One of the first entities that I have decided to write about in this type of format, as an attempt to dig into the mythos and discover rare or otherwise hard to find information about, was actually inspired by a movie that I was watching over a vacation of mine. The movie was “The Prophecy 3: The Ascent”, starring Christopher Walken and Vincent Spano. In this movie, they seem to be giving the main character, Danyael, a Nephilim, these unexplained impulses, and he is drawn to a certain area of the world where he is to meet what they refer to as “The Next God”, an angel named “Pyriel”. This intrigued me, because I had never heard of an angel referred to in this manner before, so I immediately began to research this entity. This is what I’ve found.
Unfortunately, in any of the research that I have found, nothing seems to point in this direction. This angel, Pyriel, was never at any point referred to as a replacement or anything of the sort. As a matter of fact, his name isn’t even Pyriel, it is Puriel, and the movie was just basing this character on an arcane spelling of his name. But once I had something to go on, I was able to dig up some information. In the book A Dictionary of Angels by Gustav Davidson, Library of Congress Number 66-19757, the brief entry for Puriel is as follows:
Puruel (Pusiel, “fire”) – the “fiery and pitiless” angel who “probes the soul,” as described in the apocalyptic Testament of Abraham. G. H. Box in his edition of this work believes that Puruel is a Graecized form of the angel Uriel.
So, as you can see, there isn’t very much included there, so I went through a few more of my books, and I struck gold. Thanks to excellent researcher, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, I was able to develop a more complete picture of what this angel’s function is. In her book The Encyclopedia of Angels (Second Edition) by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, ISBN 0-8160-5023-6, this is her also brief entry for Puriel:
Puriel (Puruel, Pusiel)
One of the ANGELS OF PUNISHMENT. Puriel means “the fire of God.” In the Testament of ABRAHAM, Puriel is a pitiless angel who scrutinizes souls. Puriel is sometimes identified with Uriel.
So, as you can see, there isn’t much information in here, but this is the second time that I have come cross an entry stating that it is believed that Puriel is a different entity often associated with or as the angel “Uriel”. It makes sense, in my opinion, so I decided to do a bit more digging into the angel Uriel, and this is what I managed to come up with. From the same book as mentioned above, this is the entry for Uriel:
One of the most important angels, described as an archangel, seraph, and cherub. Uriel probably means “fire of God” or “God is my light.” Uriel is often identified as one of the four primary angels, along with Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, possibly aspects of the ANGEL OF THE LORD. He is not part of the official Catholic canon, but he is prominent in Jewish texts and apocryphal writings.
Uriel is among the angels identified as the ANGEL OF DEATH; ANGEL OF GREAT COUNSEL; ANGEL OF PEACE; ANGEL OF TRUTH; and as one of the ANGELS OF THE EARTH; ANGELS OF THE PRESENCE; ANGELS OVER THE CONSUMMATION and one of the ANGELS OF DESTRUCTION sent to destroy SODOM AND GOMORRAH. He is an angel of September, summer, and Libra and Aquarius.
In 1 Enoch Uriel (Suriel) is identified as a guide to ENOCH on his trip through the layers of heavens; he is the angel who “watches over thunder and terror.” As a cherub, Uriel is said to guard the Gate of Eden with a fiery sword in hand. He also appears as a “benign angel” who attacks MOSES for not observing the circumcision rite of his son, a role also credited to Gabriel. In the Testament of SOLOMON, Uriel thwarts Error, who leads men astray. He is one of the seven PLANETARY RULERS. (See THWARTING ANGELS.)
Uriel is portrayed as a stern and punishing angel. Enoch said he is head of the seven archangels, and he presides over Tartarus or HELL, where he pursues punishment of sinners. According to the Apocalypse of St. Peter, this punishment consists of burning sinners in everlasting fire and hanging blasphemers by their tongues over unquenchable fires. On the day of judgment, he will break the brazen gates of Hades and assemble all the souls before the judgment seat.
Uriel is among the angels identified as the dark angel who wrestles with JACOB. In the Prayer of Joseph, Uriel states, “I have come down to earth to make my dwelling among men, and I am called Jacob by name.” The exact meaning of this statement is not clear, but it suggests that Uriel might have become Jacob, thus making him the first angel of record to become a mortal.
