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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:11

And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.

Adam Clarke Commentary

There appeared - an angel of the Lord - There had been neither prophecy nor angelic ministry vouchsafed to this people for about 400 years. But now, as the Sun of righteousness is about to arise upon them, the day-spring from on high visits them, that they may be prepared for that kingdom of God which was at hand. Every circumstance here is worthy of remark:

  1. That an angel should now appear, as such a favor had not been granted for 400 years.
  • The person to whom this angel was sent - one of the priests. The sacerdotal office itself pointed out the Son of God till he came: by him it was to be completed, and in him it was to be eternally established: - Thou art a priest for ever, Psalm 110:4.
  • The place in which the angel appeared - Jerusalem; out of which the word of the Lord should go forth, Isaiah 2:3, and not at Hebron, in the hill country of Judea, where Zacharias lived, Luke 1:39, which was the ordinary residence of the priests, Joshua 21:11, where there could have been few witnesses of this interposition of God, and the effects produced by it.
  • The place where he was when the angel appeared to him - in the temple, which was the place where God was to be sought; the place of his residence, and a type of the human nature of the blessed Jesus, John 2:21.
  • The time in which this was done - the solemn hour of public prayer. God has always promised to be present with those who call upon him. When the people and the priest go hand in hand, and heart with heart, to the house of God, the angel of his presence shall surely accompany them, and God shall appear among them.
  • The employment of Zacharias when the angel appeared - he was burning incense, one of the most sacred and mysterious functions of the Levitical priesthood, and which typified the intercession of Christ: confer Hebrews 7:25, with Hebrews 9:24.
  • 7. The long continued and publicly known dumbness of the priest, who doubted the word thus miraculously sent to him from the Lord: a solemn intimation of what God would do to all those who would not believe in the Lord Jesus. Every mouth shall be stopped.


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    Bibliography
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    An angel - An “angel” is a messenger sent from God. See the notes at Matthew 1:20. It had now been about 400 years since the time of “Malachi,” and since there had been any divine revelation. During that time the nation was looking for the Messiah, but still with nothing more than the ancient prophecies to direct them. Now that he was about to appear, God sent his messenger to announce his coming, to encourage the hearts of his people, and to prepare them to receive him.

    On the right side … - The altar of incense stood close by the veil which divided the holy place from the most holy. On the north stood the table of showbread; on the south the golden candlestick. As Zechariah entered, therefore, with his face to the west, the angel would stand on the north, or near the table of showbread. That table was 18 inches square and 3 feet high. The top, as well as the sides and horns, was overlaid with pure gold, and it was finished around the upper surface with a crown or border of gold. Just below this border, four golden rings were attached to each side of the altar, one near each corner. The staves or rods for bearing the altar passed through these rings, and were made of the same wood with the altar itself, and richly overlaid with the same precious metal. Upon this altar incense was burned every morning and every evening, so that it was literally perpetual, Exodus 30:8. Neither burnt-sacrifice, nor meat-offering, nor drink-offering was permitted upon this altar; nor was it ever stained with blood except once annually, when the priest made atonement, Leviticus 16:18-19.


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    Bibliography
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    Luke 1:11

    An angel of the Lord

    Angelic visits

    The angels will come to us when we are doing the Lord’s business--even though that business be routine, and we have become almost weary with its mechanical repetition, yet the radiant messenger can find us in our obscurity, and open before us new and enchanting prospects.
    Are you impatient for the coming of the angel? Then by so much you are leaving incomplete the work to which you have been Divinely called. It is better to work steadily for the Master than to be waiting fretfully for the vision of angels
    . (Dr. Parker.)

    Absence from the sanctuary

    Suppose Zacharias had not been there. Suppose that his functions had been to him nothing except perfunctory services, and he had absented himself. Might not the great annunciation have been transferred? Instead of Zacharias might not Simeon have been chosen? and instead of Elisabeth, Anna? I pause to put the question, for I wish to arouse your half-day attendants in God’s house, to a recognition of how possible it is to miss of a special blessing when we are not in the way, and place, and time of religious duty. I knew of a case wherein an “anxious inquirer” would have heard the sermon that brought deliverance and peace to her five years sooner had she been in God’s house on the day it was originally preached. As it was she walked for five years in gloom, and at last heard it semi-accidentally. (Dr. Grosart.)

