December 8 - Gabriel

Monday, December 8, 2008

December 8 - Gabriel

I was relaxin' away after an awesome SingOmaha concert tonight, and realized I had totally forgotten to write my blog post for the day. Whoops!

One of the most intriguing characters in the Christmas story is the angel Gabriel. We meet him several times throughout the story, but he is not a new character on the scene.

In yesterday's scripture lesson, Gabriel announces who he is to Zechariah by saying that he stands in the presence of God. If you turn to Isaiah 63:9, Isaiah speaks of the angel of his (God's) presence that saved God's people.

Gabriel shows up to explain 2 of Daniel's dreams to him, the first time in Daniel 8:15-25 where he interprets a vision that Daniel had regarding the end times and then tells Daniel to seal up the vision because it concerned the distant future (Daniel 8:26) and then again for a second vision in Daniel 9:20-27 where he explains the 'sevens' to Daniel.

In extra-Biblical sources we find more about the Angels of the Presence - those angels who stand in the presence of the Lord. Tobit 12:15 says “I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.” These seven angels are not named, but are mentioned by John in Revelation 8:2. He saw 'the seven angels who stand before god, and to them were given trumpets.'

I Enoch lists the seven angels as Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael, Gabriel and Remiel. While these books are not part of the standard canon of Scripture, they are part of the Apocrypha that is accepted by many scholars.

We meet Michael in our standard scriptures in the book of Daniel (Daniel 10:13, 21, 12:1) in Jude 9 and in Revelation 12:7. Michael seems to be the angel that goes up against Satan, while Gabriel is the angel that transmits messages to humanity from the throne of God.

Paul warns against the worship of angels in Colossians 2:18, but they continue throughout both the Old and New Testament to minister to God's people. Psalm 91:11 "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."

Hebrews 1:14 asks the question "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"

Yes. Gabriel was sent from the presence of God to announce the birth of John, and as we will soon see the birth of Jesus to both his mother and his earthly father. While he is here with them, he comforts and teaches them.