiting and ministering to mortal men on earth.
Evil angels exist in the world as well, and the distinction of good and bad angels constantly appears in the Bible. Evil angels and spirits do the will of the Devil in tempting men to do evil and strive to constantly fight against the Kingdom of God. Kingdom of the Evil One is considered to be ever inferior to the Kingdom of God, but is always working to draw people away from doing Gods will. Evil angels and spirits have the ability to posses the bodies of men and animals when permitted to do so.
Angels are attendants to the throne of God
The highest servants to God, the seraphim, attend God's throne to minister to Him and proclaim His glory. Their duty is referred to by the word ?assistance? in the book of Job 1:6, and they are know to continually occupy heaven with God. In certain rare instances, seraphim have ministered to man, as was the case with Isaias which was touched on the lips and purified by God's attending angel.
Frequently in the Bible the idea is implied that every individual soul has a guardian angel. The prophet Abraham told his steward that the Lord would send His angel before him in searching for a wife for Isaac (Gen 24:7). Another instance is found in Mathew 4:6 in which the Devil quotes the ninetieth Psalm which states ?As the Lord liveth, His angel hath been my keeper?. Guardian angels are also mentioned in reference to delivering Lot from danger and as a guide to Moses. Also, Mathew 18:10 states, ?See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven?, implying that each child has an angel that watches over him. Although the scriptures never explicitly state that every individual has his or her own assigned guardian angel, Christian tradition has held the belief to be true. It is also held to be true that those angels who attend to each individual is of the lowest rank of ?angel? in the hierarchy of angels.
God's messengers to mankind
Probably the most common and primary duty of angels is to minister to men and deliver God's message to His children. Angels are God's instrument by which He conveys His will unto mankind. In the vision of Jacob, angels are portrayed as ascending and descending the ladder that spans the expanse between earth and heaven while God the Father looked upon the wanderer below. Angels deliver messages of warning and the fulfillment of prophecy. An angel delivered the glad message of the Savior's birth to Mary and then to Joseph, while other angels ministered to the shepherds in the fields at the time of Christ's nativity and commanded them to go to Bethlehem and behold Him.
Angels in different cultures
Although Angels are primarily associated with judeo-christian traditions, many other religions and cultures believe in the existence of angels. Angels are very important in the the Islamic faith and are considered to be benevolent beings created from light, but are only able to do the will of Allah and lacked their own free will. In Hinduism, Devas are much like angels of Christian tradition as they are celestial beings with supernatural abilities, although they do have weaknesses.