Various Jewish sources relate the story that when Cain kills Abel and tries to bury the corpse, earth spews it up again and cries, “I will receive no other body until the clay that was fashioned into Adam has been restored to me!” At this Cain flees, and Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael place the corpse upon a rock, where it remains many years without corrupting.
When Adam dies, these same archangels bury both bodies at Hebron side by side, in the very field from which God had taken Adam’s dust.
According to midrashim and 1 Enoch, the FALLEN ANGELS Azazel and Semyaza (see WATCHERS) cause such wickedness on earth that the archangels tell God. He sends Raphael to bind Azazel hand and foot, heaping jagged rocks over him in the dark Cave of Dudael, where he now abides until the last days. Gabriel destroys the Fallen Ones by inciting them to civil war. Michael chains Semyaza and his fellows in other dark caves for 70 generations. Uriel becomes the messenger of salvation who visits NOAH. Dispatched by Metatron, he warns Noah about the coming Flood.
Like Metatron, Uriel also is credited with giving the gift of the KABBALAH to humanity. He is said to have led Abraham out of Ur and to have interpreted prophecies for the benefit of humanity. In 4 Ezra, Uriel reveals heavenly mysteries to EZRA and answers weighty questions about evil and justice. He serves as a guide of the luminaries.
Uriel appears in QUMRAN TEXTS, such as the Gospel of Barnabas.
Uriel was condemned as one of the REPROBATED ANGELS in 745 C.E. by a church council, but he was later reinstated. He is often portrayed as holding a flame in his open hand.
- FURTHER READING
- Gaster, Theodor H. The Dead Sea Scriptures. 3d ed. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor/Doubleday, 1976.
- Godwin, Malcolm. Angels: An Endangered Species. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990.
- Margolies, Morris B. A Gathering of Angels. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.
And once again, as with most topics in this field, I see that there are even more references, so to connect those dots, I checked them out, and this is the entry for the function of the angel Puriel/Uriel:
angels of punishment
Angels who carry out the discipline and punishments of sinning humans and other angels. In the Shepherd of Hermas, the visionary HERMAS has a permanent Angel of Punishment who looks like a mean, whipwielding shepherd, and who keeps Hermas morally in line. In 2 ENOCH and the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, the angels of punishment—presumably also evil—reside in the third HEAVEN.
Some angels in charge of punishment are named. In the Pistis Sophia, Ariel is the chief; in other Coptic Gnostic writings, Asmodeus holds the position. The Midrash Tehillim lists five angels of punishment encountered by MOSES in heaven: Af, the angel of anger; Kezef, the angel of wrath; Hemah, the angel of fury; Hasmed, the angel of annihilation; and Mashit, the angel of destruction. The Maseket Gan Eden and Gehinnon lists seven angels of punishment: Lahatiel, the flaming one; Shoftiel, the judge of God; Makatiel, the plague of God; Hutriel, the rod of God; Puriel/Pusiel, the fire of God; and Rogziel, the wrath of God.
See ANGELS OF DESTRUCTION; EZRA.
At this point, I am starting to get a very vivid picture in my mind’s eye as to who exactly this angel is. Apparently, he is a bad-ass. He is also one of the first twelve (12) names that God called out into the light, making him one of the first twelve angels ever created amongst hundreds of millions of them. Hanging on to the theory that those first created were the most powerful of them all, it would stand to reason that Puriel/Uriel is not only a bad-ass, as stated above, but Puriel/Uriel a major bad-ass. But, I can’t say that I am satisfied with all of this, I wanted to read more, even if it was a different iteration of the same things I had already discovered, so I decided to break out some other books and see what I could come up with. Once again, from the book A Dictionary of Angels by Gustav Davidson, Library of Congress Number 66-19757, the more in-depth entry for Uriel is as follows:
Uriel (“fire of God”) – One of the leading angels in noncanonical lore, and ranked variously as a seraph, cherub, regent of the sun, flame of God, angel of the presence, presider over Tartarus (Hades), archangel of salvation (as in II Esdras), etc. In the latter work he acts as heavenly interpreter of Ezra’s visions. In Enoch I, he is the angel who “watches over thunder and terror.” In The Book of Adam and Eve he presides over repentance. Uriel “is supposed to be,” says Abbot Anscar Vonier in The Teaching of the Catholic Church, “the spirit who stood at the gate of the lost Eden with the fiery sword.” The Book of Adam and Eve designates him as this spirit, i.e., one of the “cherubims” of Genesis 3. He is invoked in some of the ancient litanies. He has been identified as one of the angels who helped bury Adam and Abel in Paradise (Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible); as the dark angel who wrestled with Jacob at Peniel; as the destroyer of the hosts of Sennacherib (II Kings 19:35 ; II Maccabees 15:22) ; as the messenger sent by God to Noah to warn him of the impending deluge (Enoch I, 10:1-3). all of which feats or