November 8, 2022

On the Invisible Angelic World (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

About the Invisible World 
"I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and all things visible and invisible ..."
In addition to this visible world in which we live, there is another world - invisible, in which rational beings also live. That is why God is called the Creator of everything visible and invisible. He created everything that is in heaven and that is on earth, visible and invisible (Col. 1:16). "Invisible" - this is the invisible world, which we will talk about.

We cannot see the invisible world; how do we know that this invisible world really exists? We know that God revealed to us about Himself and there were various manifestations from Him. There are many examples of this in Holy Scripture and in the writings of the Holy Fathers. And the mind itself does not reject the existence of the invisible world, and our heart would be hurt if this invisible world did not exist: whoever has nothing left on earth has only consolation in the invisible world. So, there is an invisible, spiritual world. After all, it is only impossible to reject the existence of the invisible world because we do not see it. The invisible world is invisible only to us, and those who live there see everything in it clearly, just as we now see each other, and even much more clearly.

Who lives in this invisible world? Angels live in it. Angels are incorporeal spirits, invisible, spiritual beings. They are essentially the same as our souls, they have both mind and will, only they are more perfect and stronger than we humans. Yes, the Angels are higher than us in mind, stronger than us in strength, they see further than ours with noetic eyes, everyone knows better than us, everyone can do more than us. Man is a little lower than the Angels, but still lower (see: Ps. 8:6). This is how Angels were created in the beginning.

When they were created, this is not directly mentioned anywhere in the Holy Scriptures, only in the book of Job in one place it is said that the Angels praised God with a great voice when the stars were created. "When the stars were created, all My angels praised Me with a great voice" (Job 38:7). So the angels were created before the fourth day. What day exactly? Some holy fathers believe that the Angels were created on the first day when Heaven was created, by which they mean the invisible world, this invisible dwelling of incorporeal spirits. However, it is enough for us to know that the invisible was created before the visible and the angels before men.

All Angels were created good and pure, but not all of them kept themselves so - some of them became proud, dreamed highly of themselves, did not obey God and thus fell away from God. Pride always destroys everyone, people and Angels, and disobedience never leads anyone to good. Those Angels who remained submissive to God, obedient, became even kinder, even holier, even firmer in good, so that with the help of God's grace they can no longer become thin, evil. And those who have fallen away from God have now become so evil that it is no longer possible for them to become good. So, Angels are of two properties: one - kind and pure while others are evil, unclean. How big is their number? There are so many of them that in the word of God it is said about them that there are whole legions of evil, unclean ones and thousands of thousands, thousands of those who are good, holy, singing, crying out and saying:

Indeed, both earth and heaven are full of Your glory, O Lord! Amen.

About Good Spirits

When we, the listeners, see a beautiful, intelligent child, we speak of them being like an angel. When we see a person who is very kind to everyone, affectionate, or pure, holy in life, we say about them: they are an angel, not a human. When we hear those who sing well, we say that they are like the angels were singing.

What are Angels?

Good spirits, invisible creatures, marvelous in beauty, marvelous in their bright mind, holy will, mighty strength, the kindest, most blessed beings, constantly rejoicing and singing with joy.

Where are these angels?

In heaven, in heavenly paradise. There are angels not in Heaven, not in heavenly paradise, but in the underworld, in hell, but those are evil angels. There are good angels in heaven. Yes, there are angels of two properties: one is good, the other is evil.

Where is Heaven, that paradise in which are the good angels?

It is usually placed up above, above us, behind this visible sky, where Jesus Christ ascended, where the Blessed Virgin Mary ascended, where Elijah and Enoch were taken, where the Apostle Paul was caught up for a time. In a word, Heaven, paradise is there, in the invisible, spiritual world, where God's light, God's glory, God's joy is revealed in all its splendor, where is the blessed Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Oh, remember me, Lord, remember me in that Kingdom of Yours! Why are they, these good Angels, called Angels? The word "Angel" means "messenger". So, good angels are God's messengers, God's par excellence. Yes, they primarily proclaim God, proclaim how God is good, wise, omnipotent. God's omnipotence, God's wisdom, God's goodness in none of the created beings is so much visible as in them, the Angels. Proclaiming the glory of God, they primarily proclaim the will of God. No one fulfills God's will, God's law so sacredly as Angels. Loving God with the most ardent love, they ceaselessly stand before Him, see and look at Him in order to fly off according to His will, to do what He commands, or to be where He sends.

How do Angels proclaim, how do they express their joy in God, their love for Him?

Incessant chants. They sing unceasingly, rejoicing, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory." This they were heard singing and seen by the prophet Isaiah, John the Theologian, the apostle Paul and other holy men of God.

