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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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GABRIEL (‘man of God’). In the first rank of the innumerable hosts of the heavenly hierarchy ( Daniel 7:10 ) there are seven who occupy the first place the seven archangels; of these Gabriel is one. In Daniel 8:15 ff. Gabriel is sent to explain to Daniel the meaning of the vision of the ram and the he-goat; in Daniel 9:21 ff. he tells Daniel of the seventy weeks which are ‘decreed’ upon the people and the holy city. This is the only mention of Gabriel in the OT. In post-Biblical literature the name occurs more frequently. He appears twice in the NT as God’s messenger. He is sent to announce to Zacharias that Elisabeth will bear a son; he also tells the name that the child is to bear ( Luke 1:8-20 ). In Luke 1:26-38 he appears to the Virgin Mary and announces the birth of a son to her; here again he says what the name of the child is to be: ‘Thou shalt call his name Jesus.’

In the Babylonian and Persian angelologies there are analogies to the seven archangels of the Jews, and the possibility of Jewish belief having been influenced by these must not be lost sight of.

W. O. E. Oesterley.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gabriel'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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