петък, 14 март 2014 г.


One of the three principal angels of Christianity— along with Michael and Raphael—and the most impor- tant angel in Islamic ANGELOLOGY . Gabriel also appears in Jewish angelology. The name Gabriel means “hero of God” or “the mighty one.” Gabriel is the angel of reve- lation, wisdom, mercy, redemption, glad tidings, and promise. He sits at the left hand of God. He is men- tioned four times in the Bible in connection with important news. Gabriel is among the angels identified as the ANGEL OF DEATH ; ANGEL OF GREAT COUNSEL ; ANGEL OF PEACE ;NGEL OF PRAYER ; ANGEL OF TRUTH ; and as one of the ANGELS OF THE EARTH ; ANGELS OF THE LORD OF THE SPIRITS ; ANGELS OVER THE CONSUMMATION ; ANGELS OF MERCY ; and one of the ANGELS OF DESTRUCTION sent to destroy SODOM AND GOMORRAH . He is an angel of Janu- ary, the moon, Mars, winter, and Aquarius. Gabriel in Jewish Lore In the Old Testament, Gabriel is named as Daniel’s fre- quent visitor, bringing prophetic visions of apocalyptic proportion (Daniel 8:16, 9:21). Angelic attribution of the visions, which were treasonous at the time of the writing of the book of DANIEL , might explain Gabriel’s prominent presence. Gabriel’s messenger mission probably inspired his presence in apocryphal and MERKABAH literature, where Gabriel figures in the stories of Adam’s creation, the punishment of the FALLEN ANGELS (see ENOCH ; WATCHERS ), the burials of ADAM , Abel, and ABRAHAM , and other events. The four archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael) bury Abraham; Michael and Gabriel witness the contract between Esau and JACOB . Gabriel also is among the candidates to be the dark angel who fights with Jacob. Gabriel figures in various Hebrew folktales as well. There is a chain of midrashim concerning Gabriel and a magical stone that begins with Abram (later Abraham). Abram is left in a cave by his mother because of the laughter of newborn males by the king Nimrod. God sends Gabriel to tend the infant, feeding him with his thumb through which milk and honey flow. This enables the boy to grow at a spectacular rate of a year a day. The archangel also talks with him, so when his mother Amit- lai returns, she is amazed at her son’s speech. On his third day in the cave, Abram finds a glowing stone, which Gabriel places around his neck. This is the Zohar (“light” or “window”), the light of the Gar- den of Eden preserved by God after the fall of ADAM AND EVE . The angel Raziel gives the Zohar to Adam, who gives it to his son Seth, who uses it to become a great prophet. Eventually the stone is given to Enoch, who uses its light to read the Celestial Torah on his trip to the HEAVENS . Enoch gives it to his son Methuselah, who gives it to his son Lamech, who gives it to his son NOAH , who places it in his ark. After Noah lands on Mount Ararat, he celebrates with wine, gets drunk, and lets the Zohar slip into the sea. It eventually finds its way into the cave in which Abram is being hidden. Abraham wears the stone for his entire life, and all who look upon it are healed. He uses it as an astrolabe with which to study the heavens. He passes the stone to ISAAC , who passes it to Jacob, who wears it during his famous dream of the angels going up and down the ladder to heaven. Jacob gives it to his son Joseph, but does not tell him of its power. When Joseph’s brothers take his coat of many colors and throw him into a dark pit, the stone begins to glow. Suddenly Joseph finds himself transported to an incandescent palace. Gabriel, a glowing being, announces himself and says this is his palace, and Joseph will remain there as long as he is held prisoner in the pit. Gabriel creates a cloth woven from the stone’s light and so Joseph is clothed. Gabriel points to a window, and there Joseph sees revelations of future generations. For three days and nights, Joseph remains in the palace, studying the Torah and the future of Israel. At the end of the third day, Joseph is rescued from the pit and sold into slavery. He keeps the Zohar inside a silver cup, and he prophesies the future and interprets DREAMS by gazing upon it. When Joseph dies, the stone is buried with it, but MOSES recovers it and hangs it in the Tabernacle. Gabriel’s palace figures in another Jewish mystical tale from the oral tradition in Germany. According to the story, Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg is imprisoned and declines to be