Gabriel Announces the Comings of Christ
|1. Gabriel Explains God's Vision to Daniel||Dan 815-27|
|2. Gabriel Brings God's Answer||Dan 920-27|
|3. Detailed Revelation to Daniel||Dan 101 - 1213|
|4. John Will Prepare Nation for the Lord's Coming||Lu 15-25|
|5. "God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man"||Lu 126-38|
Gabriel is named in the Old Testament when he came to Daniel. First he explained the meaning of a vision in 551 BC (Dan 8). Then he brought God's answer to Daniel's life-long prayer in 529 BC (Dan 9). He also gave Daniel an astonishingly accurate prophecy concerning the future in Dan 9-12. Much of this has already been fulfilled, but the last part awaits the time of the end. In the New Testament Gabriel appears first to Zechariah and then to Mary. (Lu 1) As might be expected, each of these 5 occasions has very special significance.
1. Gabriel Explains God's Vision to Daniel Dan 815-27
While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision." As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate.
"Son of man," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end." While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet. He said: "I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power."
"In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future."
I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king's business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.
Initially this vision concerns the immediate future.
The two horned ram is the mighty war machine of the Medes and Persians. 820
The nimble goat with a large horn is Alexander the Great and his nimble tactics;
and the four horns are the four Greek commanders who followed him. 821,22
This amplified the vision of the four beasts he had received two years earlier;
and also the statue vision that Nebuchadnezzar had over 50 years earlier.
But the important part of this new vision comes in 89-12
It is the rise to power of 'another horn'; like the 'little horn' that grew in 78
This part jumps some 2000 years from Rome to the end of time.
What does Gabriel tell Daniel about this 'little horn'?
This 'master of intrigue' will be very strong.
He will destroy the holy people.
Deceit will prosper.
He will attack the 'Prince of princes'.
But he will finally be destroyed by the Lord Almighty.
At the end Jesus Christ, the mighty Messiah, will come again to his creation.
He will destroy the blasphemous, satanic ruler. See also Rev 13
And he will bring in a realm of righteousness, truth and justice.
God wanted the old man Daniel to be assured of this.
And he also wants us to have this sure and certain hope -
that when it seems that the world and its rulers could not get more wicked,
God has not abandoned us, his plan has not failed.
Gabriel delivers God's word - the plan that the mighty Deliverer is coming.
Jesus Christ will come again, this time as a mighty warrior!
His first coming as crucified and risen Redeemer surprised many.
Most wanted and expected a mighty warrior to defeat Rome,
His second coming as a mighty warrior will also surprise many.
Most want and expect a loving peace maker,
One who will 'bang a few heads together',
and unite the nations and differing faiths - and end all war.
Why do men so often get it all upside-down?
That is why we need the special message that Gabriel brings.
And our gracious God sent his mighty arch-angel.
The sealing up of this vision is for two reasons:
1. Much of the fulfilment was going to be 2,500 years later, in the last days,
so the word needed preserving.
2. It was sealed like a document with wax that had the proof of authority.
2. Gabriel Brings God's Answer Dan 920-27
12 years later Belshazzar is dead; Babylon is now ruled by Medes and Persians,
Daniel is aged ~85 and had turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 93
Gabriel came in swift flight, he gave to Daniel God's answer and salvation plan.
Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. Know and understand this: from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing (of the temple) he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. Dan 924-27
Daniel had lived for nearly 70 years in Babylon with all its idol temples.
57 years had passed since Nebuchadnezzar destroyed God's Jerusalem Temple.
Could it ever be restored?
Would the Lord Almighty be honoured on earth?
Would the Jewish nation ever become a righteous people?
God had a two-part plan.
All it's detail had been agreed before the creation of the world!
He who name is 'I AM' also created time when he made space and 'matter'.
And he bound himself to wait until the appointed times to fulfill his plan.
a. to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness.
After the first 7 'sevens' and the 62 'sevens' an Anointed One would come.
The Messiah would come and be crucified.
Man's sin requires atonement.
Justice requires that all sin is punished.
Nothing I can do or be or give can even be near the required payment.
And only the pure, righteous Son of God could pay such a price in full.
69 'sevens' after Daniel (490 years) God would bring together
at precisely the right moment, all the people, angels, and events
that surround the birth of the holy, 'Anointed One'.
A few years later He would be cut off and will have nothing.
The Son of God would be crucified by men - stark naked.
The Lord of Glory was 'cut of' from the living, forsaken by his Father,
he had 'nothing' - he was dead!
