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Lesson # Luke 1:18-22
Study Material - Luke 1:18-22
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, 'How shall I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years' 19 And the angel answered and said to him, 'I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20 'And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their proper time.' 21 And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute.
Now Zacharias expresses his doubts as to the legitimacy of the message. He ignored the presence of the angel, yet no one was allowed in the place where he was making the incense offering. He ignored the ability of God to give his and his wife's sexual organs new life, yet as a priest he knew of the story of Abraham and Samson, where God worked his miracles for pregnancy out from dead reproductive organs.
Zacharias had been working all his life in the temple. Had studied all his life and should have been prepared for God's leadership, but when the time came, he failed totally. We all generally have our failures. Time has a way of lulling us to sleep. We go through the repetition of our daily lives. We go to work, we study, we understand our doctrine and we believe it, but there is sometimes a disconnection between what we know and what we apply. Sometimes in our spiritual growth there are blind spots. This can be rectified with persistent study, persistent fellowship status, review of what we learn, pondering of the doctrines we learn, memorization of scripture. Many things can contribute to the strengthening of our faith and our spiritual alertness. But when the time comes for a test of some kind, we need to remember to focus on the doctrine we know first, rather than the problem of the test. Sometimes the test can come suddenly and in an overwhelming way, so we are shocked in a way. But God is gracious. Though we might fail, He gives us plenty of chances to succeed.
Zacharias focused on the impossibility of an angel addressing him. Then he focused on the age of himself and his wife. Of course they couldn't have children!! Everyone knew it. Zacharias was not thinking doctrine, but was thinking human viewpoint. Negative thinking.
So the angel interrupted him, first to silence him and then to later keep him in silence for several reasons. When you are talking, you are not listening. So Gabriel silenced him and then introduced himself and his authority. 'I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God;'. This should get Zacharias' attention. Seldom are angels used for messenger service, but this time God sent Gabriel, an angel who serves in the presence of God. Now Gabriel has a message for Zacharias, explaining the pregnancy and the purpose of the child to come. Since Zacharias did not believe the message, Gabriel did as God had ordered, and he silenced Zacharias. This accomplishes several things.
First, he prevented his speaking any more such unbelieving words. If he has thought negatively, and would not himself lay his hands upon his mouth, nor keep himself silent, then God will. It is better not to speak at all than to speak in a negative manner. Second, he confirmed his faith; and, by his being disabled to speak, he is enabled to think. Third, he was kept from divulging the vision, and boasting of it, which otherwise he would have been apt to do, whereas it was God's will, for the present, to be kept as a secret with him. Possibly the wife would not believe it either. Certainly when they went home and Zacharias became lovey dovey, one can only imagine the conversation they might have had, and Elizabeth's surprise. Obviously she did not have a headache. Fourth, it was a great mercy that God's words should be fulfilled in their season. Zacharias did not believe the words so now he will eventually believe the realities when they occur. And what's more he will actually participate in the events along with his wife, of course.
In addition, Aaron's priesthood is now shortly to be silenced and set aside, to make way for the bringing in of a better hope, Jesus Christ and his royal ministry. After the Cross the Levitical priesthood would be abrogated and replaced by a royal priesthood. This represents to us the weakness and deficiency of the Levitical priesthood, in comparison with Christ's priesthood. The Old Testament speaks by signs, gives us some intimations of divine and heavenly things, but imperfect and uncertain. It calls to us, but remains speechless. It is the gospel that speaks to us articulately, and gives us a clear view of that which the Old Testament was but portraying from the view of shadows.
So, Zacharias was made silent and could only gesture. The people who awaited his appearance from the incense offering to complete the ceremony, waiting in their patience. And when he suddenly appeared and could not speak, everyone began to wonder and speculate but did not know exactly what had occurred.
Man cannot know the secrets of God, nor can man gain knowledge from mere sign language. God communicates in an organized and orderly manner, and keeps secret that which is not to become general knowledge until God is ready for it to be made known. Apart from Gods revelation, spiritual knowledge cannot be known nor understood. In unbelief, spiritual knowledge is kept hidden. Quite possibly the crowd of people would have laughed at Zacharias. Better to see the event of the sign, rather than the prophecy of the event, for understanding and belief.
But we already know that there were many who were positive, but lacked the spiritual strength to really dig their faith into. Too often, people go through the motions of Bible study, but lack the mechanics of building their spiritual lives in their souls. They are either out of fellowship, or just do not believe what they are being taught.
Despite all of mans failures, God's plan goes right on ahead. Zacharias was a believer but lacked faith, or at least he had a temporary blackout in his soul. God silenced him in order to get his mind working on the right track. You should be on your guard so that God doesn't have to cause some event to rain on your parade and bring you back to reality.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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