Names of Angels in the Bible
For all the cultural hype about angels, there are few specific names of angels mentioned in the Bible. None of the narratives in the Bible are specifically about an angel or group of angels. Instead, mention of angels portrays them as ancillary characters delivering a message, helping one of God’s servants, or in warfare on behalf of God’s people.
Angels exist as God’s servants ministering to mankind. In the story of God, his Son, and his people as told in the Bible, angels are supporting characters. Therefore, readers receive limited information about these heavenly helpers.
Yet fascinatingly, God’s Word names two specifically–and their vastly opposing missions.
The Angel Gabriel
Gabriel might well be the most well-known angel name. Anyone that knows the story of the birth of Christ remembers that an angel plays a part in the famous story.
The angel Gabriel appears by name on four different occasions in Scripture:
- Announces that Mary will give birth to Jesus
- Announces that John the Baptist will be born to aged parents
- Explains the prophet Daniel’s vision
- Gives further understanding and comfort to the prophet Daniel.
The name Gabriel means “God is my strength” in Hebrew and this celestial creature is tasked by God with delivering messages.
In the Christmas story, Gabriel unexpectedly makes his appearance to the young teenager Mary who is betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph. The heavenly visitor proclaims the breathtaking announcement that God has chosen this unknown Jewish girl to give birth to the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-38)
Only a few months prior to this surprise visitation, Gabriel appeared to Mary’s uncle, Zechariah, announcing that he and his barren and aged wife would be welcoming a new son. This son would be John the Baptist who would be God’s instrument to usher in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:8-25)
Less well known are other appearances of Gabriel on earth. Centuries earlier when the Babylonians overran Israel and exiled the Jewish people to their pagan country, the prophet Daniel received what he called an appalling vision regarding the future. It was the angel Gabriel who helped Daniel to understand the frightening prophecy. (Daniel 8:15-27)
Later, in answer to Daniel’s desperate prayer in response to the startling vision, the Lord sent Gabriel again to provide understanding and comfort to his faithful servant. (Daniel 9:20-27).
The Angel Michael
The Bible names a second angel, Michael, and describes his mission as a warrior prince fighting on behalf of God’s chosen ones. He is called an “archangel” indicating that there is an angelic hierarchy.
The angel Michael appears four different times in Scripture:
- Angel Michael fights the spiritual enemy that keeps help from reaching Daniel
- He has charge over God’s people
- Angel Michael serves as an example against blasphemy
- He wars against a dragon in the last days
His name first appears in Daniel’s prophetic book when Daniel is recovering from his heavenly vision. While Daniel is standing on the bank of the Tigris River, he sees the gleaming shape of a man that he describes as a face like lightning with a body of beryl. Daniel faints to the ground and is lifted up by an unnamed heavenly being who explains why he’s been delayed in coming in answer to Daniel’s prayers.
“Fear not, Daniel for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days…” (Daniel 10:12-14)
The angel Michael came to fight forces of darkness that were keeping the heavenly messenger from reaching Daniel.
Two chapters later the angel Michael is named again as part of Daniel’s astounding vision over what will occur in the last days of time.
The Bible names the great prince Michael as the one who has charge over God’s people and will assure that all those whose names are written in the Book of Life will be delivered from God’s judgment on earth. (Daniel 12:1)
In Jude 9 the New Testament writer makes mention of the angel Michael when he is warning the church against infiltration of false teaching.
Jude uses the warrior angel as an example against blasphemy when he explains that the archangel Michael disputed with the devil over Moses body. Michael did not pronounce a blasphemous judgment on the devil but instead said “The Lord rebuke you.”
Lastly, in his vision in Revelation the apostle John describes the role the angel Michael will play in the last days:
“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.” (Rev. 12:7)
Names of Fallen Angels in the Bible
Only one name is given specifically for a fallen angel. The name Lucifer refers to the angel who disobeyed God and fell from heaven to become the enemy of God and the enemy of his people. He’s more commonly known as the devil or Satan.
Yet, there exists a misnomer with the name Lucifer as it’s not a proper name for an angel. Instead, it’s a translation in the King James Version which came from the Latin Vulgate in Isaiah 14:12 where it says “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning…”
Lucifer is not a proper name, but instead the Latin word for “morning star.” Daniel Wallace, Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary asserts that the King James translators probably translated it directly from the Vulgate because they weren’t sure what to do with it.
