Gabriel (archangel)

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Gabriel delivering the Annunciation. Painting by El Greco (1575)

Gabriel (גַּבְרִיאֵל, Standard Hebrew Gavriʼel, Tiberian Hebrew Gaḇrʼēl, Arabic جبريل Ǧabrīl) appears first in the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible. He is an angel who serves as a messenger from God. The name Gabriel can mean "man of God", "God has shown himself mighty", or "hero of God." In Christianity, he is known as one of the three archangels.

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 the angel who reveals to Zacharias that John the Baptist will be born to Elizabeth and who visits Mary, the mother of Jesus and reveals that she will give birth to Jesus. According to later legend, he is the unidentified angel in the Book of Revelation (formerly known as the Apocalypse of John) who blows the horn announcing Judgement Day. To Roman Catholics, he is St. Gabriel the Archangel, the patron saint of communications workers. With Michael and Raphael, his feast day is September 29th.

His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Enoch. Gabriel's visit to Mary in the Gospel of Luke is often called "The Annunciation," (Luke i, 26, etc.), an event that is celebrated on March 25th. It is also commemorated as the "First Joyful Mystery" each time the rosary is prayed.

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).

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 Muhammad, and is the chief of all angels.


According to the Abrahamic religions, 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 also finds mention in the writings of the Bah' Faith, most notably in Bah'u'llh's metaphysical work The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys.

Gabriel in fiction

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

In the epic poem The Song of Roland, Gabriel instructs Frankish King Charles Martel, to deliver the sword Durandal to Roland. Gabriel also bears Roland's soul to heaven.

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").

Christopher Walken portrayed Gabriel in the film The Prophecy as the leader of a rebellion opposed to God's favor of humans over angels. He is shown to be exceptionally jealous of humans and delights in frightening and torturing them.

In the movie Van Helsing, it is suggested that the title character is in fact an amnesiac reincarnated Gabriel, primarily due to his first name and the fact that Dracula refers to him as the Left Hand of God.

Gabriel, portrayed by Tilda Swinton, appears in the movie Constantine (2005).

A jazz trumpet player named "Gabe" talks Jack Klugman into returning to the land of the living in the Twilight Zone television episode, A Passage for Trumpet.

See also: List of names referring to Elde:Gabriel (Erzengel) fr:Gabriel id:Malaikat Jibril it:Arcangelo Gabriele nl:Aartsengel Gabril ja:ガブリエル sv:Gabriel


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