(An ecumenical follow up to the prior post – here’s an update from January 30, 2012)
There are three archangels in religious tradition: Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Of the three, Gabriel is the one who curiously keeps popping up — not just in Christianity but in other faiths as well. Gabriel is not just a divine messenger from God, he is an uber messenger. . . . .
In the Jewish tradition, Gabriel is the holy messenger who in the Old Testament book of Daniel offers an explanation of Daniel’s visions. In Christianity, it is Gabriel who foretells the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus. It was Gabriel who visits Mary to deliver the good news of her new role.
In the Mormon faith, Gabriel ministered to Joseph Smith. In his earthly life, Gabriel was believed to be Noah. Some say, Gabriel continues to serve as a divine messenger having visited earth as recently as 1954.
In Islam, it was Gabriel (Jibril) who revealed the Qur’an to Muhammed. In the Bahai faith, Gabriel is referenced in their holy texts (Baha’u’llah‘s mystical work Seven Valleys). Among Yazidis, Gabriel is one of the “Seven Mysteries.” In the Gnostic manuscripts, Gabriel is a divine spirit who inhabits Pleroma and who existed prior to the Demiurge.
With Gabriel’s influential involvement in so many religious traditions, one has to wonder why religious strife focuses as it does on differences. Perhaps Gabriel, the Messenger, is trying to tell us something. Perhaps He who sent him is too. . . .