Lesson One, DIscussion B

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Lesson One, DIscussion B

Post by Tara Bernard on Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:55 pm

B. What was the significance of the task for which Zechariah was chosen? Since many priests never had the chance to go into the temple and burn incense, what might he be feeling as he prepares for it? How about when the angel appears?

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Re: Lesson One, DIscussion B

Post by Tara Bernard on Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:37 pm

I had to research this because I didn't know the significance--other than in a most superficial manner. The task of placing the incense on the altar foreshadows Jesus' death, resurrection and intercession on our behalf. The worshipers in the outer courtyard represent the sacrifice of Jesus here on earth. The Priests in the "Holy of Holies" are representing the effects of that sacrifice in the presence of God in Heaven. Jesus' intercession for us is the "perpetual incense" filling the air in Heaven.

Zechariah did not know the significance of what he did..to him and the other Priests selected by lot to attend the inner sanctum, they were fulfilling the laws and requirements laid out by God to the Priesthood. It was a sacred thing, and they clearly recognized it's necessity as to the salvation of their people, but it is only in hindsight that we can see the foreshadow!

We know that Zechariah was a righteous man. I'm sure he was filled with awe and trepidation at being selected for the task. I imagine it was a fearful honor, a once in a lifetime opportunity, a sacred obligation on behalf of the people of Israel. What a wonderful, heavy load! We know he was frightened when the angel appeared (I know I would have been!), but I imagine it was a heady fright. I expect he felt himself most blessed.
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Re: Lesson One, DIscussion B

Post by Barbara Alexander on Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:10 pm

When we are given an opportunity to perform a special service that we, among many, yearn for, but few are given, the privilege gives us pause because we want to do it right, and nervous excitement accompanies the performing of the service. It is a special time. I can imagine Zachariah’s nervous excitement. And then a totally unexpected thing happened. To see someone standing to the right of the alter when no one else was supposed to be there had to be a frightening experience for Zachariah.


Last edited by Barbara Alexander on Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Lesson One, DIscussion B

Post by Pamela Meyers on Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:13 pm

I’m not sure about the significance of his task, but it sounds like it was a special event (apparently, he won the lottery for the event). It involved burning incense, which I imagine was to honor God and to create a sacred, holy space to connect with God. As he prepares for it, he might have been feeling excited and nervous or lucky or incredulous.... or who really knows. People have many different feelings and responses to how an event is experienced. I think it’s important to recognize that we are only able to project onto Zechariah what we ourselves would most likely be feeling. But my experiences as a progressive woman steeped in 21st century American culture is most likely very different than his. I think differences in experiences and expectations affect how we respond to events in life. I truly can only guess what an older male who was a priest in that part of the world in that time period with a different belief system than mine might have been thinking or feeling.

What about when the angel appears? According to what is written, Zecharias was “troubled when he saw the angel and fear gripped him” (NASB), and/or he was “startled and was gripped with fear” (NIV), and/or the angel appeared “unannounced” and he was “paralyzed in fear”.  Big difference in interpretations! If I was given the honor of lighting sacred incense and setting up God’s holy sanctuary when no others were allowed in the room, I, too, would be troubled by some dude unexpectedly showing up. Then this guy predicts that my very old, infertile wife is going to have a baby who we will call John, and that he will get the people ready for God?! (So the dude is obviously mentally ill, and disrupting my ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity to prepare the holy sanctuary of God!). If it were me, I might very well have responded to this weird guy’s ridiculous “prophesy” with doubt.  I certainly would have begun planning for how to get him toward the closest exit!

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