Vulgate translator and early church father Jerome most likely encountered the same conundrum as the Hebrew word denotes some type of constellation.
Angel Names – Seraphim and Cherubim
Two categories of angels are briefly named in the Bible:
In popular culture angel babies called cherubs with chubby little bodies and rosy cheeks are often depicted, especially around Valentine’s Day spreading love and goodwill.
No biblical evidence supports these divine infant characters. True cherubim appear to be guarding angels who were posted at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to keep Adam and Eve out after they were banished (Gen. 3:24).
The cherubim also often appear in the presence of God in Scripture as in Psalm 18:10 which says, “He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.”
In Ezekiel 10:1-22 a powerful scene unfolds as the intricately described cherubim accompany God out of the temple in dramatic fanfare.
According to Isaiah 6, the seraphim reside around the throne of God serving to worship him. They are described as six-winged creatures that use two wings to cover their face, two to cover their feet, and the remaining with which to fly. Their proclamation is:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Is. 6:3)
The prophet Isaiah describes one of the seraphim flying to him and touching his lips with a hot coal to remove his guilt and atone for his sin. (Is. 6:7)
Other Names for Angels
The mention of angels appears throughout both the Old and New Testament. Although Scripture readers learn few specific angel names, angels are often referred to using differing terms:
- Heavenly host
- Living creatures
- Ministering spirits
- Extrabiblical Accounts of Angels
The Apocrypha is a collection of ancient writings that resemble biblical narratives but have been rejected by early church fathers as uninspired.
During the Reformation at the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church adopted the Apocrypha in their Bible to support some of their traditions that were disputed by the reformers.
The Book of Tobit is one such book that gives an account of an angel named Raphael. The narrative explains the story of Tobit and his son Tobias. The angel Raphael assists Tobias in finding a wife and reuniting with his parents.
The Book of Enoch focuses on fallen angels who mate with female humans to create a race of Nephilim who are giant and ravage the earth and threaten humanity.
The character of the angel Amenadiel from the television series Lucifer comes from the Book of Enoch. In the writings, Amenadiel is a rebel who falls from heaven as a result.
Accounts of angels from the apocryphal writings should be rejected as they are not inspired truth but instead fictional narrative.
Guardian Angel Names
No solid biblical evidence exists that indicates each person who lives is assigned a guardian angel. Therefore, there are no guardian angel names.
The belief that people possess a guardian angel stems loosely from ancient Jewish tradition and two New Testament passages.
In Matthew 18:10 Jesus calls a child to himself and tells the people not to look down on small children because their angels in heaven always see the face of the Father. Yet, Jesus does not specifically say it is one angel guarding a specific child.
In Acts 12:15 when angels release Peter from prison, he goes to the home where the disciples regularly gathered and knocked on the door. The servant Rhoda answered the door and shocked to see Peter went and told the disciples he was there. They responded that it must be his angel.
The first disciples were Jewish and new to following Christ and most likely responding from the ancient Jewish tradition that guardian angels looked like the person they were guarding. There are no Old Testament texts that support this myth.
Names of Male Angels in the Bible
The only two angels named in the Bible, Gabriel and Michael, are said to be men. Gabriel is called a “him” in Luke 1:12 and Michael in Jude 9.
While angels have often been illustrated as beautiful, graceful females no biblical passages support the belief in female angels.
Encyclopedia of the Bible. Seraphim. Retrieved from: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Seraphim. Accessed on June 14, 2021.
D.B. Wallace. Is “Lucifer” the Devil in Isaiah 14:12? The KJV argument against Modern Translations. Retrieved from: https://bible.org/article/lucifer-devil-isaiah-1412-kjv-argument-against-modern-translations. Accessed on June 14, 2021.
Wikipedia.org (n.d.) Watcher (angel). Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watcher_(angel). Accessed on June 14, 2021
M.J. Chaignot. (n.d.) Tobit. Retrieved from: https://www.biblewise.com/bible_study/apocrypha/tobit.php Accessed on June 14, 2021.