Icon of Archangel Gabriel by Anonymous, c. 13th century
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (Hebrew: גַּבְרִיאֵל, Modern Gavri'el Tiberian Gaḇrîʼēl, God is my strength; Arabic: جبريل, Jibrīl or جبرائيل Jibrāʾīl) is an archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.
In the Bible, Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old Testament and in the New. In the Old Testament, he appears to the prophet Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions (Daniel 8:15–26, 9:21–27). In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel appears to the virgin Mary and to Zechariah, foretelling the births of Jesus and John the Baptist, respectively (Luke 1:11–38). In the Book of Daniel, he is referred to as "the man Gabriel", while in the Book of Luke, Gabriel is referred to as "an angel of the Lord" (Luke 1:11). Gabriel is also called an archangel, following terminology developed in the Intertestamental period, especially the Book of Enoch. In the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, the archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel are considered saints.
Gabriel is interpreted by the Rabbanim to be the "man in linen" in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Ezekiel. In the Book of Daniel, he is responsible for interpreting Daniel's visions. In the Book of Ezekiel, Gabriel is understood to be the angel that was sent to destroy Jerusalem.
In Kabbalah, Gabriel is identified with the sephirot of Yesod. Gabriel also has a prominent role as one of God's archangels in the Kabbalah literature. There, Gabriel is portrayed as working in concert with Michael as part of God's court. Gabriel is not to be prayed to; because only God can answer prayers and send him as His agent.
According to Jewish mythology, in the Garden of Eden there is a Tree of life or the Tree of Souls that blossoms and produces new souls, which fall into the Guf, the Treasury of Souls. Gabriel reaches into the treasury and takes out the first soul that comes into his hand. Then Lailah, the Angel of Conception, watches over the embryo until it is born.
Intertestamental literature 
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The inter-testamental period (roughly 200 BCE – 50 CE) produced a wealth of literature, much of it having an apocalyptic orientation. The names and ranks of angels and devils were greatly expanded there, and given particular duties and status before God.
In 1 Enoch 9:1–2, Gabriel, along with Michael, Raphael, Uriel and Suriel, hears the cries of humanity under the strain of the Nephilim. It was their beseeching of "the Ancient of Days" - interpreted to be Yahweh - that prompted God to call Enoch to the prophetical office. After Enoch informed the Watchers (or "Grigori") of their fall from grace, the Ancient of Days sent the archangels to earth to complete various tasks. In Enoch 10:13, Gabriel was to "Go to the biters, to the reprobates, to the children of fornication, the offspring of the Watchers, from among men; bring them forth and excite them against one another. Let them perish under mutual slaughter; for length of days shall not be theirs." And so, Gabriel instigated wars among the Nephilim (the sons of the Watchers).
Enoch (20:7) says that Gabriel presides over "Ikisat" (the fiery serpents) or Seraphim, Cherubim, and paradise, while Enoch 40:9 states that Gabriel presides over "all that is powerful." Gabriel sits on the left hand of God with Metatron.
12th-century depiction, Georgian National Museum
|Archangel, Angel of Revelation|
|Honored in||Islam, Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Lutheranism|
|Feast||September 29 with Saints Michael and Raphael
Eastern Orthodox Church: November 8
New Testament 
First, concerning John the Baptist, an angel appeared to his father Zacharias, a priest of the course of Abia, (Luke 1:5-7) whose "barren" wife Elisabeth was of the daughters of Aaron, while he ministered in the temple:
Luke 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
(Luke 1:10-20 KJV) (other versions: Luke 1:1-25)
After completing his week of ministry, Zacharias returned to his house (in Hebron) and his wife Elizabeth conceived. After she completed "five months" (Luke 1:21-25) of her pregnancy, Gabriel is mentioned again:
Luke 1:26 ¶ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
(Luke 1:26-38 KJV) (other versions: Luke 1:26-38)
Gabriel only appears by name in those two passages in Luke. In the first passage the angel identified himself as Gabriel, but in the second it is Luke who identified him as Gabriel. The only other named angel in the New Testament is "Michael the archangel" (in Jude 1:9). Gabriel is not called an archangel in the Bible. Believers are expressly warned not to worship angels (in Colossians 2:18-19 and Revelation 19:10).