ransomed. Instead, he asks only to be given scribe’s tools so that he can write down his thoughts on the Torah. One night, his soul ascends to Gabriel’s brilliant palace. Gabriel, also brilliant in light, introduces himself and says Rabbi Meir has been brought here to receive a Torah. In fact, he is getting one of the 13 Torahs that Moses wrote before his death, the one that was intended for the celestial academy. When Rabbi Meir awakens, he finds a Torah in his cell. He follows Gabriel’s instructions, and reads from it loudly enough for the heavenly host to hear him. When he does so, his cell fills with a holy light. He dis- covers numerous truths that can be obtained only from that celestial Torah. Rabbi Meir copies the Torah; as soon as he is done, Gabriel comes in the night and takes the original back to heaven. Rabbi Meir seals his copy in a waterproof wooden ark and sets it afloat down the Rhine River. It comes to Worms. Gentiles cannot catch it, and, after Jews capture it, Gentiles cannot lift it or open it. The Jews open it. The Torah remains in the city for many generations. In other midrashim, Gabriel is the angel who destroys Sodom, although he is not specifically named in the Genesis account. In the courtship of Rebekah by Abraham’s agent Eliezer, Gabriel is credited with exchanging a plate of poison food planned by Laban.ike the angel Sandalphon who weaves garlands of prayers, Gabriel weaves shoes from the feet of Jews who dance to commemorate the Giving of the Torah. In the fervor of dancing, the shoes fly off to the Garden of Eden, where they are swept up by angels and deliv- ered to Gabriel. Gabriel in Christian Lore and Art In the New Testament, Gabriel gives his name when he appears to Zechariah to announce the coming birth of John the Baptist: “I am Gabriel who stand in God’s pres- ence” (Luke 1:19). He is identified as the ANGEL OF THE LORD who makes the annunciation to MARY of the com- ing birth of JESUS (Luke 1:26–38). Gabriel appears to her, tells her she has found favor with God, and she will become pregnant with a son who is to be named Jesus. When Mary wonders how this can happen, since she is a virgin, Gabriel tells her the Holy Spirit will come upon her, and the child will be holy. When she consents (“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”) the angel departs. Though the angel who announces the birth of Jesus to the shepherds (Luke 2:8–14) is called only an “angel of the Lord,” Catholic tradition credits that to Gabriel. Gabriel also is credited with other major acts of unnamed angels concerning Jesus: as the angel who appears in a dream to Joseph, warning him to take his family and flee to Egypt to avoid Herod’s hunt for the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:13); as the angel who appears in the Garden of Gethsemane to provide strength and support to Jesus in his agony (Luke 22:43); and as the “angel of the Lord” who has a countenance as light- ning and a raiment as snow, who rolls back the stone from the tomb of Jesus and sits upon it (Matthew 28:2). In addition, Gabriel is said to be the unnamed archangel in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 who sounds the trumpet of judgment and the Resurrection. In Catholic devotion to angels, Gabriel is a saint and has a prominent place because of his role in the Annunciation. Gabriel’s salutation, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” became the basis of the Hail Mary (“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.”). Gabriel’s feast day is March 24. He is patron saint to telecommunica- tions workers, radio broadcasters, messengers, postal workers, clerics, diplomats, and stamp collectors. Because of his role in the Annunciation, other lore about Gabriel holds that he guides the soul from Par- adise to the womb and there instruct it for the nine months prior to birth. It is in his role as annunciator of the coming of the birth of Christ to Mary that Gabriel is best known and best depicted in art. In art, he is shown holding a lily, the symbol of purity.Gabriel in Islamic Lore In Islamic angelology, Gabriel—who has 140 pairs of wings—is equated with the Holy Spirit and dictates the Koran to MUHAMMAD . Gabriel is the Angel of Knowl- edge and Revelation, to whom the philosophers trace back their active INTELLIGENCE . He is the personal Holy Spirit, the companion and celestial guide.

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