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DO ANGELS LEARN ANYTHING FROM US?
fr_basil

DO ANGELS LEARN ANYTHING FROM US?
According to today’s epistle reading they do. St Paul writes:
" Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which from all ages has been hid in God, who created all things: to the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The “principalities and powers in heavenly places” are angels. According to the Scriptures as well as Orthodox Church teaching, the ranks of angels are: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Powers, Dominions,
Principalities, Virtues, Archangels and Angels. (See Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 1:16, and St Dionysius the Areopagite, “Celestial Hierarchies.”) In today’s epistle reading, St Paul says that the angels actually learn things from the Church and even from individual Christians. St. John Chrysostom pretends to question St. Paul about this. He says:  “Are you enlightening Angels and Archangels and Principalities and Powers? I am, says he. For it was ‘hid in God,’ even ‘in God who created all things.’ And do you venture to utter this? I do, says he. But whence has this been made manifest to the Angels? By the Church.” (Homilies on Ephesians, VII).
Angels are spirit beings. They are wise, and good, and holy. But they don’t understand everything because unlike human beings, they are not physical as well as spiritual. Only people are a microcosm of the whole created world, because they are both physical and spiritual. So often we hear things like “the angels were amazed” in our services, because they are surprised by what they learn. In the Scriptures we learn from St Paul that devout Christian women cover their heads “because of the angels” (1 Corinthians 11:10). This means that the angels learn how Christian women are obedient to God’s commandments, unlike their foremother Eve who rebelled against Him. The veil is a sign – to God, to the Church, and yes, to the angels.
So yes, the holy angels do learn from us. They have never had to carry the heavy weight of sin and the burdens of the flesh. They are ministering spirits who love God and follow his commandments faithfully. They are aware that a full 1/3 of their number rebelled against God with their leader Lucifer, the fallen former Archangel. They watch us to see what God has revealed in and through us. They also watch to see what kind of beings we are, more like them or more like their fallen brethren?

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