Archangel Gabriel

Information Pictures and Links regarding Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Gabriel has a remarkable position as one of the few cultural figures who plays an important role in more than one major religion. He is refered to in the Old Testament as appearing to Daniel. In Christian tradition he appears to the Virgin and to Zachariah. In Islamic tradition he is renowned for dictating the Holy Koran to the Prophet Mohammed.

The frequent references to Gabrial in literature and Art mean more than any other Gabriel defines most people's idea of what an angel is. In particular the potent image of Angel Gabriel announcing the impending birth of the Messiah to Mary has inspired generations of artists in the process creating one of the most iconic images of Western culture.

This blog collects together a collection of links and information about the references to Archagel Gabriel through the centuries.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Purpose of Angels

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text found at:

The Purpose of Angels

In the Bible, angels are the medium of God's power; they exist to execute God's will. Angels reveal themselves to individuals as well as to the whole nation, in order to announce events, either good or bad, affecting them. Angels foretold to Abraham the birth of Isaac, to Manoah the birth of Samson, and to Abraham the destruction of Sodom. Guardian angels were mentioned, but not, as was later the case, as guardian spirits of individuals and nations. God sent an angel to protect the Hebrew people after their exodus from Egypt, to lead them to the promised land, and to destroy the hostile tribes in their way (Ex. xxiii. 20, Num. xx. 16).

In Judges (ii. 1) an angel of the Lord—unless here and in the preceding instances (compare Isa. xlii. 19, Ḥag. i. 13, Mal. iii. 1) a human messenger of God is meant—addressed the whole people, swearing to bring them to the promised land. An angel brought Elijah meat and drink (I Kings, xix. 5); and as God watched over Jacob, so is every pious person protected by an angel who cares for him in all his ways (Ps. xxxiv. 7, xci. 11). There are angels militant, one of whom smites in one night the whole Assyrian army of 185,000 men (II Kings, xix. 35); messengers go forth from God "in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid" (Ezek. xxx. 9); the enemy is scattered before the angel like chaff (Ps. xxxv. 5, 6).

Avenging angels are mentioned, such as the one in II Sam. xxiv. 15, who annihilates thousands. It would seem that the pestilence was personified, and that the "evil angels" mentioned in Ps. lxxviii. 49 are to be regarded as personifications of this kind. "Evil" is here to be taken in the causative sense, as "producing evil"; for, as stated above, angels are generally considered to be by nature beneficent to man. They glorify God, whence the term "glorifying angels" (Ps. xxix. 1, ciii. 20, cxlviii. 2; compare Isa. vi. 2 et seq.).

They constitute God's court, sitting in council with him (I Kings, xxii. 19; Job, i. 6, ii. 1); hence they are called His "council of the holy ones" (Ps. lxxxix. 7, R. V.; A. V. "assembly of the saints"). They accompany God as His attendants when He appears to man (Deut. xxxiii. 2; Job, xxxviii. 7). This conception was developed after the Exile; and in Zechariah angels of various shapes are delegated "to walk to and fro through the earth" in order to find out and report what happens (Zech. vi. 7).

In the prophetic books angels appear as representatives of the prophetic spirit, and bring to the prophets God's word. Thus the prophet Haggai was called God's messenger (angel); and it is known that "Malachi" is not a real name, but means "messenger" or "angel." It is noteworthy that in I Kings, xiii. 18, an angel brought the divine word to the prophet.

In some places it is inferred that angels existed before the Creation (Gen. i. 26; Job, xxxviii. 7). The earlier Biblical writings did not speculate about them; simply regarding them, in their relations to man, as God's agents. Consequently, they did not individualize or denominate them; and in Judges, xiii. 18, and Gen. xxxii. 30, the angels, when questioned, refuse to give their names. In Daniel, however, there occur the names Michael and Gabriel. Michael is Israel's representative in heaven, where other nations—the Persians, for instance—were also represented by angelic princes. More than three hundred years before the Book of Daniel was written, Zechariah graded the angels according to their rank, but did not name them. The notion of the seven eyes (Zech. iii. 9, iv. 10) may have been affected by the representation of the seven archangels and also possibly by the seven amshaspands of Zoroastrianism (compare Ezek. ix. 2).