Classification Of Demons
Updated: Jan 21, 2022
The Temptation of St. Anthony by Martin Schongauer
There have been various attempts throughout history by theologian scholars in the classification of Christian demons for the purpose of understanding the biblical and mythological context of adversarial spirits. Theologians have written dissertations in Christian demonology, classical occultism, classical mythology and Renaissance magic to clarify the connections between these spirits and their influence in various demons. The study of demonology was historically used to understand morality, behavioral tendencies, and has even been used as symbolism to relay anecdotal tales in with which they lure people into temptation and may also include the angels or saints that were believed to have been their adversaries; an idea which derived from the Biblical battle between the Archangel Michael and the Antichrist in The Book of Revelation (12:7-9) describing a war in heaven which resulted in Satan and his angels being expelled from Heaven. The classifications of these fallen angels are based on many other characteristics as well, such as behaviors that caused their fall from heaven, physical appearances or the methods that were used to torment people, cause maladies, or elicit dreams, emotions, etc. Most authors who wrote theological dissertations on the subject either truly believed in the existence of infernal spirits, or wrote as a philosophical guide to understanding an ancient perspective of behavior and morality in folklore and religious themes.
Classification by domain
The Testament of Solomon
The Testament of Solomon is a pseudepigraphical work, purportedly written by King Solomon, in which the author mostly describes particular demons whom he enslaved to help build the temple, the questions he put to them about their deeds and how they could be thwarted, and their answers, which provide a kind of self-help manual against demonic activity. The date is very dubious, though it is considered the oldest surviving work particularly concerned with individual demons.
Psellus’ classification of demons
Michael Psellus prepared a classification of demons in the 11th century, which was an inspiration for the classification Francesco Maria Guazzo prepared later. Psellus divided demons into Empyreal (Fiery), Aerial, Subterranean, Lucifugous (Heliophobic), Aqueous, and Terrene (Terrestrial).
Lanterne of Light classification of demons
In 1409-1410 The Lanterne of Light (an anonymous English Lollard tract often attributed to John Wycliffe) provided a classification system based on the seven deadly sins, with each demon tempting people by means of those sins. This list was later used in the works of John Taylor, the Water Poet.
Beelzebub: gluttony (glotouns)
Sathanas: wrath (wraþþe)
Leviathan: envy (envious)
Mammon: greed (auarouse)
Belphegor: sloth (slow)
Asmodeus: lust (leccherouse)
Spina’s classification of demons
Alphonso de Spina, in 1467, prepared a classification of demons based on several criteria:
Demons of fate
Incubi and succubi
Wandering groups or armies of demons can include multiple regions in hell
Cambions and other demons that are born from the union of a demon with a human being.
Liar and mischievous demons
Demons that attack the saints
Demons that try to induce old women to attend Witches’ Sabbaths
This classification is somewhat capricious and it is difficult to find a criterion for it. It seems that Spina was inspired by several legends and stories. The drudes belong to German folklore. Familiars, goblins, and other mischievous demons belong to the folklore of most European countries.
The belief in incubi and succubi (and their ability to procreate) seem to have inspired the sixth category, but it could also have been inspired in the Talmudic legend of demons having sexual intercourse with mortal women (see also Mastema).
The visions of tempting demons that some early (and not so early) saints had, perhaps inspired the eighth category (e.g. the visions of Anthony the Great).
The idea of old women attending Sabbaths was common during the European Middle Age and Renaissance, and Spina mentioned it before the Malleus Maleficarum.
Agrippa’s classification of demons
In De occulta philosophia (1509-1510), Cornelius Agrippa proposed several classifications for demons, based on numeric scales, like his whole Cosmology. Francis Barrett, in his book The magus (1801), adopted this classification of demons. 
Scale of Unity
One Prince of Rebellion, of Angels, and darkness:
Scale of binary
Two chief of the devils:
Scale of ternary
Three infernal judges:
Scale of quaternary
Four Princes of devils in the elements:
Four Princes of spirits, upon the four angles of the world
Despite listed separately, Agrippa mentions that these groups are identical, making the first as the Hebrew equivalent of the names of the latter. The same four demons appear in the Semiphoras and Schemhamforas. 
Scale of Six
Six authors of all calamities:
Scale of novenary
Nine orders of devils:
Beelzebub: False Gods – idolaters
Pytho: Spirits of Lying – liars
Belial: Vessels of Iniquity – inventors of evil things
Asmodeus: Revengers of Wickedness
Satan: Imitators of Miracles – evil witches and warlocks
Merihem: Aerial Powers – purveyors of pestilence
Abaddon: Furies – sowers of discord
Astaroth: Calumniators – inquisitors and fraudulent accusers
Mammon: Maligenii – tempters and ensnarers
Binsfeld’s classification of demons
As part of his 1589 Treatise on Confessions by Evildoers and Witches, Peter Binsfeld prepared a classification of demons known as the Princes of Hell. Like the Lanterne of Light, Binsfeld used the seven deadly sins as a basis, though the two schemes differ in various ways.