    Intercourse between visible and invisible world

    The narrative of an angelic visitation does not bring us into a supernatural region. We are in one already. The Temple-worship meant nothing if there were not an actual established intercourse between the visible and invisible world. (F. D. Maurice.)

    Angels present in church

    I think I see in this passage that a more special blessing attends the prayers offered up by God’s ministers at the hours appointed by the Church, and that angels are more particularly present to carry up the sacrifice of prayer and praise then offered by the priest, on which hang (as it were) the supplications of the whole congregation. Consider this, O my soul, and let it be a constant incitement to thee never to forsake the house of thy God, when opportunity offers for thee to join thy prayers with those of all thy fellow-Christians. (Dean Hook.)

    The angels as observers and witnesses

    The holy angels of God are observers of our prayers and good actions on earth, and the relaters and remembrancers of them in heaven. Not but that the all-seeing God of Himself knows and takes notice of all the good actions of men, and records them to perpetuity in the most faithful register of His Omniscience; but He would have His holy angels to be conscious of our good actions, not only that they might congratulate our happiness, as fellow-servants and members with us, under Christ, their and our Lord and Head, but also and especially that they might be the witnesses of His righteous judgment at the last day, when His Son shall come in His glory with millions of His holy angels to judge the world. (Bishop Bull.)

    Seeing the angels

    According to Holy Scripture, we are surrounded by angels (2 Kings 6:17; Psalms 34:7), whom God employs to defend us; but in our ordinary condition we have not the perception necessary to make us aware of their presence. For this we need a peculiar state of receptivity. That was the state of Zacharias at this time. He had been prepared for it by the sanctity of the place, by the solemnity of the service which he was about to fulfil, by his lively sympathy with those who prayed for national deliverance, and finally by the sense of his own domestic trial. (Prof. Godet.)

    Reality of the spirit world

    To me the spirit world is tangible. It is not peopled with ghosts and spectres, shadows and outlines of beings, but with persons and forms palpable to the apprehension. Its multitudes are veritable, its society natural, its language audible, its companionship real, its love distinct, its activities energetic, its life intelligent, its glory discernible; its union is not that of sameness, but of variety brought into moral harmony by the great law of love, like notes which, in themselves distinct and different, make, when combined, sweet music. Death will not level and annul those countless differences of mind and heart which make us individual here. Heaven, in all the mode and manner of expression, will abound with personality. There will be choice, and preference, and degree of affinity there. Each intellect will keep its natural bias, each heart its elections. Groups there will be, and circles; faces, known and unknown, will pass us; acquaintance will thrive on intercourse, and love deepen with knowledge; and the great underlying laws of mind and heart prevail and dominate as they do here, save in this, that sin, and all the repellance and antagonisms that it breeds, will be unknown, and holiness supply in perfect measure the opportunity and bond of brotherhood. (Murray.)

    Character of the angels

    “The very names assigned to angels,” says Dwight, “by their Creator, convey to us ideas pre-eminently pleasing, fitted to captivate the heart and exalt the imagination; ideas which dispel gloom, banish despondency, enliven hope, and awaken sincere and unmingled joy. They are living ones; beings in whom life is inherent and instinctive; who sprang up under the quickening influence of the Sun of Righteousness, beneath the morning of everlasting day; who rose, expanded, and blossomed in the uncreated beam, on the banks of the river of life, and were nourished by the waters of immortality. They are spirits, winged with activity, and formed with power, which no labour wearies and no duration impairs; their faculties always fresh and young, their exertions unceasing and wonderful, and their destination noble and delightful, without example, and without end. They are burning ones, glowing with a pure and serene, with an intense and immortal flame of Divine love; returning, without ceasing, the light and warmth which they have received from the great central Sun of the universe, reflecting with supreme beauty the image of that Divine luminary; and universally glorious, although differing from each other in glory.”

