Archangel Gabriel: The Messenger of God’s Will

In translation from Yiddish the name “Gabriel” means “the man of God”, “God’s strength”, or “God’s power”.

Archangel Gabriel is one of seven archangels sent by God to inform people that some great events are coming.

He explained to Prophet Daniel his dreams about the kings and kingdoms and about the time when the savior would come: “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel, 9:21-27)

Archangel Gabriel helped Prophet Moses in the desert, when he was writing the book of Genesis. Moses received God’s revelation through Archangel Gabriel about the creation and first years of the world.

The Archangel told priest Zechariah that that his aging infertile wife will bear John the Forerunner: “And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings” (Luke, 1:11-19).

Archangel Gabriel appeared to Anna and Joachim, who was fasting in the desert. He told them that they would have a daughter, and she would become the Mother of Messiah, who would save the humanity. This great Archangel became the guardian of young Mary. After the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he brought her some food and fed her.

God sent the Archangel to Nazareth, who appeared to the Virgin Mary, engaged to Saint Joseph, and he proclaimed, that she was blessed to give birth to the Son of God: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke, 1:26-35).

Archangel Gabriel visited Saint Joseph as well. He explained that the virgin was pure, as the child was conceived from the Holy Spirit:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew, 1:18-21).

When Christ was born, the Archangel appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem at night and told them: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke, 2:8-12).

Archangel Gabriel informed Saint Joseph about king Herod and ordered to escape and run to Egypt with the Infant and the Theotokos: “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt” (Matthew, 2:13-14).

“But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel” (Matthew, 2:19-21).

Some church scholars think, that Archangel Gabriel was sent to support the Savior in Gethsemane. He had also to announce the Dormition of the Mother of God. What is more, Archangel Gabriel taught a monk from Athos the honoring song “Axion Estin”.

That is why the Church calls Archangel Gabriel “the evangelizer of God’s miracles and mysteries”, the announcer of joy and salvation, the executor of Divine power.

The Holy Church depicts Archangel Gabriel with a paradisal branch, which he brought to Virgin Mary, or sometimes he is depicted with a torch in his right hand and a transparency in the left one. The Archangel is painted with a transparency because he is the evangelizer of salvation. The candle in the torch means, that some acts of God can be secret till the moment it time to reveal them. And then they can be accepted only by those, who look into the transparency of God’s word and consciousness. That is why those who bear the name Gabriel possess the type of faith, for which nothing is impossible – just as the Savior said.