Read Leviticus 10:1-2. TEXT: And there appeared to him (Zechariah) an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense (Luke 1:11).
Zechariah is on cloud nine as he steps into the temple. Yet as awesome and splendid as the temple itself is, Zechariah sees something few priests before him ever saw when they stood inside the temple. Beside the altar of incense is a glorious angel of the Lord. Standing in the presence of the holy angel he feels his deep guilt and uncleanness. Terror fills his heart.
Maybe you have had a moment like that-a moment of incredible guilt and remorse, exposed to your friends and family. Zechariah is trembling in terror, wondering if this moment will be his last. The shepherds will have this exact same reaction on Christmas night when another angel bursts through the darkness of night to announce the birth of God's Son, the Christ.
In the same way, the thought of stepping through the door into God's presence in heaven at the end of our life is exhilarating-exhilarating, that is, until we stop and realize our sinful guilt. Not a single one of us is worthy on our own account to stand before our holy God.
But that is precisely why God sent His Son that first Christmas: to take away our sin and make us worthy to stand before Him throughout eternity.
THE PRAYER: Lord God, it is a frightening thing for a sinner to come into the presence of a holy angel-even more to stand before You. Thank You for sending Jesus to take away the sin of the world. Grant me faith that I may stand before You in righteousness and holiness all my days-and especially on that great day. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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