AskDefine | Define Gabriel

Dictionary Definition

Gabriel n : (Bible) the archangel who was the messenger of God

User Contributed Dictionary



From etyl he sc=Hebr, from גבר and sc=Hebr.

Proper noun

  1. A given name.
  2. An archangel associated with carrying messages from God
  3. An angel associated with the revelation of the Qur'an
  4. An English surname derived from the given name.


male given name
  • Czech: Gabriel
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  • German: Gabriel
  • Italian: Gabriele
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  • Russian: Гавриил (Gavriíl)
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biblical angel
  • Danish: Gabriel
  • Finnish: Gabriel
  • French: Gabriel
  • German: Gabriel
  • Norwegian: Gabriel
  • Russian: Гавриил
  • Swedish: Gabriel
angel in Islam
  • French: Gabriel

Related terms


Proper noun

  1. A given name, cognate to Gabriel.


Proper noun

  1. Gabriel.
  2. A given name.


Proper noun

  1. Gabriel

Related terms


Proper noun

  1. Gabriel; also the angel in Islam.
  2. A given name.

Related terms


Proper noun

  1. Gabriel
  2. A given name

Related terms


Proper noun

  1. Gabriel.
  2. A given name.


Proper noun

  1. Gabriel.
  2. A given name.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (גַּבְרִיאֵל, Standard Hebrew , Latin Gabrielus, Greek , Tiberian Hebrew , Arabic جبريل Jibrīl or Jibrail, literally "Master, of God", i.e., a Master, who is "of God") is an angel who is thought to serve as a messenger from God ("angel" literally translates to "messenger" from the Koine Greek; an "arch" angel is a "primary" or "chief" messenger). He first appears in the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible. Christians and Muslims believe him to have foretold the births of John the Baptist and Jesus to the Virgin Mary, and Muslims further believe he was the medium through which God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad. Muslims also believe he sent a message to most prophets, if not all, revealing their obligation.
In Biblical tradition, he is sometimes regarded as the angel of death or one of God's messengers. In Islam, Gabriel is one of God's chief messengers but other above-mentioned titles are not given to him (for example, the angel of death is Azrael).In Modern Times Gabriel is regarded as the patron saint of emergency dispatchers.
In the Christian Tradition, he is known as one of the four (Catholicism only recognizes three, while there are seven in the Eastern Orthodox Church) archangels. In Islam, he is called the chief of the four favoured angels and the spirit of truth, and in some views Gabriel is the same as the Holy Spirit. Gabriel also finds mention in the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, most notably in Bahá'u'lláh's mystical work The Seven Valleys.
Gabriel is also one of the only angels to be sometimes portrayed in art and literature as female.

Judaic references

History and the Hebrew Bible

The name Gabriel first appears in the Book of Daniel. The setting of the story is the Babylonian captivity: the Jewish leader Daniel ponders the meanings of several visions he has experienced in exile, when Gabriel appears to him with a message about the "End of Days":
  • "…And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, who called, and said:' Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.' So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was terrified, and fell upon my face; but he said to me: 'Understand, son of man; for the vision belongs to the time of the end…" ()


In the Talmud, Gabriel appears as the destroyer of the hosts of Sennacherib in Sanhedrin 95b, armed "with a sharpened scythe which has been ready since Creation." The archangel is also attributed as the one who showed Joseph the way, the one who prevented Queen Vashti from appearing naked before King Ahasuerus and his guests, and as one of the angels who buried Moses. In Talmud Yoma 77a, however, it is stated that Gabriel once fell into disgrace "for not obeying a command exactly as given, I remained for a while outside the heavenly Curtain." During this 21 day period, the guardian angel of Persia, Dobiel, acted as Gabriel's proxy.
The Talmud described him as the only angel who can speak Syriac and Chaldee.
Gabriel is also, according to Judaism, the voice that told Noah to gather the animals before the great flood; the invisible force that prevented Abraham from slaying Isaac; the invisible force that wrestled with Jacob; and the voice of the burning bush.

Christian references

Canonical New Testament

In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel reveals to the Jewish Pharisee and Priest Zechariah that John the Baptist will be born to Zechariah's wife Elizabeth () and visits Elizabeth's cousin Mary to reveal that she will give birth to Jesus. Gabriel's visit to Mary is often called "The Annunciation" (), an event that is celebrated on March 25 in the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches. It is also commemorated as the "First Joyful Mystery" of the rosary.
According to later legend, he is also the unidentified angel in the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse of John) who blows the final trumpet announcing Judgment Day Bible verse |Revelation|12:15|KJV.


The Book of Enoch places the archangel Gabriel as "The Left Hand of God", or seated on the left side of God's throne with Metatron. Gabriel is the ruler of the Cherubim and Seraphim surrounding the throne of the Almighty.
Alternate: However, people have long thought that he was "God's Right Hand" upon the Earth, as if he switches roles in the transition from Heaven to Earth.

