[This is taken from Augustine Calmet's Phantom World, originally published in 1850, revised and edited by D. J. McAdam, 2010.]
The apparitions or appearances of good angels are frequently mentioned in the books of the Old Testament. He who was stationed at the entrance of the terrestrial Paradise was a cherub, armed with a flaming sword; those who appeared to Abraham, and who promised that he should have a son; those who appeared to Lot, and predicted to him the ruin of Sodom, and other guilty cities; he who spoke to Hagar in the desert, and commanded her to return to the dwelling of Abraham, and to remain submissive to Sarah, her mistress; those who appeared to Jacob, on his journey into Mesopotamia, ascending and descending the mysterious ladder; he who taught him how to cause his sheep to bring forth young differently marked; he who wrestled with Jacob on his return from Mesopotamia,— were angels of light, and benevolent ones; the same as he who spoke with Moses from the burning bush on Horeb, and who gave him the tables of the law on Mount Sinai. That Angel who takes generally the name of God, and acts in his name, and with his authority; who served as a guide to the Hebrews in the desert, hidden during the day in a dark cloud, and shining during the night; he who spoke to Balaam, and threatened to kill his she-donkey; he, lastly, who contended with Satan for the body of Moses; all these angels were without doubt good angels.
We must think the same of him who presented himself armed to Joshua on the plain of Jericho, and who declared himself head of the army of the Lord; it is believed, with reason, that it was the angel Michael. He who showed himself to the wife of Manoah, the father of Samson, and afterwards to Manoah himself. He who announced to Gideon that he should deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites. The angel Gabriel, who appeared to Daniel, at Babylon; and Raphael who conducted the young Tobias to Rages, in Media.
The prophecy of the Prophet Zechariah is full of visions of angels. In the books of the Old Testament the throne of the Lord is described as resting on cherubim; and the God of Israel is represented as having before his throne seven principal angels, always ready to execute his orders, and four cherubim singing his praises, and adoring his sovereign holiness; the whole making a sort of allusion to what they saw in the court of the ancient Persian kings, where there were seven principal officers who saw his face, approached his person, and were called the eyes and ears of the king.
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