Thursday, December 16, 2010


An Archangel is a superior or higher-ranking angel; chief of the angels. They are to be found in a number of religious traditions, including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The word archangel derives from the Greek αρχαγγελος archangelos = αρχ- arch- ("first, primary") and αγγελος angelos ("messenger").

In Judaism
There are no explicit references to archangels in the canonical texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Indeed even angels are uncommon except in later works like Daniel. The earliest references to archangels are in the literature of the intertestamental period.

It is therefore widely speculated that Jewish interest in angels was learned during the Babylonian exile. According to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270 CE), all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon, and some modern commentators would argue that the details of the angelic hierarchy were largely Zoroastrian in origin.

Within the rabbinic tradition and the Kabbalah, the usual number given is at least seven: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Sariel,Raguel and Remiel (possibly the Ramiel of the Apocalypse of Baruch, said to preside over true visions). Zadkiel, Jophiel, Haniel and Chamuel are also listed as archangels.

In Christianity
The New Testament rarely speaks of angels, and makes only two references to archangels,

1. Michael in Jude 1:9, (which is referring in passing to a Jewish legend)
9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

I Thessalonians 4:16, where the "voice of an archangel" will be heard at the return of Christ
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.


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