The Angel Gabriel
During Advent, we read that the angel Gabriel was sent to visit Mary in a city of Galilee named Nazareth. Earlier, Gabriel appeared at the altar of incense while Zechariah was serving at this altar probably at the time of the evening sacrifice. Since Gabriel only appear four times in Holy Scripture and Luke is the NT writer to mention Gabriel, is Luke not only telling us what happened to Zechariah and Mary but also is he alluding to Gabriel’s appearance in Daniel 8:16 and 9:21?
In Daniel 8, Gabriel explains the vision of the horned ram as portending the destruction of the Persian Empire. In chapter 9, Gabriel, at the time of the evening sacrifice, appeared to Daniel, answering his prayer announcing that the House of God would be rebuilt and communicated to him the prophecy of the "seventy weeks" of years. Is Luke, in announcing of the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus, also alluding to the fact that this time period of the "seventy weeks" of years is now about to be completed?
“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechari'ah’” and thus provided this recipient of a heavenly vision with reassurance such as we find in Daniel 10:12,19. This is further evidence that Luke intends to direct our attention to the Book of Daniel. What is the alluded message that Luke wants us to understand?
Although I ask these questions, I do want to remind you that you that last July I noted:
Prayer is certainly a significant theme in the Lucan writings. The Gospel opens with God’s people at prayer and closes with the believers joyfully blessing God in the Temple. I have been thinking about both the unique terminology used by Luke and the unique context in which this terminology is used. Two passages at the beginning of the Gospel may link the OT idea of prayer to the proper understanding of Jesus’ ministry of prayer although I need to consider more thoroughly the significance of the OT connection and whether or not this needs to be included in the discussion. It seems to me that the direction in Acts 6:4 that the Twelve are to engage in “prayer and ministry of the word” represents the proper implementation of the teachings of the gospel.
Since Luke begins the letter telling us that the story begins with Zechariah in prayer and purposeful contemplation, we should in this advent season prepare and be prepared for a life of prayer and purposeful contemplation if we accept the message of Luke as the gospel.
Tomorrow my wife and I travel to NYC in what has been a biannual pilgrimage of sorts celebrating Santa Lucia Day at a Swedish Lutheran Church near Central Park with the obligatory meal at a Swedish restaurant. My sister the Wise Librarian is in charge.
Gospel of Luke