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Archangel Raphael

Who is Archangel Raphael?

Raphael is an archangel who appears in the books of Tobit and 1 Enoch, both of which date from the last few centuries before Christ. He was later designated as one of the three heavenly visitors hosted by Abraham at the Oak of Mamre in Jewish legend. He is not mentioned in the New Testament or the Quran, but later Christian tradition associated him with healing and as the angel who stirred the waters in the Pool of Bethesda in John 5:2-4, and in Islam, where his name is Israfil, he is recognised as the unnamed angel of Quran 6:73, standing eternally with a trumpet to his lips, ready to proclaim the Day of Resurrection. Raphael is seen on the Ophite Diagram in Gnostic mythology.

Origins in Post-Exilic Literature

The word " (‘mal’āk̠’) in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) refers to a messenger, either human or supernatural, and is translated as “angel” when used in the latter sense. The initial mal’akh lacked both individuality and hierarchy, but during the Babylonian exile, they were graded into a Babylonian-style hierarchy, and the term archangelos, archangel, emerges for the first time in the Greek text of 1 Enoch. At the same time, angels and archangels were given names, as evidenced by the Talmudic statement that “the names of the angels were brought by the Jews from Babylonia.”

Raphael, along with many other important angels, appears in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, when God assigns him to warn Adam of the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He also tells Adam about the War in Heaven, in which Lucifer and the demons were defeated, and the creation of the Earth.

Raphael, along with Gabriel and Uriel, is one of three angelic narrators in Joseph Haydn’s Creation.

He also appears as “Rafael” as one of the seven Beryls in the role-playing game Anima Beyond Fantasy. Humans associate her with the archangel of the same name, and she embodies life and nature.

Raphael is one of the four archangels seen in the television series Supernatural. The archangel Raphael is mentioned as one of Tobias Hankel’s personas in season 2 of the TV show Criminal Minds.

The primary antagonist and titular character in the Yogscast YouTube series, Shadow of Israphel, draws his name from St. Raphael.


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