What is an archangel according to the Bible


Do you know the difference between angel and archangel? Do you know what function the archangels have? If you answered no to these questions and want to know the answer, you are in the right article! Read carefully, and we will discover the meaning of this symbol and tell you about the most prominent archangels.

Biblically accurate archangel

Surely you have heard about archangels in different biblical contexts, but no one has explained anything about them other than that they are special angels.

We will answer all your questions, looking for references to the archangels in the Catholic Bible and explaining what is the position of the Church regarding these figures.

We leave you a video about the archangels as an introduction to this article:

The Seven Archangels

The archangels of the Bible

The word “archangel” in its linguistic sense comes from the Greek “arcangelos”, the union of the prefix “arc-” and the word “angelos” . The first part designates those figures who command or are above the others, while the second part means messenger. Thus, linguistically, angels are messengers and archangels are chief angels, i.e., angels with a higher rank than the rest.

It should be noted that the word archangel only appears explicitly twice in the bible and is recurrently substituted by other words such as prince or spirit. The term spirit should not be confused with the Holy Spirit, which is always capitalized and designates totally different realities.

Now that you know what the word archangel means, it is logical to think that only a few angels will be archangels, since this is a special category.

According to the Catholic liturgy and creeds, there are 7 archangels mentioned, especially in the Book of Tobit and Revelation. These books belong to the category of deuterocanonical books, which are those texts that did not appear in the Hebrew Bible and were added later by the Church.

Names of the 7 archangels

On the other hand, the Book of Enoch, a text that is not part of the Catholic canon and therefore is not found in the Catholic Bible, although it is sometimes alluded to;the names of the 7 archangels are: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Remiel and Sariel.

In the traditional bible, only Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are explicitly mentioned, so we will focus on these three. All of them share the same day of celebration in the Catholic saints’ calendar, September 29.

  • Archangel Michael

Archangel Michael: God’s Fighting Angel (Biblical Stories Explained)

St. Michael the Archangel is considered the protector of the Catholic Church. In the Bible, Michael appears on numerous occasions in different books, most notably Daniel 10 and Daniel 12, Jude 9 and Revelation 12.

We could say that he is the main opponent of Satan and for this reason Michael is always represented with armor and a spear or sword fighting against some figure representing a demon, often incarnated by dragons.

There are several works of art in which the Archangel Michael is shown, such as “The Last Judgment” by Francisco Pacheco or the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

We leave you with the impressive bronze sculpture of St. Michael the Archangel that stands at the top of the castle of Sant’Angelo in Rome. Have you ever seen her live?

Archangel Michael

Legend has it that Pope Leo XIII, who served at the end of the 19th century, had a vision in which the archangel Michael fought against Satan and defeated him. The pontiff then promulgated a prayer that became popular throughout the world and for a time was prayed at the end of every Mass. Today this custom has been lost, but prayer is still quite important in Catholicism. We leave it here:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the struggle.

Be our protection against perversity and the wiles of the devil.

May God manifest his power over him, that is our humble supplication;

and you, Prince of the Heavenly Militia, with the strength that God has bestowed upon you,

casts Satan and the other evil spirits into hell

that roam the world for the perdition of souls.


Archangel Gabriel

The archangel Gabriel is perhaps the best known of all the archangels because of his important role as messenger at the time of the Annunciation. Even so, Gabriel appears on more occasions in the Bible, usually as a messenger sent by God.

In the Old Testament he appears in Daniel 8 and Daniel 9 where he establishes contact with the prophet when he has visions. In the New Testament Gabriel is always the announcer of the miraculous pregnancies that take place.

In Luke 1, the archangel appears to Zechariah announcing that his wife will beget John the Baptist even though she is barren. Later occurs the well-known annunciation to Mary, also recounted in Luke 1.

Because of his mission as a messenger, Gabriel is considered by the Catholic Church as the patron saint of letter carriers, telecommunications and ambassadors.

The important act of the Annunciation in the Christian liturgy is represented in numerous works of art such as paintings, sculptures, musical compositions and even films; always with the archangel Gabriel.

We share with you the painting of the Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most famous paintings about this important situation in Christianity.

Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Raphael

And the third archangel we will talk about today is the archangel Raphael. The least known of the three in Western Christian communities, since it does not have such a transcendental role in the bible.

Raphael only appears explicitly in the Book of Tobit, which is rarely read during the Eucharist. Specifically, it appears in Tobit 4 and Tobit 5.

In the text, the archangel is sent by God to Tobit, Tobiah’s father, to cure him of his blindness and get him a wife who was in the hands of a demon. Thus, healing powers have always been associated with Raphael and that is why he is considered the patron saint of all health workers. In addition, he is also the patron saint of Christian marriage and travelers.

In the New Testament, the angel who moved the water of the pool in John 5 is often associated with the archangel Raphael, although it is not explicitly mentioned. Because of his patronages, Raphael is almost always depicted with a traveler’s staff or next to a fish that alludes to Tobit’s cure.

Although it is less known, some works have also been created referring to this archangel, such as this anonymous painting on the healing of Tobias.

Archangel Raphael

Has it become clearer to you that it is an archangel? Hopefully, after carefully reading this article, you will have a better idea of what an archangel is according to the bible and its importance in important events.

Sometimes, people may have a certain fear of angels and archangels because of the spread of unfounded beliefs that are intended to confuse. We must remember that for Christians, angels are beings that help, guide and protect us to achieve final salvation and follow the path of the Lord.

Here we end this article on archangels! We hope you have learned a lot and see you in the next article.


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