Satan was once an angel, but was expelled from heaven because of his pride.

What type of angel is he now? A seraph, a cherub, or something else?

5 Answers 5


This answer will be based on the Catholic traditions in regards to Satan and the nine choirs of angels.

Although it is now generally accept that there are nine choirs of angel and each choir is of angel is different and ranked accordingly.

During the Middle Ages, many schemes were proposed, some drawing on and expanding on Pseudo-Dionysius, others suggesting completely different classifications. According to medieval Christian theologians, the angels are organized into several orders, or "Angelic Choirs

Pseudo-Dionysius (On the Celestial Hierarchy) and Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica) drew on passages from the New Testament, specifically Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16, to develop a schema of three Hierarchies, Spheres or Triads of angels, with each Hierarchy containing three Orders or Choirs. Although both authors drew on the New Testament, the Biblical canon is relatively silent on the subject, and these hierarchies are considered less definitive than biblical material.

Choirs in medieval theology

St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica (1225–1274):

  1. Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones;

  2. Dominations, Virtues, and Powers;

  3. Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. - Christian angelology (Wikipedia)

St Thomas Aquinas' list is by far the most widely accepted list of angelic choirs and places the Seraphic order of angel as being at the highest level of angels followed by the Cherubim, and so on. According to St Thomas:

  1. The angels that rebelled and became demons did not lose their nature or their connatural gifts. They cast away, by their sin, the grace in which they were created. They did not cast away the beatific vision, for they never had it. Now, if we think of angelic orders as orders of angels in glory, then, of course, there are no orders of bad angels. But if we consider angelic orders as order of angelic nature simply, there are orders among the demons.

  2. Certainly, there is a precedence among bad angels; there is a subjection of some to others.

  3. Demons of superior nature do not enlighten inferior demons; enlightenment here could only mean the manifestation of truth with reference to God, and the fallen angels have perversely and permanently turned away from God. But demons can speak to one another, that is, they can make known their thoughts to one another, that is, they can make known their thoughts to one another, for this ability belongs to the angelic nature which the demons retain.

  4. The nearer creatures are to God the greater is their rule over other creatures. Therefore, the good angels rule and control the demons. - ORDERS AMONG THE FALLEN ANGELS

This stated it only makes sense that Satan was a Seraphim, for surely some of the Seraphim fell in great revolt against God. Although one can not say with certainty it is generally believed Satan was a Seraphim.


  1. Lucifer who became Satan, leader of the fallen angels, wished to be as God. This prideful desire was not a wish to be equal to God, for Satan knew by his natural knowledge that equality of creature with creator is utterly impossible. Besides, no creature actually desires to destroy itself, even to become something greater. On this point man sometimes deceives himself by a trick of imagination; he imagines himself to be another and greater being, and yet it is himself that is somehow this other being. But an angel has no sense-faculty of imagination to abuse in this fashion. The angelic intellect, with its clear knowledge, makes such self-deception impossible. Lucifer knew that to be equal with God, he would have to be God, and he knew perfectly that this could not be. What he wanted was to be as God; he wished to be like God in a way not suited to his nature, such as to create things by his own power, or to achieve final beatitude without God's help, or to have command over others in a way proper to God alone.

  2. Lucifer, chief of the sinning angels, was probably the highest of all the angels. But there are some who think that Lucifer was highest only among the rebel angels. - ANGELS: FROM THE TEACHINGS OF SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS

  • It certainly makes sense that he would have come from the highest rank of Angels per his status as leader of the fallen angels.
    – DukeZhou
    Jan 15, 2017 at 19:12
  • PS- could you clarify on the references. Feel like it needs to be explicit that the 3rd highlighted section is Aquinas.
    – DukeZhou
    Jan 15, 2017 at 19:14
  • 1
    I think seraphim is plural, seraph being the singular. Sep 22, 2017 at 23:05
  • According to Milton, that unfallen being who in falling became Satan (his former name forgotten) was in command of a full third of the heavenly host. That suggests highest rank, though it is conceivable that military officers were systematically drawn from sub-seraphic orders--as in the Mahabharata they are Kshatriya, even though Brahmanas nominally outrank them. Sep 22, 2017 at 23:09
  • Also in Milton, though Abdiel proved by example that being in the Northern Division of the heavenly host (under the command of him who would become Satan) did not have to mean that an angel fell--free will and all--still, all the Northern Division did in fact fall except Abdiel, and no others did. I would need the total n of the heavenly host to run a chi-square test to determine the probability of the null hypothesis that Milton seems here to be assuming, but it is clearly minuscule. Sep 22, 2017 at 23:11

