Angelic Close Encounters
Today’s Text: Luke 1:26, 31-33
WALKING THROUGH THE 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Spontaneously, there was an angel in the room with Mary (Heb. Miryam)! Gabriel had a message revealing a future event that would not only change Mary’s life, but dramatically change the course of earth’s history.
LUKE 1:26, 31-33
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
The appearance of the angel Gabriel—also known as The mighty one—in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel was not his first interaction with human beings, but rather the climax in a series of several personal encounters spanning half a millennium. The theme of Gabriel’s revelation reinforced impeccable consistency.
DANIEL’S CLOSE ENCOUNTERS
Daniel’s first close encounter with Gabriel around 551 B.C. was a direct response to his prayer to God for wisdom to understand a vision he had received that depicted the future emergence of four Gentile world empires (Dan. 8:15-16).
Sometime later, Gabriel made another appearance revealing the familiar calendar outlining 70 weeks of years consummating God’s plan for Israel that will culminate in the coming of Messiah (Moshiach), (Dan. 9:24-27).
With pin-point accuracy authenticating that he was indeed a divine messenger sent directly from God, the angel Gabriel outlined a specific time-line predicting Messiah’s presentation to Israel—which was fulfilled with His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Dan. 9:20-27; cf. Mt. 21:1-9).
ZACHARIAS’ CLOSE ENCOUNTER
More than five centuries after his appearances to Daniel, Zacharias, a Temple priest, had a close encounter with Gabriel. As Zacharias offered incense in the Holy Place, Gabriel suddenly appeared standing on the right side of the altar.
Reassuring a startled and terror-stricken Zacharias, Gabriel self-identified as a high-ranking angel, “who stands in the presence of God” (Lk. 1:19). Consistent with his previous messages to Daniel, Gabriel revealed a vital component in God’s Messianic program. Zacharias was informed that he and his wife Elizabeth would be blessed with a son in their advanced age.
More importantly, Gabriel emphasized their son would, “. . . go before Him [Messiah] in the spirit and power of Elijah . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lk.1:17).
Jesus Christ Himself later confirmed the fulfillment of Gabriel’s prophecy in the person of John the Baptist (Mt. 11:7-14; 17:10-13).
MARY’S CLOSE ENCOUNTER
Six months later, a young virgin named Mary living in the town of Nazareth had a close encounter with Gabriel. There were no screams of terror, no panicked attempts to escape and little to suggest a frightening experience in the biblical record.
In light of the sudden presence of an angel in close proximity to her, Mary’s uneasiness focuses more on the intent of his greeting: “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women” (Lk. 1:28). As in his encounters with Daniel, Gabriel appeared to Mary as a man.
Gabriel’s message to Mary is also consistent with and inseparably linked to the prophecies he revealed to Daniel and Zacharias.
In declaring that Mary would be Messiah’s human mother, Gabriel explained:
“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:32-33).
Gabriel’s predication was confirmed on the night of Jesus’ birth when the sky suddenly burst into light and an angel accompanied by the vast heavenly host proclaimed,
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11).
Gabriel’s message was monumental and established the unfolding of God’s Messianic plan. His predictions were confirmed through eye-witness testimony of people who personally experienced awesome angelic close encounters.
For people of faith, it’s imperative to remember—that with every salutation and greeting of Merry Christmas—you proclaim that the Messiah and Savior of the world came as prophesied by angels!
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken authentically communicates biblical truth making his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Walking to church (c. 1853). By George Henry Durrie (1820–1863) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) The Annunciation, (c.1914). By John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios