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(gā`brēəl), archangel, the divine herald. In the Bible he appears to Daniel (twice), to Zacharias, and to the Virgin Mary in the Annunciation (Dan. 8.16; 9.21; Luke 1.19,26,27). Christian tradition makes Gabriel the archangel trumpeter of the Last Judgment (1 Thes. 4.16). In Islam, Gabriel revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, becoming the angel of truth. In art and literature Gabriel is mainly treated as the angel of the Annunciation. In the Annunciation he often carries a lily, properly the symbol of the Virgin. He is often represented on churches with trumpet raised and facing east, ready to proclaim the second coming of Christ. Feast: Sept. 29 (jointly with other archangels).
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The Bible names only one of the angels who appear in connection with Jesus' birth. The Gospel according to Luke states that the angel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary to tell her that she would bear a son whom she should name Jesus (Luke 1:26-35). Christians call this event the Annunciation.

Gabriel in the Bible

Who is Gabriel and why was he sent to bear such important news? Religious scholars often begin a discussion of the angel by analyzing the meaning of his name. Some say it means "God is my warrior"; others translate it as "man of God." Still others believe it should be translated as "power of God" or "hero of God." Gabriel is one of only two angels mentioned by name in the Hebrew scriptures, or Old Testament (the other is Michael). In the Book of Daniel, Gabriel helps Daniel interpret his visions and informs him of God's plan for the end of time (Daniel 8-12). Gabriel returns again in the New Testament, or Christian scriptures. In the Gospel according to Luke he appears to Zechariah to tell him that he and his wife will conceive a child, John, who will serve as the forerunner to Jesus Christ (Luke 1:11-20). Shortly afterwards Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary to announce her forthcoming pregnancy (Luke 1:26-38). Thus the Bible tends to cast Gabriel as God's herald. Because he frequently brings news of God's doings to human beings, he is sometimes referred to as the Angel of Revelation.

Gabriel in Christian Art

In the Gospel according to Luke Gabriel identifies himself as someone who "stand[s] in the presence of God" (Luke 1:19). This has led many Christians to conclude that he is one of the few high-ranking angels known as archangels. Over the centuries Christian artists have portrayed Gabriel as a solemn, male figure wearing beautiful robes. In earlier works of art Gabriel often carries a scepter. In more recent works he holds a lily, a symbol of the purity and goodness of the Virgin Mary.

Jewish and Muslim Beliefs

Jewish lore assigns Gabriel many different jobs. The Book of Enoch portrays him as an overseer of the Garden of Eden (see also Adam and Eve Day). Other apocryphal texts and legends have shown him as one of the four angels who stand round the throne of God, a participant in the destruction of Sodom and the army of Sennacherib, and one of those who prayed for the world at the time of the Great Flood. Muslims, too, honor the angel Gabriel, whom they know as Jibril. They believe him to be the angel who dictated the Qur'an - the holy book of Islam - to the prophet Muhammad.

Christian Lore

Christian lore not only places Gabriel at the scene of Jesus' birth but also at the scene leading up to Jesus' death. Perhaps because of his biblical role as a herald, Christian legends have suggested that Gabriel was the unnamed angel that brought the good news of Jesus' birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-12). Another folk belief places Gabriel in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus prayed and waited for the men who would come to arrest him and condemn him to death. Both of these tales emphasize Gabriel's role as the angel of mercy. Michael, by contrast, functions as the angel of judgment. (In Jewish lore these roles are reversed, with Michael serving as the angel of mercy while Gabriel acts as the angel of judgment.)


In 1951 Pope Pius XII gave Gabriel a new role to play, modernizing his ancient task as a transmitter of messages. He declared Gabriel to be the patron saint of all those who work in the field of telecommunications. Gabriel also serves as the traditional patron of messengers, diplomats, clergy members, postal workers, and stamp collectors.

