1. Gabriel means: “God is my strength” or “God is mighty.” Gabriel is one of only two angels mentioned by name in the Bible. Michael is the other. Raphael is mentioned in the Apocrypha, which is included in the Catholic Bible.
2. Gabriel appears in the Bible as a messenger on important occasions. The most famous example of this is the Annunciation when he visited the Virgin Mary and told her to prepare for the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:26-38).
3. Gabriel has always had a close association with maternity. An ancient legend says that she announced the birth of Samson. She appeared to Zacharias to tell him that he and his wife Elizabeth should prepare for the birth of a son, John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-25). In the Jewish tradition it is believed that Gabriel instructs the baby while it is in the womb.
4. Although not identified by name, many Christians believe that Gabriel announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds, warned Mary and Joseph that Herod’s soldiers were searching for Jesus, and rolled away the stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus.
5. Gabriel is considered the Archangel of Dreams, Premonitions and Clairvoyance. This came about after she helped Daniel to understand the significance and symbolism of his strange dreams (Daniel 8:16-27).
6. In 98 C.E. a strange letter containing “the Commandments of Jesus Christ” appeared. It was supposedly written by Gabriel and became a relic of the early church. The originals of this letter have never been produced, but copies were sold in England as lucky charms to provide safe childbirth and to protect the owner from evil and harm.
7. According to the Harmonists, a nineteenth-century religious sect, Gabriel visited their leader, Father George Rapp, in New Harmony, Indiana, and even left her footprint on a limestone slab. It can still be seen today.
8. In the Christian tradition, Gabriel will blow the horn to wake the dead on Judgment Day. The Judgement card in the Tarot deck illustrates this. Cole Porter wrote the song Blow, Gabriel, Blow for his 1934 musical Anything Goes.
9. Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and dictated the Koran to him. In the Islamic tradition, Gabriel also taught Noah how to build his ark from the famed cedar trees of Lebanon. Muslims also believe that Gabriel presented Abraham with the Black Stone of the Kaba. Everyone who makes the annual pilgrimage to Mecca kisses this stone.
10. One of the most remarkable stories about Gabriel is the Islamic belief that she invented coffee. One night, when Muhammad was extremely tired, Gabriel brought him a cup of coffee. This not only kept him awake, but also gave him the necessary strength to defeat forty horsemen, and to satisfy forty women.