    The annunciation to Zacharias

    Ah, friends, if God were as strict to punish us for our distrust of His word as he was to punish Zacharias for his, how many of us also would He strike dumb! Who knows but that some of the calamities which befall us are really punishments for our own unbelief? This incident of the annunciation to Zacharias is rich in lessons. I will mention but two. First, the ministration of angels. In fact, the Bible from beginning to end is radiant with angels. And as it was in the past, so it is to-day. Angels are still ministers of God, executing His will alike in the physical and in the spiritual world. What though we do not see angels? It does not follow that, because they are invisible, they are therefore, according to our scientific tests, unreal or inoperative. In fact, it is the invisible things which are the most real. Did any human being ever see the Holy Spirit? Yet what Christian doubts His existence? Were our spiritual eyes open, as were the eyes of Elisha’s servant at Dothan, doubtless we also would see all around us horses and chariots of fire circling to protect us. Lastly: Hours of worship are hours of angels’ annunciation. Not that we may ever expect in this teen of the world to behold visions of angels; for ours it is to have something better than to have glimpses of supernatural figures; ours it is to have the presence of the Holy Spirit Himself.


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    These files are public domain.
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    Bibliography
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 1:11". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

    And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right hand side of the altar of incense.

    An angel of the Lord ... appeared ... Note that the angel did not approach; he just appeared, visibly manifested in an instant of time. The reality of the angelic creation is everywhere assumed and taught in the New Testament. Jesus himself frequently mentioned the angels of God; and those who believe in Jesus find in his holy words full authority for receiving all that the New Testament relates with regard to them. (For an essay on the subject of angels, see my Commentary on Hebrews, Hebrews 1:14).

    The right hand side ... This was the north side of the altar; and the inclusion of such details indicates that Luke's research had extended far enough to discover such circumstantial knowledge as this. Scholars have been quick to point out that in this section the precise, elegant Greek preface (Luke 1:1-4) has been replaced by a style of language steeped in the traditions, religion, and psychological attitude of the Hebrews, a style which it would have been impossible for any man to improvise, showing how carefully Luke had researched these events. Some have tried to explain this by supposing "that St. Luke is here using a Hebrew document";[14] but such a supposition is sheer unadulterated imagination. As is also evident, later in the chapter, and with regard to Mary, "The psychological detail Luke gives indicates he may have INTERVIEWED Mary, as later passages will confirm."[15] Of course, the same is true here.

    [14] J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 737.

    [15] Anthony Lee Ash, The Gospel according to Luke (Austin, Texas: Sweet Publishing Company, 1972), p. 36.


    Copyright Statement
    James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

    Bibliography
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord,.... Gabriel, as seem's manifest from Luke 1:19 the same angel that had appeared to Daniel, about the time of the evening oblation, near five hundred years before, and gave him an account of the time of the Messiah's coming, Daniel 9:21. The Jews sometimes speak of divine and wonderful appearances to their priests, at such times, and in such places:

    "it is a tradition that R. Ishmael ben Elishah should say, one time I went in, להקטיר קטרת, "to burn incense": and I saw Actariel (one of the names of God with them) the Lord, the Lord of hosts, who was sitting on a throne, high and lifted up.F13T. Bab. Berncot, fol. 7. 1. .

    And so they say of Simeon the just, that there was always an appearance when he went into the holy of holies; it is related thusF14T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 42. 3. :

    "Simeon the just, ministered unto Israel in the high priesthood, forty years; and in the last year, he said to them, I shall die this year: they said to him, from whence dost thou know it? He replied to them, every year that I have entered into the holy of holies, there was, זקן אחד, "one old man" clothed in white, and veiled in white, that went in with me, and came out with me; and this year he went in with me, but did not come out with me.

    And according to JosephusF15De Bello Jud. l. 13. c. 18. , the high priest Hyrcanus received an oracle, or answer from God, as he was offering incense; so that the Jews ought not to discredit such an appearance to Zacharias:

    standing on the right side of the altar of incense; of which, see Exodus 30:1 the situation of it, according to the Jews, was thisF16T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 33. 2. :

    "the table (of showbread) was in the north, two cubits and a half distant from the wall; and the candlestick was in the south, two cubits and a half distant from the wall; and the altar (of incense) was in the middle, and stood between them.

    And to

    "this agrees the account of MaimonidesF17Hilch. Beth Habbechira, c. 1. sect. 7. , who says, the candlestick was on the south, on the left hand, as you go in; and the table of shewbread on the right hand, and both of them on the side of the holy of holies without; and the altar of incense was between them both without.

