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Raphael and Tobias

Raphael – Angel Of Healing

By James Donahue

Raphael  is a Hebrew name that means “the shining one who heals.” Ancient mythology states that it was Raphael that taught medicine to mortals, eased Abraham’s pain after his circumcision, and healed Jacob’s thigh after he supposedly wrestled with another angel.

He is considered a patron of the sciences and medicine. He is mentioned in ancient stories as being a member of the cherubim, dominations and powers. Raphael also is thought to be the head of the guardian angels.

It was Raphael who taught Noah how to build the ark, and he was said to have taught Solomon how to bind the demons into slave labor when the great temple was being constructed at Jerusalem.

Raphael is listed as one of the seven archangels even though his name is never mentioned within the canons of the Christian Bible or the Hebrew Torah. There is a legend, however, that all of the names of the angels were listed in various other ancient books from Hebrew sacred literature. All of the other stories about Raphael’s deeds also appear in these ancient books.

There is a peculiar story about this angel that appears in the Book of Tobit, which is included in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian Bibles. In this story, Raphael appears disguised in human form as a travelling companion of Tobiah, the son of Tobit. He calls himself Azarias. He later reveals himself as “the angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.”

In that story it is said Raphael was sent to heal Tabit of blindness and to deliver Sarah, his daughter-in-law, from Asmodens, the demon of lust, who abducted and killed every man she married on their wedding night. The demon was bound and left in the desert.

Some artistic depictions of this angel show him standing over a large fish. This appears to be in reference, again to the story in Tobias where Raphael uses the gallbladder of a fish to heal Tobit’s eyes, and burned the heart and liver to drive away the demon.

The Book of Enoch appears to also describe the same incident in more detail and name the demon as Azazel.

The text of the story: “And again the Lord said to Raphael: ‘Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness; and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dudael, and cast him there in. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there forever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgment he shall be cast into the fire.”

The Islamic faith also names Raphael as one of the archangels. They believe Raphael will play a major role on Judgment Day by blowing the trumpet and sending out a “Blast of Truth.” The belief is that there will be two basts of the trumpet. The first will signal the start of the Last Day. The final blow will signal the time when all souls gather for judgment.