Gabriel's horn 
In English-speaking culture, a familiar trope is the image of Gabriel blowing a trumpet blast to indicate the Lord's return to Earth. It ranges from its first appearance in English in John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667) to African-American spirituals: in Marc Connelly's play based on spirituals, The Green Pastures (1930), Gabriel has his beloved trumpet constantly with him, and the Lord has to warn him not to blow it too soon. Four years later "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" was introduced by Ethel Merman in Cole Porter's Anything Goes (1934). The mathematical figure given the modern name "Gabriel's Horn", was invented by Evangelista Torricelli (1608–1647); it is a paradoxical solid of revolution that has infinite surface area, but finite volume.
Feast days 
The feast of Saint Gabriel was included for the first time in the General Roman Calendar in 1921, for celebration on March 24. In 1969 it was transferred to 29 September for celebration together with St. Michael and St. Raphael. The Church of England has also adopted the 29 September date, known as Michaelmas.
The Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite celebrate his feast day on 8 November (for those churches that follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 8 November currently falls on 21 November of the modern Gregorian Calendar, a difference of 13 days). Eastern Orthodox commemorate him, not only on his November feast, but also on two other days: 26 March is the "Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel" and celebrates his role in the Annunciation. 13 July is also known as the "Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel", and celebrates all the appearances and miracles attributed to Gabriel throughout history. The feast was first established on Mount Athos when, in the 9th century, during the reign of Emperor Basil II and the Empress Constantina Porphyrogenitus and while Nicholas Chrysoverges was Patriarch of Constantinople, the Archangel appeared in a cell near Karyes, where he wrote with his finger on a stone tablet the hymn to the Theotokos, "It is truly meet...".
According to the Quran, Gabriel (Jibra'il) is the angel who revealed the Qur'an to the prophet Muhammad, and sent a message to most prophets, if not all, revealing their obligations. Gabriel is named numerous times in the Qur'an (II: 97, 98; LXVI: 4); and, in II: 97, the Qur'an expressly narrates:
"Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed (this scripture) to thy heart by God's leave, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, and a guidance and glad tidings to believers."
Gabriel makes a famous appearance in the Hadith of Gabriel, where he quizzes the Prophet Muhammad on the core tenets of Islam.
In Muslim tradition, Gabriel occupies the role of one of the primary archangels and all historical commentaries build upon Gabriel's role as the transmitter of the Qur'an. Exegesis narrates that Muhammad saw Gabriel in his full angelic splendor only twice, the first being when he received his first revelation. Muslims also revere Gabriel for a number of historical events predating the first revelation. Muslims believe that Gabriel was the angel who informed Zachariah of John's birth as well as Mary of the future birth of Jesus and that Gabriel was one of three angels who had earlier informed Abraham of the birth of Isaac. These events of Zachariah and Mary can be found also in the Quran, mentioned in surah Maryam, below are some ayat from the Quran referring to the archangel Gabriel (interpretation of the meanings).
Mary 19:2 [This is] a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zechariah
19:3 When he called to his Lord a private supplication.
19:4 He said, "My Lord, indeed my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white, and never have I been in my supplication to You, my Lord, unhappy.
19:5 And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir
19:6 Who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You]."
19:7 [He was told], "O Zechariah, indeed We give you good tidings of a boy whose name will be John. We have not assigned to any before [this] name."
19:8 He said, "My Lord, how will I have a boy when my wife has been barren and I have reached extreme old age?"
19:9 [An angel] said, "Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.' "
19:10 [Zechariah] said, "My Lord, make for me a sign." He said, "Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three nights, [being] sound."
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary:
19:16 And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east.
19:17 And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.
19:18 She said, "Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, [so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah ."
19:19 He said, "I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy."
19:20 She said, "How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?"
19:21 He said, "Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.' "
In Mormon theology, Gabriel is believed to have lived a mortal life as the prophet Noah. The two are regarded as the same individual; Noah being his mortal name and Gabriel being his heavenly name.
