Anyone who isn't dead or from another plane of existence would do well to cover their ears right about now. — Metatron, Dogma (1999)
Metatron, the Chancellor of Heaven, is a mystical archangel who serves as the Voice of God. Metatron is both the largest and loftiest of the angels and the closest to God, being of even higher rank than Michael in ancient Judaic lore. Metatron is the Heavenly scribe, both recording the word of the Lord and transmitting it to anyone to whom God has directly spoken. As Heaven’s recording secretary, Metatron is said to be the only being ever to have been seen seated in the presence of the Almighty, and his name says as much, it being frequently translated as “He who sits behind the throne of Heaven.”
While not mentioned in the Bible, Metatron does appear in the Babylonian Talmud. Most knowledge of Metatron comes from Kabbalah tradition, where he is identified with the sephirot of Kether (“the crown”) in the Tree of Life. In his angelic form, Metatron has multiple wings, mouths and eyes, and is the tallest of all the seraphim, with a brightly glowing countenance.
“And Enoch walked with God,
and he was no longer, for God had taken him.”
— Genesis V, 24
In some traditions it is said that Metatron was first the Biblical prophet Enoch, father of Methuselah and great-grandfather of Noah, whose name is given to the language of the angels first described by 16th-century occultists Dr. John Dee and Sir Edward Kelley, known to us as Enochian. (Dee and Kelley claimed that Enoch was the last human, before themselves, to know the arcane angelic language.) It may be that Enoch was one of only two once-mortal men (the other being Elijah/Sandalphon) who became archangels—the format of Metatron’s name (the lack of an –el suffix) suggests that he was not originally made by the Creator as a seraph. Metatron is not discussed in the early books of Enoch, but in Third Enoch, a book of the Apocrypha, he is mentioned throughout, both as an antediluvian angel and as the resultant creature of Enoch’s apotheosis:
“This is Metatron, My servant. I have made him into a prince and a ruler over all the princes of my kingdoms and over all the children of Heaven. […] And every angel and every prince who has a word to speak in My presence shall go into his presence and shall speak to him.”
— 3 Enoch X, 3–4
Metatron is an important figure in the realm of sacred geometry, and has a sacred geometric figure and alchemical glyph, made up of concentric rings forming a star tetrahedron, named for him: Metatron’s cube. (There is even speculation that the idea of Metatron’s supposed high rank comes from this field of mathematical meditation, “archangel” being a mistaken conflation of “arcs” and “angles.”) The cube is said to have been formed by Metatron from his soul, and many images of Metatron from the more esoteric branches of mysticism feature the geometric figure as a glowing entity hovering above him.
The Metatron in Popular Culture
Supernatural: Metatron is a villainous angel in Supernatural, first appearing in Season Eight, when it is discovered that he has been living on Earth, in North America, since the departure of God from Heaven and the ensuing political infighting amongst the Heavenly Host. Metatron was never part of the angelic “in crowd” despite his place above all other angels as God’s scribe, and has remained in relative isolation here on the mortal plane just as he was in Heaven, whether by choice or otherwise, spending the centuries in reading and collecting books. As befits ancient lore, the Metatron of Supernatural is a voracious reader (as is the actor who plays him, Curtis Armstrong). He claims that he is not, in fact, an archangel:
“I’m not one of them. I’m not an archangel. I’m really more run-of-the-mill. I worked in the secretarial pool before God chose me to take down the Word. Anyway, He seemed very worried about His work, what would happen to it when He left, so He had me write down instructions.”
Dogma: Kevin Smith’s 1999 religious adventure comedy Dogma features the dear departed Alan Rickman in the role of Metatron. Though not as iniquitous as Curtis Armstrong’s character in Supernatural, the Metatron of Dogma is nonetheless vexing and obnoxious at times, with not much love of humanity (though this is a common trait amongst most angels of our experience). As with the Metatron of ancient lore, “Metatron acts as the voice of God. Any documented occasion when some yahoo claims God has spoken to them, they’re speaking to me. Or they’re talking to themselves.” And like Supernatural’s Metatron, he is exasperated by humanity’s general illiteracy (“You people. If there isn’t a movie about it, it’s not worth knowing, is it?”). He is also, as Dean Winchester likes to say, “junkless” (“I’m as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll”).
Video Games & Manga: Metatron is a complex and powerful character in the post-Apocalyptic game Shin Megami Tensei, or “MegaTen” (真・女神転生) and its related manga and card game. He is the leader of the Messian Church, and is a demonic character despite also maintaining his role as the voice of God.
“The greatest and most mysterious of the angels. He has many names, such as the Voice of God and Angel of Contracts. In contrast to his duty to maintain the world, he is said to have a merciless side toward humanity.”
— Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Compendium
While said to be the tallest, the most luminous, and the best-read of the Creator’s minions, the Metatron also remains amongst the most arcane and enigmatic of the greater angels. As with any other angelic encounter on the temporal plane, if Metatron is near, we advise averting your eyes and watching your step. And don’t call him Megatron!