An archangel /ˌɑːrkˈeɪndʒəl/ is an angel of high rank. The word "archangel" itself is usually associated with the Abrahamic religions, but beings that are very similar to archangels are found in a number of religious traditions.
The word archangel is derived from the Greek ἀρχάγγελος (arch- + angel, literally chief angel).
Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism, Islam and by most Christians. Protestants recognize Gabriel as an angel but consider Michael to be the only archangel. Raphael—mentioned in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit—is also recognized in the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are venerated in the Roman Catholic Church with a feast on September 29 (between 1921 and 1969, March 24 for Gabriel and October 24 for Raphael), and in the Eastern Orthodox Church on November 8 (if the Julian calendar is used, this corresponds to November 21 in the Gregorian). The named archangels in Islam are Gabriel, Michael, Israfil and Azrael. Jewish literature, such as the Book of Enoch, mentions Metatron as an archangel, called the "highest of the angels", though the acceptance of this angel is not canonical in all branches of the faith.
Some branches of the faiths mentioned have identified a group of seven Archangels, but the actual angels vary, depending on the source. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are always mentioned; the other archangels vary, but most commonly include Uriel, who is mentioned in 2 Esdras.
In Zoroastrianism, sacred texts allude to the six great Amesha Spenta (literally "Bounteous/Holy Immortals") of Ahura Mazda.life force. Now expand the cup of consciousness to contain the archangel of your ray.”
An increasing number of experts in anthropology, theology and philosophy, believe that Zoroastrianism contains the earliest distillation of prehistoric belief in angels.
The Amesha Spentas of Zoroastrianism are likened to archangels. They individually inhabit immortal bodies that operate in the physical world to protect, guide, and inspire humanity and the spirit world. The Avesta explains the origin and nature of archangels or Amesha Spentas.
To maintain equilibrium, Ahura Mazda engaged in the first act of creation, distinguishing his Holy Spirit Spenta Mainyu, the Archangel of righteousness. Ahura Mazda also distinguished from himself six more Amesha Spentas, who, along with Spenta Mainyu, aided in the creation of the physical universe. Then he oversaw the development of sixteen lands, each imbued with a unique cultural catalyst calculated to encourage the formation of distinct human populations. The Amesha Spentas were charged with protecting these holy lands and through their emanation, also believed to align each respective population in service to God.
The Amesha Spentas (amesha meaning eternal and spenta meaning brilliance and beneficence) as attributes of God are:
Spenta Mainyu (Phl. Spenamino): lit. 'Bountiful Spirit' Asha Vahishta (Phl. Ardwahisht): lit. 'Highest Truth' Vohu Mano (Phl. Vohuman): lit. 'Righteous Mind' Khshathra Vairya (Phl. Shahrewar): lit. 'Desirable Dominion' Spenta Armaiti (Phl. Spandarmad): lit. 'Holy Devotion' Haurvatat (Phl. Hordad): lit. 'Perfection or Health' Ameretat (Phl. Amurdad): lit. 'Immortality'
The Hebrew Bible uses the ter. מלאכי אלוהים (malakhi Elohim; Angels of God), The Hebrew word for angel is "malach," which means messenger, for the angels are God's messengers to perform various missions. מלאכי י י (malakhi Adonai; Angels of the Lord), בני אלוהים (b'nei elohim; sons of God) and הקדושים (ha-q'doshim; the holy ones) to refer to beings traditionally interpreted as angelic messengers. Other terms are used in later texts, such as העליונים (ha-elyonim, the upper ones, or the ultimate ones). References to angels are uncommon in Jewish literature except in later works such as the Book of Daniel, though they are mentioned briefly in the stories of Jacob (who according to one interpretation wrestled with an angel) and Lot (who was warned by angels of the impending destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah). Daniel is the first biblical figure to refer to individual angels by name. It is therefore widely speculated that Jewish interest in angels developed during the Babylonian captivity. According to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270 CE), specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon.
There are no explicit references to archangels in the canonical texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). In post-Biblical Judaism, certain angels came to take on a particular significance and developed unique personalities and roles. Though these archangels were believed to have rank amongst the heavenly host, no systematic hierarchy ever developed. Metatron is considered one of the highest of the angels in Merkavah and Kabbalist mysticism and often serves as a scribe. He is briefly mentioned in the Talmud, and figures prominently in Merkavah mystical texts. Michael, who serves as a warrior and advocate for Israel (Daniel 10:13), is looked upon particularly fondly. Gabriel is mentioned in the Book of Daniel (Daniel 8:15-17) and briefly in the Talmud, as well as many Merkavah mystical texts. The earliest references to archangels are in the literature of the intertestamental periods (e.g., 4 Esdras 4:36).