missions have been credited to other angels, as elsewhere noted. In the view of Louis Ginzberg, the “prince of lights” in The Manual of Discipline refers to Uriel. In addition, Uriel is said to have disclosed the mysteries of the heavenly arcana to Ezra; interpreted prophecies, and led Abraham out of Ur. In later Judaism, says R. H. Charles (The Book of Enoch), “we find Uriel instead of Phanuel” as one of the 4 angels of the presence. Uriel is also the angel of the month of September and may be invoked ritually by those born in that month. The Magus claims that alchemy “which is of divine origin” was brought down to earth by Uriel, and that it was Uriel who gave the cabala to man, although this “key to the mystical interpretation of Scripture” is also said to have been the gift of Metatron. Milton describes Uriel as “Regent of the Sun” and the “sharpest sighted spirit of all in Heaven” (Paradise Lost III). Dryden, The State of Innocence, pictures Uriel as descending from heaven in a chariot drawn by white horses. Despite his eminence, Uriel was reprobated at a Church Council in Rome, 745 C.E. Now, however, he is Saint Uriel, and his symbol is an open hand holding a flame. Burne-Jones’ painting of Uriel is reproduced as a frontispiece in Duff, First and Second Books Esdras. The name Uriel derives, it is claimed, from Uriah the prophet. In apocryphal and occult works Uriel has been equated or identified with Nuriel, Uryan, Jeremiel, Vretil, Suriel, Puruel, Phanuel, Jehoel, Israfel, and the angel Jacob-Israel. See the pseudepigraphic Prayer of Joseph, quoted in part in Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews V, 310. In this work Jacob says: “When I was coming from Mesopotamia of Syria [sic], Uriel, the angel of God, came forth and spoke: ‘I have come down to the earth to make my dwelling among men, and I am called Jacob by name.’ ” The meaning of the foregoing is puzzling, unless Uriel turned into Jacob after wrestling with the patriarch at Peniel; but the incident as related in Genesis 32 suggests a different interpretation. A commentary on Exodus 4:25 speaks of a “benign angel“ attacking Moses for neglecting to observe the covenantal rite of circumcision with regard to the latter’s son Gershom, the benign angel being identified as Uriel in Midrash Aggada Exodus, and as Gabriel in The Zohar I, 93b. The latter source reports that Gabriel “came down in a flame of fire, having the appearance of a burning serpent,” with the express purpose of destroying Moses “because of his sin.” In The Legends of the Jews II, 328, the angel here is neither Uriel nor Gabriel but 2 angels, the wicked Hemah and Af. Uriel is said to be the angel of vengeance that Prud’hon pictured in his “Divine Vengeance and Justice,” a canvas to be found in the Louvre. Uriel, “gliding through the Ev’n/On a Sun beam” (Paradise Lost IV, 555) is reproduced on p. 296 from Hayley, The Poetical Works of John Milton. The Uriel in Percy MacKaye’s Uriel and Other Poems is not our angel but William Vaughn Moody, American poet and playwright (1869-1910), to whom the title poem is addressed in memory. The most recent appraisal of Uriel is the one offered by Walter Clyde Curry in Milton’s Ontology Cosmology and Physics, where, on p. 93, Professor Curry says of Uriel that he “seems to be largely a pious but not too perceptive physicist with inclinations towards atomistic philosophy.” To illustrate in what high esteem Uriel was held, we find him described in the 2nd book of the Sibylline Oracles as one of the “immortal angels of the undying God” who, on the day of judgment, will “break the monstrous bars framed of unyielding and unbroken adamant of the brazen gates of Hades, and cast them down straightway, and bring forth to judgment all the sorrowful forms, yea, of the ghosts of the ancient Titans and of the giants, and all whom the flood overtook . . . And all these shall he bring to the judgment seat . . . And set before God’s seat.“
Re-read that last sentence right there. He will break down the gates of Hell, bringing the souls trapped within to judgment, including the souls of the “titans”, a/k/a the sons of the Grigori “Watchers”, the Nephilim, some of the most wicked creatures that had ever walked the face of the earth. These entities were so bad, that they posed a genuine, true and real threat to mankind, and God had to sent a giant flood to rid the world of them. And following the other information that we have found so far, Puriel/Uriel is going to be the one who judges them on behalf of God. But, I wanted more. I always want more. So I kept searching, and found another entry for Uriel in The Dictionary of Demons – Names of the Damned, by Michelle Belanger, ISBN 978-0-7387-2306-8:
Uriel: In the Ars Theurgia, Uriel makes an appearance as one of the so-called “wandering princes.” In this capacity he is said to have ten chief dukes and one hundred lesser dukes who serve to carry out his wishes. Those of his hierarchy are described as being truculent and evil by nature. They are also said to be full of trickery, so they are always false in their dealings. Uriel’s manifest form is that of a serpent with the head of a beautiful maiden. All of the demons who serve in his court assume the same monstrous shape when they appear to mortals. Uriel also appears as a demon in Trithemius’s Steganographia.
