7 Biblical Facts About the Angel Gabriel
Updated: Mar 28
How much do you really know about the angel Gabriel?
In Scripture, we are told that angels have many roles. A few of them include being God’s messengers and Holy warriors, watching history unfold, praising and worshipping God, and being Guardian Angels – protecting and directing people on God’s behalf. The Bible tells us that God’s angels are delivering messages, accompanying the lonely, granting protection and even fighting His battles. Angels who were sent to deliver messages began their words saying “Do not be afraid,” or “Do not fear.” One of those examples is the angel Gabriel. In Luke 1, God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to tell that she would give birth to the Son of God. Also, in Luke 1 the angel Gabriel was sent to Zechariah to tell of the news that Elizabeth would bear a son. These accounts are great examples of how angels are sent to give messages from God. While many of us recognize the angel Gabriel by name, particularly as it relates to the Christmas story, how much do we really know about him? Here are seven biblical facts about the angel Gabriel.
Gabriel isn’t Called an Archangel in the Bible
Many people, including Christians consider Gabriel an archangel and for good reason. The book of Enoch, an influential work written between the Old and New Testament, references Gabriel as an archangel. Because of this, most believe that Gabriel is an archangel from this text. The book of Enoch says Gabriel and Michael were both archangels. Jude quotes the book of Enoch as prophecy and calls Michael and archangel. Because of this, Jude considered Gabriel an archangel too, all pointing to Gabriel being one. But the truth is the Protestant Bible never once calls Gabriel an archangel. The only named angel specifically called an archangel in the Bible is Michael, referenced in Jude 9.
Gabriel Only Speaks to Three Biblical Characters
We know from Scripture that the angel Gabriel is a messenger who is entrusted to deliver several important messages on God’s behalf. Gabriel appears to at least three people in the Bible, first to the prophet Daniel, referenced in Daniel 8:16; next to the priest Zechariah to foretell and announce the miraculous birth of John the Baptist (Luke 19:19); and finally to the virgin Mary to tell her that she would conceive and bear a son, referenced in Luke 1:26-28.
Gabriel announcing to Mary she will bear the son of God.
Gabriel First Appears in Daniel’s Vision
The first time we see Gabriel, he appears to Daniel after the prophet had a vision. Gabriel’s role is to explain the vision to Daniel. The Bible tells us, “And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, ‘Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” Gabriel’s appearance was that of a man. When Gabriel visited Daniel a second time, he came to him “in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice” (Daniel 9:21).
Gabriel May Not Have Had Wings
While popular art and culture depict Gabriel with wings, he may not have had them. Gabriel’s “flight” referenced in Daniel 9:21 might suggest wings, but wings are not mentioned. While there is no record of Gabriel having wings, Scripture also doesn’t say that he didn’t have wings. Much is left up to our imagination.
Gabriel’s Name Means “God is Great”
His name has tremendous significance and power. Gabriel means “God is great,” and, as the angel of the annunciation, he is the one who revealed that the Savior would be called “Jesus” referenced in Luke 1:31. But Jesus isn’t the only baby Gabriel names. When Gabriel startles Zechariah in the temple, he tells the priest to name his son John (Luke 1:13). In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus states that among the sons of women, nobody is greater than John the Baptist – although the very least in the kingdom of God would be greater than John. Gabriel is quite significant as he names the two greatest humans to ever live. Every time Gabriel shows up in the Bible, he makes some mention of Jesus. Gabriel’s messages always point to the coming Messiah.
Gabriel is One of Two Named Good Angels in the Bible