Reverent before God, the Angels are filled with love for each other and for people.

How do angels express their love for each other? With their common chants. There are countless of them, thousands of thousands, a myriad, and it is impossible to imagine how many there are. According to some holy fathers, there ninety-nine times more angels than people in the world. By their nature, they are all equal and all perfect, but they differ in strength, in dignity - some are lower, others are higher, still others are even higher, and some are, as it were, in command, others, as it were, subordinates. They are considered nine ranks, and these ranks are divided into three orders: in the first order - Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones; in the second - Dominions, Virtues, Powers; in the third - Principalities, Archangels and Angels. So many angels differ from each other, despite that they are always together, looking at each other with love, bowing to each other.

How do angels express their love for us, for people?

Staying in Heaven, Angels, by their love for people and by God's will, are also on earth. With us they glorify God, sometimes they praise audibly, they sing, as, for example, the shepherds of Bethlehem heard their singing. Especially in the church and mainly at the Liturgy, they are always invisibly with us, they enter the altar with the clergy to glorify God, to accompany the King of all, who is coming to us, entering to be sacrificed and given to the faithful as food. Yes, pious listener, the orders of angels invisibly escort Jesus Christ to you when you partake of His Body and Blood.

How can angels be both in heaven and on earth?

In their essence, Angels are the same as our human soul, but they have neither a human body nor anything visible; they are incorporeal, they are pure spirits, only for a while they can take the form of a person, so that the one to whom they, by the will of God, sometimes appear, can see them, hear them; appearing, doing, saying what is needed, immediately they depart, become invisible. So, having nothing bodily, Angels quickly, as if on wings, like our thoughts, can descend to earth and again ascend to Heaven in the same way. With our thought or desire, we can be everywhere, in Heaven and on earth, but Angels can be everywhere with their whole being, that is, with their mind, and will, and their power; only at the same time they cannot be everywhere, they can be anywhere where God sends them, being the only omnipresent one. Yes, arranging the salvation of people, the Lord God sends Angels to proclaim His will to people; so, for example, an angel was sent to announce to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Savior of the world.

Wishing everyone to be saved and come to the understanding of the truth, the Lord God sends Angels to serve those who are being saved, to keep them from troubles, from visible and invisible enemies, to teach goodness, truth, to lead them away from sin, from unrighteousness. Yes, Angels serve us, admonish us, instruct us, save us, help us in everything, help our prayers ascend to God. In general, where people are, where people need what they need from God or to God, there are always angels with them, where the Lord always sends them, His messengers. These Angels sent by God to people are called guardian angels, mentors. And such Angels are in every village, in every city, in every region, in every state, in every monastery, in every Christian church. Every person has such guardian angels.

As soon as a person is born and baptized, a special angel is immediately given to him by God as guardians, as mentors. And from that time on, the guardian angel remains forever with the person; with him a person lives, with him he dies, with him he enters the other world, with him he appears at the Last Judgment.

How can guardian angels help us, instruct us, keep us? Because they can, they are higher than us in mind, stronger than us in strength; although they are not omniscient, not omnipotent, but with their noetic eyes they see further than ours, they know more than ours, and with their power they can do more than ours.

How exactly do angels help us?

Invisibly, inaudibly. Apparently guardian angels can instruct, audibly instruct only by a special command of God, in cases of emergency, when God's order cannot otherwise be fulfilled, as it is heard. For example, an angel is heard to Joseph in a dream saying: "Get up, take the Baby and His Mother and flee to Egypt." The angels appeared to the myrrhbearing women at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and audibly said: "Get up ..." An angel appeared and audibly said to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would conceive and give birth to a Son. Such phenomena are miraculous phenomena, and God alone creates miracles.

So, usually the Angels always help us with their invisible presence with us. Yes, my guardian angel is always with me; he is with me when I do; he is with me when I think, wish, decide; he is with me when I speak, sing, read, write; he is with me when I serve, I pray; he is with me when I study, learn, work, labor, drink, eat, etc., when I do something for the glory of God, he is all with me; he is with me when I keep myself from everything - from sins, from troubles, from all enemies, from all dangers. Acting in this way all with the Guardian Angel, I am enlightened, illuminated by his mind, which is higher, brighter than my mind, and I am protected, strengthened by his power, which is stronger, more powerful than my powers.

If my guardian angel had not been with me, I would not have known, I would not have understood the truth so clearly and would not have wished, I would not have done good things so diligently, and I would not have served, I would not have prayed so fervently to God; if my guardian angel had not been with me, I would not have saved myself from sin, from delusion, and so easily would not have got rid of misfortune, danger, everything hostile, harmful, reckless to me. Yes, our guardian angel helps us precisely because, although invisibly, he is with us always, everywhere, at any time, in any place.