King James’ classification of demons
Main article: Daemonologie
King James wrote a dissertation titled Daemonologie that was first sold in 1591, several years prior to the first publication of the King James Authorized Version of the Bible. Within 3 short books James wrote a dissertation in the form of a philosophical play, making arguments and comparisons between magic, sorcery, and witchcraft but wrote also his classifications of demons into 4 sections. His classification were not based on separate demonic entities with their names, ranks, or titles but rather categorized them based on 4 methods used by any given devil to cause mischief or torment on a living individual or a corpse. The purpose was to relay the belief that spirits caused maladies and that magic was possible only through demonic influence. He further quotes previous authors who state that each devil has the ability to appear in diverse shapes or forms for varying arrays of purposes as well. In his description of them, he relates that demons are under the direct supervision of God and are unable to act without permission, further illustrating how demonic forces are used as a “Rod of Correction” when men stray from the will of God and may be commissioned by witches, or magicians to conduct acts of ill will against others but will ultimately only conduct works that will end in the further glorification of God despite their attempts to do otherwise.
Spectra: Used to describe spirits that trouble houses or solitary places
Obsession: Used to describe spirits that follow upon certain people to outwardly trouble them at various times of the day
Possession: Used to describe spirits that enter inwardly into a person to trouble them.
Fairies: Used to describe spirits that prophesy, consort, and transport.
Michaelis’ classification of demons
In 1613 Sebastien Michaelis wrote a book, Admirable History, which included a classification of demons as it was told to him by the demon Berith when he was exorcising a nun, according to the author. This classification is based on the Pseudo-Dionysian hierarchies, according to the sins the devil tempts one to commit, and includes the demons’ adversaries (who suffered that temptation without falling).
Note that many demons’ names are exclusively French or unknown in other catalogs. St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist are the two St. Johns to whom Michaelis refers. The other saints are cited only by their name without making clear, i.e., which Francis is mentioned (of Assisi?).
The first hierarchy includes angels that were Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.
Beelzebub was a prince of the Seraphim, just below Lucifer. Beelzebub, along with Lucifer and Leviathan, were the first three angels to fall. He tempts men with pride and is opposed by St. Francis of Assisi.
Leviathan was also a prince of the Seraphim who tempts people to give into heresy, and is opposed by St. Peter.
Asmodeus was also a prince of the Seraphim, burning with desire to tempt men into wantonness. He is opposed by St. John the Baptist.
Berith was a prince of the Cherubim. He tempts men to commit homicide, and to be quarrelsome, contentious, and blasphemous. He is opposed by St. Barnabas.
Astaroth was a prince of Thrones, who tempts men to be lazy and is opposed by St. Bartholomew.
Verrine was also a prince of Thrones, just below Astaroth. He tempts men with impatience and is opposed by St. Dominic.
Gressil was the third prince of Thrones, who tempts men with impurity and is opposed by St. Bernard.
Soneillon was the fourth prince of Thrones, who tempts men to hate and is opposed by St. Stephen.
The second hierarchy includes Powers, Dominions, and Virtues.
Carreau was a prince of Powers. He tempts men with hardness of heart and is opposed by St. Vincent and Vincent Ferrer.
Carnivale was also a prince of Powers. He tempts men to obscenity and shamelessness, and is opposed by John the Evangelist.
Oeillet was a prince of Dominions. He tempts men to break the vow of poverty and is opposed by St. Martin.
Rosier was the second in the order of Dominions. He tempts men against sexual purity and is opposed by St. Basil.
Belias was the prince of Virtues. He tempts men with arrogance and women to be vain, raise wanton children, and gossip during mass. He is opposed by St. Francis de Paul.
The third hierarchy includes Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.
Verrier was the prince of Principalities. He tempts men against the vow of obedience and is opposed by St. Bernard.
Olivier was the prince of the Archangels. He tempts men with cruelty and mercilessness toward the poor and is opposed by St. Lawrence.
Luvart was the prince of Angels. At the time of Michaelis’s writing, Luvart was believed to be in the body of a Sister Madeleine.
Many of the names and ranks of these demons appear in the Sabbath litanies of witches, according to Jules Garinet’s Histoire de la magie en France, and Collin De Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal.
Classification by office
In the study of demonology, many spirits are classified by office, rank, or titles which theologians believe were once held in heaven before the fall, or which they currently hold in their infernal dwelling. These offices are usually elaborated in several grimoires which determines their authority in hell or abilities. Demons categorized by office are often depicted in a militant hierarchy, in which a general may hold command over some designated legion for a specialized function which they may trouble men. Other theologians have determined the classification of a spirit’s office depending on the times or locations which they roam the Earth.
The Book of Abramelin
The Book of Abramelin, possibly written in the 14th or 15th century, lists four princes of the demons: Lucifer, Leviathan, Satan and Belial. There are also eight sub-princes: Astaroth, Maggot, Asmodee, Beelzebub, Oriens, Paimon, Ariton (Egin) and Amaymon. Under the rule of these there are many lesser demons.
Le Livre des Esperitz
Main article: Livre des Esperitz
Written in the 15th or 16th century, this grimoire was a likely source for Wierus hierarchy of demons, but while Wierus mentions 69 demons, Le Livre des Esperitz has only 46. Wierus omitted, however, the four demons of the cardinal points: Orient, Poymon, Aymoymon and Equi (see Agrippa’s classification) and the three great governors of all the other demons: Lucifer, Beezlebub and Satan.