In the Kabbalah there are ten archangels, each assigned to one sephira: Metatron, Raziel (other times Jophiel), Tzaphkiel, Tzadkiel, Khamael, Raphael, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel, and Sandalphon. Chapter 20 of the Book of Enoch mentions seven holy angels who watch, that often are considered the seven archangels: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Saraqael, Raguel, and Remiel. The Life of Adam and Eve lists the archangels as well: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Joel. Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides made a Jewish angelic hierarchy.
The New Testament makes several references to angels, but uses the word "archangel" only twice, at 1Thessalonians 4:16 ("For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first", KJV) and Jude 1:9 ("Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee", KJV).
In Roman Catholicism, three are honored by name:
The last-named of these identifies himself in Tobit 12:15(NAB) thus: "I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord."
The Fourth Book of Esdras, which mentions the angel Uriel, was popular in the West and was frequently quoted by Church Fathers, especially Ambrose, but was never considered part of the Catholic biblical canon.
The Catholic Church gives no official recognition to the names given in some apocryphal sources, such as Raguel, Saraqael and Remiel (Book of Enoch) or Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel (other such sources).
Eastern and Oriental OrthodoxEdit
Eastern Orthodox Tradition mentions "thousands of archangels; however, only seven archangels are venerated by name. Uriel is included, and the other three are most often named Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel (an eighth, Jeremiel, is sometimes included as archangel). The Orthodox Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers on November 8 of Stencyl the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar (for those churches which follow the Julian Calendar, November 8 falls on November 21 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). Other feast days of the Archangels include the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel on March 26 (April 8), and the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Colossae on September 6 (September 19). In addition, every Monday throughout the year is dedicated to the Angels, with special mention being made in the church hymns of Michael and Gabriel. In Orthodox iconography, each angel has a symbolic representation:
- Michael in the Hebrew language means "He who is like God". St. Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks Lucifer/Satan, and in his left hand a green palm branch. At the top of the spear there is a linen ribbon with a red cross. The Archangel Michael is especially considered to be the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith and a fighter against heresies.
- Gabriel means "God is my strength". He is the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it. He is depicted as follows: In his right hand, he holds a lantern with a lighted taper inside, and in his left hand, a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.
- Raphael means "It is God who heals" (Tobit 3:17, 12:15). Raphael is depicted leading Tobit (who is carrying a fish caught in the Tigris) with his right hand, and holding a physician's alabaster jar in his left hand.
- Uriel means "God is my light," (II Esdras 4:1, 5:20). He is depicted holding a sword against the Persians in his right hand, and a flame in his left.
- Sealtiel means "Intercessor of God." He is depicted with his face and eyes lowered, holding his hands on his bosom in prayer.
- Jegudiel means "Glorifier of God." He is depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and a triple-thonged whip in his left hand.
Barachiel means "Blessed by God." He is depicted holding a white rose in his hand against his breast.
- Jerahmeel means "God's exaltation." He is venerated as an inspirer and awakener of exalted thoughts that raise a person toward God (II Esdras 4:36). As an eighth, he is sometimes included as archangel.
In the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, 1 Enoch describes Saraqael as one of the angels that watch over "the spirits that sin in the spirit." (20:7, 8).
The Protestant Bible provides names for three angels: "Michael the archangel", the angel Gabriel, who is called "the man Gabriel" in Daniel 9:21 and third "Abaddon" / "Apollyon" in Revelation 9:11. Within Protestantism, the Anglican and Methodist tradition recognizes four angels as archangels: Michael the Archangel, Raphael the Archangel, Gabriel the Archangel, and Uriel the Archangel. They are commemorated on 29 September, Michaelmas, in the kalendar. The evangelist Billy Graham has written that in Sacred Scripture, there is only one individual explicitly described as an archangel—Michael in Jude 1:9.
Seventh-day Adventists hold that "Michael" and "archangel" are in reference to Jesus. They credit nonconformist minister Matthew Henry as supporting this view.
Jehovah's Witnesses, citing a reference to "an archangel's voice" at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, also believe that Michael is another name for Jesus in heaven.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) interprets the term archangel as meaning "Chief Angel", Michael is the only individual so-designated in the Latter Day Saints canon. It is believed that he is the head of all of the angels. LDS Church doctrine also states that the archangel Michael was the first man, Adam. Though no other being is identified as an "archangel," Joseph Smith taught that the angel Gabriel was known in mortality as Noah and the angel Raphael is a being of significant standing, even though he has never been identified with any mortal prophet.
