The Angel Raphael

This entry is part 501 of 507 in the series Inquiring Minds

Why is the archangel Raphael only mentioned in the Book of Enoch?

The Bible introduces us to only two angels by name, Gabriel and Michael. Michael is mostly involved with Daniel (Daniel 10:11-21; 12:1). In Daniel 10 Angel comes to Daniel to explain to him why his prayers have not been answered.

They have been answered but the answer has not yet come to him because it was delayed. Michael rescued this Angel so he could come and deliver this message to Daniel personally. Michael is understood to be the archangel who is a warrior for God. In Daniel 12 Michael is called a great prince but is an angel who protects Israel in the time of the end.

The New Testament offers some insight as to why we call the archangel and see him as a commanding angel in the armies of God. Revelation 12:7-9 describes a great war in heaven between the angels who side with God and those who side with Satan. They are handily defeated by the archangel Michael and his angels.

Jude 9 references Michael the Archangel when it says he was in the middle of a dispute with the devil about the body of Moses. These are all the references the Bible gives concerning Michael the Archangel.

Gabriel is mentioned four times in the Bible (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26). Gabriel helps Daniel understand the vision God has given him in Daniel 8:16. He helps Daniel to understand again in Daniel 9:21. He seems to be one of the messenger angels that God sends to deliver important messages throughout human history and God’s plan.

We are most familiar with him in the New Testament when he appears to Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, and tells him he will not be able to speak until his son is born because he did not believe in the prophecy spoken.

Finally, Gabriel appears to Mary the mother of Jesus and he tells her what God is about to do through the Holy Spirit, making her pregnant with the promised Messiah of Israel (Luke 1:26). These are the four times Gabriel shows up as a named angel in Scripture.

The book of Enoch is considered part of the Old Testament pseudepigrapha and was written sometime in the first century BC. It expanded the angelology, the study of angels, of the Old Testament to include more named angels. Raphael was one of these named angels.

Angels were becoming more and more popular and curiosity of people who read the Old Testament required more writing about angels. This is why Raphael is not mentioned in the Old Testament.

This is why Raphael is not mentioned in the Old Testament or the New Testament. While angels have the privilege of being part of some of the most important events in the Bible they are not central to the Bible’s mission in describing God’s plan of salvation to win back humanity from the clutches of Satan and wickedness.

They pique our interest and sometimes that interest creates a desire to know more about them than the Bible says. But as far as the Bible is concerned they are one of the minor parts of Scripture. We must be careful not to be distracted by them as we focus on the central story of how Jesus came to save humanity into his kingdom.

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