Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. Luke 1:8-13
Today we have Zechariah going about his business at the temple and by chance he is chosen to burn incense in the temple. Nothing unusual, just doing his job. Then the angel Gabriel shows up. Things are no longer ordinary and they are about to change.
Angels always fascinate us. Many people claim to have seen angels. Now I do not know if what they say is true or not but if what God tells us in the Bible is true and I believe it is then seeing an angel is not a cuddly feel good experience. Every time an angel shows up, with the exception of when they are disguised as men, the people they appear to are frightened. In fact just as in today’s verses the first words out of the angels is some form of do not be afraid. Now maybe the angels that appear now are more user friendly. I think not. When a creature as powerful as one of God’s angels appear with no warning we cannot help but be awed and afraid.
Two of the more famous appearances of angels after New Testament times are the angel Gabriel appearing to Muhammad and the angle Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith. In both instances these two men seemed to take this sudden appearance of an angel in stride. In both cases it seems neither man had ever had a prior encounter with angels.
Am I the only one who finds it odd that when God sent Gabriel to announce to Zechariah the birth of John, Jesus’ messenger, that Gabriel frightened Zechariah but when the same angel appeared to Muhammad it is business as usual? Or when Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, Smith is ready to take dictation. As a side not, when Joseph Smith described Moroni he said Moroni appeared as an angel of light. Any idea what other angel is described that way? If you guessed Satan or Lucifer you are correct.
Angels appear to us as so powerful that in many instances the person seeing one falls to the ground in adoration. It is up to the angel to tell us to get up for they are servants of God just as we are. But angels never come with ordinary news. So in today’s verses the news is also unexpected. Elizabeth will bear a son and Zechariah is to call that son John. I bet you could have knocked Zechariah over with a feather.
Have a blessed day,