After David died, his son and heir to the throne, Solomon, found that there were so many priests that it became necessary to divide and delegate responsibilities. 1 Chronicles 24:10 and 19 mentions one such priestly division. "...The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah," [verse 10]. This meant, that all the men who belonged to the priestly division of Hakkoz was seventh in line to serve in the temple, and Abijah was eighth in line.
This is important, as the Lord laid out this plan that Abijah specifically would be eighth in line to serve in the temple, as 1 Chronicles 24:19 states: "This was their appointed order of ministering when they entered the temple of the Lord, according to the regulations prescribed for them by their ancestor Aaron, as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded him." But why is this important?
The division of Abijah was eighth in line to serve in the temple. For the men in the divisions, who were chosen by lot to burn incense in the Holy of Holies, this was literally a once-in-a-lifetime event, as a man could only serve God in such a supremely honorable way once in his life. Enter a righteous and devote man named Zechariah, married to Elizabeth, who was belonged to the division of Abijah and was chosen to light the incense.
Indeed, Zechariah must have been experiencing mixed emotions as he slowly ascended up the stairs to the temple: elation and honor at such an incredible moment in his life, and, at the same time, embarrassment and concern for his wife who was barren. For a Jewish couple, not having children was a stigma that was never removed, even in their old age. Yet, Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous "in the sight of God," [v. 6]. Perhaps Zechariah thought that after the prescribed prayers he would recite, he would take this opportunity to call upon the Name of the Lord on behalf of his wife's empty womb.
As he lit the incense, no doubt hearing the worshipers' prayers from outside, suddenly, Zechariah was not alone. Gabriel the mighty archangel delivered his customary "do not fear" statement with a solid answer to Zechariah's personal petitions: "
Compare the story of Zechariah's disbelief in Luke 1 to Sarah's disbelief in Genesis 18:1-15. What similarities are there?
"Appointed time" is also relevant to the study of end times. Read and highlight "appointed time" in Daniel chapters 8 and 11.
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