"As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate." ~Daniel 8:15-17(a) [emphasis mine]
"In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest name Zechariah . . . Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense . . . Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the alter of incense, when Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear . . . The angel answered, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.'" ~selected verses from Luke 1:5-19 [emphasis mine]
". . . God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you . . . You will be with Child and give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus . . . For nothing is impossible with God.'" ~selected verses from Luke 1:26-37 [emphasis mine]
As CHRISTmas approaches, our thoughts fall upon the birth of our Lord and Savior, God's only Son, Jesus Christ. An integral part of the very beginning of the true story of Jesus' birth is the work of the Arch Angel Gabriel.
Gabriel, of the Arch angels mentioned in the Bible, is the Heralding Angel. He had the privilege of heralding or announcing amazing, history-changing events of the Lord. As you can see above, he announced and explained the events of God that were coming to Daniel, he announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah the priest, AND he had the amazing, once-in-eternity blessing and privilege of announcing to a frightened young Jewish girl that she would be the mama of God's one and only Son, Jesus.
What trust God has placed upon this amazing creature. Even though his ~ and other Arch angels' ~ appearance is striking, startling beyond words, I can't help but think that he must have been humbled . . . no . . . that's not the right word . . . exceedingly grateful at the favor the Lord had laid upon his shoulders. As a creation of God, he knows that he was created specifically with for this very moment ~ to announce the coming of the promised Messiah!
As our pastor has rightly reminded us lately, angels ~ especially Arch angels ~ are NOT the sweet, cute, cuddly little beings of a Precious Moments statue. They are MIGHTY. They are strong. They are fearsome.
The Arch angels come from the very presence of God and, therefore, reflect the glory of God in their appearance just as Moses did for a short while, after God passed by him and he shone with the glory of God. (Ex. 34:29-35) Moses' shining face frightened the Israelites so much that he had to put a veil over his face until it faded. This radiance consumes the very being of these angels. Time and again, we see that these angels are mighty, awesome, intimidating beings ~ they make prophets and priests fall to their faces in fear and reverence. They make Roman soldiers faint at their sight and strength as one (ONE!) moves a boulder out from in front of Jesus' tomb.