|“||We be light, we be life, we be fire! We sing electric flame, we rumble underground wind, we dance heaven! Come be we and be free!||„|
|~ The Seraphim.|
Seraph or Seraphim, meaning the Burning Ones, are the highest choir of angels in Heaven, being the closest to God alongside the first five Archangels.
The Seraphim are the highest angelic beings associated with the prophet Isaiah's vision of God in the Temple when God called him to his prophetic ministry. They are described as having six wings, with two wings covering their faces, two covering their feet, and two used for flight. Their voices are also said to be powerful enough to fatally kill a mere human and shatter glass. It is said that before his fall from grace, Lucifer was once a Seraphim himself and a prince of the choir.
In Kabbalah, the seraphim are the higher angels of the World of Beriah ("Creation", first created realm, divine understanding), whose understanding of their distance from the absolute divinity of Atziluth causes their continual "burning up" in self-nullification. Through this they ascend to God, and return to their place. Below them in the World of Yetzirah ("Formation", archetypal creation, divine emotions) are the Hayot angels of Ezekiel's vision, who serve God with self-aware instinctive emotions ("face of a lion, ox, eagle").
Tradition places seraphim in the highest rank in Christian angelology and in the fifth rank of ten in the Jewish angelic hierarchy. A seminal passage in the Book of Isaiah used the term to describe six-winged beings that fly around the Throne of God crying "holy, holy, holy". This throne scene, with its triple invocation of holiness, profoundly influenced subsequent theology, literature and art. Its influence is frequently seen in works depicting angels, heaven and apotheosis.
It is said that the Seraphim flew about the throne on which God was seated, singing His praises as they called special attention to God’s glory and majesty. These beings apparently also served as agents of purification. An ancient Judean seal from the 8th century BCE depicts them as flying asps, yet having human characteristics, as encountered by Isaiah in his commissioning as a prophet.
Seraphim are known to defy the laws of the universe when commanded such as when one placed a hot coal against Isaiah's lips with the words, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." It did not burn him, but instead healed. Similar to the other types of holy angels, the seraphim are perfectly obedient to God. Similar to the Cherubim, the Seraphim are particularly focused on worshipping God.
Humans can rarely detect their presence, but they are said to have four heads and six wings. They can also appear in human form. They are usually depicted as angels of fire and are described as being aflame with the love of God. They use two of their six wings to cover their feet, two covering their faces, and using two to fly.