Feast Days

Western Christianity (Roman Catholics and Anglicans) celebrate St. Gabriel the Archangel, along with St. Michael and St. Raphael, on 29 September. His feast was for the first time introduced into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1921 for celebration on 24 March and transferred to 29 September in 1969. Traditionalist Catholics still commemorate him on 24 March, following this tradition of 48 years' duration.
The Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite celebrate his feast day on 8 November (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 8 November currently falls on 21 November of the modern Gregorian Calendar). Eastern Orthodox commemorate him, not only on his November feast, but also on two other days: 26 March (8 April) is the "Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel" and celebrates his role in the Annunciation. 13 July (26 July) is also known as the "Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel", and celebrates all the appearances and miracles attributed to Gabriel throughout history. The feast was first established on Mount Athos when, in the ninth century, during the reign of Emperor Basil II and the Empress Constantina Porphyrogenitus, while Nicholas Chrysoverges was Patriarch of Constantinople, the Archangel appeared in a cell near Karyes, where he wrote with his finger on a stone tablet the hymn to the Theotokos, "It is truly meet..." (see Axion Estin).

Latter-Day Saint view

In Latter-day Saint theology, Gabriel lived in this mortal life as the patriarch Noah. Gabriel and Noah are regarded as the same individual; Noah being his mortal name and Gabriel being his heavenly name. See also: Noah, Michael (archangel) ~ Adam

In Islam

The Arabic name for Gabriel is Jibril, Jibrīl, Jibreel, Jabrilæ or Djibril (جبريل , جبرائيل, , [dʒibrɛ̈ʔiːl], or [dʒibriːl]) Muslims believe Gabriel to have been the angel who revealed the Qur'an to the prophet Muhammad.
Gabriel's physical appearance is described in the Hadith ():
Narrated By Abu Ishaq-Ash-Shaibani: I asked Zir bin Hubaish regarding the Statement of God: "And was at a distance Of but two bow-lengths Or (even) nearer; So did (God) convey The Inspiration to His slave (Gabriel) and then he (Gabriel) Conveyed (that to Muhammad). () On that, Zir said, "Ibn Mas'ud informed us that the Prophet had seen Gabriel having 600 wings."
Gabriel is regarded with the exact same respect by Muslims as all of the Prophets, and upon saying his name or referring to him a Muslim repeats: "upon him be peace". Gabriel's primary tasks are to bring messages from God to His messengers. As in Christianity, Gabriel is said to be the angel that informed Mary (Arabic Maryam) of how she would conceive Jesus (Isa):
She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our Ruh [angel Jibrael (Gabriel)], and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects. She said: "Verily! I seek refuge with the Most Beneficent (God) from you, if you do fear God." (The angel) said: "I am only a Messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a righteous son." She said: "How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, nor am I unchaste?" He said: "So (it will be), your Lord said: 'That is easy for Me (God): And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (God), and it is a matter (already) decreed, (by God).' " (Quran, )
Muslims believe Gabriel to have accompanied Muhammad in his ascension to the heavens, where Muhammad also is said to have met previous messengers of God, and was informed about the Islamic prayer (Bukhari ). Muslims also believe that Gabriel descends to Earth on the night of Laylat al-Qadr ("The Night of Great Value"), a night in the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar which is believed to be the night in which the Quran was first revealed.


In chronological order (to see each item, follow the link in the footnote):

Popular culture

  • The eccentric English hagiographer and antiquarian, Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924), wrote a Basque Christmas carol, Gabriel's Message, which was probably based on the 13th or 14th century Latin chant Angelus Ad Virginem which itself is based on the Biblical account of the Annunciation in the New Testament Gospel of Luke.
  • In his epic poem Paradise Lost, John Milton made Gabriel chief of the angelic guards placed over Paradise.
  • In an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series), entitled A Passage for Trumpet, Trumpet player Joey Crown (played by Jack Klugman) makes a decision to live or die with the help of a trumpet player who later turns out to be the angel Gabriel.
  • In Star Trek, Dr. McCoy quipped that just once he would like to transport down to a primitive planet and say, "Behold, I am the Archangel Gabriel!"
  • In Constantine, Tilda Swinton portrays Gabriel as an androgyne.
  • In the Shin Megami Tensei series of video games, Gabriel is portrayed as the only female Seraph and, in the second installment, stands apart from the other Seraphim when their goals diverge from God's.
  • In The Prophecy trilogy, the angel Gabriel Christopher Walken is jealous of humans for being God's favorites and wishes to kill them all. In the second one he is banished to be a human and it causes him to change his opinion of them. After helping Danyael out through the third movie he is granted a second chance as an angel and ascends to Heaven once again.
  • In Piers Anthony's "Incarnations of Immortality" series, books three and eight (For Love of Evil and And Eternity) Gabriel is the mightiest of Angel's, Heaven's "number two". He creates the deal with Parry (Satan, the Incarnation of Evil) concerning Niobe, Luna, Orlene and the status of the Incarnation of Good.
  • In 2007, the Australian film Gabriel tells the story of an 'Arc' Angel who fights to bring light back to purgatory - a place where darkness rules - and save the souls of the city's inhabitants. Actor Andy Whitfield portrays the title role.
  • The film Van Helsing refers to the lead character, Van Helsing, as 'the left hand of God'. The antagonist, Count Vladimis Draguelia, i.e. Count Dracula, refers to Van Helsing as 'Gabriel', to which Van Helsing responds 'how do you know me?'.
  • In the adult anime series of Jiburiru - The Devil Angel, Jiburiru's romanized name, Jibril, is the same as the Arabic name of the archangel Gabriel. This series tells the story about three girls whom lose virginity to the lover whom she cares from and transform into an heroic angels as a help of Luvriel to defeat the demons from hell. As Meimi is jealous of Rika, she becomes an dark maid-like devil from Asmo. Later in the second series, Meimi's devil form was later a clone. Although, there are two forms in the series, one is the heaven form and the other one is a hell form. Rika and Hikari also have hell forms later in the series, but were being master-minded by demons.
  • In the RPG In Nomine, Gabriel is primarliar portrayed as female (has not used her male form in centuries). She is the archangel of Fire and hold up the ideals of punishing the wicked. Her main enemy is Belial, Demon prince of Fire.
  • In the second All Dogs Go To Heaven film, Carface, the main villain of the first film, steals what is known as Gabriel's Horn. Then the horn is blown, only angels can hear its tune, but regardless, it will open any gate. Its main use in the film is that of opening the gates to heaven, and without it, nobody can get in.



