11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but He himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:11-16 niv 2011
Who is this King of kings and Lord of Lords? He’s the One who calls us friend.
Moses and Miriam knew Him. Shortly after the Pharaoh’s soldiers drowned in the Red Sea, they sang this song:
“I will sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea.
2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The Lord is a warrior;
the Lord is his name. Exodus 15:1-3 niv 2011
Zephaniah prophesied to the people of Judah:
17 The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 niv 2011
Where it’s translated Mighty Warrior, that word is better translated Powerful Warrior.
This is our Divine King – and He is a powerful warrior!
In this last series of powerful warriors we’re going to look at the woman who was the mother of our King, this Powerful Warrior. Since very little is known historically about Mary, the mother of Jesus, we have to look into our Scriptures to see what she was all about. We’ll start at her first mention:
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27 niv 2011
The angel, Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God (see Luke 1:19) came to see this virgin named Mary. Gabriel stands in that beautiful, awesome Throne Room described in Revelation 4. At the behest of the One on that Throne, Gabriel comes to visit with this young, engaged woman. Gabriel’s statements come directly from the mouth of God.
I have to tell you a couple of things about Gabriel here before we continue.
Only 4 visits by Gabriel are recorded in our entire Bible:
The first one is Daniel, a man who’s been captive in Babylon since his youth. Daniel is a faithful Jew. He keeps himself pure – for instance, away from idols and the meat and wine dedicated to their worship. This guy has some self-control. He worships only one God.
Daniel’s gifts include interpreting dreams and visions, and here is where we first meet Gabriel.
Gabriel actually visits Daniel twice, and during the second conversation, which is the interpretation of a vision that Daniel’s had, Gabriel says, “23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed…” Daniel 9:23(a) niv 2011 I love how the King James Version translated highly esteemed: greatly beloved.
And the fact that Daniel’s prayer is answered the moment he utters it, does not escape me. As we looked at in our first lesson (A Warrior and Her King), God hears our prayers the moment they are given, and He answers – not always this quickly, but He does answer in His own time.
Daniel was greatly beloved by the Lord, so much so that He revealed to Daniel the bulk of prophecy related to Christ. George Williams wrote:
The study of prophecy was not for Daniel a mere intellectual entertainment but moral spiritual nourishment…The Apocalypse of the Old Testament was given to Daniel who was greatly beloved, and [The Apocalypse] of the New Testament was given to John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.
—George Williams, The Complete Bible Commentary © 1996 Kregel
Daniel’s obedient focus was on God Almighty. Daniel’s obedience was rewarded with God’s focus on him. (Lots of Christians don’t think we are rewarded for obedience – or that we even get rewards at all! If you’re one of them, go to www.BibleGateway.com and do a keyword search on reward. And read your Bible.)
The third visit from Gabriel that we find in our Scriptures is the visit with Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” Luke 1:5-20 niv 2011
A lot of scholars and theologians here believe that Zechariah was punished with muteness because he did not believe Gabriel – and that might be true, but I think just as strong of a case can be made that Zechariah was struck mute not because of his unbelief, but because it was a way to strike a public chord of confirmation that God was working in Zechariah’s life before this baby is born to a barren woman. The very next verses read:
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. Luke 1:21-22 niv 2011
Part of Zechariah’s job was to come out of the Holy Place and bless the people outside. He couldn’t do this. The people waiting outside then started to fathom that he’d seen a vision. Zechariah being struck mute, for immediate public display, was proof that whatever had happened to Zechariah in that Holy Place had been of God.
I think Gabriel hits home when he says: “because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” Here’s the thing, if Zechariah was finding Gabriel’s words hard to believe, then the people waiting outside for the blessing weren’t going to believe them at all. It was a Divine imperative that Zechariah be silent until the birth of John.
Elizabeth and Zechariah were both righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly (I doubt this means they’re sinless – but when they do sin, they deal with immediately. There is no secret sin life for them.) Like Daniel, they have an extraordinary capacity for obedience, and Gabriel brings the message that Zechariah’s prayer has been heard, and will be answered shortly.
The incidents with Daniel and Zechariah then give you an idea of what kind of people Gabriel has been sent to visit with in the past.
The last recorded visit from Gabriel happens to Jesus’ mother, Mary.
We’ll talk about that visit and the resulting consequences in next week’s blog, A Warrior is Pure – The Mother of a Warrior Part 2.
© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom
If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.