The origin of the name “Archangel” is the Greek word “archangelos” which means “chief angel.”
Archangelos was used to describe the highest-ranking angels in heaven. There are many different interpretations of who Archangels are, but most believe they are messengers of God and protectors of humanity.
This article will explore the mythology and beliefs around Archangels and discuss some of the most famous Archangels in history.
Archangels Meaning and Classification
According to monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity & Islam), Archangels serve as the voices or agents for communication between God/Heaven and humanity.
It has been believed that Angels exist to guide people toward God. Like humans, there are many different ranks of Angels, all under God’s command.
Each Archangel has a different name and specific responsibility. According to scripture, there were originally 7 Archangels:
Michael – The main role of Michael is to fight demonic powers and temptation to protect humanity.
It is believed that he was the Angel who fought with Lucifer (the fallen Angel) during his failed coup against God; this battle continues today between Michael and Satan/Lucifer as they battle for spiritual supremacy over earth.
Raphael – One of the three Archangels mentioned in The Bible, Raphael’s purpose is to heal humans from their sicknesses and protect them from demons.
Uriel – Uriel is known as the Archangel of Death and Rebirth. His name means “God is my light,” and he covers the souls of humans with their eternal fate after death has taken place.
Gabriel – The most famous of all Archangels, Gabriel’s main responsibility is to communicate to prophets about God’s message. He was the Angel who informed Mary she would give birth to Jesus and later appeared before Mohammed to announce that God had chosen him to reveal his word.
Jophiel – Jophiel is formed from the combination of Jehovah (the Hebrew name for God) and Soph (meaning wisdom). This makes him one of the more mysterious angels, but it is believed that he helps guide humans towards enlightenment and wisdom.
Jophiel is sometimes pictured as a burning bush or pillar of fire, which could be why Moses saw him.
Zadkiel – As an Archangel, Zadkiel’s main job is to deliver God’s mercy and justice to his creations. He has been associated with helping humans solve their problems, especially when it comes to grief and loss.
Azrael – The Angel of Death, Azrael is also known as “The Great Physician.” It is believed that he helps usher souls into the afterlife through death. In Islamic belief, it is said that Azrael weighs a person’s deeds on a scale to decide if they’ll go to heaven or hell after death has occurred.
What do Archangels look like?
Each Archangel has a different appearance depending on the religion and culture. Some interpretations portray them as people with wings (for example, Gabriel & Michael), while others believe they are clouds of smoke or balls of fire (such as Raphael & Uriel).
In both Judeo-Christian and Islamic art, Archangel Gabriel is most often shown with his trumpet; this imagery is also used to portray him in films such as “The Matrix: Revolutions” and the History Channel’s “The Bible.”
According to scripture, he appeared before Mary and announced that she would give birth to Jesus. This story was later adapted into the film “Gabriel,” where actor David Lawrence portrayed him. The character Azrael can be seen in the Showtime series “Dexter” (Season 5, Episode 4), where he is shown as a black-cloaked figure with red eyes.
How are Archangels different from Angels?
“Archangels” is a term used to refer to the highest-ranking angels in heaven, who have specific roles of responsibility. “Angels,” on the other hand, can be used interchangeably with “human souls.” The human soul has been interpreted as an angelic being sent by God to guide people and protect them.
Jews and Christians believe that when a person dies, they become an angel (of sorts), and their sole purpose after death is to watch over those they knew while living. In Islamic culture, angels play a more active role in everyday life, especially when it comes to guiding humans towards righteous deeds and protecting them from harm or evil forces such as Satan/Shaitan.
The Choir Of Angels
Members of the Catholic Church believe that there are nine choirs of angels, which are broken up into three groups: Angels (the lowest choir), Archangels (middle choir), and Principalities (highest choir). Each group is assigned a specific task or responsibility, but all work together to fulfill God’s will for his creations.
1st Choir – Seraphim –
The seraphim stand at the top of heaven and constantly sings God’s praises. According to scripture, their brightness is so powerful that they can blind anyone who sees them without divine protection. They surround God’s throne day and night, praising him with song & dance.
2nd Choir – Cherubim
The cherubim are the highest-ranking of all angels, second only to Seraphim. They are guardians of God’s throne and are said to have four faces: one of a man, an ox, a lion, & eagle. It is also believed that they have eight conjoined sets of wings (four sets under their arms and another four on their back). Their unique purpose is to sing praises unto God.
3rd Choir – Thrones
These aren’t your average “thrones.” Instead, they are living, thinking & feeling beings with eyes everywhere who care for the souls in heaven and those on earth. Thrones can take many different forms; some appear as dragons or peacocks, while others look like humans or eagles.
They’re also responsible for recording all of the good that each person does during their lifetime, which is then used to determine if they will go to heaven or hell after death occurs.
4th Choir – Dominions
These angels hold dominion over other angels (ex: the Dominion of Thrones) and teach people how to follow God’s word. They also help guide souls toward righteousness by giving them visions of future events so they can choose a different path toward enlightenment. This might sound similar to psychics, but it differs in that it comes from an angelic vision rather than prognostication.
5th Choir – Virtues
The virtues act as celestial cheerleaders who encourage humankind towards virtuous, righteous activity. They also promote justice, specifically in legal proceedings & lawsuits.
6th Choir – Powers
The powers are responsible for protecting people from evil forces such as Satan/Shaitan and other dark angels. It is said that they have great strength to do this job effectively and can even attack powerful demons at will if necessary.
7th Choir – Principalities
These are the guardian angels of nations, cities & towns who oversee all activities within their domain. They are excellent strategists who help nations win wars (& are granted permission by God to do so), influence decision-making processes amongst leaders of countries or state officials, and gain insight on potential terrorist attacks before they occur.
8th Choir – Archangels
The archangels are the true warriors of God, and it is said that they carry out his will by inspiring soldiers to fight with courage in times of war. They can inflict great pain upon enemies who would dare attempt an attack against God’s creations and are seen as protectors of creation. It is said that every culture has its own set of names for these beings (ex: Uriel, Azrael, Metatron), but all are considered to be divinely powerful & incredibly wise.
9th Choir – Angels
Last but not least, our favorite heralds of good news are ranked 9th in this category. Angels are known for being messengers of God and caring for humankind. It is said that they can appear in many forms (both expected & unexpected) to accomplish whatever tasks are necessary.
Commonly referred to as guardian angels, these beings help us stay on the right path toward righteousness by offering us guidance whenever we need assistance… although they usually only intervene if we call upon them first (or if God requests their presence).
Archangel mythology is not based on any known religious texts, unlike most other supernatural creatures. Its true origins are still being debated by theologians & scholars today. However, what is certain is that these beings have been described in detail by cultures around the world for centuries.
For example, they are believed to be responsible for protecting people from evil forces such as Satan/Shaitan and other dark angels (Powers), giving people access to accurate personal psychic guidance (Dominions), encouraging humankind toward virtuous, righteous activity (Virtues), inspiring soldiers to fight with courage in times of war (Principalities), granting eternal life upon those who earn it (Thrones) and even intervening on behalf of humankind when asked or commanded by God (Angels).
Archangels are typically described as beings with great, God-given power. They can easily destroy entire armies if they choose and have been known to help people in the midst of battle when called upon by God or when it serves his ultimate purpose.
Angels are messengers of God, but Archangels are a more advanced form of angels who put God’s work above all else & go where angels fear to tread to carry out “the will of the Lord.”