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Who is Gabriel?

Updated on August 24, 2010

Gabriel is one of the angels of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim tradition. Gabriel in Hebrew means "Man of God," "Mighty One of God," or possibly "God is Mighty."

In the Old Testament, Gabriel interprets to Daniel the vision of the ram and the he-goat (Daniel 8:16-26). Later he declares the prediction of "seventy weeks of years" to Daniel (9:21-27). In this passage he is described as "the man Gabriel."

He and Michael are the only angels mentioned by name in the Old Testament. The name "Gabriel" is Hebrew for "might of God." Gabriel appears in the Book of Daniel (8:16, 9:21) as a messenger from God to explain certain visions to the Prophet Daniel. According to later Jewish tradition, Gabriel was the angel of truth and one of the four archangels who were special protectors of the Jews.

In the New Testament, Gabriel is the angel who announces the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah and the birth of Jesus to Mary (Luke 1:11-38). In popular lore he is sometimes identified as one of the seven unnamed angels in Revelation 8:2 to 10:11 whose trumpet blasts announce judgments on the world. Many Christians believe that he will blow his trumpet to raise the dead at the Last Judgment. In Christian art he is usually shown holding a trumpet or a lily, the symbol of Mary. His feast day is March 24.

Moslems believe that Gabriel, or Jibril, was sent by Allah to dictate the Koran to the Prophet Mohammed.


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