Christmas Characters – Gabriel and Other Angels

Christmas Characters – Gabriel and Other Angels

Daniel, Zechariah, and Mary are identified as having met Gabriel.  I like to think that Joseph, the shepherds, and the Magi also saw this angel who “stands in the presence of birth-of-johnGod.” This is a good place to note that Elizabeth is the only person in Luke 1 who did not see Gabriel; I think this speaks of her willingness and faith to do God’s will just on the witness of what happened to Zechariah.

Daniel is not a Christmas character but in chapters 8 and 9 of his book Gabriel is sent to him to explain visions about the end times and of “the Anointed One.”  In both of these meetings, Gabriel is described as looking like a man. (No, wings?!)

Different Dealings

Zechariah and Mary (and Daniel) had face-to-face encounters with Gabriel and spoke to him and asked questions.  God specifically had Gabriel do these appearances; Zechariah and Mary would have known the name and the importance of their meetings from the readings of the Book of Daniel.  Was it because of the importance of the message or to gauge their response that they had their face-to-face?   The assurance of Zechariah’s encounter would have boosted Mary’s faith and resolve when the gossip and the first meeting with Joseph happened.

I have tried to connect Zachariah’s service with the birth of Jesus in the Post – The Day of Atonement, Passover, and Epiphany.  The results are not what I expected about the birth time of Jesus.  The legend/history is better than I thought.


They also physically saw angels.  I like to think Gabriel was the first angel to appear followed by the choir, but we are not told for sure.  They did not doubt, like Zechariah, but hurried to find Jesus.


Joseph had several dreams with an angel giving him instructions.  I like to think that it was Gabriel in those dreams; because when he and Mary started to compare notes it would have built his faith and confidence.  Why Joseph did not have a face-to-face meeting I don’t know?  I am putting this in the “God knows how to talk to you” department and am glad that Joseph responded by doing the will of God.


The Magi were warned (in a dream) not to return to Herod and share their findings.  It would make a great story if it had been Gabriel and they shared the warning dream with Joseph and Mary.  It would have boosted faith all around and given urgency to Joseph when he had his dream to flee to Egypt.

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Psalm 103 – Barak the Lord

I know I have read this Psalm (103) many times, in my Bible it has highlights and underlines I even imaged a place and time that David would have written it but that apparently did not mean I studied it. Well, for the place and time I could see David having penned this awesome song in 2 Samuel 12:16. This is where David is pleading for the life of the first child he had with Bathsheba. For seven days David is pleading with the Eternal God of Israel; I am sure he was stating why he would follow such a great God. David would also be reminding God of His awesome deeds and righteous ways, part of this would be comparing things David can see to the Father’s bigger realities. But what pulled me into this study was the phrase – “Praise the Lord, O my soul.”

KJV vs. NIV and Hebrew vs. English has always been a reason for me to study and Psalm 103 continues this tradition. The NIV translators rendered barak to mean, “praise” while in Hebrew it is “bless.” Vine’s Dictionary adds it is – to kneel, bless, be blessed, or curse.

I liked that it started and ended with “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” Taking that thought a step farther I only found two psalms that begin and end with that phrase, 103 and 104. There are several that begin and end with “hãlal” or Hallelu Yah or as we say in English – Hallelujah! I believe those Psalm are 135, 146 – 150.  Verses 1, 2, 20, 21, and 22 a, b begin with barak and verse 1, 2, and 22b add the phrase “O my soul.” So six times (man’s number) it is said to “bless” the Lord, actually the three that add “O my soul” are for David (men) while the other three are directed at other creations.

Verses 19 – 22 are a “verse” or thought within this psalm. They deal with God’s kingdom and who should barak. David notes that angels, heavenly host, all His works, and my soul are to bârak. At first I was puzzled by angels, heavenly host and all works, I thought for sure David was repeating himself but a check of the Hebrew definitions added to the depth of this Psalm. The “angels” or messengers seem to be a specific group of created beings while the “heavenly host” is the rest of God’s army. This is consistent with the rest of Scripture because different “classes” of angels are mentioned in the prophets and Revelation. “All His works” is just that, everything thing else: plants, animals, the waves, and the heavens.

Psalm 103 ends as it began, a personal call for the individual to barak his God with everything that is within him.