what is an archangel?
An Angel of the highest rank is called an Archangel. Although the word Archangel is often associated with Abrahamic religions and other religious traditions, there are many Angels of the highest rank that are very similar. Gnosticism also has a number of religious texts that include Archangels. There are four main Archangels: Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, and Uriel.
The Greek origin for the Archangel literally means “Chief Angel” or “Angel of Origin”, is the root of English. It is only found twice in the New Testament, in the phrase “with a voice of the Archangel, and the trumpet call to God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) as well as in relation to “the Archangel Michael (Jude 9). In the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament), the corresponding Hebrew word is found in two places: “Michael,” one of the chief princes (Dan 10;13), and “Michael,” the great prince (Dan 12).
In Judaism and Islam, Gabriel and Gabriel are both recognized as Archangels by most Christians. However, many Protestants believe Michael is the only Archangel. Raphael, who was referred to in the deuterocanonical book of Tobit, is also hailed as the chief Angel in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel are honored and celebrated for their holiness in the Roman Catholic Church by a feast on September 29 between 1921-1969 while they are also appreciated in Eastern Orthodox Church on November 8.
In Islam, the Archangels are named Jibrael, Mikael, Israfil, and Azrael. On the other hand, Jewish literature like the Book of Enoch mentions Metatron, an Archangel called the “highest of Angels”. However, acceptance of this Angel is not a canonical practice in all faiths.
Some branches of the theologies prescribe to the existence of a group of seven Archangels, but the titles of the Angels vary, depending on the source. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are consistently mentioned; the other Archangels vary but most commonly include Uriel, who is mentioned in 2 Esdras.
In Zoroastrianism, sacred texts speak of the six great Amesha Spenta who are directly referred to as “Bounteous/Holy Immortals” of Ahura Mazda.
Archangel In Judaism
Malach, the Hebrew word for Angel, means messenger. Angels are God’s messengers and can perform many missions. The term “Angel of Death” is used to describe beings that were traditionally thought to be Angelic messengers. In later texts, other terms may be used, such as haelyonim, or the upper ones, referring to beings traditionally interpreted as Angelic messengers.
Except for later works like the Book of Daniel, references to Angels are rare in Jewish literature. However, they are briefly mentioned in the stories of Jacob (who, according to one interpretation, wrestled with an Angel) and Lot (who was warned of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by Angels). Daniel is one of the first Biblical figures to call individual Angels by name. According to popular belief, Jewish interest in Angels arose during the Babylonian captivity. According to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish from Tiberias, specific names were brought back from Babylon by the Jews for the Angels.
The Hebrew Bible’s canonical texts do not explicitly mention Archangels. Certain Angels were given special significance in post-Biblical Judaism and unique roles and personalities. Although these Archangels were thought to be among the highest-ranked of the heavenly host they never established a hierarchy. Metatron, who is often a scribe and considered one of the most powerful Angels in Merkavah or Kabbalist mysticism, is a high-ranking Angel. The Talmud briefly mentions him, and he figures prominently in Merkavah’s mystical texts. Michael, a soldier, and advocate for Israel has been admired with particular fondness. Gabriel is mentioned briefly in the Book of Daniel, the Talmud, and many Merkavah mystic texts. The literature of intertestamental times is where the first references to Archangels can be found.
Twelve Archangels are mentioned in the Kabbalah. Each one is assigned to a specific sephira. Chapter 20 of The Book of Enoch describes seven holy Angels that watch over the world, often referred to as the seven Archangels, Raphael and Gabriel, Uriel Saraqael Raguel, Raphael, and Remiel. The Life of Adam & Eve also lists the Archangels: Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. Maimonides, a medieval Jewish philosopher, created a Jewish Angelic hierarchy.
Archangel In Christianity
The New Testament contains over 100 references to Angels. However, the word “Archangel,” is used only twice in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of Archangel and with the trumpet God: and the death of Christ shall rise first” and Jude 1:9, “Yet Michael, the Archangel when confronting the devil about the body Moses, didn’t bring against him a railing accusation but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
Archangel In Catholic Theology
In stained glass at St Ailbe’s Church in Ireland, Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are depicted. Three names are used in Catholicism to refer to them:
They are all commemorated liturgically together on September 29. Each had his own feast. In Tobit 12:15, the latter of these says, “I am Raphael. One of the seven Angels that stand before the Glory and the Lord.”
The Fourth Book of Esdras mentions the Angel Uriel and also the “Archangel Jeremiel”, which was very popular in the West. However, it was never included in the Catholic biblical canon. The names mentioned in some apocryphal sources are not recognized by the Catholic Church.