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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The special child Jesus (Mt 1:21-1:21)

“Mary will bear a son.

You are to name him

Jesus.

He will save

His people

From their sins.”

 

τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν·αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν.

 

This angel of the Lord proclaimed that Mary would give birth to a son (τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν). He was to be called by the name of Jesus (καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν). Jesus, Ἰησοῦν, was a Greek name, but implied the Aramaic or Hebrew name of Joshua, Jeshua, Yeshua, Yehoshua, or Yeshu. This angel gave a command to Joseph concerning the name of the child to be born. In the Old Testament, important people were named before they were born. Thus, in Judean society, the father had the right to name the child. The literal interpretation of this name would have been savior. This phrase about the name of Jesus is exactly the same as found in Luke, chapter 1, (καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν), where the angel Gabriel was talking to Mary about not being afraid because of the child she was bearing. Jesus was called by this name because he was going to save his people (αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ) from their sins (ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν). He was not yet seen as a universal savior, but only saving the Israelite people from their own sins.

Darius the Mede (Dan 11:1-11:1)

“As for me,

In the first year

Of Darius the Mede,

I stood up

To support him,

To strengthen him.”

Once again, there is a reference to Darius the Mede, also mentioned in chapter 9. As far as we can tell, there was no such person. Somehow, he comes between the Babylonian King Belshazzar and the Persian Cyrus the Great. Perhaps, he was the first Persian general who entered Babylon after its fall in 539 BCE, but there are no indications of that. He appears to be a literary fiction, perhaps based on the later Persian King Darius I, the 3rd ruler after Cyrus, from 522-486 BCE, who acted very favorably towards the returning Jews to Jerusalem. This time it is the angel Gabriel referring to how he helped Darius the Mede in his first year as the ruler, by supporting and strengthening him.

Daniel gets stronger (Dan 10:18-10:19)

“Again,

One in a human form

Touched me.

He strengthened me.

He said.

‘Do not fear!

Greatly beloved!

You are safe!

Be strong!

Be courageous!’

When he spoke

To me,

I was strengthened.

I said.

‘Let my lord speak!

You have strengthened me.’”

Then this appearance of a man or the angel Gabriel touched Daniel again. This time, it made Daniel stronger. This angel told Daniel not to fear because he was greatly loved and safe. Instead, Daniel was to be strong and courageous. When this figure spoke, Daniel felt strengthened. Finally, he told him, his lord, to speak because he had made him stronger.

Daniel was speechless (Dan 10:15-10:15)

“While he was speaking

These words to me,

I turned my face

Toward the ground.

I was speechless.”

Once again, Daniel was overcome by what was happening to him. Even while this man in linen or the angel Gabriel was still speaking, Daniel turned his face to the ground. He became speechless.

Daniel’s words went to God (Dan 10:12-10:12)

“He said to me.

‘Do not fear!

Daniel!

From the first day

That you set your mind

To gain understanding,

To humble yourself

Before your God,

Your words

Have been heard.

I have come

Because of your words.’”

This man told Daniel not to be afraid.   God had heard his words from the first day that he set his mind to try to  understand things. Daniel had humbled himself before God. The very words of Daniel himself were the main reason that this man was there. Perhaps, this was the angel Gabriel responding to requests sent to God.