But that was not the end.
3 days later he rose;
the 'Atonement for wickedness' was accepted,
the punishment that we deserve had been meted out,
the just sentence was completed in full.
The Anointed One has put an end to my sin.
What a Saviour!
What a message for Daniel to hear.
How it must have delighted Gabriel to deliver it.
b. to bring in everlasting righteousness.
Since the 'Anointed One' there has been a 2000 year gap.
Two millennia of history. Vast changes especially in the last two centuries.
But the wages of sin have not changed.
Neither has the sinful nature of man.
Gabriel tells Daniel about the last 'seven'. (7 years)
During this time war and desolations have been decreed.
A treaty will be agreed, but it will soon be broken.
An evil abomination that causes desolation will be set up.
He will smother all righteousness.
But God has decreed that the rule of this satanic beast will be short.
He will be destroyed by the return of Jesus Christ.
who will then begin to rule an everlasting kingdom of righteousness.
Gabriel reveals to Daniel that the Lord God will come to earth
first as the gracious Saviour Redeemer to atone for sin,
and then as the mighty King who will rule his righteous kingdom for ever.
3. Detailed Revelation to Daniel 101 - 1213
Two years later Daniel receives detailed revelation of future events.
Gabriel is not mentioned by name; but he was delayed by the prince of Persia,
when only he and Michael fought together against him. 1013 1020-111
Dan 112-39 details future events from Alexander the Great (336 BC)
to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (165 BC) with incredible accuracy.
Some have foolishly deduced it could not have been written by Daniel.
But Gabriel brought to him the truth from God, who knows all things.
Gabriel then moves forward many centuries and reveals events of the last days.
Dan 1140-45 gives detail that has yet to be fulfilled.
Then he continues:
"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge."
Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?"
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." Dan 121-7
In these 'last days' there will be an increase of knowledge, technical knowledge,
but not wisdom or righteousness.
There will be of great distress and the holy people will be defeated.
Many Christians reject this prophecy concerning their defeat.
But it is confirmed in Dan 721,25 824 as also in Rev 137,15 166
Only then will believers and the many martyrs for Christ arise
to everlasting life; purified and refined.
The distress will be limited to 3½ years.
4. John (Baptist) Will Prepare Israel for the Lord's 1st Coming Lu 15-25
While Zechariah is serving the Lord in the Temple, Gabriel tells him:
"Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 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 from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous - to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Lu 113-17
The Lord had waited several millennia for this moment in the history of the world
Now the moment had come to announce the imminent coming of the Messiah.
Before creation he knew that man would need a Saviour.
He knew what the full cost would be too - the crucifixion of his Son.
At the planned moment Gabriel comes to the priest Zechariah,
who not only longed for a son, but also for such a promised Saviour.
God's announcement was not televised across the world,
and it was not circulated between the various palaces of kings.
But it would fall on the shoulders of one man, John.
John who would be born in 9 months time to Zechariah and Elizabeth.
How would John prepare the nation for Messiah?
"Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Math 32
"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Jn 129
5 centuries earlier Gabriel had told Daniel that one day a Messiah would come;
now he told Zechariah that this longed-for day had arrived.
5. "God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man"
In the sixth month, 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 favoured! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."
Then the angel left her. Lu 126-38
For any angel to appear to any man is amazing.
This angel was no less than the great arch-angel Gabriel.
Although Mary would be well acquainted with John's ministry,
nothing could have prepared her for what Gabriel had to tell her:
That without any normal human intercourse she would bear the Son of God in her womb!!
Her baby would be God himself!!
Many had heard the ancient prophecies and longed for the Messiah.
Messiah, who is God himself; far, far greater than any of the prophets.
How could God be born as a human baby?
And physically born from a virgin?
What would Joseph say?
How would he grow up? Who could teach God?
What if she made a mistake, and he was injured?
How would she bear the taunts of those who said her child was illegitimate?
Mary's mother had obviously told her how babies are conceived.
But what if the baby's father is to be the Lord Almighty?
This was the only question she asked Gabriel.
Gabriel had delivered God's message and answered Mary's question.
Mary simply accepted it as the Lord's servant.
There being nothing more to say; so Gabriel left.
9 months later a few local shepherds and magi would welcome the birth;
together with a whole host of angels - and two old folk in the Temple.
The world would have to wait another 30 years ...
But that's another story.
Gabriel was no ordinary messenger.
The events he spoke of still reverberate around the whole earth.
And there are more events yet to come to pass!!