Written by Paul J. Bucknell on November, 30, 2018
Angel Names in the Scriptures
The Question on Angels
The Bible speaks much about angels, and I presume to count more than 100 times the word Angel appears in the scriptures. Their number is uncountable. Jesus and his Apostles taught about them: Mat 4:11, Mat 13:41, 1 Thess 4:16.
Now to their names; I read of only Michael the Archangel and Gabriel the messenger. The host of them includes Cherubim and Seraphim who are also mentioned in the Bible.
I watch on our TV screens modern prophets who call and use the following names of angels which I can’t recall in the Word of God like Angel Raphael, Mehiel (Michael?), David, etc. Perhaps, I just don’t know! But do we know for sure those angels like Raphael are in the scriptures…?
The Discussion on Angels
Angels are frequently mentioned in both Old and New Testaments, most often associated with salvation, judgment, and national events. Angels are found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Old Testament: 107 times
New Testament: 175 times
But sometimes angels are referred to in other places of the Bible but hidden in phrases like “hosts” (army, used 281 times) which oftentimes includes or refers to angels (and other things God has made), “For Thou, O LORD of hosts” (2 Sam 7:27). In a twist, we find the word “demons” spoken of, usually in the plural and in the New Testament (70 times used). Demons are fallen angels (i.e., evil spirits), “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).
But keep in mind the phrase the “angel of the LORD,” refers to God’s special messenger, Christ’s pre-incarnate appearing and is used 64 times. “Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?” But the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” (Judges 13:17-18). Manoah finally rightly concludes that the “Angel of the Lord” was God Himself (Judges 13:21-23).
The word ‘angel’ literally means messenger or ambassador. The number of angels is not innumerable but certainly can be described as having a great number (e.g., hosts). Seraphim are only mentioned in Isaiah 6 and like Cherubim, situated in the temple (58 times used), are kinds of angels rather than names of angels.
So, yes, there are a few angels that we know the name of, but very few like Gabriel, meaning ‘warrior of God’ (Dan 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19,26) and Michael (Dan 10:13,21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev 12:7) meaning “Who is like God?” But, perhaps, the few names given should give us caution. If God doesn’t reveal names, shouldn’t we consider that to be God’s wisdom, perhaps helping us avoid some dangers with invisible beings?
For example, in Jude, we find that God warns us by Michael the Archangel not to revile angelic majesties. The full text will help us be extra cautious here:
“Yet in the same manner these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” (Jude 8-9)
Those three names that you refer to above: Raphael, Mehiel, David are not mentioned in the Bible. People like to think they know the names but if God did not give them, then from the caution above, we ought to be more careful thinking we know more of the heavenly realms than we do. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says the Scriptures give us the wisdom we need to be strong believers. This extra knowledge makes it appear that some people know more and are more powerful or authoritative but clearly, this is not so. We do not read of Paul rattling off the names of angels.
Let me mention two other reasons we need to be careful of naming angels. The devil, Satan, is a name often used in the Bible. He is very powerful but gone dark. We know He also is known as the Accuser (Rev 12:10) and Deceiver (2 John 7). We ought to be very careful naming extraterrestrial beings because we might be deceived and lured into the traps of the demons.
As the last reason, let me give you an example. One of the earliest heresies was Gnosticism (meaning ‘knowledge’). This affected the early church for the first 2-300 years. Some of the early extra-canonical books (outside the Bible) were influenced by this cult which used angel names to be saved. This is why some New Testament books speak against the early Gnosticism in the Scriptures for they believed by naming angel names, rather than believe in Jesus Christ, one could find redemption. “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’” (1Ti 6:20), and instead emphasize Christ being the true knowledge, that is the real way to know God: “…in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge: (Col 2:2-3).
In conclusion, we can be content that God has appointed an angel to watch over each of our lives. We should not think those who know and pronounce angel names are close to God but admonish the flock that we can know God through Christ Jesus and abide in His presence. That is sufficient for us.
“But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies a footstool for thy feet”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:13-14)