Arts and media 
Visual art 
In chronological order (to see each item, follow the link in the footnote):
- Archangel Gabriel (Triptych), early 10th century, Benaki Museum
- The Archangel Gabriel, Pisan, c. 1325/50, National Gallery of Art
- The Archangel Gabriel, Masolino da Panicale, c. 1420/30, National Gallery of Art
- Justice between the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, Jacobello del Fiore, 1421
- Merode Altarpiece (Triptych), Robert Campin, c. 1425, Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Angel Gabriel, Agostino di Duccio, c. 1450
- Annunciation, Leonardo Da Vinci, c. 1475
- The Angel Gabriel, Neroccio d'Landi, c. 1490
- The Angel Gabriel, late 15th or early 16th century, Flemish, National Gallery of Art
- The Angel Gabriel, Ferrari Gaudenzio, 1511, National Gallery, London
- Gabriel delivering the Annunciation El Greco, 1575 (pictured above)
- Go Down Death, Aaron Douglas, 1934
- The Prophecy series, Christopher Walken, 1990s
- Constantine, Francis Lawrence, 2005
The eccentric English hagiographer and antiquarian, Sabine Baring-Gould (1834–1924), wrote the English lyrics to Gabriel's Message, which he translated from the Basque Christmas carol Birjina gaztetto bat zegoen, which was probably related to the 13th or 14th-century Latin chant Angelus Ad Virginem which itself is based on the biblical account of the Annunciation in the New Testament Gospel of Luke.
- In his epic poem Paradise Lost, John Milton made Gabriel chief of the angelic guards placed over Paradise
- The Hebrew poem "Elifelet" (אליפלט) by Nathan Alterman, put to music and often heard on the Israeli Radio, tells of a heroic, self-sacrificing Israeli soldier being killed in battle. Upon the protagonist's death, the angel Gabriel descends to Earth, in order to comfort the spirit of the fallen hero and take him up to Heaven
- Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses has his main character be the modern incarnation of Gabriel
- "End of the Beginning", an epic fantasy novel by Jon Snyder chronicles the final events of the angelic race's reign on earth and shows the main character, a humble Gabrius rise to become Gabriel, the angel of legend as he unravels the growing corruption of Lucifer.
In popular culture 
- In "A Passage for Trumpet", a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone, Gabriel acts as an advisor for recently-killed trumpet player Joey Crown and encourages him to return from limbo to life
- Gabriel is portrayed by Christopher Walken in the 1995 fantasy/horror thriller The Prophecy and its sequels
- In the 2004 action/horror film Van Helsing, Hugh Jackman plays Gabriel Van Helsing, the Archangel Gabriel in the flesh
- Gabriel is portrayed by Tilda Swinton in the 2005 fantasy/horror thriller Constantine
- The CW 2005 TV series Supernatural features Gabriel, portrayed as a man who initially appears posing as the pagan Trickster god Loki until his status as an archangel is revealed, after which he is killed by his brother Lucifer
- Gabriel, a 2007 Australian religious action-horror film
- Marina and the Diamonds' 2010 single "Shampain" has the lyric: "Drinking champagne made by the angel/who goes by the name of Glittering Gabriel"
Galleries of Gabriel in art 
Roman Catholic Marian art paintings 
Annunciation by Mariotto Albertinelli, 15th century
Annunciation by Murillo, 1655
Annunciation by Pietro Perugino, 1489
Annunciation by Botticelli, 1490
Statues and Icons of Gabriel 
Statue of Archangel Gabriel, Bermatingen
Statue of Archangel Gabriel, Waldburg
Gabriel on the facade of the Cathedral of Reims
Statue in Budapest
See also 
- Angels in Islam
- Fleur de lys
- List of names referring to El
- Angel of the Lord
- Hierarchy of angels
- Christian angelic hierarchy
- Zimmerman, Julie. [archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel are also saints. "Test Your Knowledge on Angels"] Check
|url=scheme (help). AmericanCatholic.org. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Nader, M. The Holy Spirit in the Quran. Submission.org. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "Gabriel". Gabriel. Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- Origins of the Kabbalah
- Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism
- THE Dedication (Jesus' birth) "The priests serve 4 weeks per year: 1 week twice a year in courses, and the two week-long feasts, unleavened bread and tabernacles. Pentecost is a one-day observance, which would have come before Zacharias' (the 8th) course began, or at the latest, the 1st day of his course, which was from 12 thru 18 Sivan, or noon on the 19th, if Josephus is correct that courses changed at noon on the sabbaths." Josephus Antiquities b.7 ch.14 s.7 "eight days, from sabbath to sabbath." Josephus against Apion b.2 sect.8 "mid-day"
- Joshua 21:9-11 with Luke 1:39-40
- See also Easton's Bible Dictionary entry on angels
- Milton, Paradise Lost, XI.72ff was identified by S. Vernon McCasland, ("Gabriel's Trumpet" Journal of Bible and Religion 9.3 [August 1941:159–161] p. 161) as the first identification in English of Gabriel as the trumpeter: "Betwixt these rockie pillars Gabriel sat, Chief of the Angelic guards" (IV.545f)... he Blew his trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps When God descended, and perhaps once more To sound at general doom." (IX.73ff).