  • Bamberger, Bernard Jacob, (March 15, 2006). Fallen Angels: Soldiers of Satan's Realm. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0797-0
  • Briggs, Constance Victoria, 1997. The Encyclopedia of Angels : An A-to-Z Guide with Nearly 4,000 Entries. Plume. ISBN 0-452-27921-6.
  • Bunson, Matthew, (1996). Angels A to Z : A Who's Who of the Heavenly Host. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-88537-9.
  • Cruz, Joan C. 1999. Angels and Devils. Tan Books & Publishers. ISBN 0-89555-638-3.
  • Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. Free Press. ISBN 0-02-907052-X
  • Graham, Billy, 1994. Angels: God's Secret Agents. W Pub Group; Minibook edition. ISBN 0-8499-5074-0
  • Guiley, Rosemary, 1996. Encyclopedia of Angels. ISBN 0-8160-2988-1
  • Kreeft, Peter J. 1995. Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know About Them? Ignatius Press. ISBN 0-89870-550-9
  • Lewis, James R. (1995). Angels A to Z. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-7876-0652-9
  • Melville, Francis, 2001. The Book of Angels: Turn to Your Angels for Guidance, Comfort, and Inspiration. Barron's Educational Series; 1st edition. ISBN 0-7641-5403-6
  • Ronner, John, 1993. Know Your Angels: The Angel Almanac With Biographies of 100 Prominent Angels in Legend & Folklore-And Much More! Mamre Press. ISBN 0-932945-40-6.
Gabriel in Amharic: ገብርኤል
Gabriel in Arabic: جبريل
Gabriel in Azerbaijani: Cəbrayıl (mələk)
Gabriel in Bosnian: Džibril
Gabriel in Bulgarian: Гаврил (архангел)
Gabriel in Catalan: Gabriel
Gabriel in Czech: Archanděl Gabriel
Gabriel in Welsh: Gabriel
Gabriel in Danish: Gabriel
Gabriel in German: Gabriel (Erzengel)
Gabriel in Estonian: Gabriel
Gabriel in Modern Greek (1453-): Αρχάγγελος Γαβριήλ
Gabriel in Spanish: Arcángel Gabriel
Gabriel in Esperanto: Sankta Gabrielo
Gabriel in Persian: جبرئیل
Gabriel in French: Gabriel (archange)
Gabriel in Korean: 대천사 가브리엘
Gabriel in Croatian: Gabriel
Gabriel in Indonesian: Malaikat Jibril
Gabriel in Italian: Arcangelo Gabriele
Gabriel in Hebrew: גבריאל
Gabriel in Georgian: გაბრიელ მთავარანგელოზი
Gabriel in Lithuanian: Arkangelas Gabrielius
Gabriel in Hungarian: Gábor arkangyal
Gabriel in Macedonian: Архангел Гаврил
Gabriel in Malayalam: ജിബ്‌രീല്‍
Gabriel in Malay (macrolanguage): Malaikat Jibril
Gabriel in Dutch: Gabriël (aartsengel)
Gabriel in Japanese: ガブリエル
Gabriel in Norwegian: Gabriel
Gabriel in Norwegian Nynorsk: Engelen Gabriel
Gabriel in Polish: Archanioł Gabriel
Gabriel in Portuguese: Gabriel (arcanjo)
Gabriel in Romanian: Arhanghelul Gabriel
Gabriel in Russian: Архангел Гавриил
Gabriel in Simple English: Gabriel
Gabriel in Slovak: Gabriel (anjel)
Gabriel in Serbian: Арханђел Гаврило
Gabriel in Finnish: Gabriel
Gabriel in Swedish: Gabriel
Gabriel in Thai: ญิบรีล
Gabriel in Turkish: Cebrâîl
Gabriel in Ukrainian: Гавриїл
Gabriel in Urdu: جبرائیل
Gabriel in Chinese: 加百利
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