The Munich Manual of Demonic Magic
Main article: Munich Manual of Demonic Magic
Written in the 15th century, this manual includes a list of eleven demons.
Fasciculus Rerum Geomanticarum
Written in 1494, this grimoire contains a list of 37 demons.
Le Dragon Rouge (or Grand Grimoire)
Main article: Grand Grimoire
Like many works of mystical nature, Le Dragon Rouge (or the Red Dragon) claims to come from Solomon and his priests and is said to be published in 1517 by Alibeck the Egyptian. However, it was most likely written in France in the 18th century.
The grimoire details the different hosts of hell and their powers, describing how to enter a pact with them to attain the magicians’ goals. The demons of hell are classified by three different tiers from Generals to Officers.
Main article: Pseudomonarchia Daemonum
Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, by Johann Weyer, is a grimoire that contains a list of demons and the appropriate hours and rituals to conjure them in the name of God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost (simpler than those cited by The Lesser Key of Solomon below).
This book was written around 1583, and lists sixty-eight demons. The demons Vassago, Seir, Dantalion and Andromalius are not listed in this book. Pseudomonarchia Daemonum does not attribute seals to the demons.
The Lesser Key of Solomon
Main article: The Lesser Key of Solomon
The Lesser Key of Solomon or Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis is an anonymous 17th century grimoire, and one of the most popular books of demonology. The Lesser Key of Solomon contains detailed descriptions of spirits and the conjurations needed to invoke and oblige them to do the will of the conjurer (referred to as the “exorcist”). It details the protective signs and rituals to be performed, the actions necessary to prevent the spirits from gaining control, the preparations prior to the invocations, and instructions on how to make the necessary instruments for the execution of these rituals.
The author of The Lesser Key of Solomon copied Pseudomonarchia Daemonum almost completely, but added demons’ descriptions, their seals and details.
The Ars Goetia
Ars Goetia is the first section of The Lesser Key of Solomon, containing descriptions of the seventy-two demons that King Solomon is said to have evoked and confined in a bronze vessel sealed by magic symbols, and that he obliged to work for him.
The Ars Goetia assigns a rank and a title of nobility to each member of the infernal hierarchy, and gives the demons “signs they have to pay allegiance to”, or seals.
The Dictionnaire Infernal (English: Infernal Dictionary) is a book on demonology, organised in hellish hierarchies. It was written by Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy and first published in 1818. There were several editions of the book, but perhaps the most famous is the edition of 1863, in which sixty-nine illustrations were added to the book. These illustrations are drawings that depict the descriptions of the appearance of a number of demons. Many of these images were later used in S. L. MacGregor Mathers’s edition of The Lesser Key of Solomon though some of the images were removed.
The book was first published in 1818 and then divided into two volumes, with six reprints and many changes between 1818 and 1863. This book attempts to provide an account of all the knowledge concerning superstitions and demonology.
De Plancy presented a hierarchy of demons based in modern European courts:
Princes and dignitaries: Belzebub, supreme chief of the empire of hell, founder of the order of the Fly. Satan, prince dethroned and chief of the opposition party. Eurynome, prince of death, Grand Cross of the order of the Fly. Moloch, prince of the country of tears, Grand Cross of the order. Pluton, Prince of Fire, also Grand Cross of the order and governor of the regions in flames. Pan, prince of incubi and Lilith, princess of succubi. Leonard, the great lord of the Sabbath, Knight of the Fly. Balberith, great pontiff, lord of alliances. Proserpina, archdiablesse, princess of evil spirits.
Ministers of the Office: Adrammelech, Grand Chancellor and Grand Cross of the Order of the Fly. Ashtaroth, general treasurer, Knight of the Fly. Nergal, chief of the secret police. Baal, commander in chief of the armies of Hell, Grand Cross of the Order of the Fly. Leviathan, Grand Admiral, Knight of the Fly.
Ambassadors: Belfegor, Ambassador of France. Mammon, of England. Belial, of Italy. Rimmon, of Russia. Tammuz, of Spain. Hutgin, of Turkey. Martinet, of Switzerland.
Justice: Lucifer, chief of (in)justice, Knight of the Fly. Alastor, executor of his sentences.
House of the princes: Verdelet, master of ceremonies. Succor Benoth, chief of the eunuchs of the seraglio. Chamos, Grand Chambelain, Knight of the Fly. Melchom, payer treasurer. Nisroch, chief of the kitchen. Behemoth, chief cupbearer. Dagon, grand pantler. Mullin, first valet.
Secret expenses: Robals, director of theaters. Asmodeus, superintendent of the gambling houses. Nybbas, grand buffoon. Antichrist, charlatan and necromancer.
Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier used some of these names and ranks for the demons who tormented him, in his autobiographical work Les farfadets ou Tous les démons ne sont pas de l’autre monde (1821).
