“I AM GABRIEL! I stand in the very presence of God” (Luke 1:19, NLT).
That’s the only description the Bible gives of the angelic messenger God sent to earth on at least four occasions, spanning almost 600 years.
The Bible names only one other angel, Michael, but early Jewish and Christian writings say four archangels stood in God’s presence: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel.
Gabriel’s most notable message was his last one found in the Bible:
“Greetings, favored woman!” he said to Mary. “You have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus” (Luke 1:28, 30–31).
Six months earlier, Gabriel announced another birth and again named the child. The mother would be Elizabeth, an elderly and childless relative of Mary.
Gabriel appeared to Elizabeth’s husband, a priest named Zechariah. “Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John,” Gabriel said. “He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord” (Luke 1:13, 17).
AN ANGELIC TUTOR
Gabriel may have appeared many times in the Bible. He may have been the “angel of the Lord” who announced the births of Samson and Ishmael and who stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac.
But Gabriel is identified by name in only two other passages—both of them helping the prophet Daniel understand messages about the future, first a vision, then a prophecy Daniel read from Jeremiah.
Daniel’s vision was about a two-horned ram so powerful that it butted everything out of the way. Then a goat, looking something like a unicorn, came and defeated the ram.
Gabriel said the two-horned ram was the empire created by the Persians and Medes. The goat that defeated it was the Greek Empire, probably referring to Alexander the Great’s conquests.
Later, Gabriel explained some cryptic numbers Daniel read from Jeremiah about when to expect the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the arrival and execution nof “the Anointed One” (Daniel 9:25).
Scholars today would appreciate an explanation of Gabriel’s explanation. Though the numbers can be finessed to point to Jesus’ time, most scholars say it probably points to the Jewish war of independence more than a century earlier and that the Anointed One refers to a high priest who was killed.
Early Christian writings outside the Bible say that the last musical note the world hears will be played by Gabriel, blowing a trumpet to announce Judgment Day.
From Who’s Who & Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, Steve’s most recent release.
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