Gabriel plays a pivotal role in many Biblical events. Mormons identify him, through modern revelation, as Noah, who built the ark. Many great men have played crucial roles in religious history as angels. The name “Gabriel” means “Man of God.”
Gabriel’s first appearance is in the Old Testament. He came to Daniel, who had just seen a vision involving a ram, a goat, four other kings, and, in the last days, a fierce king. As he was trying to understand the vision, a man appeared before him. Another voice addressed the man as Gabriel and instructed the man to explain the vision to Daniel, which he did.
His next visits both relate to the birth of Jesus Christ and are recorded in the New Testament. Gabriel came to Zacharias to promise him that he and his wife Elisabeth would have a child, despite being past child-bearing age. Gabriel told Zacharias to name the child John and assured him the child would be filled with the Holy Ghost from before his birth. He would be an Elias, preparing the way for the coming of the Lord. Zacharias wanted a sign, which caused Gabriel to tell him that he would be unable to speak until the child was born, due to his lack of faith in Gabriel’s message.
Gabriel also told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus Christ, the son of God. Unlike Zacharias, Mary believed the angel, although she was puzzled as to how she could be pregnant. Gabriel helped her understand the role the Holy Ghost would play in the process and also informed her of Elisabeth’s pregnancy. Mary visited Elisabeth for several months.