Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďGABRIELĒ

 

This evening I would like to bring a message from Godís Word dealing with someone in the Bible not often preached about. He is a being with intellect, sensibility and will, meaning he is a person. He is holy, though it can be said without reservation that he has never experienced, nor will he ever experience, the grace and mercy of God. I speak, of course, of an angel, one of those supernatural beings created directly by God who are superior to human beings in both intelligence and might, but who, because of the sovereign purpose and edict of God, will never experience the love of God which is found in Christ Jesus. I preach about an angel for several reasons. Partly because it will give us a perspective of the plan and purpose of God that we often do not consider, and partly because many Christians and spiritually blinded lost folks live out their whole lives without any appreciation of the roles played in their lives by supernatural beings. In this biographical message we will examine what the Bible reveals about the angel whose name is Gabriel. Youíve heard that name before. He was the angel who informed Mary that she was the virgin chosen by God to bear the Christ child.[1] But were you aware that this angel, whose name means ďGod is MightyĒ or ďThe Might of God,Ē is referred to, by name, only four times in the Word of God? Even so, in those four references we learn enough to greatly profit from our study of this extremely important and regal personality from heaven.

Our study of Gabriel will be in four parts, dealing with his order, his origin, his occupation and his observations.

 

As To HIS ORDER

 

When referring to human beings we would say that our order is the race of man. When referring to angelic beings you would say that they are a company of angels. Why call angels a company and not a race? Because races reproduce after their own kind. The company of angels does not. In the race of man, only Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, were directly created by God. All others of our race came into being by procreation. But with the company of angelic beings, each and every one of them was directly created by God, so that there has been since He created them the same number of angelic beings. Since they are eternal, their number will never change.

Well then, to what order does this Gabriel belong? In Luke 1.19 he is described by Luke as an angel. However, Revelation chapters 2 & 3 refer to pastors as angels. So we must ask is Gabriel an angel from heaven, or is he a human being? Since the term angel simply means messenger, one must learn from the passageís context what kind of creature Gabriel really is. In Luke 1.19 also we notice that Gabriel introduces himself to Mary by saying

 

ďI am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God.Ē

 

Gabriel stands in the presence of God. No human messenger stands in the presence of God as the tense of this verb suggests. Moses and Abraham stood in the presence of God, and so did Joshua and others; but not as Gabriel did. Only a supernatural being from heaven fits the description Gabriel gave of himself.

So, what about Gabriel the angel? He is most definitely a being of superior power and intellect than mere human beings. He is an emissary sent from the very throne room of heaven by the God of the universe into the affairs of men.

 

As To HIS ORIGIN

 

The Word of God does not specifically tell us when Gabriel, or any other angel for that matter, was created by God. But there are bits and pieces of evidence we can use to make educated guesses. Genesis chapter 1 tells us that in six days God created the heavens and earth and every living thing on earth. Then, on the seventh day God rested from His creative works. Therefore, we can be quite sure that Gabriel, along with the other angels, was created before Godís creation of the physical universe, since they seem in Godís Word to be incorporeal beings. I say this because Job 38.4-7 seems to poetically suggest that Godís already existing angelic host witnessed His creative activity and rejoiced when He spoke the physical universe into existence. Let me read that passage to you, wherein God is questioning Job by asking him where he was during Godís creative activity:

 

4      Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

5      Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

6      Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

7      When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

 

It is in the seventh verse that we read in Hebrew poetic parallelism the two phrases ďWhen the morning stars sang togetherĒ and ďall the sons of God shouted for joy.Ē Here we see that created beings, here called morning stars and also sons of God celebrated as they watched in wonder what God was doing during the six days of creation recorded in Genesis chapter one.

But why does not God in the Bible give more specific information regarding Gabrielís creation? Let me give you my opinion: The Word of God is primarily a book of redemption, a book telling of Godís grace in extending the free offer of salvation to sinful human beings. Thus, Gabriel, not being a sinful human being and therefore not having Godís hand of mercy extended to him, figures only incidentally in Godís great plan of redemption.

Who then are the central figures in Godís plan of redemption? There is, of course, the sinful race of man who, after falling into the darkness of sinful depravity, stands in great need of Godís deliverance. And there is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is Godís Provision for our salvation from sins. To be sure, each divine Person of the Trinity is central as the unified Architect and Executor of Godís plan of redemption, but God has chosen to highlight the role of the Second Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the great Object of saving faith set before us to trust.

Therefore, while Gabriel plays an important role on several occasions in Godís plan, he is by no means central to Godís plan. Therefore, information regarding his creation and existence is sketchy at best, something God will let us learn of when we get to heaven, but which is not critical for us to know now.

 

As To HIS OCCUPATION

 

I have divided Gabrielís occupation into two categories: His primary occupation and his secondary occupation. Revelation 4.11 explains his primary occupation, which is also the primary occupation of every created being:

 

ďThou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.Ē

 

Gabrielís chief concern, his primary occupation, as is the case with each of Godís creatures, is to glorify God.

That said, the specific way in which Gabriel accomplishes that mission is found in the four passages in which his name is mentioned. Read the following verses with me please:

 

Daniel 8.15-16: 15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

16    And I heard a manís voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

 

In the 8th chapter of Daniel, Gabriel is sent by God to explain Danielís vision to him, a prophetic vision connected to both the first and second comings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Daniel 9.20-22: 20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;

21    Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

22    And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

 

Again in the 9th chapter of Daniel, Gabriel is sent a second time to teach and instruct Daniel. This time, Gabriel teaches Daniel exactly when the first coming of the Lord will be, and exactly how long the tribulation period will be before the second coming of Christ.