In Islam, the mentioned archangels in the Qur'an include:
- Gabriel (Jibrail or Jibril in Arabic). Gabriel is said to be the archangel responsible for transmitting God's revelations to all prophets, including revealing the Quran to Muhammad and inducing him to recite it. Various hadiths (traditions) mention his role in delivering messages from "God the Almighty" to the prophets.
- Michael (Mikail in Arabic). Michael is often depicted as the archangel of mercy who is responsible for bringing rain and thunder to Earth.
- Raphael (Israfil in Arabic). Mentioned in the Qur'an as the angel of the trumpet responsible for signaling the coming of Judgment Day. The tradition named this angel as Israfil after Judeo-Christian angel Raphael.
- Azrael (Izrail in Arabic). Mentioned in the Qur'an as the angel of death (Malak Al-Maut). The tradition named this angel after Judeo-Christian angel of the same name.
Daily Blessings of the ArchangelsEdit
El Morya also described the daily opportunity we have to connect with the archangels. “Each of the seven archangels carries a sphere of the energies of God, a portion of the ray on which he serves. Each day in sacred ritual, kneeling before the altar of the Lord in the Great Central Sun, he receives his sphere and he is commissioned to go forth throughout the cosmos to scatter the seeds of Christic light that burst from the ray and the sphere of the ray which he bears within his heart as a great sun disc of emerging Christ-identity.
“And the twin flames of the archangels and their legions which comprise the hosts of the Lord Christ bow also before the sons and daughters of God, acknowledging the sacred fire upon the altar of
the heart. Each day the sons and daughters of God evolving in Mater have the opportunity to receive the energies of one of the seven rays cycling from the sphere of light held in the heart of an archangel.”
Archangel Michael is the Prince of the Archangels and of the Angelic Hosts, the Defender of the Faith, the Angel of Deliverance. His divine complement is Archeia Faith. Archangel Michael and Faith’s etheric retreat is in the Canadian Rockies at Banff, near Lake Louise. He also has a focus of light over Central Europe.
Archangel Jophiel and Christine are the archangel and archeia of the second ray of wisdom and illumination. These twin flames amplify the Christ consciousness within angels, elementals and men. Archangel Jophiel and Christine’s etheric retreat is over the plains of Central China, near Lanchow.
Archangel Camael and his divine complement, Archeia Charity, serve on the third ray of divine love. Their etheric retreat, the Temple of the Crystal-Pink Flame, is over St. Louis, Missouri. An arc of divine love forms a bridge between their retreat and that of the Elohim Heros and Amora near Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.
Archangel Gabriel and Hope are archangel and archeia of the fourth ray of the resurrection and the ascension flame. Together with the angels of purity and the seraphim, these angels guard the immaculate concept of the God design for every one. Archangel Gabriel and Hope’s etheric retreat is near Mount Shasta.
Archangel Raphael is the archangel of the fifth ray of truth, wholeness, healing, science, precipitation, the abundant life, music and mathematics. His divine complement is the Archeia Mary, who was embodied as Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Their spiritual retreat is in the etheric realm over Fátima, Portugal.
Archangel Uriel and Aurora are the archangels of the sixth ray of ministration and service. In their ministrations, they guard the dawn of the Christ consciousness in mankind and elemental life. Their retreat is located in the etheric realm over the Tatra Mountains, south of Cracow, Poland.
Archangel Zadkiel and Holy Amethyst are the archangels of the seventh ray. Together with the violet-flame angels, they embody the violet ray qualities of God’s freedom, alchemy, transmutation, forgiveness and justice. Their retreat, the Temple of Purification, is in the etheric realm over the island of Cuba.
Occultists sometimes associate archangels in Kabbalistic fashion with various seasons or elements, or even colors. In some Kabbalah-based systems of ceremonial magic, all four of the main archangels (Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel) are invoked as guarding the four quarters, or directions, and their corresponding colors are associated with magical properties. Lucifer or Sataniel in Judeo-Christian traditions, or Iblis in Islam, is considered an archangel by Satanists and many non-Satanists, but non-Satanists consider him evil and fallen from God's grace.
In art, archangels are sometimes depicted with larger wings. Some of the more commonly represented archangels are Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel.
In the lesser ritual of the pentagram, the invocation includes the words "Before me Raphael; Behind me Gabriel; On my right hand Michael; On my left hand Auriel [Uriel]..."
|Characters||God | Michael | Gabriel | Raphael | Uriel | Lucifer|
|Species||Angels | Deities | Humans | Demons | Saints|
|Ranks||Angel | Archangel | Cherubim | Erelim | Guardian Angel | Hashmallim | Hayot Ha Kodesh | Heavenly host | Ishim | Ophanim | Powers | Seraphim | Thrones | Watcher|
|Locations||Earth | Heaven | Hell|
|Topics||War in Heaven|