Archangels

The word archangel is derived from the Greek term ‘archi’ which means “chief, first, or principle”; and ‘angelos’ which means “messenger of God.” Thus the term archangel basically means the “chief” or the “principal messenger of God.”
Archangels are angels of high rank charged with the responsibility of overseeing the welfare of humankind as well as other angels below their rank. They are extremely powerful celestial beings who have the ability proffer help to more than one person at the same time. Belief in archangels is common in most religions only that the term used in reference to them may be different. The use of the term archangel is mostly predominant in “Abrahamic religions” who even share the names of the common ones with slight variations if any. Each archangel is endowed with a unique set of capabilities and specialty which depict different aspects of God. The following is a list of some of the common arch-angels as identified in the ‘Abrahamic religions’, their names, as well as their respective capabilities and responsibilities in accordance to scriptural books; ‘The Bible’ (canonical and non-canonical); The Quran; and ‘The Jewish Kabbalah.’

(a) The Bible

Of the list of known archangels, only two are mentioned in the Christian bible; ‘Archangel Michael’ and ‘Archangel Gabriel.’ Michael is mentioned in the old testament of the bible three times; all in the book of Daniel where Prophet Daniel through his visions defines Him as the protector of Israelites which is how Archangel Michael is known and identified; “protector against misfortunes and malefic energies.” Archangel Gabriel on the other hand is mentioned in both the old and the new testament; He is mentioned in the old testament as the angel who helped Daniel to interpret his visions, and in the new testament He is mentioned as the angel who revealed the prophesy of the forthcoming births of both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. In both instances, we can easily conclude, that archangel Gabriel is charged with the responsibility of revealing divine messages of prophetic nature to specific persons.

Non-Canonical Books (Books authorized as Christian scriptural texts but that are not included in the Bible)
Some books contained in non-canonical scriptures, identify a different set of Archangels in addition to the two Archangels mentioned in the canonized texts. The book of Enoch for instance expounds on archangels; Michael, Gabriel, Raguel, and Uriel.

Archangel Raguel is the archangel responsible for peace and harmony, thus, a believer who desires harmony and peace in their respective lives can call on the help of Archangel Raguel to intervene. Then there is Archangel Uriel who is also referred to as the angel of Wisdom; His name means “God is my light.” Seekers can call on archangel Uriel prior to making important decisions or resolving conflicts. He can also be called upon to help in relieving or detaching from destructive emotions such as anger and anxiety which can hinder believers from discerning wisdom. The book of Tobit is a narrative that details out how Archangel Raphael guides Tobias in his travels and assists him in creating ointments for his father. Archangel Raphael has for long been known as the angel of healing. There is a possibility that His name could have been derived from the Hebrew term ‘Rophe’ which means “medicine doctor” or ‘Rapach’ to mean “God heals the soul.”
(b) The Holy Quran

The Holy Quran is Islam’s main scriptural text; it consists of Holy teachings that were recited by the religion’s founder and foremost prophet-Prophet Muhammad S.A.W (peace upon him). According to Islamic teachings, Archangel Gabriel (known as Jibril in Muslim) appeared to Prophet Muhammad in a vision and ordered Him through revelations to recite the Quran. Thus we again see Archangel Gabriel serving the same purpose as he does in Christianity as a messenger from the divine realm who brings revelations through visions to specific individuals. The Muslim traditions through the Quran also identify and recognize Archangel Michael (whom they refer to as Mikhail), Archangel Raphael (whom they refer to as Israfel), and Archangel Azrael (whom they refer to as Izrael).

Archangel Michael in Islam is referred to as the angel of mercy who is responsible for the provision of daily bread (rizq) as well as natural phenomena like rain and thunder. Islam eschatology state that Archangel Raphael, also known as Israfil, is in charge of giving a signal by blowing his trumpet to signify the Day of Judgment has arrived. Archangel Azrael, referred to in Islam as Izrael, is the Archangel responsible for reception and transition of souls that have departed from earth into the afterlife. He is also known as the angel of death.

(c) Mystical Kabbalah
Jewish Kabbalah is a set of mystical teachings, disciplines, methods, and school of thought in Jewish theology. The Jewish Kabbalah recognizes Archangel Metatron through its legends and myths as one of the greatest angels. Archangel Metatron’s role is defined as a celestial scribe who writes the merits and de-merits of each individual soul. Invariably, He is also referred to as God’s mediator with men or Enoch after he ascended into heaven.

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