Archangel (beings)

From Academic Kids

This entry deals with the supernatural beings known as archangels. For other definitions, please see Archangel.
Missing image
Tyrael, an archangel from the video game Diablo II.

An archangel is a supernatural being of Zoroastrian Persian, Judaic, Christian, and Islamic theology, counted among the angels. According to the rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230270 CE), all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon, and many modern commentators would argue that the details of the angelic hierarchy were largely Zoroastrian in origin.

According to the developed Roman Catholic tradition, there are three Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (sometimes Uriel is included among them). Though in general angelology, there are more archangels, and together with the archangels of the fallen angels, this list grows even larger.

In the Protestant churches, the naming of the archangels can obey any of the following schemes:

  • Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer/Satan (some churches argue that Satan was always called Satan, since the Dead Sea Scrolls state that Satan was Satanail/Satanael before he fell):
    • Satan falling from his position at about the year 0 following a dispute with Michael .
    • Satan falling from his position sometime in the Creation for wanting to become God and, together with the other rebel angels (confirmed to be 133 306 668 angels by numerous texts), waging a war on God.
    • Satan falling from his position sometime in the End Times because of a dispute with Michael.
  • Michael and Lucifer or Satan in one of the three falling times abovementioned.
  • Michael and Gabriel.
  • Michael alone- a view held by some American Protestant evangelical denominations. The reason this is so debated among Protestants is because Michael is the only one who is directly called an archangel and the term archangel is only used in its singular form in the Bible, although Gabriel and Lucifer/Satan seemed to be equal in position to Michael, which leads to the presumption that they are also archangels.

Within the rabbinic traditions of Judaism and the Kabbalah, the usual number given is seven: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Sariel, Raguel, and Remiel (possibly the Ramiel of the Apocalypse of Baruch, said to preside over true visions).

In Islam, the archangels are Michael or Mikael (Archangel of the Weather and rewards in thi life), Gabriel or Jibril (Dictator of the Koran to Muhammad), Azrael (Angel of Death), Israfil or Isra'afeel (Archangel who is to blow the horn on Judgement Day), Malik (Keeper of Hell) and Munkar and Nakir (Angels of Interrogation that will question deceased souls on their life before their death).

Iblis was chief of the Jinns though not an angel himself, but fell from his position during the Creation for refusing God's commandment to accept Adam (and man) as superior being and bow to him.

Occultists sometimes associate archangels in Kabbalistic fashion with various seasons or elements, or even colors. In some (possibly early?) Christian rites, all four of the main archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel) were invoked as guarding the four quarters, or directions, and the colors associated with them are associated with their "magical" properties.

Among the Tarish, the four archangels are Michael, Gabriel, Tariel (aka Raphael), and Lucifer.

See also


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