Further Reading

Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels. New York: Free Press, 1967. Fallon, T. L. "Gabriel, Archangel." In New Catholic Encyclopedia. Volume 6. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967. Godwin, Malcom. Angels: An Endangered Species. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990. Pope, Hugh. "St. Gabriel the Archangel." In Charles B. Hervermann, ed. Catholic Encyclopedia. Nashville, Tenn.: T. Nelson, 1913. Available on the World Wide Web at: Strauss, Mark L. "Gabriel." In David Noel Freedman, ed. Eerdmans Dic-tionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.

Web Site

"Gabriel the Archangel," a page available through Catholic Forum, a web site affiliated with Liturgical Publications of St. Louis, at:
Encyclopedia of Christmas and New Year's Celebrations, 2nd ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2003


angel of the annunciation; tells Mary she will bear Christ child. [N.T.: Luke 1:26–38]
See: Angel


messenger angel; tells Mary she will bear Christ child. [N.T.: Luke 1:26–38]


announces births of Jesus and John the Baptist. [N.T.: Luke 1:19, 26]


angel who will blow the trumpet to announce the coming of Judgment Day. [Christian Trad.: Century Cyclopedia, 1667]
See: Trumpet
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Jacques-Ange . 1698--1782, French architect: designed the Petit Trianon at Versailles


Bible one of the archangels, the messenger of good news (Daniel 8:16--26; Luke 1:11--20, 26--38)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A graphical DSP language for simulation and real systems.

["A Design Tool for Hardware and Software for Multiprocessor DSP Systems," E.A. Lee, E. Goei, J. Bier & S. Bhattacharya, DSP Systems, Proc ISCAS-89, 1989].


/gay'bree-*l/ (After Richard Gabriel) An unnecessary (in the opinion of the opponent) stalling tactic, e.g. tying one's shoelaces or combing one's hair repeatedly, asking the time, etc. Also used to refer to the perpetrator of such tactics. Also, "pulling a Gabriel", "Gabriel mode".
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References in periodicals archive ?
"We told them it was an investment in world peace and security," Jabril said.
Mr Jabril indicated that Britain and France would benefit from their support when it came to the awarding of contracts to rebuild the oil-rich North African state.
In Arabic, the letter for example said Shammam had replaced Jabril as the rebels official representative after Jabril had betrayed them for Gaddafi's regime.
Back when the Pan Am jet exploded it was a heartland of Palestinian resistance groups, including Captain Ahmed Jabril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command.
. Mustafa Jabril, 19, from Toxteth, wanted since June 13, 2008.
Whereas Jewish and Christian understandings of sacred scripture invite a human grappling with God's revelation (in Hebrew, "Israel," the name Jacob received after wrestling with an angel, means "you have struggled with God"), the Muslim understanding of the Qur'an as dictated by God through the angel Gabriel or Jabril and perfectly and completely transcribed by Muhammad encourages submission (the meaning in Arabic of "Islam") or surrender to the will of God and leaves less room for creative interpretation and religious self-criticism.
"This hospital is a wonderful symbol of the relationship between the people of Ethiopia and America," Abdi Jabril Abubakar, president of the Somali Regional State, where the hospital is located, told guests, through an interpreter.
Jabril Rajub, the head of the West Bank Preventive Security Organization (PSO), stated in a press interview, "I don't agree with the Israelis that we should fight Hamas.
On August 25, 2003, Palestinian President Arafat named Jabril Rajub as head of security and Nasir Yusuf as Interior Minister in moves that challenged the leadership of Prime Minister Abbas, who had named Muhammad Dahlan as Minister of Security and held the Interior Ministry for himself.
Along these same lines, it is important to note that bin Laden and members of his al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad have joined the hardcore Communist atheists such as George Habash, Abu Nidal, and Ahmed Jabril at global terror summits in Tehran, Damascus, and Khartoum.
The PFLP-GC is a splinter group of the PFLP founded by Ahmad Jabril, a former Syrian Army officer.
The head of the PA Preventive Security Jabril Rajoub says in Ramallah it is "not my priority" to stop attacks on Israel, adding: "I don't think its possible for us, after this sea of blood, to talk about security co-ordination or any kind of co-ordination with Israel.