Uriel, of course, is a name that is not typically associated with demonic entities. He is better known as one of the archangels. Uriel appears in the Book of Enoch alongside the archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel. Later in the same text, seven archangels are named, and Uriel is again included among their number. He appears as the fourth of the archangels in Saint Gregory’s heavenly hierarchy as well as that composed by Pseudo-Dionysus. Uriel is also identified as an angel in the Testament of Solomon. Uriel’s name is sometimes rendered Oriel or Auriel. His name is taken to mean “Light of God” or “Fire of God.” See also ARS THEURGIA, BOOK OF ENOCH, SOLOMON.
Ok, so this entity gets around. I guess that is to be expected when you are one of the first beings of creation, I guess you would feel a special interest in observing all of that which was created after you. But the interesting thing that I have found through this research is that Puriel/Uriel seems to be teetering back and forth over that line of “good” or “bad” angel. He genuinely seems to have one wing bathed in the Heavenly light of God, and the other wing constantly dipped in blood. At times, he is unquestionably exalted and praised, and at others, he is equated with the powerful, higher-ranking demons. I guess it depends on the agenda he is trying to accomplish? Once again, in another book by one of my favorite researchers, The Encyclopedia of Demons & Demonology, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-7314-6, we see that here, he is viewed within that negative light. Here is his entry from the point of view as him being a demonic entity:
Uriel: DEMON and wandering duke of the air. Uriel has 10 chief dukes and 100 underdukes with numerous servants. They are evil, false, and deceitful, and reluctant to obey the commands of an EXORCIST. They appear in the form of a SERPENT with a virgin’s head and face. The 10 chief dukes are Chabri, Drabros, Nartniel, Frasmiel, Brymiel, Dragon, Curtnas, Draplos, Hermon, and Aldrusy. Uriel is also the name of an archangel.
So, there isn’t very much in this entry as you can see. The author seems reluctant to refer to this Uriel as the same Uriel of the archangels. Why this trepidation? I have no idea, but looking at it from that point of view, you can understand how some people would either be confused or reluctant to make that type of connection.
Ultimately, the connections we make are matters of the simple ability of connecting the dots. Throughout history, there has been so much controversy caused by people who connect the wrong dots. Can I definitively state that all of the entries I posted are undoubtedly of the same exact entity? No, I can not. But that does not mean that I am wrong, it simply means that the connections I have found further display the complexities of the creations of God. As stated in the very first “Prophecy” movie, having the misfortune of meeting any angel, including the good ones, would be a terrifying ordeal. And knowing that at the end of time, during the final days, this angel, Puriel, is going to be the one judging us all, good and bad, and further that he is described as both being an “angel of punishment” as well as being “pitiless” somewhat concerns me a bit. However, in conclusion, it is no secret that for much of the scriptures, God is a harsh God, and in many instances, there is little room for forgiveness for certain offenses, this makes complete sense. You wouldn’t want a push-over guarding the gates to your eternal paradise, otherwise everyone would get in, whether or not the deserved it. But the one thing I will state, after concluding this small bit of research, is that I truly hope I never meet the angel of Puriel/Uriel before my judgment. He seems like one scary dude.