The Satanic Bible
Main article: The infernal names
LaVey utilized the symbolism of the Four Crown Princes of Hell in The Satanic Bible, with each chapter of the book being named after each Prince. The Book of Satan: The Infernal Diatribe, The Book of Lucifer: The Enlightenment, The Book of Belial: Mastery of the Earth, and The Book of Leviathan: The Raging Sea. This association was inspired by the demonic hierarchy from The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage.
Satan (Hebrew) “Lord of the Inferno”:
The adversary, representing opposition, the element of fire, the direction of the south, and the Sigil of Baphomet during ritual.
Lucifer (Latin) “The Morning Star”:
The bringer of light, representing pride and enlightenment, the element of air, the direction of the east, and candles during ritual.
Belial (Hebrew) “Without a Master”:
The baseness of the earth, independence and self-sufficiency, the element of earth, the direction of the north, and the sword during ritual.
Leviathan (Hebrew) “Serpent of the Abyss”:
The great dragon, representing primal secrecy, the element of water, the direction of the west, and the chalice during ritual.
Archdemon vs. Archangel
Hierarchy of Angels
List of theological demons
The Annunciation by Paolo de Matteis
An archangel is an angel of high rank. The word “archangel” itself is usually associated with the Abrahamic religions, but beings that are very similar to archangels are found in a number of religious traditions.
The English word archangel is derived from the Greek ἀρχάγγελος (arch- + angel, literally “chief angel” or “angel of origin”). It appears only twice in the New Testament in the phrase “with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) and in relation to “the archangel Michael” (Jude 9). The corresponding but different Hebrew word in the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) is found in two places as in “Michael, one of the chief princes” (Dan 10:13) and in “Michael, the great prince” (Dan 12:1).
The four archangels, mosaics at St John’s Church, Warminster
Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism, Islam, and by most Christians. Some Protestants consider Michael to be the only archangel. Raphael—mentioned in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit—is also recognized as a chief angel in the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are venerated in the Roman Catholic Church with a feast on September 29 (between 1921 and 1969, March 24 for Gabriel and October 24 for Raphael), and in the Eastern Orthodox Church on November 8 (if the Julian calendar is used, this corresponds to November 21 in the Gregorian). The named archangels in Islam are Jibrael, Mikael, Israfil, and Azrael. Jewish literature, such as the Book of Enoch, also mentions Metatron as an archangel, called the “highest of the angels”, though the acceptance of this angel is not canonical in all branches of the faith.
Some branches of the faiths mentioned have identified a group of seven Archangels, but the named angels vary, depending on the source. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are always mentioned; the other archangels vary, but most commonly include Uriel, who is mentioned in 2 Esdras.
In Zoroastrianism, sacred texts allude to the six great Amesha Spenta (literally “Bounteous/Holy Immortals”)  of Ahura Mazda.
See also: Amesha Spenta and Zoroastrianism
An increasing number of experts in anthropology, theology and philosophy, believe that Zoroastrianism contains the earliest distillation of prehistoric belief in angels.
The Amesha Spentas (Avestan: Aməša Spəṇta, meaning “immortal holiness”) of Zoroastrianism are likened to archangels. They individually inhabit immortal bodies that operate in the physical world to protect, guide, and inspire humanity and the spirit world. The Avesta explains the origin and nature of archangels or Amesha Spentas.
To maintain equilibrium, Ahura Mazda engaged in the first act of creation, distinguishing his Holy Spirit Spenta Mainyu, the Archangel of righteousness. Ahura Mazda also distinguished from himself six more Amesha Spentas, who, along with Spenta Mainyu, aided in the creation of the physical universe. Then he oversaw the development of sixteen lands, each imbued with a unique cultural catalyst calculated to encourage the formation of distinct human populations. The Amesha Spentas were charged with protecting these holy lands and through their emanation, also believed to align each respective population in service to God.
The Amesha Spentas as attributes of God are:
Spenta Mainyu (Phl. Spenamino): lit. “Bountiful Spirit”
Asha Vahishta (Phl. Ardwahisht): lit. “Highest Truth”
Vohu Mano (Phl. Vohuman): lit. “Righteous Mind”
Khshathra Vairya (Phl. Shahrewar): lit. “Desirable Dominion”
Spenta Armaiti (Phl. Spandarmad): lit. “Holy Devotion”
Haurvatat (Phl. Hordad): lit. “Perfection or Health”
Ameretat (Phl. Amurdad): lit. “Immortality”
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by Gustave Doré, 1885
The Hebrew Bible uses the term (malakhi Elohim; Angels of God), The Hebrew word for angel is “malach,” which means messenger, for the angels (malakhi Adonai; Angels of the Lord) are God’s messengers to perform various missions – e.g. ‘angel of death’; (b’nei elohim; sons of God) and (ha-q’doshim; the holy ones) to refer to beings traditionally interpreted as angelic messengers. Other terms are used in later texts (ha-elyonim, the upper ones, or the supreme ones). References to angels are uncommon in Jewish literature except in later works such as the Book of Daniel, though they are mentioned briefly in the stories of Jacob (who according to one interpretation wrestled with an angel) and Lot (who was warned by angels of the impending destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah). Daniel is the first biblical figure to refer to individual angels by name. It is therefore widely speculated that Jewish interest in angels developed during the Babylonian captivity. According to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270 CE), specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon.
