dominions (dominations, lords, lordships) In the Pseudo-Dionysian hierarchy, the fourth highest order of angels, who regulate the duties of other angels and make known the commands of God. Dominions also are channels of mercy. The term dominion refers to “lordship,” “rule,” or “special meaning.” Use of the term dominions as a class of angels occurs in apocryphal writings influenced by the New Testament passages that suggest designations of heavenly powers. For example, Ephesians 1:21 states that God has raised Christ far above “all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named” and Colossians 1:16 states that in Jesus Christ all things visible and invisible in heaven and earth are created, “whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers.”

The Testament of ADAM describes dominions as rulers over earthly kingdoms who decide the outcome of wars; in battles they are angels riding on red horses. 2 ENOCH states that when Enoch is taken to the seventh HEAVEN, he sees “an exceptionally great light, and all the fiery armies of the great archangels, and the incorporeal forces and the dominions and the ORIGINS and the AUTHORITIES, the CHERUBIM and the SERAPHIM and the many-eyed THRONES.” (20:1).

The Ethiopic translation of 1 Enoch refers to “angels of dominions.” The Apocalypse of ZEPHANIAH sees “angels who are called lords” when he is taken to the fifth heaven. In RUDOLPH STEINER’s three-tiered structure of the angelic realm, the kyriotates may equate with dominions. St. AUGUSTINE agreed with St. PAUL that there exist seats (THRONES), dominions, PRINCIPALITIES, and POWERS in the heavens, but he did not know specifically what they are or the differences between them.

According to AGRIPPA, dominions are associated with the air element. They help humans overcome their enemies. In Kabbalistic lore, dominions—along with Powers and VIRTUES—form one of four triplicities of intelligible hierarchies. They are one of the ruling angelic orders of Hesed (Mercy), the fourth sephirah of the TREE OF LIFE. Dominions are sometimes equated with HASMALIM.

Further Reading :

  • van der Toorn, Karel, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, eds. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. 2d ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1999.


Encyclopedia of Angels by Rosemary Guiley

Angels - Dominions

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