Most of our ideas about angels come from non-biblical sources, while the Bible itself only identifies two angels by name, and only one of those is termed as an archangel.
In this article, we’ll look at the two angels the Bible identifies by name, and we will comment on a few angels who are named in other non-canonical sources.
The only Angel specifically referred to as an archangel in the Bible is Michael (Jude 1:9).
Michael is one of two angels named in the Bible. Michael is also identified as “one of the chief princes” (Daniel 10:13) and “the great prince who has charge of your people [Israel]” (Daniel 12:1).
It is worth noting that, in the Bible, there are both good and evil princes. There is a rank of angels who are designated as princes, and as demons are fallen angels, they still maintain this rank in their fallen state of evil.
The Bible speaks of a “Prince of Persia” (Daniel 10:13) that the Archangel Michael battled against and that Michael will assist against the “Prince of Greece” (Daniel 10:20-21).
Michael is also a warrior angel, as in the book of Revelation we are told “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back” (Revelation 12:7).
The other angel that the Bible specifically identifies by name is Gabriel (Daniel 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26).
In both instances where the angel is identified by name, Gabriel acts as an interpreter and messenger. The angel delivers messages to Daniel in the book of Daniel, and Mary in the book of Luke.
It was also Gabriel that announced the birth of the Precursor, John the Baptist (Luke 1:11-20), and the birth of Jesus (Luke 1-2, Matthew 1-2).
Gabriel is sometimes referred to as an archangel, but not in the Bible (although is recognized as an archangel by the Catholic Church).
That idea comes from non-canonical Second Temple Jewish literature, according to biblical scholar Dr. Michael Heiser, author of one of the foremost reference books on the heavenly host titled: “Angels.”
In the apocryphal writings of 1 Enoch, it also gives names for a number of angels and demons, including naming additional archangels such as Rafael (also recognized by the Catholic Church), Uriel and Phanuel.
Some texts refer to the latter two as one and the same, while others (such as Enoch and the Testament of Solomon) refer them as two separately distinct beings. The apocryphal Testament of Solomon and also identifies a fifth Archangel named Sabrael.