There are no explicit references to archangels in the canonical texts of the Hebrew Bible. In post-Biblical Judaism, certain angels came to take on a particular significance and developed unique personalities and roles. Though these archangels were believed to have ranked amongst the heavenly host, no systematic hierarchy ever developed. Metatron is considered one of the highest of the angels in Merkavah and Kabbalist mysticism and often serves as a scribe. He is briefly mentioned in the Talmud, and figures prominently in Merkavah mystical texts. Michael, who serves as a warrior and advocate for Israel, is looked upon particularly fondly. Gabriel is mentioned in the Book of Daniel and briefly in the Talmud, as well as many Merkavah mystical texts. The earliest references to archangels are in the literature of the intertestamental periods (e.g., 4 Esdras 4:36).
In the Kabbalah there are ten archangels, each assigned to one sephira: Metatron, Raziel (other times Jophiel), Tzaphkiel, Tzadkiel, Khamael, Raphael, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel, and Sandalphon. Chapter 20 of the Book of Enoch mentions seven holy angels who watch, that often are considered the seven archangels: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Saraqael, Raguel, and Remiel. The Life of Adam and Eve lists the archangels as well: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Joel. Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides made a Jewish angelic hierarchy.
Guido Reni’s Archangel Michael Trampling Lucifer, 1636
The New Testament makes over a hundred references to angels, but uses the word “archangel” only twice, at Thessalonians 4:16 (“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first”, KJV) and Jude 1:9 (“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee”, KJV).
Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, depicted in stained glass in St Ailbe’s Church, a Catholic church in Ireland
In Catholicism, three are mentioned by name:
These three are commemorated together liturgically on Sept. 29. Formerly each had his own feast (see individual articles).
The latter of these identifies himself in Tobit 12:15(NAB) thus: “I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.”
The Fourth Book of Esdras, which mentions the angel Uriel (and also the “archangel” Jeremiel), was popular in the West and was frequently quoted by Church Fathers, especially Ambrose, but was never considered part of the Catholic biblical canon.
The Catholic Church gives no official recognition to the names given in some apocryphal sources, such as Raguel, Saraqael and Remiel (in the Book of Enoch) or Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel (in other such sources).
Angelic Council, Orthodox icon of the seven archangels, left to right: Jegudiel, Gabriel, Selaphiel, Michael, Uriel, Raphael, Barachiel. Beneath the mandorla of Christ-Immanuel (God is with us) are representations of Cherubim (blue) and Seraphim (red).
Eastern Orthodox Tradition mentions “thousands of archangels”; however, only seven archangels are venerated by name. Uriel is included, and the other three are most often named Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel (an eighth, Jeremiel, is sometimes included as archangel). The Orthodox Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers on November 8 of the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar (for those churches which follow the Julian Calendar, November 8 falls on November 21 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). Other feast days of the Archangels include the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel on March 26 (April 8), and the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Colossae on September 6 (September 19). In addition, every Monday throughout the year is dedicated to the Angels, with special mention being made in the church hymns of Michael and Gabriel. In Orthodox iconography, each angel has a symbolic representation:
Michael in the Hebrew language means “Who is like God?” or “Who is equal to God?” Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks Lucifer/Satan, and in his left hand a green palm branch. At the top of the spear, there is a linen ribbon with a red cross. The Archangel Michael is especially considered to be the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith and a fighter against heresies.
Gabriel means “God is my strength” or “Might of God”. He is the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it. He is depicted as follows: In his right hand, he holds a lantern with a lighted taper inside, and in his left hand, a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.
Raphael means “It is God who heals” or “God Heals”. Raphael is depicted leading Tobit (who is carrying a fish caught in the Tigris) with his right hand and holding a physician’s alabaster jar in his left hand.
Uriel means “God is my light”, or “Light of God” (II Esdras 4:1, 5:20). He is depicted holding a sword in his right hand, and a flame in his left.
Sealtiel means “Intercessor of God”. He is depicted with his face and eyes lowered, holding his hands on his bosom in prayer.
Jegudiel means “Glorifier of God”. He is depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and a triple-thonged whip in his left hand.
Barachiel means “Blessed by God”. He is depicted holding a white rose in his hand against his breast.
Jerahmeel means “God’s exaltation”. He is venerated as an inspirer and awakener of exalted thoughts that raise a person toward God (2 Esdras 4:36). As an eighth, he is sometimes included as an archangel.
Coptic icon of the Archangel Michael. Among all the archangels, the Copts pay special attention to St Michael.
In addition to Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the Coptic Orthodox Church recognises four more archangels by name:
Suriel means “Prince of God”
Zedekiel means “Grace of God”
Ananiel means “Rain of God”
Ethiopian icon of an angel, possibly St Michael.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church venerates the four archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, as well as:
Phanuel, meaning “Face of God”
Raguel, meaning “Friend of God”
Ramuel  or Remiel, meaning “Thunder of God”
In the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, 1 Enoch describes Saraqael as one of the angels who watch over “the spirits that sin in the spirit” (Enoch 20:7–8).
