Archangel Uriel, marble finish, large
The name Uriel means “fire of God,” “flame of God” or “God is my light.” In Jewish tradition Archangel Uriel is called the “one who brings light to Israel.”
Archangel Uriel is not named in the Bible but he is mentioned in other Jewish and Christian texts. In these he is variously identified as a seraph, as one of the cherubim God placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, as an angel of the presence, or as the watcher over the world and over the lowest part of Hades.
In the Book of Enoch, Uriel is one of the four chief angels, along with Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. In that text Uriel is Enoch’s guide on his journeys through heaven and the underworld. Some traditions say that Uriel warned Noah of the impending flood and that he was sent to teach Noah how to survive the flood. Uriel is described as the interpreter of prophecies and is often portrayed carrying a book or a papyrus scroll. John Milton describes him in Paradise Lost as the “regent of the sun” and “the sharpest-sighted spirit in all of Heaven.”
In Gnostic writings Uriel is called Suriel, and he rules over one of the seven planetary spheres. In Islam, Uriel is identified as one of the four angels who guard the throne of Allah. Uriel is named as one of the angels who lead souls to judgment in the Sibylline Oracles, early texts that were used to spread Jewish and Christian doctrine among pagans. These works contain predictions of woes and disasters that will come upon mankind, and they were quoted hundreds of times by the Church Fathers.
The second book of the Sibylline Oracles says:
The imperishable angels of immortal God, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel, who know what evils anyone did previously, lead all the souls of men from the murky dark to judgment, to the tribunal of the great immortal God.... Then Uriel, the great angel, will break the gigantic bolts, of unyielding and unbreakable steel, of the gates of Hades;... he will throw them wide open and will lead all the mournful forms to judgment, especially those of ancient phantoms, Titans and Giants and such as the Flood destroyed. Also those whom the wave of the sea destroyed in the oceans, and as many as wild beasts and serpents and birds devoured; all these he will call to the tribunal.
Uriel plays a key role in the apocryphal work The Fourth Book of Ezra, considered one of the finest works in Jewish literature. It was so influential in the early Christian Church that it was used in liturgy. It also shaped beliefs in the Middle Ages about the end times. In this book Uriel interprets Ezra’s visions and instructs him in the secrets of the universe. He also answers his questions about the judgment of man, the signs of the approaching end of the age, whether the righteous can intercede for the ungodly, and the fate of the wicked.