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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Gabriel

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(Heb. Gabriel', גִּבְרַיאֵל , champion of God; Sept. and N.T. Γαβριήλ ), a word which is not is itself distinctive, but merely a description of the angelic offices used as a proper name or title to designate the heavenly messenger who was sent to Daniel to explain the vision of the ram and the he-goat (Daniel 7), and to communicate the prediction of the Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:21-27). Under the new dispensation he was employed to announce the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah (Luke 1:11), and that of the Messiah to the Virgin Mary ( Luke 1:26). (See ANNUNCIATION). (It is also added in the Targums as a gloss on some other passages of the O.T.) In the ordinary traditions, Jewish and Christian, Gabriel is spoken of as one of the archangels (q.v.). In Scripture he is set forth only as the represenstative of the angelic nature, not in its dignity or power of contending against evil, (See MICHAEL), but in its ministration of concert and sympathy to man. His prominent character, therefore, is that of a "fellow-servant" of the saints on earth; and there is a corresponding simplicity, and absence of all terror and mystery, in his communications to men; his own words, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God" (Luke 1:19), are rather in favor of the notion of his superior dignity. (See ANGEL).

In the Book of Enoch, "the four great archangels, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel," are described as reporting the corrupt state of mankind to the Creator, and receiving their several commissions. To Gabriel he says, "Go, Gabriel, against the giants, the spurious ones, the sons of fornication, and destroy the sons of the watchers from among the sons of men" (Greek Fragment of the Book of Enoch, preserved by Syncellus in Scaliger's notes as the Chronicon of Eusebius, Amstel. 1658, page 404). In the Rabbinical writings Gabriel is represented as standing in front of the divine throne, near the standard of the tribe of Judah (Buxtorf, Lex. Talmud. col. 46). The Rabbins also say that he is the Prince of Fire, and appointed to preside over the ripening of fruit; that he was the only one of the angels who understood Chaldee and Syriac, and taught Joseph the seventy languages spoken at the dispersion of Babel; that he and Michael destroyed the host of Sennacherib, and. set fire to the Temple at Jerusalem (Eisenmsenger's Entd. Judenthums, 2:365, 379, 380, 383). By the Mohammedaes Gabriel is regarded with profound veneration. To him, it is affirmed, a copy of the whole Koran was committed, which he imparted in successive portions to Mohammed. He is styled is the Koran the Spirit of Tauthi and the Holy Spirit. In his hands will be placed the scales in which the actions of men will be weighed at the last day (D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Oriaentale, s.v. Gebrail).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Gabriel'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/g/gabriel.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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