If we were to leave to expand or literature beyond Christianity for the sake of understanding angels we could look at the Qur 'an. Here we have beings called the Djinn, they were another cast of beings who had powers beyond that of man but also had free will like man. If Lucifer was indeed an angel he would not be able to rebel against the will of God. But if he were perhaps a Djinn he could do so. shaytan-jinn where jinn that where also called demons... these beings are known for their wickedness, trickery, and doing favors for humans for something else in return.Christians do not call these beings djinn and instead refer to them purely as demons, Muslims believe demons are a specific type of djinn. However it could also be the case that Lucifer may have been a hybrid of both angel and djinn. Meaning any rank would not matter to him because he was something else entirely, and perhaps being a hybrid made him more powerful than the elite angels anyway. The Djinn are said to have inhabited our world before man arrived, and that they, for the most part became corrupt and abused their powers, god sent angels to destroy the wicked djinn and replaced their dominion with mankind. Now this could have also been what added fuel to them rebellion as well. But anyways since angels cannot rebel yet Lucifer was an angel...would mean he could have been a hybrid of some sort.


The Bible say:- [] Added

NWT Ezekiel 28:16, 17 "So I [God] will cast you [Satan] out as profane from the mountain of God and destroy you, O covering cherub, away from the stones of fire. 17 Your heart became haughty because of your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom because of your own glorious splendor.. . .


Satan is described as being serpent looking - therefore he must be a seraph. At least part seraph.

  • 2
    An interesting perspective. Do you think you could point us to sources that describe Satan as serpentine? Also, can you elaborate on why that makes him a seraph?
    – yannis
    Feb 27, 2019 at 9:18

It´s pretty clear according to Ezekiel 28 that he is called a cherub. YET, very interestingly, when the Lord instructed Moses in Numbers to make the serpent and mount it on a pole, the actual word used in Hebrew is “seraph”, which is the singular form of the plural “seraphim”.

The Hebrew word “seraphim” is used in Isaiah 6 when the prophet sees God´s throne room and describes the amazing creatures there and calls them seraphim. The English translators simply transcribed the Hebrew word into English and redenred it “seraphim” in these verses in Isaiah.

Yet in others contexts where the Hebrew word “seraph” is used, it refers to snakes, the actual slithering reptile. And the translations in English do translate it as “snakes” or “fiery serpents” in those contexts.

Why the change? I read one commentary that stated that the translators did not want to use “fiery serpents” for the holy creatures in Isaiah because of the negative connotaion the word “serpent” has and using it to describe the holy creatrues would be problematic. So not knowing what to do, the translators just transcribed it into “seraphim.” Now when Numbers speaks about the snakes that bit the Israelites it uses another word for snake, “na-chash”. But when the Lord spoke about making one and lifting it up on a pole, He used “SERAPH”!!!!!

So it would read like this: “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a SERAPH (fiery serpent) and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” Num. 21:8. So, we could also translate it this way when the Lord refers to that verse in John 3:14, “Just as Moses lifted up the SERAPH (snake) in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.”

Obviously the picture of the venomous snakes is a picture of Satan and sin, and the pole of the Son of Man being lifted up on the cross and made sin on our behalf. Yet He refers to Satan as a SERAPH!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe Satan was like a combo of both cherub and seraph. This might even be related to having a dual function of priest and king. In Revelation 4, the living creatures are similar to the cherubim described in Ezekiel, but have 6 wings like the seraphim in Isaiah. So even there, they seem to be a combo cherub-seraph.

Whehter cherub or seraph or both, looks like he might have not been an archangel, but this kind of other creature, even higher than archangels. Even Michael the archangel would not pronounce a reviling judgement against Satan, but referred to the Lord to rebuke him.

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