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19The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

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19. I am Gabriel By these words the angel intimates that it was not his veracity, but that of God who sent him, and whose message he brought, that had been questioned; and so he charges Zacharias with having offered an insult to God. To stand before God signifies to be ready to yield obedience. It implies that he is not a mortal man, but a heavenly spirits — that he did not fly hither at random, but, as became a servant of God, had faithfully performed his duty: and hence it follows that God, the author of the promise, had been treated with indignity and contempt in the person of his ambassador. Of similar import is the declaration of Christ, “he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me,” (Luke 10:16.) Although the preaching of the gospel is not brought to us from heaven by angels, yet, since God attested by so many miracles that he was its author, and since Christ, the Prince and Lord of angels, once published it with his own mouth, (Hebrews 1:2,) that he might give it a perpetual sanction, its majesty ought to make as deep an impression upon us, as if all the angels were heard loudly proclaiming its attestation from heaven. Nay, the apostle, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, not satisfied with elevating the word of the gospel, which speaks by the mouth of men, to an equality with the law brought by angels, draws an argument from the less to the greater.

“If the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of rewards”
(Hebrews 2:2,)

of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God,”
(Hebrews 10:29,)

whose “voice shakes not the earth only, but also heaven?” (Hebrews 12:26.) Let us learn to render to God the obedience of faith, which he values more highly than all sacrifices. Gabriel means the strength, or power, or pre-eminence of God, and this name is given to the angel on our account, to instruct us that we must not ascribe to angels any thing of their own, for whatever excellence they possess is from God. The Greek participle, παρεστηκὼς, (standing,) is in the past tense, but everybody knows that the past tense of such verbs is often taken for the present, and particularly when a continued act is expressed. The word εὐαγγελίσασθαι (to convey glad tidings) aggravates the crime of Zacharias; for he was ungrateful to God, who kindly promised a joyful and desirable event.




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