Zacharias is performing priestly duty in the temple, burning Frankincense when Gabriel appears to him.
Daniel describes Gabriel as wearing a linen robe, as a high priest would, wearing a belt of gold, with a face like lightning, his eyes like red coals, arms and feet like polished bronzed and his voice a low rumble.
Gabriel tells Zacharias what to name his son, John (the grace of God), and indicates the significance that his profession will be – great in the sight of the Lord. However he was strange in the sight of people.
Lev 10 states that priests (like John’s father) are not to drink strong drink when on duty, and so John will not drink ever, being always on duty.
Luke 1:15 – John is consecrated by the Holy Spirit while still in the womb. A picture of the HS who will fill all of those who are born again in Christ.
Luke 1:16 – John will turn the hearts of men back to God, and be the forerunner of Christ, as foretold. John’s ministry will also turn men’s hearts back to their families, and turns the disobedient back to righteousness.
Luke 1:18 – Despite being in the presence of the angel described above, Zacharias’ first words are, “How will I know?” (bringing up the advanced age of his wife and him) He asks for a sign. So he is made mute, representing the state of the Jewish nation, who had become quiet in their pursuit of God. He is unable to speak until the birth of his son.