The Protestant Bible provides names for three angels: “Michael the archangel”, the angel Gabriel, who is called “the man Gabriel” in Daniel 9:21 and third “Abaddon”/”Apollyon” in Revelation 9:11. Within Protestantism, the Anglican and Methodist tradition recognizes four angels as archangels: Michael the Archangel, Raphael the Archangel, Gabriel the Archangel, and Uriel the Archangel. But a depiction of seven archangels in stained-glass windows can be found in some Anglican churches. In this case, in addition to the aforementioned angels, Chamuel, Jophiel and Zadkiel are also depicted. They are commemorated on 29 September, “Michaelmas”, in the church calendar. The evangelist Billy Graham wrote that in Sacred Scripture, there is only one individual explicitly described as an archangel—Michael—in Jude 1:9.
Seventh-day Adventists hold that the titles “Michael” and “archangel” are in reference to Jesus. However, in the Adventist view, they only signify his role as the chief of angels and make no reference to the nature of Jesus, who is fully divine. Adventists credit nonconformist minister Matthew Henry as supporting this view.
Seven archangels depicted in the stained-glass window at St Michael’s Church, Brighton; from left: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Chamuel (Camael), Raphael, Jophiel, and Zadkiel
The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner
Jehovah’s Witnesses, citing a reference to “an archangel’s voice” at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, also believe that “Michael” is another name for Jesus in heaven. They believe Jesus is an archangel in the true sense of the word—the highest spiritual creature.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) interprets the term “archangel” as meaning “Chief Angel”, Michael is the only individual so designated in the Latter Day Saints canon. It is believed that he is the head of all of the angels. LDS Church doctrine also states that the archangel Michael was the first man, Adam. Though no other being is identified as an “archangel”, Joseph Smith taught that the angel Gabriel was known in mortality as Noah and the angel Raphael is a being of significant standing, even though he has never been identified with any mortal prophet.
In Islam, the mentioned archangels in the Islamic exegetical traditions are:
Gabriel (Jibrail or Jibril in Arabic). Gabriel is said to be the archangel responsible for transmitting God’s revelations to all prophets, including revealing the Quran to Muhammad and inducing him to recite it. Various hadiths (traditions) mention his role in delivering messages from “God the Almighty” to the prophets.
Mika’il is often depicted as the archangel of mercy who is responsible for bringing rain and thunder to Earth.
Raphael (Israfil in Arabic). The name is not mentioned in the Quran. Considered in Islam by some to be the angel of the trumpet responsible for signaling the coming of Judgment Day.
Azrael (Azra’il in Arabic, also called Malak al-Maut, literally “angel of death”). Taking the soul of the dead to heaven or hell. The name is not mentioned in the Quran.
Occultists sometimes associate archangels in Kabbalistic fashion with various seasons or elements, or even colors. In some Kabbalah-based systems of ceremonial magic, all four of the main archangels (Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel) are invoked as guarding the four quarters, or directions, and their corresponding colors are associated with magical properties. Lucifer or Satan in Christian traditions, or Iblis in Islam, is considered an archangel by Satanists and many non-Satanists, but most non-Satanists consider him evil and fallen from God’s grace.
Annunciatory Angel by Fra Angelico, 1437–1446
In art, archangels are sometimes depicted with larger wings. Some of the more commonly represented archangels are Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel.
In the lesser ritual of the pentagram, the invocation includes the words “Before me Raphael; Behind me Gabriel; On my right hand Michael; On my left hand Auriel [Uriel]…”
Angels in art
Angel of the Lord
Saint Michael in the Catholic Church
Sopo Archangels, Colombian Baroque paintings
Angel of the Lord
The Angel of the Lord appearing to Hagar in the wilderness, as depicted by Nicolas Colombel (1644-1717)
The (or an) angel of the LORD (Hebrew: malakh YHWH “messenger of Yahweh”) is an entity appearing repeatedly in the Tanakh (Old Testament) on behalf of the God of Israel.
The term malakh YHWH, which occurs 65 times in the text of the Hebrew Bible, can be translated either as “the angel of the Lord” or “an angel of the Lord”. The King James Version usually translates it as “the angel of the LORD”; less frequently as “an angel of the LORD”. The Septuagint (LXX) sometimes uses ἄγγελος Κυρίου (an angel of the Lord), sometimes ὁ ἄγγελος Κυρίου (the angel of the Lord): in Genesis 16:7–11, it gives first the form without the Greek article, then, in all the subsequent mentions with the article, as in the anaphoric use of the article.
A closely related term is “angel of God” (mal’akh ‘Elohim), mentioned 12 times (2 of which are plural). Another related expression, Angel of the Presence, occurs only once (Isaiah 63:9).
The New Testament uses the term “angel of the Lord” (ἄγγελος Κυρίου) several times, in one instance (Luke 1:11–19) identifying it with Gabriel.
Angel of Yahweh
The word Angel found numerous times in the scriptures of the bible refers to a heavenly creature who delivers a message from God to humans on Earth, in other words a messenger of God. There is a difference between an angel and the Angel of the Lord, The Angel of the Lord is the only angel appearing continually throughout the old testament referring to himself as the Lord and God in the first person, while the other angels mentioned in the scripture reference to the Lord God as a hallowed third person always humbling themselves and not accepting any type of glory.
