The angel Raguel is not mentioned by name in most English translations of the Bible. However, he is found in some extra-biblical Jewish writings and traditions. Let’s explore what the scriptures and other sources have to say about this mysterious angelic figure.
Searching the Scriptures
When examining the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, there is no direct reference to an angel named Raguel. The only angels named in the Bible include Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Abaddon/Apollyon, and Satan/Lucifer before his fall. References to groups of angels like cherubim and seraphim can also be found, but no singular angel with the name Raguel appears.
Some may point to Revelation 8:2 as a possible reference to Raguel: “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God…” (ESV). However, none of these seven angels standing before God’s throne are identified by name here. There is nothing in the text to definitively associate one of these seven angels with Raguel.
A few other new testament passages refer to the “seven angels” generically (Revelation 8:6, 15:1, 15:6-8, 16:1, 17:1), but again without providing names. There is no clear biblical evidence that Raguel was intended to be numbered among the seven.
One of the apocryphal books, The Book of Enoch, does mention Raguel along with other angels like Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel (Enoch Chapter 20). However, most Christian traditions do not accept Enoch or other apocryphal works as canonical scripture. So within the Bible itself, Raguel is never named.
Extra-Biblical Jewish Traditions
While not found in the Bible, Raguel is a figure who appears in some ancient Jewish mystical writings and traditions. According to these sources, Raguel was believed to be one of the archangels, often associated with justice, harmony and vengeance.
The ancient Book of Enoch identifies Raguel as one of the seven archangels, saying “Raguel, one of the holy angels who takes vengeance on the world of the luminaries” (1 Enoch 20:4). He is portrayed as a guiding angel responsible for bringing harmony back to heavenly spheres.
In 2 Enoch, Raguel is also listed among the seven archangels. This apocryphal work says he is “responsible for taking revenge on the world of the luminaries who have transgressed God’s laws” (2 Enoch 20:8). His role is to maintain justice and order.
The Book of Tobit also contains some key references to Raguel. Though part of the apocrypha for most Protestants, Tobit is considered canonical in Catholic and Orthodox traditions. In this book, Raguel is depicted as an upright man and father of Sarah in Ecbatana. When the angel Raphael helps arrange the marriage between Tobiah and Sarah, Raphael tells Tobiah “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.” (Tobit 12:15). If Raphael is one of the seven, some assume Raphael’s statement implies Raguel the character must be another of the seven archangels.
In various medieval Jewish mystical texts like the Book of Raziel and Zohar, Raguel is also listed as one of the archangels. In these traditions, he is sometimes identified with Riguil/Rikbiel and Pannochar/Phanuel. He is associated with divine visions, justice and order between the angels. So his identification as an archangel appears repeatedly across multiple extra-biblical sources.
Origins of the Name
It is worth noting that the name Raguel or Raguil means “Friend of God.” It is formed from two Hebrew elements:
- Rea or Rah – meaning friend or companion
- El – referring to God
Thus, by his very name, Raguel is marked as having a special relationship of friendship with God characterized by devotion, loyalty, and faithfulness.
This meaning connects with his role in ancient Jewish stories and books, where Raguel/Riguil/Rikbiel is portrayed as a guide helping manuscripts and prayers ascend into God’s presence. The name implies intimate friendship with the Almighty.
Raguel vs. Phanuel
In some ancient sources, the angel named Phanuel is equated with Raguel. Like Raguel, Phanuel does not appear in Protestant Bibles but is found in some deuterocanonical books.
In the Book of Enoch, Phanuel is described as one of the four angels of the presence who never leaves God’s throne. The angel says to Enoch: “I am a ministering angel, one of the innumerable angels of the Lord of Spirits, the angel of repentance.” (Enoch 40:9). His role is tied to repentance, intercession and hope.
Some scholars believe Phanuel and Raguel are the same angel under two different names. This is mainly derived from Enoch and the Book of Raziel where Raphael lists Riguil (Raguel) and Phanuel separately at first but then appears to equate them as the same angel. However, not all scholars agree on this identification of Phanuel with Raguel.
