His wings shuddered with reverence in the presence of the Shekinah glory of the Almighty Creator. By the time they reached the altar of incense, Eldwyn’s very nature drew him to the ground. He fell prostrate before the curtain of the Holy of Holies. Though to the humans the curtain separated the priest from the manifest presence of God within the inner sanctuary, in the spiritual domain nothing contained His glory. In the brilliance of the Creator, Eldwyn’s snow-white robe, with its red blazoned cross on the front, appeared as black as his fallen brothers that followed Lucifer in his rebellion.
The fragrant aroma of the incense rose from the altar and brought joy to Eldwyn. Soon he sensed another presence in the sanctuary with them. A towering angelic form bowed prostrate next to him. He glanced to his left and shock rippled through him. “General? What brings you here today?”
“I have a message to deliver to your charge,” said Gabriel, General of the Heavenly Host.
“Good news, I pray.”
“Yes, I believe he will find it so.” Gabriel stood and faced Zechariah. The air chilled briefly as he took physical form.
Zechariah saw him standing next to him and nearly fell into the curtain. Eldwyn stabilized him with a wing over his shoulder.
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah,” said Gabriel, “because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth.” Gabriel went on to give instruction and insight about the child to Zechariah.
Eldwyn felt both exuberant joy and unexplained sorrow at the declaration that the prophecies long foretold by Isaiah regarding the coming Messiah were at last coming to pass. Soon there would be no need for this building. The True Sacrifice would enter the world and Zechariah’s son would have the honor of proclaiming his coming.
“How can I know this?” asked Zechariah. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”
Eldwyn looked up at his General. “They have heard the stories passed down through generations. He has even taught them. Yet, it is so difficult to accept that God would do the miraculous for oneself.”
Gabriel looked back to Zechariah. “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. Now listen!” His voice resonated within the sanctuary. “You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
Zechariah’s eyes sheened over as he simply nodded his acceptance of the judgment.
Gabriel transitioned back to the unseen domain. “He is a good man.” Gabriel placed his hands on Eldwyn’s shoulders. “As you no doubt suspect, this is just the first of my proclamations. These are exciting times. Protect Zechariah and Elizabeth. The enemy will be intent on disrupting His will.” Gabriel walked to the entrance of the sanctuary and turned before walking out the door. “Eldwyn, remove Elizabeth’s bonds. When the child comes, untie Zechariah’s tongue. That one day his child, ‘John’ may proclaim His coming.”
That day when Zechariah left the sanctuary, the people were abuzz with excitement because he had seen a vision. Though he was unable to proclaim the good news to the masses, when he saw Elizabeth he just looked at her and wept.
Pain filled her eyes as she approached her husband. Eldwyn suspected that she wanted to run to him, to take him in her arms, to share in his experience. But, she would not touch him. Had she done anything to make him unclean? It was a risk they were unwilling to take, for reverence of his remaining service at the temple. Yet, he did manage to explain, through much non-verbal communication, the message of Gabriel. Her expression filled with awe, but not disbelief.
After Zechariah completed his service at the temple, Eldwyn accompanied him home. Elizabeth met them at the door to the home and embraced her husband. Joy overflowed from her as she welcomed her best friend home. She had waited in faith and expectation for him to return. His inability to speak fueled her belief in God’s promise.
That night Eldwyn laid his hand on Elizabeth’s abdomen and blessed the Great Physician for His promise of restoration to this wonderful woman. Eldwyn rose to the roof of their home to stand guard and ensure that their time together would pass without interference.
All Scripture from Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) - Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.