Beyond the angels are the beings we are used to calling the archangels,they tend the larger arenas of human endeavor. These beings are from a different family from the angels. There are many different kinds of archangels in this larger family. The four we are most familiar with are Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel.
Michael is surely the best known of the archangels. Michael is acknowledged by all three Western sacred traditions. He is believed to appeared to Moses as the fire in the burning bush, and to have rescued Daniel and his friends from the lions’ den.
To Christians, he’s the angel who informed Mary of her approaching death.
Islamic lore tells us that his wings are the color of ‘green emerald and are covered with saffron hairs, each of them containing a million faces and mouths and as many tongues which, in a million dialects, implore the pardon of Allah.’
In the Dead Sea Scrolls Michael emerges as the ‘Prince of Light’ fighting a war against the Sons of Darkness in which he leads the angelic battle against the legion of the fallen angel, Belial.
Michael is the protector of the Christian Church, guardian angel of Israel, and commander-in-chief of God’s angel armies. He led them during a war in heaven in which Satan and his fallen angels were driven out of the clouds.
Even though he lives in the seventh heaven. Christian art and iconography shows Michael with a sword or with a scale weighing the souls of the dead.
Gabriel seems to be our most frequent visitor from the higher realms. He astonished Mary, and her cousin Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, with the pronouncements concerning the births of their respective sons.
To the followers of Islam, Gabriel is the Spirit of Truth who dictated the Koran to Mohammed.
In Jewish legend it was Gabriel who parted the waters of the Red Sea so that the Hebrews could escape from the Pharaoh’s soldiers.
According to court testimony of the time, it was Gabriel who came to Joan of Arc and inspired her to go to the aid of the dauphin (the eldest son of the king of France).
Gabriel’s apparent ongoing interest in this planet is most probably due to his function as heavenly awakener, the angel of vibratory transformation.
Gabriel in Hebrew means ‘man of God’, and is seen as God’s messenger.
Described as a human figure with long hair and multi-colored wings and often seen holding a scepter or lily.
Raphael is perhaps the most endearing of all the angels, and the one most frequently depicted in Western art. His image is featured on the canvases of such masters as Botticelli, Titian, and Rembrandt. He appears to be the high archangel charged with healing the Earth. Raphael is the travelers guide, guardian of youth. The ruler of the second heaven shows up in Christian paintings carrying a pilgrim’s stick, a wallet and a fish. The poet Milton has Raphael eating supper with Adam and Eve in Eden.
Raphael’s career seems to be peppered with medical missions. He healed the pain of circumcision for Abraham as the old man had not had the procedure done when he was young.
Raphael was then sent by God to cure poor Jacob’s thigh after he’d bee n roughed up by Samael. And it’s also claimed that Raphael gave Noah a much-prized ‘medical book’ after the flood. There’s a legend that when Solomon prayed to God for aid in building the great temple in Jerusalem, Raphael personally delivered the gift of a magic ring with the power to subdue all demons. It was with this ‘slave labor’ that the Hebrew king completed the construction. Raphael has also been called ‘a guide in hell,’ which after all is where healing is needed the most.
Uriel is ranked variously as a seraph, cherub, regent of the Sun, flame of God, presider over Hades and, in his best-known role, as the Archangel of Salvation.
Like Metatron, Uriel is said to be one of the angels of the Presence, a most high posting since only the highest voltage angels can sustain the presence of God. Uriel is thought to have been
“the spirit who stood at the gate of the lost Eden with the fiery sword.”
The Book of Enoch tells us that it was Uriel who was sent by God to warn Noah of the impending flood, and elsewhere it is written that he disclosed the mysteries of the heavenly arcana to Ezra, and that he also led Abraham out of Ur in the Chaldean region.
Some have claimed that the divine art of alchemy was brought down to Earth by Uriel, and that it was also this angel who gave the Kabbalah, the Hebrew mystic tradition, to humankind.