Meet Archangel Uriel, Angel of Wisdom

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Hopler, Whitney. "Meet Archangel Uriel, Angel of Wisdom." ThoughtCo, Jul. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/meet-archangel-uriel-angel-of-wisdom-124717. Hopler, Whitney. (2017, July 28). Meet Archangel Uriel, Angel of Wisdom. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/meet-archangel-uriel-angel-of-wisdom-124717 Hopler, Whitney. "Meet Archangel Uriel, Angel of Wisdom." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/meet-archangel-uriel-angel-of-wisdom-124717 (accessed September 24, 2017).
The Archangel Uriel
The Archangel Uriel, sits atop Historic First Congregational Church, in Detroit, Michigan. Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Archangel Uriel is known as the angel of wisdom. He shines the light of God’s truth into the darkness of confusion. Uriel means “God is my light” or "fire of God." Other spellings of his name include Usiel, Uzziel, Oriel, Auriel, Suriel, Urian and Uryan.

The faithful turn to Uriel for help seeking God’s will before making decisions, learning new information, solving problems and resolving conflicts.

They also turn to him for help letting go of destructive emotions such as anxiety and anger, which can prevent believers from discerning wisdom or recognizing dangerous situations.

Symbols of Uriel

In art, Uriel is often depicted carrying either a book or a scroll, both of which represent wisdom. Another symbol connected with Uriel is an open hand holding a flame or the sun, which represents God’s truth. Like his fellow archangels, Uriel has an angelic energy color, in this case red, which represents him and the work he performs. Some sources also attribute the color yellow or gold to Uriel.

Uriel's Role in Religious Texts

Uriel isn’t mentioned in canonical religious texts from the world’s major religions, but he is mentioned significantly in major religious apocryphal texts. Apocryphal texts are religious works that were included in some early versions of the Bible but today are considered to be secondary in importance to the scripture of the Old and New Testaments.

The Book of Enoch (part of the Jewish and Christian Apocrypha) describes Uriel as one of seven archangels who preside over the world. Uriel warns the prophet Noah about the upcoming flood in Enoch chapter 10. In Enoch chapters 19 and 21, Uriel reveals that the fallen angels who rebelled against God will be judged and shows Enoch a vision of where they are “bound until the infinite number of the days of their crimes be completed.” (Enoch 21:3)

In the Jewish and Christian apocryphal text 2 Esdras, God sends Uriel to answer a series of questions that the prophet Ezra asks God. When answering Ezra’s questions, Uriel tells him that God has permitted him to describe signs about good and evil at work in the world, but it will still be difficult for Ezra to understand from his limited human perspective.

In 2 Esdras 4:10-11, Uriel asks Ezra: "You cannot understand the things with which you have grown up; how then can your mind comprehend the way of the Most High? And how can one who is already worn out by the corrupt world understand incorruption?" When Ezra asks questions about his personal life, such as how long he’ll live, Uriel replies: “Concerning the signs about which you ask me, I can tell you in part; but I was not sent to tell you concerning your life, for I do not know.” (2 Esdras 4:52)

In various Christian apocryphal gospels, Uriel rescues John the Baptist from being murdered by King Herod’s order to massacre young boys around the time of Jesus Christ’s birth. Uriel carries both John and his mother Elizabeth to join Jesus and his parents in Egypt. The Apocalypse of Peter describes Uriel as the angel of repentance.

In Jewish tradition, Uriel is the one who checks the doors of homes throughout Egypt for lamb’s blood (representing faithfulness to God) during Passover, when a deadly plague strikes first-born children as a judgment for sin but spares the children of faithful families.

Other Religious Roles

Some Christians (such as those who worship in the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox churches) consider Uriel a saint. He serves as the patron saint of the arts and sciences for his ability to inspire and awaken the intellect.

In some Catholic traditions, the archangels also have patronage over the seven sacraments of the church. For these Catholics, Uriel is the patron of confirmation, guiding the faithful as they reflect on the holy nature of the sacrament.

Uriel's Role in Popular Culture

Like many other figures in Judaism and Christianity, the archangels have been a source of inspiration in popular culture. John Milton included him in "Paradise Lost," where he serves as the eyes of God, while Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a poem about the archangel that describes him as a young god in Paradise.

More recently, Uriel has made appearances in books by Dean Koontz and Clive Barker, in the TV series "Supernatural," the video game series "Darksiders," as well as manga comics and role-playing games.

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Hopler, Whitney. "Meet Archangel Uriel, Angel of Wisdom." ThoughtCo, Jul. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/meet-archangel-uriel-angel-of-wisdom-124717. Hopler, Whitney. (2017, July 28). Meet Archangel Uriel, Angel of Wisdom. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/meet-archangel-uriel-angel-of-wisdom-124717 Hopler, Whitney. "Meet Archangel Uriel, Angel of Wisdom." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/meet-archangel-uriel-angel-of-wisdom-124717 (accessed September 24, 2017).