    So that it was on the north side that the angel stood,


    Copyright Statement
    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

    Bibliography
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    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 (Matthew 25:33) [Schottgen and Westein in Meyer]; compare Mark 16:5.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

    John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

    11. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

    [There appeared unto him an angel of the Lord.] It might be a reasonable doubt whether ever there had appeared an angel in the Temple, even in the first, when elsewhere the appearance of angels was so very familiar, much less in the second, when every thing of that nature had so perfectly ceased, till now that the gospel began to dawn and shine out.

    What we find related concerning Simeon the just, how "for those forty years wherein he had served as high priest, he had seen an angel clothed in white coming into the Holy Place on the day of Expiation, and going out again: only his last year he saw him come in, but did not see him go out again; which gave him to understand that he was to die that year": we may suppose this invented rather for the honour of the man than that any such thing happened for the greater solemnity of the day.

    [Standing on the right side of the altar of incense.] "It is a tradition. The table [of the shewbread] was on the north side, distant from the wall two cubits and a half. The candlestick on the south, distant from the wall two cubits and a half. The altar [of incense] placed in the middle and drawn out a little towards the east."

    So that the angel standing on the right side of the altar stood on the north side: on which side if there were an entrance into the Holy of Holies, as R. Chaninah thinks, then we may suppose the angel, by a sudden appearance, came out from the Holy of Holies.


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    Bibliography
    Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-1.html. 1675.

    People's New Testament

    An angel. His name was Gabriel (Luke 1:19). This is the first messenger of the New Dispensation.

    The altar of incense. It was of cedar, overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:20; 1 Chronicles 28:18), was a cubit (about two feet) in length and breadth, and two cubits high; it stood in the Holy Place before the veil which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

    Bibliography
    Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-1.html. 1891.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Appeared (ωπτηōphthē). First aorist passive indicative. It is the form used by Paul of the resurrection appearances of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). There is no use in trying to explain away the reality of the angel. We must choose between admitting an objective appearance and a myth (Plummer).


    Copyright Statement
    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

    Bibliography
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    The Fourfold Gospel

    And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord1 standing on the right side2 of altar of incense.

    1. An angel of the Lord. One of God's invisible messengers who came visibly (2 Kings 6:17; Psalms 34:7). Luke frequently tells of the ministration of angels (Luke 1:26; Luke 2:9,13,21; Luke 12:8; Luke 15:10; Luke 16:22; Luke 22:43; Luke 24:4,23). They are also often mentioned in the Book of Acts (Acts 5:19; Acts 8:26; Acts 10:3,7,22; Acts 11:13 Acts 12:7,8,9; Acts 12:10,11,15,23; Acts 27:23). There had been no appearance of an angel for about four hundred years.

    2. Standing on the right side. The place of honor and dignity (Acts 7:56).

    3. Of the altar of incense. The altar on which Zacharias was burning incense. It stood in the Holy Place in front of the veil which hung between the holy and the most holy places. It was a small table twenty-two inches in breadth and length and forty-four inches in height. It was made of acacia wood, and overlaid with gold (Exodus 37:25).


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

    Bibliography
    J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

    Ver. 11. Standing on the right side of the altar] As Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua to molest him, Zechariah 3:1, so stand the angels at our right hand, in the public assemblies especially, to withstand him. And to signify this, the curtains of the tabernacle were wrought full of cherubims within and without.


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    Bibliography
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Luke 1:11. There appeared unto him an angel It is altogether uncertain whether this happened at the morning or evening sacrifice. Grotius thinks it was in the morning; others fancy it was in the evening; but neither opinion is properly supported. It is observable from the rabbinical writings, that these divine appearances used generally to be made at the time of burning incense.


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    Bibliography
    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-1.html. 1801-1803.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    Whilst Zacharias was praying to God, an angel appears to Zacharias: When we are nearest God, the good angels are nighest us: they are most with us when we are most with him. The presence of angels with us is no novelty, but their apparition to us is so. They are always with us, but rarely seen by us. Let our faith see them, whom our senses cannot discern: their assumed shapes do not make them more present, but only more visible.

    Observe, 1. The place as well as the time where the angel appeared, in the temple and at the altar, and on the right side of the altar of incense. As the holy angels are always present with us in our devotions, so especially in religious assemblies; as in all places, so most of all in God's house; they rejoice to be with us whilst we are with God, but they turn their faces from us when we go about our sins.


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    Bibliography
    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-1.html. 1700-1703.

