Gabriel’s Horn

Gabriel Appears to Mary

There’s an old Spiritual that was sung by African Americans titled, Blow Your Trumpet, Gabriel, that says,

De talles’ tree in Paradise,
De Christian call de tree of life;
And I hope dat trump might blow me home
To the new Jerusalem.

Blow your trumpet, Gabriel,
Blow louder, louder;
And I hope dat trump might blow me home
To the new Jerusalem.

Paul and Silas, bound in jail,
Sing God’s praise both night and day;
And I hope dat trump might blow me home
To the new Jerusalem.

This is just one of many examples that portray the angel Gabriel as blowing a horn. According to Wikipedia,

The earliest known identification of Gabriel as the trumpeter comes in John Wycliffe’s 1382 tract, De Ecclesiæ Dominio. In the year 1455, in Armenian art, there is an illustration in an Armenian manuscript showing Gabriel sounding his trumpet as the dead climb out of their graves. Two centuries later, Gabriel is identified as the trumpeter, in John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667):

Betwixt these rockie pillars Gabriel sat
Chief of the Angelic guards (IV.545f)…
He ended, and the Son gave signal high
To the bright minister that watch’d, he blew
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps
When God descended, and perhaps once more
To sound at general doom. (XI.72ff).

But is the depiction of Gabriel blowing a horn Biblical? 

In the Bible, Gabriel is the heavenly messenger (angel) who interpreted the prophet Daniel’s vision of the ram and the goat (Daniel 8:15-27). Gabriel appeared to Daniel again after the prophet prayed for his people of Israel (Dan. 9:20-27). Gabriel’s message from the LORD had to do with the future of Israel, the nations of the world, and the signs preceding the coming of the Messiah. Jesus directly referred to these “end of the age” prophecies from the Book of Daniel (Old Testament) in connection with his second coming (Matt. 24:1-31; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36).  

In the New Testament, Gabriel’s name is mentioned once again when he appeared to announce the births of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Savior (Luke 1:8-20), and Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).

From these references, Gabriel is called an angel (Luke 1:19, 26) who appeared as a man (Dan. 9:21). Although some traditions speak of Gabriel as an archangel, the Bible never applies this term to him. Neither does the Bible refer to Gabriel as a saint as some Christian traditions assert. “Saints,” in the Bible actually refers to Christians. Dr. Alva Huffer wrote, “A believer becomes a saint, not when he dies, but when he enters into Christ and becomes a Christian. The New Testament refers to all Christians as saints, regardless of their spiritual attainments. (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1; 13:13; Eph. 1:1; 4:12:Phil. 1:1; 4:21; Col. 1:2, 4, 26; Heb. 13:24; et. al.)” (Systematic Theology, p. 387.)

The name, Gabriel, means “strong or mighty man of God.” As implied in the meaning of being God’s mighty messenger, Gabriel’s chief role was to proclaim the coming of the Messiah. This is evidenced in both Daniel’s prophecies and the birth of Jesus. When Gabriel announced that the virgin Mary would give birth to Jesus, he also predicted the return of Jesus when he will reign as King forever in God’s coming Kingdom (Luke 1:32-33). Of course, this includes the resurrection of believers.

It’s probably due to the fact that Gabriel is associated with the announcement of Jesus’ return that the angel is connected with blowing a trumpet. Interestingly, however, the Bible never speaks of Gabriel’s use of a horn at the second coming. There are various references to the sound of a trumpet when Jesus comes again but Gabriel is not mentioned as the trumpeter.

The fact is, Jesus “…will send forth his angels with a great trumpet…” (Matt. 24:31) but no names of angels are specifically given. Likewise, God’s trumpet shall sound along with the voice of the archangel and the Lord’s shout when he descends from heaven to raise the dead in Christ, according to First Thessalonians 4:16. [NOTE: The only reference to an “archangel” in the Bible is Michael the Archangel and he is believed to be the protector and defender of Israel (Jude 9; Rev. 12:5-9, cp. Dan. 10:13, 21).] There are also seven unnamed angels with each one sounding a trumpet in Revelation 8-11 for announcing God’s judgements at the end of the age. And, First Corinthians 15:52 mentions “the last trump” that will sound when the dead in Christ are raised to immortality and incorruption at the return of Christ which echoes the passage in 1 Thess. 4:16. Yet, none of these references state that Gabriel  will blow a trumpet.

We can be encouraged to know, however, that Gabriel’s messages to Daniel the prophet, Zacharias the father of John the Baptist, and Mary the mother of our Lord, all relate to the wonderful promises of God’s Word. Thanks to Gabriel, we can be comforted to know that the Messiah Jesus is the One who will fulfill God’s plan of salvation. Gabriel appeared to give us the hope that can only be found in Christ and the assurance of a Great Day to come. And just think of it: Won’t it be amazing to one day be able to meet Gabriel in person!

Here’s a catchy little tune titled, “The Angel Gabriel”:

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael


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