Christmas Characters – Gabriel and Other Angels
Daniel, Zechariah, and Mary are identified as having met Gabriel. I like to think that Joseph, the shepherds, and the Magi also saw this angel who “stands in the presence of God.” This is a good place to note that Elizabeth is the only person in Luke 1 who did not see Gabriel; I think this speaks of her willingness and faith to do God’s will just on the witness of what happened to Zechariah.
Daniel is not a Christmas character but in chapters 8 and 9 of his book Gabriel is sent to him to explain visions about the end times and of “the Anointed One.” In both of these meetings, Gabriel is described as looking like a man. (No, wings?!)
Zechariah and Mary (and Daniel) had face-to-face encounters with Gabriel and spoke to him and asked questions. God specifically had Gabriel do these appearances; Zechariah and Mary would have known the name and the importance of their meetings from the readings of the Book of Daniel. Was it because of the importance of the message or to gauge their response that they had their face-to-face? The assurance of Zechariah’s encounter would have boosted Mary’s faith and resolve when the gossip and the first meeting with Joseph happened.
I have tried to connect Zachariah’s service with the birth of Jesus in the Post – The Day of Atonement, Passover, and Epiphany. The results are not what I expected about the birth time of Jesus. The legend/history is better than I thought.
They also physically saw angels. I like to think Gabriel was the first angel to appear followed by the choir, but we are not told for sure. They did not doubt, like Zechariah, but hurried to find Jesus.
Joseph had several dreams with an angel giving him instructions. I like to think that it was Gabriel in those dreams; because when he and Mary started to compare notes it would have built his faith and confidence. Why Joseph did not have a face-to-face meeting I don’t know? I am putting this in the “God knows how to talk to you” department and am glad that Joseph responded by doing the will of God.
The Magi were warned (in a dream) not to return to Herod and share their findings. It would make a great story if it had been Gabriel and they shared the warning dream with Joseph and Mary. It would have boosted faith all around and given urgency to Joseph when he had his dream to flee to Egypt.
pics – http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/