 

Luke 1.19: ďAnd the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.Ē

 

I made references to this verse earlier. Briefly, Gabriel here announces the conception and birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Luke 1.26: ďAnd in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named NazarethĒ

 

Here Gabriel is dispatched to Mary, to inform her that she is the virgin selected by God to bear the Christ child.

What, then, can we say in summary about the occupation of the angel Gabriel? We can say this: Though do not know what his specific status in the angelic hierarchy happens to be, Gabriel stands out among the heavenly host as that one angel messenger of God who is given the privilege and responsibility of making sure that certain human beings were informed pertinent details about the first and second coming of the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ. Gabriel could be said to be the ambassador plenipotentiary of God, who was sent from heaven to earth to make various arrangements for the coming of the King he represents.

We know from First Peter 1.12 that the angels of heaven desire to look into the things of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but this Gabriel seems to have been the uniquely privileged angel who was and is more involved in these things than any other angel of heaven. Recognizing this, we see that his ministry in the affairs of men is extraordinary.

 

Finally, HIS OBSERVATIONS

 

Being a creature who exists outside the realms of time, Gabriel, from his heavenly vantage point, has had opportunity to see things that you and I have never seen, to behold things that physical eyes can never see. What things must he have seen?

 

               Being a high ranking angel near the throne of God, Gabriel must have seen the very creation of our physical universe. He saw God breath into Adamís nostrils the breath of life.[2]

               He also saw the man placed into a deep sleep, whereupon his rib was removed and Eve was created.[3]

               He then saw her presented to Adam.[4]

               And Gabriel observed Adam and Eve join together as man and wife.[5]

               Gabriel, no doubt, saw the fall of Lucifer, as lightening from the sky.[6]

               He watched in horror as one-third of the host of heaven followed that traitor Lucifer in his wicked rebellion against the living God.[7]

               He also watched as Satan, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve to commit sin against her loving Creator.[8]

               Then he saw Adam follow his mate into sin; observing him following her lead instead of leading her; being loyal to her instead of being loyal to God.

               Gabriel saw the fruit of the sin Adam and Eve were plunged into. He saw them justly expelled from the Garden of Eden.[9] He saw sinful Cain murder Abel.[10] He saw Adam die.[11]

               And though Gabriel would never know sin by personal experience, he saw the wages of sin.[12] And could testify more than you and I that the wages of sin is death. The reward for sin is physical death, to be sure. But the reward for sin is spiritual death also . . . the lake of fire for the lost.

               Before that Gabriel observed a holy and righteous God create the lake of fire, the eternal abode of the damned.[13] As well, he sees the horror that awaits those who enter eternity without acknowledging Christ as Lord and Master.

 

But you know what else Gabriel saw?

 

               Gabriel saw the virginís reaction when he predicted to her that God would become man.

               Gabriel observed God become man.

               He saw the Savior come one day, and as the Holy Spirit of God overshadowed that sweet young virgin named Mary, the God of the universe entered into her womb to be born nine months later.

               And he saw the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, prepare for the greatest crime in history.

               He saw Him throughout His thirty plus years preparing for the cross; preparing for a cruel and unjust death.

               He observed his Master praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Was he that angel who strengthened His lord at that time?[14]

               Gabriel then looked on as His Lord and Master was nailed to a cross.

               He, no doubt, inwardly pleaded that the Father would allow him to rescue His Master. But his Master needed no rescue. Jesus Christ was on a mission and in three days He would claim the victory.

               Before that, however, Gabriel saw His Master die.[15] Could a sinless being understand why God would die for the undeserving, the wretched, the wicked of heart? I don't know, but he did see it happen.

               Gabriel also saw Him raised from the dead.[16]

               And Gabriel saw men and women confess his Master as their Savior and Lord.[17]

               He saw their sins forgiven.

               He saw their souls saved.

               He saw their homes repaired, with children getting new moms and new dads.

               He saw folks go to their knees and get up moments later as new creatures in Christ Jesus.[18]

 

Oh, what this angel named Gabriel has seen! But he canít tell you and he canít tell me, because God has left the telling of such things to men. So I stand before you this evening telling you things that Gabriel would long to tell you if he could. That man is born in sin and in rebellion against a holy and loving God. That the ultimate destiny of man is the lake of fire, and rightly, for sin against the God Who must be obeyed. However, thereís good news. God sent His Son. Not for Gabriel, the high ranking and obedient holy angel from heaven, but for lowly me and lowly you. God sent Christ to suffer the punishment of our sins for us, to make payment for us, that we might stand before God debt free. But how does all this happen? By faith in Christ. By placing your soul in His watch care. By receiving Him as your Lord and Savior.

I know that I want to see my Savior first thing when I get to heaven. Thatís for sure. And I want to see the apostles and the martyrs. Then, after a million years or so, I want to get around to Gabriel and visit with him for a couple of thousand years. Want to know what I will ask him? ďWhat was it like, Gabriel? Start from the beginning and tell me everything you saw.Ē That is something I will be able to do because I am a Christian.



[1] Luke 1.26-38

[2] Genesis 2.7

[3] Genesis 2.21

[4] Genesis 2.22

[5] Genesis 2.24

[6] Luke 10.18

[7] Revelation 12.4, 9

[8] Genesis 3.1-6

[9] Genesis 3.22-24

[10] Genesis 4.8

[11] Genesis 5.5

[12] Romans 6.23

[13] Matthew 25.14

[14] Luke 22.43

[15] Matthew 27.50

[16] Matthew 28.6

[17] Acts 8.4

[18] 2 Corinthians 5.17


Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org