“the angels are poetry,” says jesus christ
in the northern Canary Islands by experts in teledetection
by means of satellites of the Department of Applied Physics
of the University of Valladolid
RACHEL The microphones of Emisoras Latinas are still located in Nazareth, where we are covering the second coming of Jesus Christ, who has just given us his views about the world of the great beyond. But, Jesus, are we talking about a heaven with angels or without them? Let’s clear up that point.
JESUS Rachel, when we were in Bethlehem before, I explained to you that angels do not exist. They are poetry, just different names for God.
RACHEL But the people insist how can they not exist if the Bible is full of them? One of them appears on the very first pages, guarding the gates of paradise with a sword of fire. And they’re found up to the last pages of the Bible, blowing their trumpets in the Apocalypse.
JESUS Of course, because the Bible is full of messages, and my people used to fancy that there were messengers to carry those messages, namely, the angels. Look, my fellow Jews had a great respect for God. Almost too great. They wouldn’t even pronounce his name, and they washed their hands before writing it out. So in order to avoid using God’s name, they used the names of angels.
RACHEL But do they exist or not? When I was a little girl they used to tell me I had a guardian angel always by my side.
JESUS And what did that angel guard you from?
RACHEL From accidents and other dangers. Once he saved me from being crushed by a trolley.
JESUS So what happened with all those children who died in accidents? Was it that their angels were asleep, or perhaps didn’t take care of them?
RACHEL Wait, we have a call… Hello, yes?… A listener wants to take part. She says she’s an angelologist.
JESUS A what?
RACHEL An angelologist, an expert in angels.
ANGELOLOGIST I would like to express my most vehement protest in the name of the archangels Michael, Rafael, Gabriel and Uriel, and in the name of the nine choirs of seraphim and cherubim that accompany them. They cannot speak for themselves on the radio. And since they are beings of light, totally transparent, that impostor pretending to be Jesus Christ cannot see them and denies their existence. Get thee behind me!
JESUS What’s that she said at the end, Rachel?
RACHEL I think she insulted you… We have another call. As you see, Jesus, angels are fashionable these days… Hello?
SERAPHIM This is Seraphim del Monte calling from Caracas, and although they gave me an angelic name, I don’t believe in them. Consider the names mentioned by the woman who just called in. Michael means “Who is like God?”, Rafael means “God heals”, and Gabriel means “divine strength”. That “el” at the end of each angel’s name is just a form of the Hebrew word for God. It’s just as Jesus said the angels are simply nicknames for the one and only God. They’re poetry!
RACHEL Thank you, Seraphim del Monte. So, Jesus, you didn’t see any angels, neither in the desert when you were fasting nor in the garden of olives when you were praying?
JESUS I didn’t see a single one. In the desert the real angels were some camel drivers who guided me and gave me water, but in the garden that night no one came to help me.
RACHEL And so, if angels really don’t exist, then why do so many people believe in them?
JESUS Because we think that God is somewhere way up in the sky. So we put angels somewhere in the middle, between ourselves and that heaven where the distant God supposedly dwells. When we realize that God is actually with us and that his message is close to us, then we won’t need any messengers.
RACHEL Is this topic of the angels clear enough for you, listeners of Emisoras Latinas? Or are there still some ruffled feathers, I mean, some doubts in your mind? Reporting from Nazareth, this is Rachel Perez. Remember, you’ll find this interview and all the earlier ones on our web page, at www.emisoraslatinas.net.
ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.
*More information about this polemical topic…*
A very ancient belief
The word “angel” comes from the Greek and means “messenger”. Many ancient religions taught of these beings, who served to carry messages from a distant God to human beings. The books of the Bible have an abundance of angels. The biblical world was one where reigning kings were surrounded by their courts and where the courtiers and servants played a vital role in the functioning of the king’s governance.
In such a world God was conceived by human beings to be a great King, and the angels were his courtiers. The Israelites were a monotheistic people, but they always lived surrounded by peoples with polytheistic traditions. The beliefs of these neighboring peoples exercised a strong influence on Judaism and found expression in the Bible in many ways. The angels of the “celestial court” of the God-King became something like semi-divine beings, to whom the people could have regular recourse in order to “make present” the unnamable God.
In all these religions angels always served as intermediaries between God and human beings. For Persians, it was an angel who revealed “the truth” to Zarathustra. For Jews, an angel held back Abraham’s hand so that he might understand that God did not want him to kill his son Isaac. For Christians, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would have an extraordinary son. For Muslims, the same angel Gabriel called Muhammad in order to dictate to him the Koran, God’s revelation.
Angels: male and with wings
The Israelites were exiled in Babylon some six hundred years before Jesus’ time, so that it was possibly that Mesopotamian influence that made them begin to represent angels as having wings, just as the Babylonians represented their divine beings. Endowed with wings, angels could move more easily between the “heaven up above”, where God reigns, and the earth inhabited by humans. Just like God, angels were always male: the court of a masculine God was made up of masculine servants.
An official belief
This ancient mythical belief is even today maintained as the official doctrine of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Catechism speaks of angels in numbers 328 to 336, using the following language: The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition. … As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness. … The whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.
A contemporary belief
In the present day “angelology” has been gaining ever more ground as another expression of the religious “revival” under way, in which all types of beliefs, ancient and modern, flow together and are blended. In the Internet thousands of sites can be found which promote belief in angels and provide “scientific” bases for this myth. They explain, for example, how to establish communication with these beings: Their speech is spiritual, but spiritual sound does not reach us through our ears. When they speak to us, there is activated an energy center in the crown of the head (also called the “crown’s farm”), which has a physical relation with the pituitary gland. When angels speak to us, it is this center that gets activated, and the sound is exceptionally clear. There is no sound system on earth that can attain such clarity or that makes such an impression on the memory.
A belief based on hierarchies
It is quite significant that both the traditional belief in angels and the post-modern angelology posit a clear hierarchy among the angels, just as both the ancient world and modern-day society allot power according to political, social, cultural, religious and gender hierarchies.
The hierarchical classification of angels that has had the most influence on the imagination and the fantasy of generations right up to the present day is one that was elaborated by an anonymous author (sometimes called Pseudo-Dionysius) who lived between the 4th and 5th centuries. In a book called “The Celestial Hierarchy” this theologian expounded his doctrine of angels, dividing them into nine choruses and three groups. The highest group included seraphim, cherubim and thrones; the intermediate group encompassed dominations, virtues and powers; and the group closest to human beings was composed of principalities, archangels and angels. The author gave names to seven archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Chamuel, Jofiel and Zadkiel. Of course, all the names are masculine and all end in “el”, which was a Hebrew way of referring to God without actually pronouncing his name (Yahweh). Catholic theology accepted the angelic hierarchy with its nine choruses, but it has not gone so far as to make this particular teaching a doctrine of faith. Out of the seven traditional names the Church accepts only Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, since they are the only ones mentioned in the Bible.
In his interview with Rachel, Jesus sums up all the official doctrine and all the angelology of past and present with a saying full of common sense: The angels are poetry.