What Are Seraphim Angels?

Izzet Keribar/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Seraphim are heavenly beings who fly above the throne of God. Seraphim, or seraphs, have six wings. They use two to fly, two to cover their faces and two to cover their feet. The book of Isaiah is the only book in the Bible that describes seraphim. The word “seraphim” is thought to be Hebrew for “burning ones” or “fiery serpents.”

According to the biblical account of the prophet Isaiah, seraphim glorify God and surround his throne singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Biblical scholars believe seraphim are personal attendants to God.

According to Christian tradition, seraphim rank highest among the angels. Jewish tradition holds that seraphim are heavenly beings separate from angels. Seraphim share some physical traits with the traditional angel, or cherubim. Some scholars believe the concept of seraphim originated in Egyptian or Babylonian mythology. Egyptian mythology featured a creature known as a “seraf,” which was half eagle and half lion that conducted dead kings to heaven. Other scholars believe that the word “seraphim” originated from the Assyrian word “sharrapu,” which is connected with the Babylonian fire god, Nergal. These scholars believe seraphim were the flames from which Nergal appeared.