- Both spirituals and Green Pastures were noted by McCasland 1941.
- Trump of doom: "The wakeful trump of doom" is John Milton's phrase in his "Hymn on the morning of Christ's Nativity", drawing upon the King James Version's "We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." (1 Corinthians 15:51f).
- Walters MS 543, fol. 14.
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 119
- Velimirovic, Bishop Nikolai (1985). "July 13: The Holy Archangel Gabriel". Prologue from Ochrid. Birmingham, UK: Lazarica Press. ISBN 978-0-948298-05-9. Retrieved 2007-07-31.
- Nega Mezlekia, Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Childhood (New York: Picador, 2000), p. 266. ISBN 0-312-28914-6.
- Nader, M. The Holy Spirit in the Quran. Submission.org. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- Lil Abdo. "Female Representations of the Holy Spirit in Bahá'í and Christian writings and their implications for gender roles" Bahá'í Studies Review Volume 4.1, 1994. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- All ancient sources, including Tabari, Zamakhshari and Baydawi elaborate on Gabriel's role as the transmitter
- Encyclopedia of Islam, Djabrail
- Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, Story of Zachariah; Story of Jesus
- Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, Story of Ishmael
- "Encyclopedia of Mormonism - NOAH".
- "Links to images of Gabriel". The Text This Week. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "התרנגולים - אליפלט - שירונט". Shiron.net. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "אין לו אופי אפילו במיל". Haayal.co.il. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Bamberger, Bernard Jacob, (15 March 2006). Fallen Angels: Soldiers of Satan's Realm. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0797-0
- Briggs, Constance Victoria, 1997. The Encyclopedia of Angels: An A-to-Z Guide with Nearly 4,000 Entries. Plume. ISBN 0-452-27921-6.
- Bunson, Matthew, (1996). Angels A to Z: A Who's Who of the Heavenly Host. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-88537-9.
- Cruz, Joan C. 1999. Angels and Devils. Tan Books & Publishers. ISBN 0-89555-638-3.
- Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. Free Press. ISBN 0-02-907052-X
- Dennis, Geoffrey. 2007. The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism. Llewellyn LTD.
- Graham, Billy, 1994. Angels: God's Secret Agents. W Pub Group; Minibook edition. ISBN 0-8499-5074-0
- Guiley, Rosemary, 1996. Encyclopedia of Angels. ISBN 0-8160-2988-1
- Kreeft, Peter J. 1995. Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know About Them? Ignatius Press. ISBN 0-89870-550-9
- Lewis, James R. (1995). Angels A to Z. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-7876-0652-9
- Melville, Francis, 2001. The Book of Angels: Turn to Your Angels for Guidance, Comfort, and Inspiration. Barron's Educational Series; 1st edition. ISBN 0-7641-5403-6
- Ronner, John, 1993. Know Your Angels: The Angel Almanac With Biographies of 100 Prominent Angels in Legend & Folklore-And Much More! Mamre Press. ISBN 0-932945-40-6.
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