    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    11.] The altar of incense, Exodus 30:1, must not be confounded with the large altar of burnt-offering: that stood outside the holy place, in the court of the priests. It was during the sacrifice on the great altar that the daily burning of the incense took place: one of the two priests, whose lot it was to offer incense, brought fire from off the altar of burnt-offering to the altar of incense, and then left the other priest there alone,—who, on a signal from the priest presiding at the sacrifice, kindled the incense: see Exodus 40:5; Exodus 40:26.

    This is no vision, but an actual angelic appearance. The right is the favourable side: see Matthew 25:33. “We must understand the right as regarded the officiating priest, who stood with his face to the altar. It would thus be on the N. side of the holy place, where the table of shew-bread stood, whereas on the S. side was the golden candlestick.” Bleek.


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    Bibliography
    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-1.html. 1863-1878.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Luke 1:11. ἄγγελος, an angel) the name of whom was afterwards communicated to Zacharias, Luke 1:19.


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    Bibliography
    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-1.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Though we translate it appeared, yet in the Greek it is, there was seen of him. An angel indeed was there; whether the angel Gabriel or not, or in what form he appeared, it is not said. It is by some observed, that until the Urim and Thummim ceased, no angel appeared to any priest executing his office; after this, it is observed by others, that most appearances of angels to the priests were when they were employed in their service in the temple.


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    Bibliography
    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    Angel of the Lord; it had been about four hundred years since God had sent the Jews a prophet, or made to them any direct revelation. Malachi was the last, and with him the Old Testament revelation closed. As the Messiah was about to appear, divine communications were again opened, and this angel was sent to announce his approach, the birth of his forerunner, and what he would do to "prepare the way of the Lord."


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    Bibliography
    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

    11. ἄγγελος. The ὤφθη implies an objective vision. St Luke dwells more than any of the Evangelists on the ministry of angels, Luke 1:26, Luke 2:9; Luke 2:13; Luke 2:21, Luke 12:8, Luke 15:10, Luke 16:22, Luke 22:43, Luke 24:4; Luke 24:23, and frequently in the Acts. Compare the visions at the births of Isaac, Samson, and Samuel.

    ἐκ δεξιῶν. i.e. on the South side. It was the propitious side, so to speak, Mark 16:5; Matthew 25:33; and ib. Schöttgen, Hor. Hebr.

    τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου. A small movable table of acacia wood overlaid with gold. See Exodus 30:1-38; Exodus 37:25; 1 Kings 7:48. In Hebrews 9:4 the word may possibly mean ‘censer.’


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    Bibliography
    "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of altar of incense.’

    And then suddenly, alone in the semi-darkness, there in that outer sanctuary lit only by the seven-branched lampstand, Zacharias received a terrible shock. For it was obligatory for the sanctuary to be empty at the time of the offering of the incense, and yet in the dim light he became aware of a figure, standing to the right of the golden altar of incense, the side of privilege. And he was not dressed as a priest. There was an intruder in the sanctuary.


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    Bibliography
    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-1.html. 2013.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    11. Angel of the Lord—See note on Matthew 1:20. The appearance of this angel is the opening of the miraculous dispensation of grace.

    On the right side of the altar—Zacharias at the proper signal ascending the steps behind the Great Altar, passes through the Porch, and walking the gilded floor, (for ceiling, walls, and probably floor, were sheeted with a complete overlay of gold,) approaches the altar upon which the censer has been placed. In this sanctuary no glare of day ever penetrates; but from the golden chandelier, with its seven branches crowned with lamps, pours a blaze of golden light over the golden altar and table, filling the golden room with richest splendour. The column of incense rises to soften the light and fill the air with fragrance. In this scene of dim magnificence a more than mortal form presents itself to the eye of Zacharias. Between the candlestick (8) and the Golden Altar (7) stands the angel Gabriel on the right side of the altar, (not on Zacharias’s right hand,) and, therefore, on the south side of the altar and on the right side of God, whose Shekinah, or Presence, once dwelt between the cherubim in the Most Holy, or Holy of Holies. This is the post of divine honour suitable to the being who announces that the age of Christ has approached, and that his harbinger is now to be born.

