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Gabriel (archangel)

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Gabriel (גבריאל, Standard Hebrew Gavriʾel, Tiberian Hebrew GaḇrÓʾēl) appears first in the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible. He is an archangel who serves as a messenger from God. The name Gabriel can mean "man of God", "God has shown himself mighty", or "hero of God."

Gabriel is most frequently confused with Michael, the angel who holds a sword and guards the gates of Eden (later heaven) against Adam, Eve, and their descendants.


In Jewish history and the Hebrew Bible

In the historical context of the destruction of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, and the subsequent Babylonian captivity of the Jewish Kingdom of Judah that followed, the important Jewish leader Daniel ponders the meanings of several visions he has experienced in exile, when Gabriel appears to him (Dan. viii, 16-25).

Gabriel is mentioned twice by name:

  • "...And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, who called, and said:' Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.' So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was terrified, and fell upon my face; but he said to me: 'Understand, son of man; for the vision belongs to the time of the end..." [1] (Daniel 8:15-17).

It is towards the end of the rule of Babylonia yet Gabriel is sent to elaborate and explain matters also relating to the "End of Days" (See Jewish eschatology) such as when the kingdoms of Persia, Greece and Rome will tumble from dominating the world.

  • "...And while I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; and while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, approached close to me about the time of the evening offering. And he made me understand, and talked with me, and said: 'Daniel, I have now come to make you skilful of understanding...Seventy weeks are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place." [2] (Daniel 9:20-24)

Here is where Gabriel tells Daniel about the mysterious "Seventy weeks" (shavu-im shivim) that seem to indicate the end of the Babylonian captivity which lasted seventy years when Cyrus the Great allowed the return to Zion and the rebuilding of the Temple by the Jews in his empire.

In the Talmud, Gabriel appears as the destroyer of the hosts of Sennacherib, as the man who showed Joseph the way, and as one of the angels who buried Moses.

Gabriel in Christianity

In the New Testament, Gabriel is often believed to be the angel who revealed that John the Baptist was to be born to Elizabeth and the angel who revealed that Jesus was to be born to Mary. He is most noted in the Book of Revelation (formerly known as the Apocalypse of John) as the angel who will blow the horn announcing Judgement Day. To Catholics, he is St. Gabriel the Archangel, the patron saint of communications workers. His feast day is September 29th.

His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Enoch. In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel visits Zacharias and Mary, the mother of Jesus, to announce the imminent birth of their children, one of which would be Jesus (Luke i, 26, etc.). Gabriel plays a prominent role in the book of Revelation.

In LDS belief, Gabriel lived a mortal life as the patriarch Noah. Gabriel and Noah are regarded as the same person, but Gabriel alone is regarded as the immortal resurrected being (angel).

In Roman Catholic belief he is St. Gabriel the Archangel and is sometimes referred to as just Saint Gabriel.

Gabriel in Islam

Jibreel (جبريل) (sometimes rendered Jabril) is Arabic for Gabriel, who is also considered archangel in much Jewish and Christian angelology. According to Islam, Jabril is the angel who revealed the Qur'an to Mohammed, and is seen as the chief of the four favoured angels and the spirit of truth.


According to Abrahamic religion, Gabriel is an archangel who serves as a messenger from God. He is sometimes regarded as the angel of death, the prince of fire and thunder, but more frequently as one of God's chief messengers, and traditionally said to be the only angel that can speak Syriac and Chaldee.

Gabriel is sometimes associated with the color Blue, the direction East, or the element Water. His horse is named Haizum .

Gabriel in Fiction

In his epic poem Paradise Lost, John Milton made Gabriel chief of the angelic guards placed over Paradise.

In Kidou Senshi Gundam Seed Destiny, Jibril is the name of the leader for Blue Cosmos, an extremist group dedicated to eradicating genetically enhanced humans (the coordinators).

In Star Ocean: The Second Story, Gabriel is the name of the leader of the Juukensha (Ten Sages), the main antagonists. (His name, along with those of all the other Juukensha, was changed in the English version of the game. In Gabriel's case, his name was changed to "Indalecio").

See also: List of names referring to El

Last updated: 02-07-2005 07:19:21
Last updated: 03-18-2005 11:16:12