The angel Gabriel (Lk 1:19-1:19)

“The angel

Replied.

‘I am Gabriel!

I stand

In the presence

Of God.

I have been sent

To speak to you.

I bring you

This good news.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἐγώ εἰμι Γαβριὴλ ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἀπεστάλην λαλῆσαι πρὸς σὲ καὶ εὐαγγελίσασθαί σοι ταῦτα·

 

Luke said that this angel pulled rank.  He replied to Zechariah (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he was the Angel Gabriel (Ἐγώ εἰμι Γαβριὴλ), who stood in the presence of God (ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ), probably around the heavenly throne.  He had been sent to speak to Zechariah (καὶ ἀπεστάλην λαλῆσαι πρὸς σὲ), since he brought him these good tiding, this good news (καὶ εὐαγγελίσασθαί σοι ταῦτα), using the Greek word for gospel εὐαγγελίσασθαί.  Who then was this Angel Gabriel?  He was considered an archangel, or a higher angel than the others, maybe one of the top 7 angels.  He appeared to Daniel, chapters 8 and 9, where he explained the visions to Daniel.  He appeared twice in this gospel of Luke, here to Zechariah and later to Mary, chapter 1:28, both in this infancy narrative.

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Raphael reveals that he is an angel (Tob 12:11-12:15)

“I will now declare the whole truth to you. I will conceal nothing from you. Already I have declared to you when I said.

‘It is good to conceal the secret of a king,

But to reveal with due honor the works of God.’

So now, when you and your daughter-in-law Sarah prayed,

It was I who brought and read the record of your prayer

Before the glory of the Lord.

Likewise, whenever you would bury the dead,

I was present with you.

That time when you did not hesitate to get up

And leave your dinner to go and bury the dead,

I was sent to test you.

At the same time,

God sent me to heal you and Sarah your daughter-in-law.

I am Raphael,

One of the seven angels who stand ready

And enter before the glory of the Lord.’”

Raphael said that he would reveal the whole truth and conceal nothing. He had hinted at that when he said that it was good to conceal the secrets of the king. He told Tobit and Tobias that when Tobit and Sarah had prayed in despair, he was the one who recorded this and brought it to the Lord. He was present when Tobit buried the dead. He was sent to test him. God sent him to heal both Tobit and Sarah. Then he revealed that he is the angel Raphael. However, he is not just any angel, but one of the 7 who stand before the glory of the Lord. Literally, his name means, “God heals,” so that this was a perfect project for him. The naming of angels did not take place until after the Persian captivity, in the Second Temple time, so there is a Persian influence here. Sometimes, he is referred to as an archangel, because of his place among the top 7 angels. Perhaps he might have a place among the guardian angels as he protected Tobias here.