How do we know that the Archangel Gabriel is actually an Archangel?


#1

I was reading a document here that someone posted. It mentioned that the only Archangel mentioned in the Bible was Michael. I then thought of Gabriel. And I assumed the article was wrong.

But then when I looked it up at biblegateway, I found that it is true that only Michael is referred to as an Archangel. St. Gabriel is only referred to as an angel.

How come the Catholic Chuch teaches that Gabriel is an archangel?


#2

With Michael, Gabriel is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel, where he explains to Daniel his visions (Dan. viii. 16-26, ix. 21-27). He appears to Zacharias, and announces to Mary that she is about to have a son whose name shall be “Jesus” (Luke i. 19-31). Gabriel is one of the four angels that stand at the four sides of God’s throne and serve as guardian angels of the four parts of the globe (Enoch, ix. 1; comp. Kautzsch, “Die Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten Testaments,” ii. 240, note). The four angels, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael, who are still invoked in the evening prayer, are often mentioned together (Enoch, xl. 6, liv. 6; Sibyllines, ii. 214 et seq.; “Legend of Zechariah,” vi. 2-6, in Lüken, “Michael: Eine Darstellung und Vergleichung der Jüdischen und Morgenländisch-Christlichen Tradition vom Erzengel Michael,” p. 122, Göttingen, 1898). The four names also occur on a golden tablet found in the tomb of the wife of Emperor Honorius (Kopp, “Palæographia Critica,” iii., § 158; “Apocryphische Fragen des Bartholomeus,” in Lüken, l.c. p. 114; “Zauberpapyri,” in Lüken, l.c. p. 71). In other passages seven archangels are mentioned, among them Gabriel (Tobit xii. 15, and elsewhere). But he is most often mentioned together with Michael, whom he follows in rank. A Gnostic gem bears the inscription in Greek: “Michael thehighest, Gabriel the mightiest” (Kopp, l.c. iv., §, 766). The three angels that appeared to Abraham (Gen. xviii.) were Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael; Michael, as the greatest, walked in the middle, with Gabriel to his right and Raphael to his left (Yoma 37a). Michael stands at the right hand of God, Gabriel at His left (Jellinek, “B. H.” v. 166). Throughout Jewish literature Michael appears as an angel of a higher degree, as may be seen in the passages quoted below. Gabriel has the form of a man (Dan. viii. 15, ix. 21), and is, according to the Talmud, the “man clothed with linen” mentioned in Ezek. ix. 3 and x. 2 (Yoma 77a).

Represents Fire.

Michael is snow, Gabriel is fire (Lüken, l.c. p. 55; comp. Yoma 21b, bottom). Nevertheless, it is the prince of fire and not the prince of ice that is commissioned to rescue Abraham as well as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the fiery furnace (Pes. 118a; Ex. R. xviii. and parallel passage). In a single passage only (Targ. Job xxv. 2), Michael is called the prince of fire, and Gabriel the prince of water. As prince of fire Gabriel is also prince of the ripening of fruits (Sanh. 95b). As an angel representing an element of nature he is also connected with the metals: Gabriel is gold (the color of fire), Michael is silver (snow), Uriel is copper (Yalḳ., Ḥadash, s.v. “Gabriel,” No.75). Gabriel, girded like a metal-worker, shows Moses how to make the candlestick (Men. 29a). He has wings, like all the angels, but while Michael reaches the earth in one flight, Gabriel requires two (Ber. 4b, bottom).

Activities and Qualities.

Michael and Gabriel often work together (see Pes. 55a; Lüken, l.c. p. 86, note 1; ib. p. 109, bottom; Origen, “Contra Celsum,” viii. 13; and elsewhere), but while Michael, as the guardian angel of Israel and high priest of heaven, is more occupied in heaven, Gabriel is the messenger of God, who executes God’s will on earth. In heaven Gabriel is set over the serpents, and over paradise and the cherubim (Enoch, xx.). Each of the four divisions of the twelve tribes of Israel had its guardian angel, namely, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael respectively (Num. R. ii. 10). Michael and Gabriel defend Israel against its accusers (Yalḳ., Ḥadash, 67b), and pray in general for the human race and for Israel’s deliverance from captivity (“Apoc. Pauli,” in Lüken, l.c. p. 86, note 4; Jellinek, l.c. v. 127). They defend Israel when God orders the Temple to be burned (Yalḳ. ii., No. 1009). Gabriel destroys the bastards (Enoch, x. 9); with the other three arch-angels he seizes Semyaza and his companions and casts them into the fire (Enoch, liv. 6). He will make war upon the leviathan (B. B. 74b). He leads the soul into the body of the pious (Yalḳ., Ḥadash, 68b, No. 65).

Gabriel in Legend.

jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=7&letter=G&search=Archangel%20Gabriel


#3

It isn’t explicitly found in Scripture, but as Catholics we don’t believe that everything has to be, as long as it isn’t anti-biblical.


#4

So we believe Gabriel is an archangel based on Jewish legends? Or for Jews is it more than a legend?

Also, it seems that an archangel is called an archangel when he is mentioned in the bible. All other angels that are not mentioned are “just” angels.


#5

I wonder if Satan was once an Archangel too?

Ezekiel 28:12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.


#6

Ezekiel 28:12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

He’s addressing the King of Tyre here.

“You were in Eden, the garden of God.” This verse is probably employing a metaphor about his corruption, comparing it to Man’s.
Everything was “okay” for a while–that’s the gist of it. Then he became corrupt by scandalous trade (I don’t know the history). It’s a metaphor, like I said, and COULD be applied to Lucifer (as I’m sure it has been), but it needn’t be.

Anyway, about Gabriel:

In Jewish tradition (hey, it’s our parent-faith, after all) there are seven angels that stand before God (ARCHangels). Tobit and Revelation pay homage to this tradition. Gabriel specifically identifies himself to Zechariah as one “who stand[s] in the presence of God” (Lk. 1:19). By doing so, he identifies himself with the tradition (as Raphael did to Tobit) and thus claims the special title of Archangel for himself.

Essentially, that’s where it comes from.


#7

Thanks. This makes sense.


#8

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