Painting of the Archangel Michael stepping on Satan’s head by Guido Reni, 1636. Notice the wings on Satan.
There is a very strict hierarchy in heaven. God is very big on order. I don’t blame Him. The military loves it, too. Order is very efficient. A careful reading of the bible reveals that there is an angelic order. Many scholars who are much smarter than me have come up with official lists of angel ranks and titles. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the lists because I’m contrary like that. And because the bible isn’t totally explicit about angelic order, I can get away with making my own list that will serve the novel I’m writing.
1) God – God has to be #1. I know He’s not an angel, but He is in charge of all the angels, and He created all the angels. So He gets to be #1. He sends angels to earth to fight, to deliver messages, to be His eyes and ears, and to protect the humans. He is worshipped by angels in the throne room. Once each day he takes a meeting with His Seraphim to hear reports of what’s going on down on earth. (I bet nobody’s texting during those meetings.)
2) Archangels – These guys are 18 feet tall and very majestic with a bright, glowing appearance. Their voice is like many waters, whatever that means. It sounds like a Native American way to describe Barry White’s voice. Their waists are girded with gold. Their bodies are like beryl. Their arms and feet are like burnished bronze. They are so shiny. Their faces flash like lightning and their eyes are like torches of fire. No wonder people who encounter them fall flat on their faces. Archangels deliver messages from God. They also fight demons and lead the other holy angels. Names of archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Saraqael, and Remiel.
3) Seraphim – They are stationed in the throne room. They have six wings and cover their faces before God. They fly to and fro across the earth making sure the Guardian angels are doing okay and calling in extra forces when needed. They have been known to wear a white linen ephod (old-testament way of describing a muumuu) with a golden sash running from shoulder to waist.
4) Cherubim – These are not fat babies. Sorry to disillusion you. These are angels in the shape of really unusual creatures. They have four wings and wheels within wheels beneath their feet. These wheels may or may not be attached to the Cherubim physically but they propel the angels somehow. They act as God’s chariot. They have eyes all over their bodies: on their backs, wings, and even their wheels. Perhaps that is a symbol of how much they see and perceive. They carry flaming swords. They fight spiritual battles with the demons on behalf of God for the sake of the humans. They are God’s army. In the books of Revelation and Ezekial they are referred to as the four living beings with four-sided faces (eagle, calf, lion, and man). The four different faces may be symbolic of their character traits (swift, servile, powerful, and intelligent). They move like flashes of lightning. Satan is a Cherub which means that he is outranked by Seraphim and Archangels. That’s good news.
5) Thrones or Ophanim – These angels are assigned to do nothing but worship God constantly. How nice! They probably have wings, but they may not. They are stationed in the throne room of heaven, a nice place to spend eternity. Do I sound jealous? Because I’m a little bit jealous.
6) Dominions – These angels are the guardians of the humans. We more commonly refer to them as Guardian angels. They look like men and have been known to wear white linen ephods or tunics (the muumuu thing). They have two wings. Their faces glow like topaz. They keep believers’ feet from stumbling, protect them from harm, help them resist the devil and his temptations, and comfort the humans. Sometimes they physically intervene, but not often.
7) Authorities – These are the government-worker angels of heaven, taking care of running the place. I don’t know if they have wings or not. The bible doesn’t explicitly say. For the purpose of my novel, I’m giving all of the angels wings so that they are easily identified by the audience. You’re welcome.
8, 9, & 10) Principalities & Powers & Rulers – These are the fallen angels who work for Satan. I’m not clear on their order. They may be ranked according to their angel status. Since Satan is a Cherub, I have to assume that none of the Seraphim or Archangels rebelled or else we would have a different lead enemy. Some of the demons take the form of dragons. Others look like locusts with women’s heads. Some names of fallen angels have been written in the apocryphal Book of Enoch: Samyaza (aka Shemyazaz), Araqiel, Râmêêl, Kokabiel, Tamiel, Dânêl, Chazaqiel, Baraqiel, Asael, Armaros, Batariel, Bezaliel, Ananiel, Zaqiel, Shamsiel, Satariel, Turiel, Yomiel, and Sariel. They’re a mouthful, aren’t they? No wonder they never caught on. The name Rameel (aka Azazel) is used to refer to Satan.
For more reading on this subject, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_angelic_hierarchy