Navigate the JREF Website Join Now
James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

archangel It is popularly believed that there are only two orders of angels: ordinary, standard angels, and the archangels, sort of super-angels. Ah, but dutifully poring through the Bible, we find there are actually nine varieties. In ascending order, they are Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Witnesses, Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim. So there! In the Bible, however, only two references are made to the higher rank. At one point, Michael is called an archangel, and later it says that at a certain moment, “the Lord shall descend from heaven . . . with the voice of the archangel.” It is thus unclear what the rank means, though archangels are doubtless just as real as regular angels.
      In the Koran, four archangels are listed: Gabriël, in charge of revelations, Michael, the warrior, Azraël, who brings death, and Azrafil, whose only function appears to be standing by with a huge horn to sound the Last Trump.
      In the Bible, archangel Michael is described as a militant sort who slays a dragon, is called a “prince,” is in charge of human virtue, and is in command of nations. A busy angel.

[Encyclopedia Cover]

Click here to order a copy of the original hardcover edition of this Encyclopedia.

Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

Created and maintained with the dictionary compilation software TshwaneLex.