“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviour yes, the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, a vast host of others joined the angel—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:8-14
The Role of Angels Prior to the Saviour’s Birth
When we think of Christmas, we think of Angels. Most times, we associate angels with the shepherds, announcing the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. What we do not often realize is the significant role of angels throughout the life and ministry of Jesus on the earth.
In fact, we observed the role of angels even prior to His birth and after His resurrection. Angels were present at His ascension and made very powerful prophetic declaration, relating to His return.
There are fourteen recorded cases of the presence of angels in the gospels relating to their ministry to Jesus. These appearances sometimes give the impression that angels made periodic visits to Jesus while He was on the earth. However, a careful study of the scriptures shows that they were present continuously, throughout His life, ministering to Him in various ways.
Pre-Birth Appearance to Zechariah
Luke 1:11-20 (vs 17) “He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah while he was ministering in the temple and told him that he and his wife Elizabeth will have a son who they must name John. In that encounter, Gabriel went on to describe the nature of the work of John. Later he was known as John the baptizer (John the Baptist).
As the forerunner to Christ, the angel explained that, “He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.” The angel Gabriel, in connection with the work of the Messiah, defined the ministry of John the Baptist. He would prepare the hearts of the people to receive the Messiah.
Visitation to Mary
Six months into Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the angel Gabriel visited Mary, who was at the time engaged to Joseph and was living in Nazareth. Luke 1:32-33 gives us some insight into Gabriel’s prophetic declaration concerning the Messiah. “He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
“He will be great”. There are many context in which the Messiah will be great, His miracles, but above all His provision of redemption for all humanity. “He will be called the son of the Most High”. He came directly from the Father, as He was with the Father before all creation. “The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
The angel Gabriel prophetically is pointing Mary to a distant future, a time when the Messiah will return to the earth, as the King of kings and rule for one thousand years. This rule will be in the Kingdom order, which was first established by King David. Following the Millennial reign, the Messiah will continue to rule over the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth, forever and ever.