Does the Bible talk about an angel named Raphael?

Of the angels mentioned in Scripture, there are only two who are mentioned directly by name, and those are Gabriel (Luke 1:26) and the archangel Michael (Daniel 12:1; Jude 9). There are no angels called Raphael in the Bible. However, the name is interesting, as its root word is the Hebrew word rapha which features in one of the names of God in the Septuagint: Jehovah-Rapha, which means "The Lord who heals" (Exodus 15:26; Psalm 103:3; Psalm 107:20; Isaiah 53:4-5).

Catholic tradition, based on the book of Tobit (or Tobias), contains a reference to the angel Raphael, who protects Tobias (the younger) and heals Tobias (the elder). Based on descriptions of Raphael by Tobias, the Catholic Church considers Raphael the protector of travelers, the blind, and physicians. The book of Tobit is not considered inspired by Protestant churches. This is partly because of references in Tobit to Raphael offering prayers for Tobias, and Tobias' praise of the angel, saying that he is "filled with all good things through him" (Tobit 12:15; 12:3). The Bible does not say that angels are to offer prayers for humans, and it expressly forbids worship of the angels. The angel who visited John on Patmos told him not to worship him, and argues that he is a fellow servant, and tells John to worship God (Revelation 22:8-9).

The book of Tobit was not part of the Hebrew Scriptures, but the Septuagint includes it and the name of Raphael would have been familiar to people in Jesus' time. A story in the New Testament shows how Tobit's report of Raphael's ability to heal and protect could have been translated into popular superstition. There was a pool called Bethesda in Jerusalem, and sick people used to lie near the pool, waiting for the waters to become turbulent. They believed that when the waters were stirred up, an angel was stirring them, and if they got into the pool while the water was turbulent, they would be healed of their illnesses (John 5:2-9). It's possible that the angel of the pool was, in the minds of the sick, Raphael. Raphael does not appear, but Jesus does—and heals an invalid who is too weak to climb down into the pool. This is a beautiful picture of salvation: Jesus always goes to those who know they are too weak to help themselves, and saves and heals them (Romans 5:6-8).

Copyright 2011-2024 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved.