Archangel Raguel is one of the oldest angels attested in the holy writings, but forgotten over time, and more recently, confused with Rafael, Rufael, Suryan, Uriel and Akrasiel.
His name means “God’s Friend” in Hebrew, and he can also be found under the forms of Raghuel, Ra’uel, Raguhel, Raguil or Raguhiil. Although present in the Christian mentality of the first centuries, Raguel was taken out of the calendar at the Council of Rome in 745 and noted as a fallen angel, as happened to Uriel and many other significant angels, possibly because of the popularity they enjoyed among the people.
Although its name does not appear in the Bible itself, some Bible episodes are traditionally related to it. The angel should not be confused with biblical characters bearing the same name. Raguel from the Book of Tobit and Raguel (Reuel), the priest of Madian, also called Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, has no direct connection with this angel. There are authors who believe that a prophet or a biblical character who has a similar or identical name to an angel is his earthly incarnation. We must not assume that there is such a link because some angels, such as Uziel, Uriel, Azrael and many others, have served as an onomastic model for people like Uziah, Uryah and Ezra, as Michael and Gabriel are now models. We doubt that each Michael, Michele, Mihai and Mihaela on Earth are incarnations of this archangel, just as we doubt that Raguel-Ietro-Jethro would have any supernatural connection with this archangel.
But he appears in the Book of Enoch, and here he is one of the seven watchers: Uriel, Rafael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael, Gabriel, and Remiel. In Enoch 20:4,5 we read: “Raguel, one of the holy angels who takes vengeance on the world of the luminaries.”
In chapter 23, the prophet Enoch sees in the West at the limit of the Earth a great fire burning continually and flowing without stopping. When asked what it is, the respondent is Raguel: “This course of fire which you have seen is the fire in the west and is the fire of all the lights of heaven.” In chapter 33, Raguel is one of the angels whom God sends to take Enoch to heaven. Two different versions offer the names Samuil and Raguil, respectively, Semil and Rasuil.
Certain esoteric traditions consider that Raguel is the unnamed angel of the Revelation of John, associated with the Church of Philadelphia (Rev. 3:9), who is rewarded for his patience and mercy for all the anguish and the sixth angel (Rev. 9:14) , who is commanded to release four angels from the Euphrates.
From the information provided by the Book of Enoch, as the biblical scholars also observed, his function and name seem to contradict. His office implies punishment, but his name indicates friendship. Things can also be seen from another point of view. If other angels are given to observe and intervene in the world of people where needed, then Raguel’s mission is on the spiritual side. The fact that he brings revenge against the luminaries indicates his divine office, the agent of balance and justice in the spiritual world. It seems that not only humans make mistakes, but according to Enoch’s Book, angels also commit mistakes. These sins or mistakes are more serious as the level of spiritual evolution is greater. A simple man may be wrong because of his ignorance, an evolved man may be wrong because he is still a man, but an angel should conform to the full Divine Laws, and a mistake on his part may be catastrophic. One of the central themes of the Book of Enoch is the fall of the angels: seduced by the beauty of the daughters of men, the angels led by the Archangel Semyaza descend to Earth and join them by making children. Not only that, but angels teach medicine, magic, pharmacology, metallurgy, astronomy, and all the sciences of those times. They are banished and punished by God for their reckless behavior and sent to specific torments.
We can see well that the angelic world has its own problems, and someone must be the divine agent of justice. Raguel watches the keeping of the spiritual laws, the fairness of all beings in the hierarchies of light and darkness. When there is an action that causes imbalance, Raguel gets the right to intervene and manage the situation. He is the one who punishes angels, demons, and all spiritual beings who violate their mission or oath. Each of these beings has a mission to fulfill, and when their own personality takes the place of humility that they should prove, problems may arise.
Raguel is the one who applies the punishments of God. If an angel violates his mission and helps a man beyond the normal limits, perhaps violating the freedoms of others, Raguel is the one who enforces the compliance to the Divine Laws and punishes that angel. If an angel or a demon hurts or damages a man or another being, it is also Raguel who takes care of the abnormal behavior.
From a human point of view, in the first situation, Raguel is negative because it hinders a good, and in the second it is perceived as positive because it helps. But his deeds do not need to be judged by us, and ultimately, they can not be judged by the angels either. Only God knows the reason why Raguel acts like this, because he does not act for the benefit of himself, or of the angels or of the people in particular, but in the service of God. This is the true meaning of his name: a terrible agent who is not the friend of anybody but the Lord.
- For the English translation of the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch) I have used The Books of Enoch by Joseph B. Lumpkin.