How does it happen to us when we sin?

Then he goes away. Yes, my guardian angel does not come to me when I do evil plots, talking, singing, reading, writing; my guardian angel moves away from me when I grumble, annoy, get angry, scold, lie, deceive, offend, condemn, envy, vilify - in a word, my good guardian angel is far from me when I do unkind, bad things. Yes, if I do not keep myself from what is sinful, harmful, hostile to me, the guardian angel will not save me. Without my desire for salvation, deliverance, without my efforts, actions about myself, the guardian angel does nothing for me, because then he moves away from me. Angels keep innocent children without their participation, so to speak, without their knowledge. And not children, but all innocent people are kept by Angels, and they are also kept without knowledge, without participation.

What does our Angel do when we sin? The good ones know what to do when they themselves cannot help someone personally due to remoteness - they pray to God.

And my guardian, the good Angel, moving away from me, prays for me, so that the Lord would enlighten me, keep me from sin, stop me, so that I would change my mind, feel better, so that I would repent as soon as possible, and if I even begin to repent a little, he will immediately be with me again. I will cry, and he will rejoice. And oh, how our guardian angel rejoices when we weep for sins, and he is not alone - after him all the holy angels in Heaven rejoice when we repent, when we weep! That is why our tears for sins are so sweet to us; tears for sins respond with angelic joy.

So, the guardian angels keep, instruct us with their light, their power and their prayer for us.

And what are these special guardians of regions, states, cities, villages, monasteries, churches and other human societies, when every person has his own guardian angel? Those Angels are higher, they are brighter, more powerful than our guardian angels, and with that light people in common affairs are illuminated, enlightened, by their power people are protected and strengthened in common troubles.

So, this is what good angels are.

Christian Listener! Do you rejoice in God's angels? Do you rejoice when you hear that there are invisible beings who have the brightest mind, the most powerful strength, the most kind, loving beings, always ready to help everyone, the most blessed beings, constantly rejoicing and singing with joy incessantly, incessantly singing? Do you rejoice that there are such beings?

Oh, we rejoice, Lord, we rejoice at Your wonderfully beautiful, blessed Angels, we rejoice, because they are Yours, that You created them such, because they rejoice so much about You, they sing to You like that, to You, our God: Holy, Holy Holy Lord of Hosts, heaven and earth be filled with Thy glory! And we sing to you with them, we cry, and if forever and ever we would sing with them like that! Amen.

About Evil Spirits

Unclean spirits, unclean powers, evil spirits, dark demons, unclean demons, Satan, the devil and his angels... Who are they? By their nature, they are the same as the good Angels, that is, they are invisible, incorporeal beings, endowed with mind, will and power, only evil in their properties. Yes, these are those evil spirits or angels that are not in Heaven, but in hell, in the underworld. They, these evil angels, although fewer than good ones, are still very many, many without number, whole legions, and of them there are lower, higher, strong, strongest, evil, worst, and Satan the devil - he is the main one, most evil and strong.

The place where evil spirits are located is called the underworld, that is, the lowest place, the most distant from Heaven and completely opposite to Heaven; it is called hell, that is, the place most gloomy, dark, and is simply called outer darkness; it is also called fiery hell, that is, a place full of inextinguishable, tormenting fire, and is simply called eternal fire, eternal torment. What does it mean? This means that where there are evil spirits, there is none of God's light, but there is always darkness, always terrible darkness, terrible darkness. There is not and never is there any joy of God, but always there is sadness, sighing, torment and suffering - torment as from fire, suffering to the gnashing of teeth.

Why is this place so gloomy, terrible, why is there such suffering, torment? It is not the place itself that is there, but evil spirits, angels make it so. What are evil angels? Beings who do not love God, do not glorify God, do not rejoice in God, who are angry with God, are angry that He is good, that He loves people, and who, hating God and everything good and holy, do only evil, pernicious, disastrous, that is, they do exactly what makes them suffer, moan, sigh. So from them, from these evil spirits, who do not love to praise God and rejoice in God, and there is no light of God, there is no joy of God where they are; it is their torment, suffering, groans, cries that are heard there. Evil angels are so evil that they want to suffer more, to suffer, to moan, to sigh, if only not to praise God, not to rejoice in God.

