Gabriel means “Champion of God.” He stands in the presence of God.
Thus, he identified himself to Zacharias. Gabriel expected that his station in heaven would make what he said on earth believable. It should have! Zacharias paid the price in silence.
In the Bible, angels are unnamed most of the time. They appear when needed, perform the task given to them, and disappear without further announcement. Gabriel is mentioned by name in three instances:
- He assists the prophet, Daniel, in understanding the will of God in his important prophecy.
- He announces the birth of John the Baptist to the priest, Zacharias.
- He visits Mary with news that she is the chosen virgin who will conceive and bear a son.
An angel, probably Gabriel, comes to Joseph in a dream to comfort him and instruct him to marry Mary.
Angels are Witnesses
They are witnesses to the great events in history from creation to the Annunciation, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the Empty Tomb, to the ascension. The hosts of heaven witnessed the creation as “the morning stars sang together.” Angels have always been there. Gabriel was there:
- From the sad exile of Adam and Eve from Eden,
- to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah,
- to the moment when Moses commanded the sea with a shepherd’s staff, angels witnessed all the dealings of God with mankind
- to the towering, flaming majesty of Sinai.
- They observed the faithless trek through the wilderness
- One of them, perhaps Gabriel, the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts, came to Joshua before the conquering of Canaan.
Angels are Participants
Throughout Old Testament history, angels are important to the unfolding story. They are the messengers of God visiting human beings with the knowledge of the mind of God. In the Gospels, they are vital to the ministry of Jesus:
- Angels ministered to Jesus at points of need.
- The armies of heaven exercised amazing restraint as they watched the Lord’s Passion.
- Angels rolled the stone away at the tomb and spoke with the faithful women who came there in grief and left in joy.
- At the ascension, an angel promised that this same Jesus would come again in the clouds of glory.
- In the Book of Acts, angels rescued saints and delivered messages from God.
The book of Psalms teaches that angels are camped around each believer, guarding and guiding us through this earthly life.
Angels are Worshipers
For all their angelic missions to earth, their primary purpose is praise. The Throne Room of God is described in Isaiah 6 and Revelation chapters 4-5. Angels worship God, day and night, without rest or pause for this is “the glory due His name” they are instructed to give in Psalm 29. The writer to the Hebrews says that this Zion is a place of “innumerable angels in joyful assembly.” When Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up, Gabriel was standing nearby. In John’s Revelation drama of the “One Who Sits upon the Throne,” Gabriel is in the supporting cast. Surely for Gabriel and all the angels, worship turned to wonder as Jesus laid aside His divinity to become a child in a cattle stall. No wonder angels sang to shepherds. No wonder the heavens danced with song and the earth glowed with glory! “Unto us a Child is born!”
Psalm 34:7, NKJV
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.
Job 38:4-7, NKJV
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Daniel 8:15-16 NKJV
Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.”
Luke 1:19, NKJV
And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
Luke 1:26-27, NKJV
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
Matthew 1:19-21, NKJV
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Calls to Worship from the Psalms
Psalm 29:1-2, NKJV
“Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
Psalm 95:1-7, NKJV
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand.”
Psalm 99:5, NKJV
“Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool — He is holy.”
Angels from the Realms of Glory
Words: James Montgomery; Music: Henry Thomas Smart
Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth;
ye who sang creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn king.
- Shepherds, in the field abiding, watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing; yonder shines the infant light:
- Sages, leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar;
seek the great Desire of nations; ye have seen his natal star: