God was quiet for 400 years. During that dark time, there was much corruption but Malachi announces that the Sun will wise again.
When he spoke again, sending Gabriel, it was a message sent to Elizabeth’s husband Zachariah, announcing the birth of John the Baptist, the one to announce the coming of the savior. Following that was the message to Mary, and then Joseph about the virgin birth of Jesus.
Herod was ruler, claiming the title “King of the Jews.” He was a cruel, jealous and wicked man, killing his sons for fear of losing the throne. He did refurbish the temple with beautiful, expensive details.
Zachariah was a country priest, married to the daughter of a priest, from the line of Aaron. Elizabeth had been barren…which indicated sin to the community, although the Bible, Luke 1:7, describes them as blameless. They were fairly old, in their 80’s, making this news of a coming baby all the more hard to believe.
Zachariah means “God remembers”
Elizabeth means “Promise of God”
For many years they waited and waited for a child, and at a time when they would have given up on the hope of children, one comes.
Luke 1:8, Zachariah is called in to do his duty of watching over the holy place inside the temple. Frankensense would have been offered over the fire, producing a sweet cloud, rising as prayer to God. Same spice offered to Jesus at s birth. This is when God sends Gabriel to speak, telling Zacharias that his son would be coming. John means “the grace of God.”