Why are they evil? The all-good God did not create anything evil, harmful, pernicious, and did not create any of the creatures for evil, for torment, for suffering. Every creation of God serves everyone for the good, for the benefit, for joy, for fun, and every creation was created by God for the enjoyment of life, for peace, for joy, for bliss. Such and for this purpose were created by God the evil angels, that is, the good ones. But they themselves became evil, they themselves did not want to be what and for what God created them, they did not want to be calm, contented, that is, they did not want to rejoice, be beatified, praising and blessing God who created them.

How did evil spirits reach such a state that, knowing and feeling how disastrous and painful it is to be evil, they nevertheless remain evil. Do they not want not to be angry, do they not want not to be tormented, not to suffer? Pride brought them to this. One of them, the most important, Lucifer, shining, like the morning dawn, with God's light and beauty, full of God's joy, possessing God's special power and strength, considering his perfections, stared at himself and, forgetting his Creator, forgetting that everything he had God's gifts, fell silent, stopped singing to God, dreamed about himself and thought: “I can, I can ... with such powers, what can I not do? Oh, I myself can become all-blissful, all-satisfied, like the Most High.”

Such a dream of himself and silence about God was noticed under his influence and superiors by the angels who also paid attention to their merits, and also began to fall silent, forgetting to sing of the One whose creations they are. And now the silence about God in Heaven began to spread, now the praise of the Almighty began to subside; the temptation was for all the Angels, everyone could be carried away by Lucifer. At this time, Archangel Michael suddenly exclaimed in a loud voice: "Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit;" after him, millions solemnly sang: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory." And the morning star, not wanting to join the singing, by singing them, as if struck by thunder, fell like lightning from the sky, and after him all his subordinates, of one mind. The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, spoke about this fall of the Lucifer: "I saw Satan fall like likening from Heaven."

With the fall of the evil spirits, the good Angels became still more firmly good, they became even closer to God, they loved Him even more fervently, so that it is impossible that they, constantly seeing the Lord of Hosts before them, could ever stop singing to Him, rejoice in Him. And the fallen spirits, having not become calm, blissful in themselves, like the Almighty, forever remained evil, forever fell away from God, so that it is impossible that they would ever turn to God, become good. Eternally angry, they will forever suffer, but they will not want to be blessed due to God's mercy from pride.

What do evil angels have to do with people?

Themselves, without the consent of people, especially without the permission of God, evil angels cannot have any influence on people and cannot do us any harm. But God, not wanting to hamper anyone's freedom, allows evil angels to do evil for people on earth for the time being, and people, due to their weakness, tend to obey them, to agree with them to do evil to themselves. Yes, without restricting the freedom of evil angels, God allows them to act on people, but, however, in such a way that they do not use violence against a single person, so that they also never restrict the freedom of people in anything.

How can evil angels harm people?

They, like the good Angels, are both higher in mind and stronger in strength than people. The chief of them in terms of strength and influence on people is called the prince of this world and the prince of the power of the air. That is why such terrifying, inhuman deeds happen on earth, which people, without the participation of evil angels, could not have thought up and without their assistance they would not have been able to carry out. And therefore there is no evil on earth in which evil angels would not take part, and there is no one who perished who would perish without their assistance.

What kind of evil angels do evil to people?

God wishes all people good, salvation, peace, blessedness; evil angels oppose this - that is why the chief of them is called Satan, that is, the adversary of God - they oppose the will of God about people and want to spite God, that all people, like them, perish, that everyone be evil, suffer. And so they try in every possible way so that people do not know God, so that they do not believe in Him; their whole concern is about this, because people become evil, lost, depraved, villains; they come precisely from this, from ignorance of God, from disbelief in Him.

What do evil angels do so that people do not know God, do not believe in Him?

They resort to slander, to lies, to deceit, to seduction; that is why the chief of them is called the father of lies and the devil, that is, the slanderer and deceiver. Yes, evil spirits lie, slander that there is no God, and His commandments are not needed at all, that without God and without His commandments one can live calmly, cheerfully, you will even be calmer if you begin to live and act according to your own will, according to your own understanding. In general, whatever you can think of, say, write against God, against His being and properties, against His deeds and teachings - all this evil spirits support and strengthen in people. And how God is glorified on earth, what serves to the knowledge of Him, what is done for His glory, from what His will is done, what is arranged for the salvation of people.

Thus, they support idolatry so that people worship false gods, do not know the true God; they sow and support heresies, schisms - so that people, living by faith invented by themselves, do not believe in the true God; they support every kind of slander against the Holy Church, its teachings and statutes, its teachers and pastors, so that those who do not believe in the Holy Church, listening to these slanders, do not believe in it, in which alone they worship the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; they stir up, support everywhere oppression, persecution of our Orthodox Church, in order to weaken and shake faith in the true God in us believers. They, the evil spirits, stir up the world, supporting and intensifying strife, disagreements, muddying the water and air, exciting and spreading destructive waves, corrupting winds, so that people are fearful, suffer, are tormented, perished, forget God. Yes, the world, that is, evil people, the forces of resistance - this is the residence, the property of evil spirits, where they act with full power to destroy people. The evil spirits show their malice especially towards the souls of the dead, striving to keep them in their area, preventing them from ascending to Heaven, to the Kingdom of God.

