Concourses of Angels

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

The word "angel" means "messenger"; generally a bearer of a message from God. According to Hebrew writers of old, God makes even winds, his angels and flaming fires his ministers. (Gen. 6:2, who begat "giants" with "the daughters of men," are called "angels," (Enoch 7:2). They are, however, fallen angels, sworn to do evil. Their number is given as 200. In other ancient writings angels are represented as innumerable. According to some, 600,000 angels descended on Mt. Sinai, when the Law was given.

The angels were supposed to be organized into classes or divisions, called "thrones, dominions, virtues (meaning, strength, efficacy, as the Latin 'virtus'), princedoms, powers," etc. All these, with their commanders, the archangels, were supposed to act as mediators between God and man. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians refutes this conception, which seems to have entered the churches in Asia Minor. He does not deny the existence of angels, or their organization; but he denies that they are the intermediaries between God and man. His argument is: Christ is the very image of God; all things were created by him; whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, they were created by him and for him; he has preeminence in all things; he is, therefore, the Mediator, and the angels are his servants. (Col. 1:14-20)

In the Book of Enoch the following names and offices of the chief angels are given:

Michael and Gabriel, Raphael and Phanuel, it seems, have the special mission of casting spirits (hosts) of Zazeel (Satan) into a fiery, blazing furnace. (Book of Enoch, 35:6)

All this is, of course, fanciful, but we must not forget that in the Prophet Daniel, Michael is said to be "the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people," or that there is a "Prince of the kingdom of Persia," as well as a Michael and a Gabriel. (10:12 and 13)

According to the "Word of God," the angels are ministering spirits (Sec. 17:5-16)

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1