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The ophanim (
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
: ''ʿōp̄annīm'', "wheels"; singular: ''ʿōp̄ān''), alternatively spelled ''auphanim'' or ''ofanim'', and also called ''galgalim'' (Hebrew: ''galgallīm'', "spheres", "wheels", "whirlwinds"; singular: ''galgal''), refer to the wheels seen in
Ezekiel Ezekiel (; he, יְחֶזְקֵאל ''Yĕḥezqēʾl'' ; in the Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine ...

Ezekiel
's vision of the chariot (Hebrew ) in . One of the
Dead Sea scrolls The Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are and religious first found in 1947 at the in what was then , near in the , on the northern shore of the . Dating back to between the and the , the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered ...

Dead Sea scrolls
(4Q405) construes them as angels; late sections of the
Book of Enoch The Book of Enoch (also 1 Enoch; gez, መጽሐፈ ሄኖክ, ) is an Second Temple Judaism, ancient Hebrew Apocalyptic literature, apocalyptic religious text, ascribed by tradition to Enoch (Biblical figure), Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noa ...
(61:10, 71:7) portray them as a class of
celestial Celestial may refer to: Science * Objects or events seen in the sky and the following astronomical terms: ** Astronomical object, a naturally occurring physical entity, association, or structure that exists in the observable universe ** Celesti ...

celestial
beings who (along with the
Cherubim A cherub (; plural cherubim; he, כְּרוּב ''kərūv'', pl. ''kərūvîm'') is one of the unearthly beings who directly attend to God, according to Abrahamic religions. The numerous depictions of cherubim assign to them many different ro ...
and
Seraphim A seraph (, "the burning one"; plural seraphim ) is a type of celestial or heavenly being originating in Ancient Judaism. The term plays a role in subsequent Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Tradition places seraphim in the highest rank in Ch ...

Seraphim
) never sleep, but guard the throne of
God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...

God
. These "wheels" have been associated with (mentioned as , traditionally "the wheels of ", in "fiery flame" and "burning fire") of the four, eye-covered wheels (each composed of two nested wheels), that move next to the winged Cherubim, beneath the throne of God. The four wheels move with the Cherubim because the spirit of the Cherubim is in them. The late
Second Book of Enoch The Second Book of Enoch (abbreviated as 2 Enoch and also known as Slavonic Enoch, Slavic Enoch or Secrets of Enoch) is a pseudepigraphic Pseudepigrapha (also :wikt:anglicized, anglicized as "pseudepigraph" or "pseudepigraphs") are false attrib ...
(20:1, 21:1) also referred to them as the "many-eyed ones". The First Book of Enoch (71.7) seems to imply that the Ophanim are equated to the "
ThronesA throne is a seat of state for a potentate or dignitary. Throne or Thrones may also mean: People *Throne (surname) Arts and entertainment *The Throne (group), collaboration pseudonym for rappers Jay Z and Kanye West (as on Drake's "Pop Style") *Th ...
" in Christianity when it lists them all together, in order: "...round about were Seraphim, Cherubim, and Ophannim".


Function

It is said that they were the actual wheels of the Lord's Heavenly Chariot (
Merkabah Merkabah/Merkavah ( he, מרכבה) mysticism (or Chariot mysticism) is a school of early Jewish mysticism, c. 100 BCE – 1000 CE, centered on visions such as those found in the Book of Ezekiel chapter 1, or in the '' heikhalot'' ("palaces" ...
). "The four wheels had rims and they had spokes, and their rims were full of eyes round about." They are also frequently referred to as "many-eyed ones."


Ophanim in specific spiritual traditions


Ophanim in Judaism

Maimonides Moses ben Maimon ; (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides ( ) grc-gre, Μωυσής Μαϊμωνίδης ; la, Moses Maimonides and also referred to by the acronym Rambam ( he, רמב״ם),, for ''Rabbeinu Mōše bēn Maimun'', "Our Ra ...

Maimonides
lists Ophanim as the closest of angels to God in his exposition of the
Jewish angelic hierarchy In Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin origin c. 1400) is an Abrahamic primarily ethni ...
.