And so, this is what the evil angels want, what the evil angels seek by all means: that there should be no Kingdom of God, that is, that no one should know God, that no one should believe in Him.

Does a person have a special evil angel, like a guardian angel? Before baptism, a person is under the power of evil angels; therefore, the Holy Church, at baptism, drives away every evil, unclean spirit from the catechumens. Thus, with you, Christian listener, there is no special evil spirit, but each of them is always ready to do evil to you, they are only waiting for a sign of your consent.

How do we give a sign to the evil spirit that we agree to listen to him, obey him? Thoughts, our desires are evil, wrong, sinful. Yes, when I begin to think evil, wrong, sinful, to desire evil, wrong, sinful, then by this I let the evil spirit know that I agree to listen to him, and he immediately begins to act on me. And so, as usual, slandering against God, renewing in my memory with my own explanations everything that I only ever thought, heard, read, spoke against God and His commandments, seducing me, suggesting, explaining, proving why I can, why should I, have the right, reason, need to think, do, say what I want, what I want, what I think. So deceived by the evil spirit, I finally, as drunk with evil wine, forget myself, forget that there is a God, and evil,

Acting on the soul of a person, evil spirits can also act on his body, disturbing, confusing his spirit and thus supporting his bodily illnesses, intensifying them so that the sick person forgets about God or murmurs against Him. So the evil spirit did with the righteous Job the Long-suffering, although he did not bring him to what he wanted. Evil spirits can even inhabit a person and torment his body, torment him with terrible torments. This is how they acted and act in those people who are called possessed.

Are evil angels visible to man?

Just as good angels visibly appear by God’s special command, so evil angels, too, can sometimes visibly appear only by God’s special permission. So, they appeared to saints and ascetics of piety in various foreign forms. Without God's special permission and allowance, by themselves, arbitrarily evil spirits apparently cannot appear to people; it is impossible for them, because they are spirits, they have no flesh, no form visible to us. Yes, and it is impossible for us to see evil spirits with bodily eyes, and it is also impossible for them to arbitrarily appear visibly to us. They sometimes act, apparently of their own free will, on our soul, when they support and strengthen in us against our desire, we are tormented by impure, filthy, blasphemous thoughts against God and everything holy, divine.

So, this is how evil angels relate to all people and to each of us. They are enemies to us, enemies of our salvation, enemies of our peace, enemies of our blessings. Yes, they are evil, strong enemies, but we have against them - God Almighty and Jesus Christ, the conqueror of hell. At my mere thought that there is a God, at my one word: "Lord Jesus", at one sign of the cross on me, evil spirits flee from me, scatter, disappear. Torturing our thoughts, against our desire, put into our souls by evil spirits, those impure, foul, blasphemous thoughts that sometimes come to us during the most holy occupations, and these tormenting thoughts, one has only to calmly breathe and spit on them, they immediately disappear, vanish.

What awaits the future of evil spirits?

Through the mouths of the people tormented by them, the so-called possessed, they said to Jesus Christ, when He wanted to expel them: "What have you to do with us, Jesus, the Son of God? You came hither to torment us before the time?"(Mt. 8:29). So, the evil spirits are waiting for torment, or, to put it better, they are waiting for the torment that will come after the Second Coming of Christ to earth and that will be eternal. Yes, the torment of evil beings, who from pride want to suffer forever better rather than to turn to a merciful God with a prayer, will be eternal torment; the fire they have prepared for themselves will never be quenched.

Christian Listeners! Have you heard of evil angels? What are they telling us? Of course, the same thing that everything that exists says: there is a God. Yes, evil angels by their being, by their anger and malice, by their deeds and sufferings, say that there is a God; there is an omnipotent, eternal goodness, which life gives to everything that can only live, exist; there is an omnipotent, eternal truth, which according to deeds rewards everyone who can only do, act; there is an omnipotent, eternal wisdom, which alone can explain everything and in due time will explain why something is and not otherwise, why it happens, why it will be.

So, there is an invisible power, impure, unkind, there are evil spirits, unimaginably evil, just as people are evil, incredibly evil. But I am not afraid of them, Lord, I am not afraid, for You are with me, for I believe in the one God the Father the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth,  and of all things visible and invisible. Amen.