Is there an archangel (or angel) named Uriel?Question: "Is there an archangel (or angel) named Uriel?"
Answer: Archangels are created beings that appear to be the leaders of other angels and creatures in the heavens. The canonical Bible, the one read by most Christians and Protestants, names only two archangels: Gabriel (Luke 1:19) and Michael (Revelation 12:7). Many scholars suggest that Lucifer was also an archangel before being thrown out of heaven (Ezekiel 28: 17). Uriel is called an archangel in the apocryphal books of 2 Esdras and Enoch and in some ancient Jewish writings. John Milton also includes Uriel as a character in Paradise Lost. But Uriel is never named as an angel in any book that we know as the complete Bible.
The name Uriel means “fire of God” or “light of God.” Some stories involving Uriel identify him as the angel that guarded Eden (Genesis 3:24), one of the angels in charge of Tartarus, or the angel that slaughtered the Assyrians encamped against Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:35). Jewish tradition lists Uriel as one of four angels overseeing the four quarters of the earth (see Revelation 7:1)—the other angels being Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
God’s Word does not reveal much about angels, and no archangel named Uriel is ever mentioned. We know little of the angels’ rankings, names, or abilities. If God had given us more details about angels, the temptation to focus our hearts on them rather than on God would be even more pronounced. People naturally tend to worship the creatures rather than their Creator (Colossians 2:18; Romans 1:25). We are never told to speak to an angel, pray to an angel, or in any way attempt to have angels mediate for us. That is idolatry (see 2 Kings 21:3; Revelation 22:8–9).
From a study of the Bible, it appears that angels do have personal names, and two archangels are named in Scripture. While there are many factual errors in non-canonical books such as First and Second Esdras, such books may still contain some accurate information. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Uriel is actually the name of an archangel. Psalm 147:4 implies that God names every star, so we can logically assume that He also names the angels He creates. Does God have an archangel named Uriel? Maybe. What we can know for certain is that, if knowing the name of another archangel were important, God would have included that name in inspired Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21).
Recommended Resource: Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels, and Demons by R.C. Sproul
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Is there an archangel (or angel) named Uriel?