Raphael, Haziel, Eremiel, Tatrasiel, Gabriel, Michael – all are angel names. All end in “el,” which means “God.” Only two of these names are mentioned in the Bible: Gabriel and Michael. Unless you include the books of the Apocrypha, which some people do. There you’ll read about Raphael. Otherwise, in all the Bible’s angel stories, angelic messenger-guardians are anonymous, most commonly referred to as “angel of the Lord.”
People began naming angels long before the birth of Christ. To come up with a name, they often selected a word that represented a skill or characteristic, then added the suffix “el,” which means “god.” So “gevurah,” which means strength, became the angel Gevurael. “Nura” means fire in Aramaic, so Nuriel became the angel, the “fire of God.” “Rapha” means healing, so Raphael means “healing of God.”
Seraphim are a group of angels mentioned in the Bible, so Seraph + el = Seraphiel, the chief of those angels. Cherubiel became the name of the chief of the cherubim.
Ancient angel-namers could turn Greek gods and goddesses into angels by adding the “el” suffix. The god Hermes, said to be the inventor of the lyre, became the angel Hermesiel. Jewish angel lore also adopted many Persian spirits. The Persian Aeshmadeva became the Jewish angel Asmedai, who is usually listed among the evil angels or demons.
Of course not all angel names end in “el.” Another angel mentioned in the Bible is Abaddon (Greek: Apollyon). With Gabriel and Michael, Abaddon brings the list of named angels in the Bible to the huge number of three. But in sources outside the Bible, hundreds, maybe even thousands, of angel names were created, both before and after the time of Christ. St. Augustine said, “Every visible thing in this world is put under the charge of an angel.” That’s a lot of angels. According to lore, angels govern stars, constellations, the moon, the heavens, earthly events like thunder, and human experiences like illness, childbirth, and marriage.
My own angel lore continues with the release of the second book of the Angelaeon Circle, Eye of the Sword in March – a little over five months away! So I’m morphing my blog yet again. Next week I’ll begin blogging angel legends, which I’ll adapt from different sources. I’ll start with tales from the ancient Book of Enoch, and I’ll blog one brief installment each week – usually on a Monday – which will give you a week to read that episode before I add the next story.
I’m excited about this new direction, and I think you’ll enjoy it. So join me next week for angel legends!