Examples of use of the Hebrew term are found in the following verses, here given in the King James Version translation:
Genesis 16:7–14. The angel of the Lord appears to Hagar. The angel speaks as God himself in the first person, and in verse 13 Hagar identifies “the LORD that spake unto her” as “Thou God seest me”.
Genesis 22:11–15. The angel of the Lord appears to Abraham and refers to himself as God in the first person.
Exodus 3:2–4. The angel of the Lord appears to Moses in a flame in verse 2, and God speaks to Moses from the flame in verse 4, both instances referring to himself in the first person.
Numbers 22:22–38. The angel of the Lord meets the prophet Balaam on the road. In verse 38, Balaam identifies the angel who spoke to him as delivering the word of God.
Judges 2:1–3. An angel of the Lord appears to Israel.
Judges 6:11–23. An angel of the Lord appears to Gideon, and in verse 22 Gideon fears for his life because he has seen an angel of the Lord face to face.
Judges 13:3–22. The angel of the Lord appears to Manoah and his wife and, in verse 16, tells them to offer to the LORD if they are to make an offering (“And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah […] if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.”). Later Manoah thought he and his wife will die for they “have seen God”
Zechariah 1:12. The angel of the Lord pleads with the Lord to have mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah.
Zechariah 3:4. The angel of the Lord takes away the sin of the high priest Joshua.
The Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint translates the Hebrew phrase as ἄγγελος Κυρίου, “angel of the Lord” or as ὁ ἄγγελος Κυρίου, “the angel of the Lord”. “Owing to the Hebrew idiom, this may mean no more than ‘an angel of God’, and the Septuagint renders it with or without the article at will.”
The KJV and NKJV capitalize “Angel” in the Old Testament references to “the Angel of the Lord”, while using lower-case “angel” in the Old Testament references to “an angel of the Lord” (and in the New Testament references). Most versions, including NASB, RSV, ESV, etc., do not capitalize “angel” in the mentions of “angel of the Lord”.
Angel of Elohim
The term “angel of God” (Heb. mal’akh ‘Elohim) occurs 12 times (2 of which are plural). The following are examples:
Genesis 31:11. The angel of God calls out to Jacob in a dream and tells him “I am the God of Bethel”.
Exodus 14:19. The angel of God leads the camp of Israel, and also follows behind them, with the pillar of fire.
Judges 13:9. The angel of God approached Manoah’s wife after the Lord heard Manoah.
David is depicted interceding for the people to end the plague (1 Chronicles 21) in this 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld
In addition, there are mentions of God “sending an angel”, of which the following are examples:
Exodus 23:20–21. The LORD says he will send an Angel before the Israelites, and warns them to obey the Angel’s voice, and that the Angel “will not pardon transgressions” because the LORD’s “name is in him”.
Exodus 33:2. God says he will send an angel before the Israelites, and that God will drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
Numbers 20:16. The LORD sent an angel and brought the people of Israel forth from Egypt.
1 Chronicles 21:15. God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem, but then repented and told the angel to stay his hand.
2 Chronicles 32:21. The LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria.
In the New Testament the Greek phrase ἄγγελος Κυρίου (aggelos kuriou—”angel of the Lord”) is found in Matthew 1:20, 1:24, 2:13, 2:19, 28:2; Luke 1:11, 2:9; John 5:4; Acts 5:19, 8:26, 12:7, and 12:23. English translations render the phrase either as “an angel of the Lord” or as “the angel of the Lord”. The mentions in Acts 12:11 and Revelation 22:6 of “his angel” (the Lord’s angel) can also be understood as referring either to the angel of the Lord or an angel of the Lord.
An angel of the Lord who is mentioned in Luke 1:11 identifies himself as Gabriel in Luke 1:19.
Most appearances of the “angel of the Lord” leave the reader with the question of whether it was an angel or YHWH who appeared. Apart from the view that “the angel of the Lord is just that—an angel”, a wide array of solutions have been offered, such as making the angel an earthly manifestation (avatar) of the God of Israel or of Christ.
In the Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) Hugh Pope writes: “The earlier Fathers, going by the letter of the text in the Septuagint, maintained that it was God Himself who appeared as the Giver of the Law to Moses. It was not unnatural then for Tertullian […] to regard such manifestations in the light of preludes to the Incarnation, and most of the Eastern Fathers followed the same line of thought.” Pope quotes the view of Theodoret that this angel was probably Christ, “the Only-begotten Son, the Angel of great Counsel”, and contrasts Theodoret’s view with the opposite view of the Latin Fathers Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great that it was no more than an angel, a view that, he says, “was destined to live in the Church, and the Scholastics reduced it to a system”. As an exponent of this view he quotes Augustine, who declared that “the angel is correctly termed an angel if we consider him himself, but equally correctly is he termed ‘the Lord’ because God dwells in him.” He indicates, however, that within the Catholic Church the opposite view was also upheld.