Whether these two angelic names refer to one being or not, Phanuel and Raguel both exhibit a similar aura of divine justice, order, and devotion to God in ancient Jewish stories and traditions. But only Phanuel receives direct mention within the deuterocanonical books of Enoch and IV Esdras.
Raguel in Early Christian Writings
While never mentioned by name in the New Testament, Raguel appears in some early Christian texts and traditions that drew upon Jewish apocryphal lore about angels. Two examples include:
- The Shepherd of Hermas – A Christian apocryphal work from the 2nd century AD, it lists Raguel as one of the seven archangels who “present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Lord.” This mirrors language about Raphael presenting prayers in the Book of Tobit.
- The Liber de Angelis – Originating around the 4th century AD, this short work includes Raguel among listings of the seven archangels, calling him the “Angel of Ice” who was given authority over the second heaven.
So early Christian writers did occasionally adopt previous Jewish traditions and speculations concerning Raguel. However, these writings were never considered authoritative or canonical. Within the New Testament itself, any references to Raguel as an angelic figure are conspicuously absent.
Raguel in Other Religions and Traditions
Beyond Judeo-Christian sources, Raguel appears in a few other religious and esoteric traditions as well. For example:
- In Zoroastrianism, the archangel Ramuil or Rashnu is associated with justice, fairness, and innocence.
- Raguel is sometimes identified with the angel Zuriel in non-canonical angelic traditions.
- The Arabic version of the Book of Enoch refers to Raguel as Rufael instead.
- Occult and magical texts sometimes associate Raguel with astrology, identifying him as a planetary angel ruler over the planet Mars.
However, these examples take us far beyond the domain of biblical scripture itself. The angel Raguel developed most fully within ancient Jewish mystical literature and lore.
Evaluating the Evidence
When evaluating all the evidence, here are a few key points to keep in mind about the mysterious angel named Raguel:
- There is no direct reference to Raguel in the Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox biblical canons.
- He appears in Jewish apocryphal works like 1 Enoch, 2 Enoch, and the Book of Raziel as one of the seven archangels.
- In the Book of Tobit, he is depicted as the father of Sarah but this does not definitively equate him with the archangel.
- Early Christian texts borrowed and adapted some Jewish traditions about Raguel but did not consider him canonical.
- Extra-biblical occult and esoteric works developed additional lore about Raguel’s astrological associations.
- The meaning of his name implies a special friendship with God characterized by justice and devotion.
The lack of any clear biblical reference along with his origins in extra-biblical literature suggest that teachings about the angel Raguel should be approached cautiously. The scriptures do not corroborate his existence. But Jewish and Christian traditions do associate him with divine justice, vengeance, friendship, and the mediation of prayers.
Significance and Meaning
Although Raguel himself is likely not a biblical angel, the significance of his name and role in apocryphal sources are still thought-provoking. We can draw some constructive insights:
- The qualities of justice, vengeance against evil, and mediation of prayers reflect God’s character as sovereign judge and protector of His people.
- Raguel’s friendship with God mirrors the intimacy and fellowship with Christ that believers enjoy by grace.
- The seven archangels as a group express God’s complete perfection reflected through created beings.
- Raguel epitomizes the angels’ service of bringing our prayers into God’s presence.
So while Raguel himself remains enshrouded in uncertainty, his attributed character resonates with biblical truths about God’s justice, human friendship with the divine, and angelic aid for our prayers. These timeless scriptural themes find creative expression through this extra-biblical angelic figure.
In the end, the evidence indicates the angel Raguel does not originate from divine revelation but rather from human mystical speculations. No scriptural passage confirms his existence. Yet the meaning and role associated with his name does poetically convey biblical themes about prayer, justice and friendship with God. This makes the figure of Raguel intriguing, if not authoritative. He creatively symbolizes God’s majesty and His care over prayers through mysterious angelic beings. But Raguel remains confined to the realm of extra-biblical tradition rather than biblical fact.