In the biblical story of the Annunciation, the Archangel St. Gabriel told Mary she would be the mother of the long-awaited savior (Lk 1:26-35). St. Gabriel also appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist (Lk 1:11-20). But the appearance of St. Gabriel in the Bible goes beyond the Gospels. Knowledge of the angel Gabriel is evident in the ancient Jewish tradition as well, and there is a lot of speculation about his role in salvation history. 

St. Gabriel first appears by name in the Old Testament book of Daniel when Gabriel interprets a vision for Daniel and goes on to explain several others for him (Dn 8:16). These visions all have to do with mysteries regarding the last days and the Messiah’s coming. 

While St. Gabriel isn’t always explicitly named, Jewish and Christian traditions speculate he appears in the Bible more than we realize. There are works in Rabbinic (Jewish) literature that identify Gabriel as one of the three angels who visited Abraham (Gn 18) and the angel who destroyed Sodom (Gn 19:1-29). 

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In early Christian times, one of the church fathers, St. Cyprian, also speculated about the archangel. Cyprian wondered if St. Gabriel was the unnamed angel in the Gospel of Matthew. There, an angel appears to Joseph in all his dreams (Mt 1:20, 2:13, 19), offering him encouragement and instruction, and St. Cyprian believed it might be St. Gabriel. 

References to the angel Gabriel appear in many ancient texts outside the Scriptures, and even the Dead Sea Scrolls mention him. There is also a non-scriptural tradition that suggests St. Gabriel might be the one to announce Christ’s second coming with a trumpet blast. 

St. Gabriel is a significant figure in Christian tradition and featured in writings both in and outside of Scripture. He is a messenger and servant of God and a principal herald of Jesus’ coming. His name in Hebrew means “God is my strength.” 

Archangel St. Gabriel, whose strength is God himself, guide us to carry out God’s holy will.