Luke 1:12
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
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(12) He was troubled.—It lies in the nature of the case that during all the long years of Zachariah’s ministration, he had seen no such manifestation. As far as we may reason from the analogy of other angelic appearances, the outward form was that of a “young man clothed in white linen,” or in “bright apparel” (Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5)—a kind of transfigured Levite, as One greater than the angels, when he manifested himself amid the imagery of the Temple, appeared as in the garments of a glorified priesthood (Revelation 1:13).

1:5-25 The father and mother of John the Baptist were sinners as all are, and were justified and saved in the same way as others; but they were eminent for piety and integrity. They had no children, and it could not be expected that Elisabeth should have any in her old age. While Zacharias was burning incense in the temple, the whole multitude of the people were praying without. All the prayers we offer up to God, are acceptable and successful only by Christ's intercession in the temple of God above. We cannot expect an interest therein if we do not pray, and pray with our spirits, and are not earnest in prayer. Nor can we expect that the best of our prayers should gain acceptance, and bring an answer of peace, but through the mediation of Christ, who ever lives, making intercession. The prayers Zacharias often made, received an answer of peace. Prayers of faith are filed in heaven, and are not forgotten. Prayers made when we were young and entering into the world, may be answered when we are old and going out of the world. Mercies are doubly sweet that are given in answer to prayer. Zacharias shall have a son in his old age, who shall be instrumental in the conversion of many souls to God, and preparing them to receive the gospel of Christ. He shall go before Him with courage, zeal, holiness, and a mind dead to earthly interests and pleasures. The disobedient and rebellious would be brought back to the wisdom of their righteous forefathers, or rather, brought to attend to the wisdom of that Just One who was coming among them. Zacharias heard all that the angel said; but his unbelief spake. In striking him dumb, God dealt justly with him, because he had objected against God's word. We may admire the patience of God towards us. God dealt kindly with him, for thus he prevented his speaking any more distrustful, unbelieving words. Thus also God confirmed his faith. If by the rebukes we are under for our sin, we are brought to give the more credit to the word of God, we have no reason to complain. Even real believers are apt to dishonour God by unbelief; and their mouths are stopped in silence and confusion, when otherwise they would have been praising God with joy and gratitude. In God's gracious dealings with us we ought to observe his gracious regards to us. He has looked on us with compassion and favour, and therefore has thus dealt with us.He was troubled - He was alone, in the presence of God. The appearance of the angel was sudden, unexpected, and therefore fearful. 11. right side—the south side, between the altar and the candlestick, Zacharias being on the north side, in front of the altar, while offering incense [Webster and Wilkinson]. But why there? The right was the favorable side (Mt 25:33) [Schottgen and Westein in Meyer]; compare Mr 16:5. We are naturally affrighted at sudden and unusual things, but especially at any Divine appearances, whether God himself takes a shape, or authorizes an angel to do it. So was Daniel, Daniel 10:7,8; and Manoah and his wife, Judges 13:20; and Paul, Acts 9:1-18. For though God doth not make these appearances to affright us, yet such is the imbecility of our natures, that we cannot but be shy at them, and start from them; and it is but reasonable that God should by this means both declare his own glory and majesty, and also humble his poor creatures, and make them more impressive, and receptive of his Divine revelations. It is reasonable God should keep and declare his majesty, though we keep and declare our infirmity.

And when Zacharias saw him,.... The angel; he was troubled, and fear fell upon him; for such appearances of angels were not now so common as formerly: and when they were more usual, generally had such effects on the minds, even of good men; see Judges 6:22. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
Luke 1:12. ἐταράχθη describes the state of mind generally = perturbed, φόβος specifically. Yet why afraid, seeing in this case, as always, the objective appearance answers to the inward state of mind? This fear of the divine belongs to O. T. piety.

12. he was troubled] Such is the effect always recorded of these supernatural appearances. See Jdg 13:22; Daniel 10:7-9; Ezekiel 1:28; Mark 16:8; Revelation 1:17.

Verse 12. - He was troubled. This was ever the first effect produced by the sight of a spirit-visitant. Luke 1:12
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