means "the face of God." Other spellings include Paniel, Peniel, Penuel, Fanuel, and Orfiel.
Phanuel is known as the angel of repentance and hope. He encourages people to repent of their sins and pursue eternal relationships with God that can give them the hope they need to overcome guilt and regret.
In art, Phanuel is sometimes depicted with an emphasis on his eyes, which represents his work watching over God’s throne, as well as his duties watching over people who away turn from their sins and toward God.
Role in Religious Texts:
The First Book of Enoch (part of the Jewish
apocrypha) describes Phanuel at work fighting evil in his role offering hope to people who repent of their sins and inherit eternal life. When the prophet Enoch hears the voices of four archangels standing in the presence of God, he identifies the first three as Michael
, and Gabriel
, and then says: “And the fourth, who is in charge of repentance, and hope of those who will inherit eternal life, is Phanuel” (Enoch 40:9). A few verses earlier, Enoch records what he heard the fourth voice (Phanuel) saying: “And the fourth voice I heard driving away the Satans and not allowing them to come in front of the Lord of Spirits to accuse those who dwell on earth” (Enoch 40:7). The noncanonical Jewish and Christian manuscripts called the Sibylline Oracles mention Phanuel among five angels who know all the evils that humans have ever committed. The Christian apocryphal book The Shepherd of Hermas names Phanuel as the archangel of penance. Although Phanuel is not mentioned by name in the Bible
, Christians traditionally consider Phanuel to be the angel who, in a vision of the end of the world, sounds a trumpet and leads other angels calling out in Revelation 11:15, saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”
Other Religious Roles:
Phanuel is considered to be the leader of the Ophanim group of angels -- the angels who guard God’s throne in heaven. Since Phanuel is also traditionally the archangel of exorcisms, ancient Hebrews made amulets of Phanuel to use when invoking him against evil spirits
. Christian tradition says that Phanuel will battle the Antichrist (Belial, the demon of lies) during the Battle of Armageddon and win victory through Jesus Christ’s power. Ethiopian Christians celebrate Phanuel by dedicating an annual holy day to him. Some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon church), believe that the archangel Phanuel once lived on Earth as the prophet Joseph Smith, who founded Mormonism.