This Sunday, as we continue our "Angels Revealed" message series here at Gaylord E-Free, we will begin a special journey as we follow the role of the angels through the Christmas story. The first angelic appearance of Christmas was not the one to Mary in Nazareth, but rather to an old man named Zacharias 6-months earlier in the temple in Jerusalem as Zacharias went in to complete his priestly duty of lighting the incense on the altar. There, at the right of the altar, appeared Gabriel with the amazing news that Zacharias' wife, Elizabeth, would become pregnant. This message was astounding for at least four reasons:
First, Zacharias and Elizabeth were advanced in years and beyond the normal physical age of being able to bear-children. That makes this message really astounding!
Second, Zacharias and Elizabeth had no children due to her being barren. That makes this message really, really astounding!
Third, this was not going to be just any baby. This baby would be John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah. That makes this message really, really, really astounding!
Fourth, this was the first revelation from God to any human in 400 years. That's right, once the pages of Malachi were closed, 400 years passed before the New Testament time-period began. We call these 400 years the "Silent Years" because during this time man received no new information from God. That makes this message really, really, really, really astounding!
Now with all of that in mind, take time to put yourself in Zacharias' sandals. This is the greatest day of your priestly ministry. It was such a huge honor to be selected from the 18,000 priests in Israel back in that day to light the incense in the temple which symbolized the prayers of the nations. It is doubtful that Zacharias would ever get this opportunity again. This was a once in a lifetime privilege for a priest. His adrenalin must have already been pumping as he went alone into the temple with the incense. And then, once inside, for the first time in 400 years, God chooses to speak to mankind and He does so by sending the angel, Gabriel, to communicate to this aged priest some really, really, really really, really astounding news!
Don't miss Sunday at Gaylord E-Free as we follow the angels through the Christmas story by examining all of the details to that angelic encounter that happened in the great temple in Jerusalem that special day. It was this event that ushered in Christmas and so will we this Sunday at Gaylord E-Free!