The appearances of the “angel of the Lord” are in fact often presented as theophanies, appearances of YHWH himself rather than a separate entity acting on his behalf. In Genesis 31:11–13, “the angel of God” says, “I am the God of Beth-el”. In Exodus 3:2–6 “the angel of Yahweh” appeared to Moses in the flame of fire, and then “Yahweh” says to him: “I am the God of thy father”. Compare also Genesis 22:11; Judges 6:11–22. At times the angel of the Lord speaks in such a way as to assume authority over previous promises (see Gen. 16:11 and 21:17). According to the New American Bible, the visual form under which God appeared and spoke to men is referred to indifferently in some Old Testament texts either as God’s angel or as God himself.
Another interpretation builds on the usage by which ancient spokesmen, after an introductory phrase, used the grammatically first person in proclaiming the point of view of the one they represent.
Another proposal is Samuel A. Meier’s interpolation theory, which holds that, originally, stories in which there is ambiguity between Yahweh and the “angel of Yahweh” were written with Yahweh himself delivering the message. Later, copyists inserted the term mal’akh before the divine name to modify the narratives, in order to meet the standards of a changing theology which more strongly emphasized a transcendent God. If the term mal’akh is removed from these passages, the remaining story fits neatly with a “default” format in Near Eastern literature in which the deity appears directly to humans without an intermediary. The addition of mal’akh does not require any change in the form of the verbs connected to it, since both mal’akh and a deity such as Yahweh or Elohim are of masculine grammatical gender and since the noun before which mal’akh is introduced remains unaffected on the consonantal level. On the other hand, the removal of the word mal’akh from the narration usually makes it more coherent and in line with its Ancient Near East literary context.
Although Wojciech Kosior favours this interpolation theory, he mentions some unsolved difficulties connected with it: the large number of similar theophanies in which the word mal’akh has not been added to the names of Yahweh and Elohim and the fact that it is never associated with names such as El-Elyon, El-Shadday or El-Ro’eh worshipped by the biblical Hebrews.
The early Fathers of the Church, such as Justin Martyr, identify the angel of the Lord as the pre-incarnate Christ whose appearance, i.e. Christophany, is recorded in the Hebrew Bible. On the reason why some early Christians viewed Jesus as the angel of the Lord, Susan Garrett says:
[The logic behind the] reading of Jesus into accounts of the angel of the LORD went deeper. Many Jews before and during the time of Jesus were deeply interested in angels. Some understood the angel of the LORD as a being completely separate from God—a sort of angelic vizier or righthand angel, who served as head of the heavenly host and in other important capacities, including as a mediator between God and humans. Further, some Jews routinely appropriated language used in Scripture to describe the angel of the LORD and used it to characterize certain of God’s attributes, including God’s word, glory, wisdom, spirit, power, and name—almost as if these aspects of the Deity were themselves independent angels. In other words, quite apart from Christianity there was talk among ancient Jews of God’s word, God’s glory, and so forth in terms highly reminiscent of the angel of the LORD. So, when early Christian authors like Justin Martyr connected Jesus with God’s word and that word, in turn, with the angel of the LORD, they were not inventing from scratch so much as adding a new layer to well-established ways of reading Scripture.
The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo identified the angel of the Lord (in the singular) with the Logos.
In Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Louis Goldberg writes: “The functions of the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament prefigure the reconciling ministry of Jesus. In the New Testament, there is no mention of the angel of the Lord; the Messiah himself is this person.”
On the other hand, Knofel Staton says: “The idea that this angel was Christ is unlikely for many reasons, which include the following: 1) God never said to any angel (including the ‘angel of the Lord’) ‘you are my son’ (Heb 1:5) …”; Ben Witherington says: “The angel of the Lord is just that – an angel. [… T]he divine son of God […] was no mere angel of the Lord, nor did he manifest himself in some observable form prior to the Incarnation.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that the angel who brought the Israelites into their promised land and would not pardon transgression because God’s name was in him (Exodus 23:20–21) was “God’s firstborn Son”, the pre-existent Christ, also called the archangel Michael, the Prince of the people of Israel mentioned in Daniel 10:21, the firstborn called “the Son of God” because he was created with qualities like those of his Father.
Fountain of the Fallen Angel by Ricardo Bellver, 1877, Retiro Park (Madrid, Spain)
The Fallen Angels (1893) by Salvatore Albano at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City
In Abrahamic religions, fallen angels are angels who were expelled from heaven. The literal term “fallen angel” appears neither in the Bible nor in other Abrahamic scriptures, but is used to describe angels who were cast out of heaven or angels who sinned. Such angels often tempt humans to sin.
The idea of fallen angels derived from the Book of Enoch, a Jewish pseudepigraph, or the assumption that the “sons of God” (בני האלוהים) mentioned in Genesis 6:1–4 are angels. In the period immediately preceding the composition of the New Testament, some sects of Judaism, as well as many Christian Church Fathers, identified the “sons of God” of Genesis 6:1–4 as fallen angels. Rabbinic Judaism and Christian authorities after the third century rejected the Enochian writings and the notion of an illicit union between angels and women producing giants. Christian doctrine states that the sins of fallen angels start before the beginning of human history. Accordingly, fallen angels became identified with angels who were led by Satan in rebellion against God and equated with demons. How