Who is Angel Raphael? St Raphael the Archangel
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Who is Angel Raphael? St Raphael the Archangel

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Biblical Reference of Archangel Raphael

St. Raphael is one of the Archangels in the Bible. In the  apocryphal   Old Testament  ( Hebrew Bible )  Book of Tobit , he is the one who, in human disguise and under the name of Azarias (“ Yahweh  helps”), accompanied Tobias in his adventurous journey and conquered the demon  Asmodeus . He is said ( Tobit  12:15) to be “one of the seven holy archangels who present the prayers of the  saints  and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.” In the  pseudepigraphal   First Book of Enoch , Raphael is “the angel of the spirits of men,” and it is his business to “heal the earth which the angels [i.e., the fallen angels] have defiled.” The archangels are referred to as numbering seven (e.g.,  Revelation  8:2 and Tobit 7:15) and are listed in 1 Enoch 1:20 as  Uriel , Raphael, Raguel,  Michael , Sariel,  Gabriel , and Remiel. Raphael is reckoned among the saints in both Eastern and Western churches, his feast day being October 24. His counterpart in  Islam  is  Isrāfīl .

The  New Testament  names only two archangels or angels, Michael and Gabriel (Luke 1:9–26; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7), but Raphael, because of his association with healing, became identified with the unnamed angel of John 5:1–4 who periodically stirred the  pool of Bethesda  “and he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under”. The Catholic church accordingly links Raphael with Michael and Gabriel as saints whose intercession can be sought through prayer.

Protestant denominations in general do not accept Raphael, but the name is widely recognized in church tradition as a result of Protestantism’s origins in Catholic Christianity.

What Role Does Archangel Raphael Play In The Bible?

The angel Raphael is a main character in the apocryphal Book of Tobit. In Tobit, Raphael is sent to help Tobit and Tobit’s son, Tobias. Tobit is a righteous Israelite who was blinded by bird droppings. Raphael claims to be Tobit’s kinsman, Azariah, and offers to help Tobias reclaim money Tobit deposited in Media. Along the way to the city, the disguised Raphael tells Tobias that he has the rightful claim to the hand of a woman named Sarah who is “sensible, brave, and very beautiful.” Sarah, however, has been cursed by a demon and all her suitors have died on their wedding night. Raphael tells Tobias to ask for Sarah’s hand anyway, and then instructs Tobias on how to exorcise the demon. Tobias follows Raphael’s instructions, and Raphael chases down and binds the fleeing demon. The newlyweds and the disguised angel then return to Tobit where Raphael heals Tobit and finally discloses his identity. He declares that he is not Azariah the Israelite but “Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ready and enter before the glory of the Lord.”

The Book of Tobit is included in Catholic and Orthodox Biblical canons, but it is not the only apocryphal book where Raphael appears. Raphael also appears in the Book of Enoch, another Old Testament apocryphal book. Enoch has reached almost mythical status because it is so different from many of the other books of the Old Testament. Enoch describes the archangels, the “holy sons of God,” fallen angels and giants called the “Nephilim.” The book has been a source of fascination for doomsday predictors, mystics and scholars alike. It is also the book that repeatedly singles out Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Phanuel as especially important or powerful angels.

Enoch remains a commonly cited source for people who are interested in angels and archangels, but one theory states that Enoch was more than a prophet who visited heaven in visions and dreams. Some Mormons believe that Enoch was actually the archangel Raphael himself. Given how Raphael disguised himself for weeks while traveling with Tobias, it is not impossible that the angel might have taken on a mortal façade previously. He is one of, if not the only, angel to ever be identified as portraying himself as a mere man.

The archangel Raphael has become central enough to many Christians that people are stunned to learn that he is never referred to by name in the canonical Bible. Instead, he appears in apocryphal books such as Tobit and Enoch and in early Christian, non-Biblical writings. Despite this, he occupies the same space in many Christian hearts as Michael and Gabriel. He is heralded as the angel of healing and the angel who will sound the trumpet that announces Judgement Day. 

Patron Saint Of Healing

The patron saint of healing Raphael is an archangel of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. He is considered the healer of physical ailments, emotional distress and is considered a divine healer of the entire angelic world. Archangel Raphael is not only one of the most formidable leaders in Heaven, but the angel is involved in supporting our overall health. You can always call upon the patron saint of healing who is mentioned in the Book of Tobit, a book that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox Biblical canon. The healing angel wants you to know that he is with you today as you walk in total health and happiness. Raphael is also the patron saint of travelers and matchmakers as well. 

Prayer to Archangel Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners. I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (here mention your special intention), and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

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