When it comes to separating fact from fiction, the internet can often be like the proverbial haystack that hides the needle. This is, even more, the case when it comes to matters of religion and spirituality as messed up translations, misinterpretations or even simple and innocent misunderstandings can completely distort the truth. As such, this article will aim to focus solely on exploring the cold, hard facts about the Biblical Angel Gabriel solely by exploring his appearances within the Bible itself. This will include also exploring some common misconceptions that often crop up during discussions about Gabriel Angel of God!
The First Appearance of Gabriel, Angel of Heaven
As with any topic, the best place to start is usually at the beginning. So when we explore the first appearance of Gabriel Angel in the Bible, we find that he appears to Daniel in response to his prayer after Daniel receives a number of confusing visions. The Angel Gabriel is first mentioned in Daniel 8:16 “And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision”. Gabriel visits Daniel a number of times and the other times prove to be far more significant in terms of future events.
Many have interpreted Gabriel Angel of God, later message to be a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah: Jesus. In Daniel 9:25 Gabriel relays this very message to Daniel: “…know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah…” This message comes in response to Daniel praying for mercy to God after learning the fate that humanity was currently on track to face. Of course, this isn’t the Gabriel Angel of God only appearance in the bible.
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Gabriel Only Visits Three Biblical Figures
Considering the renown of this angel, it may shock you to know that Gabriel in the Bible only appears to three of the Biblical figures. We have of course already looked at his first appearance: Daniel. The second appearance of the Gabriel Angel of God is to the Priest Zechariah in order to provide the priest with the prophecy of the birth of John the Baptist. Luke 1:19 “I’m Gabriel! I stand in God’s presence. God sent me to tell you this good news.” Unfortunately Zechariah did not believe Gabriel and so lost the ability to speak until the birth of his son, John.
The third and final appearance of Gabriel Angel of God is to Mary. Of course, this is one of the more well-known passages of the Bible where Gabriel announces to Mary that she has been chosen by God to bear a son who shall be the Messiah. In Luke 1:31 we can see: “You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus.” This, of course, sets into motion one of the most famous stories in the Bible…possibly of any book: For it leads to the birth of Jesus, the Messiah.
What Does the Name Gabriel Mean?
Many know Gabriel as Gabriel Angel of God or Gabriel the Archangel (something we will explore more in a moment) but the name itself actually bears its own meaning. The name “Gabriel” is from Hebrew and means “God is my Strength”. More modern interpretations of the name include “devoted to God” or even “a hero of God” but these don’t necessarily relate to the core meaning of the name itself. There are estimated to be about 123,336 people currently in the US who share the same name as the messenger angel. You’ll often hear nicknames such as “Gabe” or “Riel”.
Gabriel Angel of God
You will quite often hear people refer to Gabriel as “Gabriel the Archangel” and there is a small argument as to this being the case. Over time, translations of the various Bibles pick up different words and meanings. As such, you will find some versions of the Bible that do refer to Gabriel as having Archangel status while others do not. This is largely due to the influence of the Book of Enoch which in itself is not canonical. Elsewhere in the Bible, the only specific mention of any Archangel is in reference to Michael. Jude 9 states: “But even the archangel Michael…”
Gabriel and the Good Angels
Gabriel Angel of God is perhaps the most famous of all the angels named in the Bible. Interestingly, when we look at all the angels that are mentioned as being on the side of God (and therefore the side of good) we find that the number is actually very low. For example, within the Protestant Bible, there are actually only two good angels mentioned by name: Gabriel and Michael. Catholic Bibles and Orthodox Bibles mention only one more: Raphael. There are of course many references to the existence of a much higher number of angels but these are the only ones mentioned by name and as being on the side of God.
Gabriel Flies without Wings
When you think of Gabriel, Angel of God, do you picture-wings or not? Many do and this is largely due to the appearance of wings in the artwork (including that of Leonardo da Vinci). It’s interesting to note that there is never any mention of Gabriel having wings. We see in Daniel 9:21 that “…Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight…” so we do of course know that the Angel Gabriel has the ability to fly but the idea of wings merely stems from an assumption.
Gabriel can be Scary!
Gabriel is described by Daniel as a man but there is always a bit of ambiguity with angel’s as to whether they have a sex/gender or not. When Gabriel Angel of God, first visits Daniel the sight of the angel causes Daniel to fall on his face. This could just be the shock of seeing an angel. But then when he visits both Zechariah and Mary, he has to give them notice not to be afraid.