In prayer

The
kedusha Kedushah ( he, קְדֻשָּׁה) is a Hebrew language, Hebrew word meaning "holiness". The term is frequently used in Judaism to describe God, and worldly items can also have holy status. "Kedushah" is also the name of a prayer in Judaism which ...
section in the morning prayer (in the blessings preceding the recitation of the
Shema ''Shema Yisrael'' (''Shema Israel'' or ''Sh'ma Yisrael''; he , שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל; "Hear, O Israel") is a Jewish prayer (known as the Shema) that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services Je ...

Shema
) includes the phrase, "The ''ophanim'' and the holy living creatures with great uproar raise themselves up; facing the ''seraphim'' they offer praise, saying, 'Blessed be God's glory from His place." The inspiration behind this particular passage is
Ezekiel Ezekiel (; he, יְחֶזְקֵאל ''Yĕḥezqēʾl'' ; in the Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine ...

Ezekiel
's
vision Vision or The Vision may refer to: Perception Optical perception * Visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment through photopic vision (daytime vision), color visio ...
(ch. i.). The theme of angels praising God was inserted into the passage by paytanim (Jewish liturgical poets). Ophanim are mentioned in the ''el adon'' prayer, often sung by the congregation, as part of the traditional
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by , is 's day of rest on the seventh day of the —i.e., . On this day, religious remember the biblical stories describing the and the redem ...

Shabbat
morning Morning is the period from sunrise 250px, Skyline of Kaohsiung harbour, Taiwan at sunrise.">Taiwan.html" ;"title="Kaohsiung harbour, Taiwan">Kaohsiung harbour, Taiwan at sunrise. Sunrise (or sunup) is the moment when the upper rim of the Sun ...
service. In the Jewish angelic hierarchy thrones and wheels are different. This is also true in the Kabbalistic angelic hierarchy.


Thrones in the Orthodox Church

''
De Coelesti Hierarchia ''De Coelesti Hierarchia'' ( grc-gre, Περὶ τῆς Οὐρανίας Ἱεραρχίας, "On the Celestial Hierarchy") is a Pseudo-Dionysian work on angelology, written in Greek language, Greek and dated to ca. AD the 5th century; it exerte ...
'' refers to the
ThronesA throne is a seat of state for a potentate or dignitary. Throne or Thrones may also mean: People *Throne (surname) Arts and entertainment *The Throne (group), collaboration pseudonym for rappers Jay Z and Kanye West (as on Drake's "Pop Style") *Th ...
from the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
description as the third Order of the first sphere, the other two superior orders being the Cherubim and Seraphim. This view was also accepted by the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
and by
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
.


Lord of the Flame in the Western Wisdom Teachings

''
The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception 270px, Mount Ecclesia, The Ecclesia's facade at The Rosicrucian Fellowship: the school founded by Max Heindel around the time ''The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception'' was written. ''The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception or Mystic Christianity'' (also known ...
'' refers that the "Lord of the Flame", the Hierarchy of
Elohim ''Elohim'' (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...
astrologically assigned to
Leo Leo is the Latin word for "lion". Leo or LEO may refer to: * Leo (astrology), an astrological sign * Leo (constellation), a constellation in the sky Arts and entertainment * Leo (band), a Missouri-based rock band that was founded in Clevelan ...
, are the Thrones (from the Old Testament description, "because of the brilliant luminosity of their bodies and their great spiritual powers."); the other two superior hierarchies being also the Cherubim and Seraphim. According to this conception, the heavenly Seraphim and Cherubim as well as the Ophanim continue to aid humans in spiritual evolution; as do the heavenly Archangels and Angels.


See also

*
Chalkydri Chalkydri ( grc, χαλκύδραι ''khalkýdrai'', compound of ''khalkós'' "brass, copper" + ''hýdra'' " hydra", "water-serpent" — lit. "brazen hydras", "copper serpents") are mythical creatures mentioned in the apocryphal Second Book o ...
*
Seven archangels#REDIRECT Seven Archangels Image:Archangels.JPG, 200px, thumbnail, ''"Synaxis of the Archangel Michael"'' ("Собор Архистратига Михаила"). An Eastern Orthodox Church icon of the "Seven Archangels". From left to right: Jophiel, ...


References

{{Angels in Abrahamic religions Angels in Christianity Angels in Judaism Book of Enoch Classes of angel Ezekiel Eyes in culture