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Raphael (angel)

Raphael is a Hebrew word that means "God is healing," thus Raphael is an archangel who heals the wounded physically and psychologically. He is the main character in the Book of Tobit, included in the Septuagint, but assigned an apocryphal status by Protestant churches..

Of seven archangels in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, are mentioned by name in the scriptures that gradually became accepted as canonical. The four others, however, are named in the Book of Enoch, chapter xxi: Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel.

The name of the archangel Raphael appears only in the Book of Tobit (Tobias). There he first appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of the younger Tobias, calling himself "Azarias the son of the great Ananias". During the adventurous course of the journey the archangel's protective influence is shown in many ways including the binding of the demon in the desert of upper Egypt. After the return and the healing of the blindness of the elder Tobias, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tobit, xii, 15). Compare the unnamed angels in John's Apocalypse viii, 2.

Regarding the healing powers attributed to Raphael, we have little more than his declaration to Tobias (Tobit, 12) that he was sent by the Lord to heal him of his blindness and to deliver Sarah, his daughter-in-law, from the devil that was the serial killer of her husbands.

In the New Testament, only the archangels Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name (1 Thessalonians, iv, 15; Epistle of Jude, 9). The "angel of the Lord" that is mentioned in John 5 is generally associated with Raphael, however, because of the 'healing' in the archangel's name accords with the healing role assigned to Raphael in the Book of Tobias. John 5:1-4, refers to the pool where the multitude of the infirm lay awaiting the moving of the water, for "an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under".