    Though the system of miraculous revelation ceased with the closing canon, yet, if we may believe the Jewish historians, there were exceptional manifestations made in the Holy of Holies, or in the Holy Place, at this same Altar of Incense, to former priests. Ezra, the inspired Scribe, upon the return from the Captivity, established the Great Synagogue, consisting of one hundred and twenty grave and holy men, among whose presidents are enumerated Haggai, Zechariah, and Zerubbabel, which lasted one hundred and twenty years, terminating with the close of the presidency of the renowned Simon the Just, who died about 320 years before Christ. This was specially the age of the Soferim or Scribes. Simon the Just, it is related, filled the High Priesthood forty-nine years; and in the last year he said, “I shall die this year; for every year that I have entered the Holy of Holies there has been an Ancient One, זקז אהד, clothed in white, and veiled in white, that entered and came out with me; this year he entered but came not out.” Josephus narrates of the High Priest Hyrcanus, that upon the day that his sons fought at Cyzicenus, he was offering incense in the temple alone, and he heard a voice declaring that they had just conquered Antiochus; and this, going forward from the temple, he announced to the people in front. The annunciation was verified by the result.


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    Bibliography
    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Luke 1:11. Appeared to him. An actual angelic appearance. The pious priest, engaged in this high duty, alone in the holiest spot into which he could enter, at the most sacred moment, would be in a state of religious susceptibility; but the revelation itself came from without, from a personal spirit sent by God. The presence of angels in the place dedicated to God, even at such a time of corruption, is suggestive.

    On the right side of the altar of incense. Probably on the right of Zacharias: the right side (comp. Matthew 25:33), indicative of a blessing, was in this case the north side of the altar, where the table of the shew-bread stood. ‘The temple, so often the scene of the manifestation of the glory of the Lord, becomes again the centre, whence the first rays of light secretly break through the darkness.’


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    Bibliography
    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-1.html. 1879-90.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Luke 1:11. ὤφθη: the appearance very particularly described, the very position of the angel indicated: on the right side of the altar of incense; the south side, the propitious side say some, the place of honour say others. The altar of incense is called, with reference to its function, θυμιατήριον in Hebrews 9:3.


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    Bibliography
    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    appeared. App-106. an angel. For the frequent references to angels in Luke, see Luke 1:26; Luke 2:9, Luke 2:13, Luke 2:21; Luke 12:8; Luke 15:10; Luke 16:22; Luke 22:43; Luke 24:4, Luke 24:23. Also frequently in Acts.

    on = at. Greek ek. App-104.

    the right side = the propitious side. Compare Matthew 25:33. Mark 16:5. John 21:6.

    the altar of incense. See Exodus 30:1-10; Exodus 37:25-28. 1 Kings 7:48


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    Bibliography
    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-1.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

    And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord - not while at home, but in the act of discharging his sacerdotal duties; yet not when engaged outside at the altar of burnt offering, but during his week of inside-service, and so while alone with God. It is impossible not to observe here a minuteness of providential arrangement, proclaiming in every detail the hand of Him who as "wonderful in counsel and excellent in working."

    Standing [the attitude of service], on the right side of the altar of incense - i:e., the south side, between the golden altar and the candlestick or lampstand; Zacharias being on the north side, and fronting the altar as he offered the incense. Why did the angel appear on the right side? Because, say some, the right was regarded as the favourable side [Schottgen, and Wetstein in Meyer]. See Matthew 25:33; and cf. Mark 16:5. But perhaps it was only to make the object more visible.


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    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (11) The altar of incense.—The altar stood just in front of the veil that divided the outer sanctuary from the Holy of Holies. It was made of shittim wood, and overlaid with gold, both symbols of incorruption (Exodus 30:1-7; Exodus 40:5; Exodus 40:26). Its position connected it so closely with the innermost sanctuary that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 9:4; but see Note there) seems to reckon it as belonging to that, and not unto the outer. It symbolised accordingly the closest approach to God which was then possible for any but the high priest, when, in his typical character, he entered the Holy of Holies on the day of Atonement.


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    Bibliography
    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
    appeared
    19,28; 2:10; Judges 13:3,9; Acts 10:3,4; Hebrews 1:14
    the altar
    Exodus 30:1-6; 37:25-29; 40:26,27; Leviticus 16:13; Revelation 8:3,4; 9:13

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    Bibliography
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    An angel of the Lord appeared. Gabriel (Luke 1:19).


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    Bibliography
    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 1:11". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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