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Gabriel (גַּבְרִיאֵל, Standard Hebrew Gavriʾel, Tiberian Hebrew GaḇrÓʾēl, Arabic جبريل) appears first in the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible. He is an archangel who serves as a messenger from God. The name Gabriel can mean "man of God", "God has shown himself mighty", or "hero of God."
In Jewish history and the Hebrew Bible
In the historical context of the destruction of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, and the subsequent Babylonian captivity of the Jewish Kingdom of Judah that followed, the important Jewish leader Daniel ponders the meanings of several visions he has experienced in exile, when Gabriel appears to him (Dan. viii, 16-25).
Gabriel is mentioned twice by name:
- "...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..."  (Daniel 8:15-17).
It is towards the end of the rule of Babylonia yet Gabriel is sent to elaborate and explain matters also relating to the "End of Days" (See Jewish eschatology) such as when the kingdoms of Persia, Greece and Rome will tumble from dominating the world.
- "...And while I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; and while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, approached close to me about the time of the evening offering. And he made me understand, and talked with me, and said: 'Daniel, I have now come to make you skilful of understanding...Seventy weeks are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place."  (Daniel 9:20-24)
Here is where Gabriel tells Daniel about the mysterious "Seventy weeks" (shavu-im shivim) that seem to indicate the end of the Babylonian captivity which lasted seventy years when Cyrus the Great allowed the return to Zion and the rebuilding of the Temple by the Jews in his empire.
Gabriel in Christianity
In the New Testament, Gabriel is often believed to be the angel who revealed that John the Baptist was to be born to Elizabeth and the angel who revealed that Jesus was to be born to Mary. He is most noted in the Book of Revelation (formerly known as the Apocalypse of John) as the angel who will blow the horn announcing Judgement Day. To Roman Catholics, he is St. Gabriel the Archangel, the patron saint of communications workers. His feast day is September 29th.
His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Enoch. In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel visits Zacharias and Mary, the mother of Jesus, to announce the imminent birth of their children, one of which would be Jesus (Luke i, 26, etc.). Gabriel plays a prominent role in the book of Revelation.
Gabriel in Islam
Jibreel (جبريل) (sometimes rendered Jabril) is Arabic for Gabriel, who is also considered archangel in much Jewish and Christian angelology. According to Islam, Jabril is the angel who revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, and is seen as the chief of the four favoured angels and the spirit of truth.
According to Abrahamic religion, Gabriel is an archangel who serves as a messenger from God. He is sometimes regarded as the angel of death, the prince of fire and thunder, but more frequently as one of God's chief messengers, and traditionally said to be the only angel that can speak Syriac and Chaldee.
Gabriel in fiction
In Kidou Senshi Gundam Seed Destiny, Jibril is the name of the leader for Blue Cosmos, an extremist group dedicated to eradicating genetically enhanced humans (the coordinators).
In Star Ocean: The Second Story, Gabriel is the name of the leader of the Juukensha (Ten Sages), the main antagonists. (His name, along with those of all the other Juukensha, was changed in the English version of the game. In Gabriel's case, his name was changed to "Indalecio").
Christopher Walken portrayed Gabriel in the film The Prophecy as the leader of a rebellion opposed to God's favor of humans over angels. He is shown to be exceptionally jealous of humans and delights in frightening and torturing them.
In the movie Van Helsing, it is suggested that the title character is in fact an amnesiac reincarnated Gabriel, primarily due to his first name and the fact that Dracula refers to him as the Left Hand of God.
See also: List of names referring to El
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