Guardian Angels of God: Meaning, Origins
Role of Guardian Angels
According to the tradition from the Old Testament, angels are immortal spiritual beings whose existence precedes that of men and goes back to the origins of the Creation of the Universe (Genesis). God created the angels to serve and worship him, but also to deliver messages to humans (angel comes from the Latin angelus and the Greek ἄγγελος, which means "messenger"). When one speaks of evocation to his angel or one wishes to address a prayer to his angel, it is in no case a question of worshiping him (in the religious sense of the term) but to ask him to intercede for us, with Almighty God.
From the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, the archangel Saint Michael is charged by God to drive Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after they had succumbed to the temptation hatched by Lucifer, disguised as a serpent. God had forbidden Adam and Eve to taste the fruits of two trees in the Garden of Eden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of eternal life. Contrary to the current belief which supposes that the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (the terrestrial paradise) is exclusively consecutive to this famous "original sin", it is especially for fear that they will taste then the another forbidden tree, the tree of eternal life, which decided God to drive them out of the Garden of Eden: "The Lord God said, Behold, man has become like one of us, to the knowledge of good and evil. Let us now prevent him from advancing his hand, taking the tree of life, eating it, and living forever." (Genesis 3:22)
Without dwelling any longer on this founding passage from the 3 religions of the Book, which also bears in it the traces of a polytheism ("man has become like one of us") that the Old Hebrew testament challenges and assimilates to idolatry (remember the anger of Moses when he discovers the golden calf erected in his absence), it is interesting to note that the original sin, primordial act of the old testament, is both inspired and "resolved" by the intervention of two archangels.
Because Lucifer himself is only a fallen archangel, whose vanity made him think that he could rise to the same rank as God, which led to a celestial battle from which he emerged defeated by the Archangel Saint Michael (the same one who throws Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden). By subjecting Eve to the temptation of knowing good and evil, the Serpent of Genesis pushes the human being to reach a new state of consciousness: "The eyes of both of them opened, they knew they were naked, and having sewed fig leaves, they made belts of them." (Genesis 3: 7). The original sin somehow marks the end of the direct relationship with God and harmony with the natural world and the beginning of the cold and deadly world of human civilization, where God, disappointed with his most beautiful creation, makes himself voluntarily more discreet.
The personality and role attributed to Lucifer has hardly changed since his initial revolt against his Creator. He is the supreme tempter, one who tries to make man believe that he can get away with God or stop believing in him with impunity. It therefore nourishes the ugliest feelings in humans, and among them the famous 7 deadly sins (laziness, greed, anger, envy, gluttony, lust and pride). Its most common historical iconographic representation is that of the tempting snake of course, but also that of a goat man, in obvious opposition to the Greco-Roman pantheon which precedes Christianity (the satyrs / fauns which accompany Dionysus / Bacchus are hybrids half-man half-goat).
This is how we must therefore distinguish between the good angels (those who have remained faithful to God) and the fallen angels (one third of the angels who have decided to follow Lucifer in his revolt and who were dragged along with him in his fall). Fallen angels generally take the more common name of demons, evil spirits whose resentment towards the Almighty is matched only by their satisfaction in diverting men and women from their path. Of course, only good angels are empowered to to be guardian angels and to intercede between the Creator and men.
As for the Archangel Saint Michael, the "prince of the angels", he is undoubtedly the most important of the "messenger commanders" and the one to whom God entrusts the most important missions to men. Archangel Saint Michael is also considered to be the main archangel of the three religions of the book, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The account of his interventions in the Old Testament reflects the importance that God brings to the protagonists concerned. Among his most famous actions, in addition to his command of the celestial armies which put an end to the revolt of Lucifer, he guides the family of Noah at the time of the Flood, or he retains the arm of Abraham at the last moment, while this the latter was about to deliver his son Isaac as an offering. In the New Testament, it is the Archangel Saint Michael and his army of angels who again destroy Lucifer at the time of the Apocalypse and precipitate the latter on earth: "Then a battle was fought in the sky: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and he fought them with his angels; but the dragon did not achieve victory and he and his angels could not maintain their position in heaven. He was precipitated, the great dragon, the elder Serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who leads the whole world astray. He was cast down to earth, and his angels were cast down with him." (Revelation 12: 7-9)
Meaning of Guardian Angels
Who are the angels and the archangels and what is their difference?
In the monotheistic tradition, the term angel is mainly associated with his role as messenger of God to men. The angel is a spiritual being who shares with God the gift of ubiquity (presence in all or several places simultaneously) and immortality. On the other hand, unlike humans, who are both body and mind, angels are pure spirits. Traditional religious iconography willingly (but not exclusively) attributes large wings to them, the number and colors varying according to the name and celestial rank of the angel represented. The angels being pure spirits, they are not gendered, even if the Byzantine and Catholic iconographic tradition favors their representation under the appearance of young men.
An archangel is hierarchically placed above the angels. As a superior angel, he is at the height of the angels and holds the function of leader of one of the 9 choirs (the 9 orders mentioned above, which are themselves composed of 8 angels, which makes 72 angels in total). In the celestial hierarchy, the choir of archangels are below the other orders and just above that of the angels, the latter being above men. God most often entrusts to the archangels the missions of intercession of higher importance with men. The messenger commanders manifest themselves to men by miraculous appearances or by the way of dreams. The archangels therefore have an active role of intervention and transmission of divine messages on earth, capable of upsetting the destiny of all humanity.
Indeed, in the biblical tradition of the Old Testament, God never shows himself to men. He is not embodied in a human being or an animal. On the other hand, he can manifest himself by triggering dramatic events (the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Flood of the episode of Noah's Ark) or else by revealing miracles (the burning bush of Moses). If the archangels are responsible for the divine interventions on earth that have the greatest impact, the angels are more directly responsible for watching over each man, woman and child. Every guardian angel must respond systematically to any request he may receive by the supernatural invocation of prayer.
What is the role of my guardian angel and how do I invoke him?
The role of a guardian angel is to intercede with God in favor of the human being who calls upon him through prayer. For that, it is enough to think strongly of your guardian angel by repeating his name associated with a personal or pre-established prayer, according to the celestial messenger to whom one is addressed.
If the function of celestial messenger constitutes the main source of interaction between men and Heaven, between the material world and the spiritual world, the angels hold first of all in the service of the Creator a role which is allotted to them according to their place in the celestial hierarchy (the 9 choirs of the angels).
How many archangels are there?
If we refer to the Christian Old Testament (i.e. the Hebrew bible or Tanakh, which brings together the Torah, the historical books, the Hagiographs and the Prophets), only 7 angels can possibly stand out and claim the title of Archangel. The number 7 being highly symbolic in the Old Testament, it does not necessarily correspond to a theological truth, especially since the term Archangel is mentioned there only twice (1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 1: 9). If no consensus is possible between the Jews, the Catholics, the Protestants, the Orthodox Christians and the Muslims as for the exact number of the archangels and their respective names, the believers of the 3 religions of the Book seem to be in agreement on the recognition of at least 3 of them: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael (the latter to a lesser extent).