Gabriel is one of the most prominent angels in postexilic Jewish literature and in Christian texts, especially extracanonical literature. He is portrayed as one of the seven archangels in 1 Enoch 20.7; elsewhere he is one of the four angels close to God's throne (1 Enoch 10.9; 40.3, 9; cf. Luke 1.19). This proximity to God results in his distinctive functions. Gabriel intercedes with God for those oppressed by evil (1 Enoch 9.1–11), he brings Enoch into God's very presence (2 Enoch 21.3–6), he explains mysteries about future political events (Dan. 8.16–26; 9.20–27), and he delivers special revelations from God to individuals (Luke 1.8–20, 26–38). Jewish and Christian interpreters have sometimes concluded that biblical texts with unnamed divine messengers (e.g., Gen. 19.1) refer to the archangels Gabriel and Michael. In general, Michael is described as a warrior, while Gabriel more often functions as an intermediary or an interpreter of dreams.

Steven Friesen