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           Gabriel ("God is my strength")-one of the two highest-ranking   angels in Judaeo-Christian and Mohammedan religous lore. He is the angel of annunciation, resurrection, mercy, vengeance, death, revelation. Apart from Michael, he is the only angel mention by named in the Old Testament-unless we include among the Old Testament books the book of tobit, usually considered apocryphal, in which case Raphael, who appears there, becomes the 3rd named angel in scripture. Gabriel presides over paradise, and although he is the ruling prince of the first heaven, he is said to sit on the left hand of God, Whose dwelling is populary believed to be the seventh Heaven, or the tenth Heaven. Mohammed claimed it was Gabriel (Jibril in Islamic) of the "140 pairs of wings" who dictated to him the koran, sura by sura. To the Mohammedans, Gabriel is the spirit of truth. In Jewish  legend it was Gabriel who dealt death and destruction to the sinful cities of the plain (Sodom and Gommorah). And it was Gabriel who, according to Talmud Sanhedrin 95b, smote Sennacherib's hosts "with a sharpened scythe which had been ready since Creation." Elsewhere in Talmud it is Gabriel who it is said, prevented Queen Vashti from appearing naked before King Ahasuerus and his guest in order to bring about the election of Esther in her place. In Daniel 8, Daniel falls on his face before Gabriel to learn the meaning of the encounter between the ram and the he-goat.
           The incident is pictured in a woodcut in the famous Cologne Bible. Cabalist identify Gabriel as "the man clothed in linen" (Exekiel 9, 10.) In Daniel 10-11 this man clothed in linen is helped by Michael. In rabbinic literature, Gabriel is the prince of justice. Origen in De principiis I, 81, calls Gabriel the angel of war. Jerome equates Gabriel with Hamon. According to Milton Gabriel is chief of the angelic guards placed over paradise. As for the incident of the three holy men, Hananiah, Mishael, and  Azariah who were rescued by the furnace, it was Gabriel according to Jewish legend, who performed this maricle. Other sources credit Michael. Gabriel is likewise  indentifed as the man-God-angel who wrestled with Jacob at Peniel, Although Michael, Ureil, Metatron, Samael, and Chamuel have also been put as the dark antagonist. Rembrant did a canvas of the celebrated encounter. A Mohammedan legend, growing out of the Koran, sura 20,88, relates that when the dust from the hoofprints of Gabriel's horse was thrown in to the mouth of the golden calf, the calf at once became animated. Mohammend confused Gabriel with the Holy Ghost, a confusion understandable or explainable by virtue of the conflicting accounts in Matthew 1:20 and Luke 1:26 where, in 1st instance, it is the Holy Ghost that begets Mary with child and, in the second instance, it is Gabriel who "came in unto her," and also then informs her that she had found a favor with the lord" and "would conceive in her womb.". In Bablonian legend, Gabriel once fell into disgrace "for not obeying a command exactly as given, and remained for a while outside the heavenly curtain." During this period the guardian angel of persia, Dobiel, acted as Gabriel's proxy.
          The name Gabriel is of Chaldean origin and was unknown to the Jews prior to the captivity. In the original of 119 angels of the Parsees, Gabriel's names is missing. Gabriel is the preceptor angel of Joseph. In Midrash Eleh Ezkerah, Gabriel figures in the tale of the legendary 10 Martyrs (Jewish sages)> one of these 10, Rabbi Ishmael ascends to Heaven and asks Gabriel why they merit death. Gabriel Replies that they are atoning for the sins of the 10 sons of Jacob who sold Joseph into slavery. According to the court testimony of  Joan of Arc, It was Gabriel who inspired her to go to the succor of the King of France. In more recent times, Gabriel figures as the angel who visited Father George Rapp, leader of the 2nd Advent Community in New Harmony, Indiana, and left his footprint on the limestone slab preserved in the yard of the Maclure-Owen residence in that city. Longfellow's The Golden Legend makes Gabriel the angel of the moon who brings man the gift of hope. There are innumerable paintings by the master of the Annunication with Gabriel pictured as the angel who brings the glad tidings to Mary. Word-pictures of the event, in rhyme, are rare. One of these is by the 17th century English poet, Richard Crashaw. The quatrain is from steps to the temple: "Heavens Golden-winged Herald, late hee saw/to a poor Galilean virgin sent.How low the bright youth bowed and went with what awe/Immortall flowers to her faire hand present.


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