Angelic Activity Around the Birth of Messiah
Dec 26th, 2005
by Priscilla Van Sutphin   goinupstream@hotmail.com
www.upstreamca.org      www.blogtalkradio.com/Upstream

I was in the bathroom and smelled a wonderful flowery scent, and heard “Angelic Activity Around the birth of Jesus.”  Then went to the scriptures to see what God wanted to say through this.  I felt He wants us to look at all this because there is going to be an increase in angelic activity in our lives and if we are obedient like Mary and Joseph, we will be greatly blessed and PROTECTED.  For there is also one in this hour who seeks to destroy what God is birthing in us.

First is the story of John the Baptist and this is important because it was the angel Gabriel who appeared to Zachariah and to Mary the mother of Yeshua…

Luke 1:5-80  AMP

5 In the days when Herod was king of Judea there was a certain priest whose name was Zachariah, of the daily service (the division) of Abia; and his wife was also a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.  6 And they both were righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
7   But they had no child, for Elizabeth was barren; and both were far advanced in years.
8   Now while on duty, serving as priest before God in the order of his division,
9   As was the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter [the sanctuary of] the temple of the Lord and burn incense. [Ex 30:7.]  10   And all the throng of people were praying outside [in the court] at the hour of incense [burning].

Picture this, that there is this couple and they have long given up having a child because of barreness, and impossibility of pregnancy for they have grown old. And then suddenly…

11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.12 And when Zachariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear took possession of him. 13  But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John [God is favorable].

Angels come as messengers, and here we find as in most of the bible, they aren’t cute, they aren’t something toyed with when they can be seen, because they are FEARSOME to behold.  They reflect the glory of the ONE WHO sent them.  And he brings a message of HOPE and promise, that a son WILL be born to Elizabeth. This is much like Sarah’s story.

14  And you shall have joy and exultant delight, and many will rejoice over his birth,
15For he will be great and distinguished in the sight of the Lord. And he must drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit even in and from his mother's womb. [Num 6:3.]  16 And he will turn back and cause to return many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God,

The angel tells the father not only information, but instructions on how to raise him, and tells him his son will be filled and controlled by Ruach Ha Kodesh even from his womb !  I don’t know about you, but that alone would fill me with awe and trembling.

This is important because many say that God cannot do this or that BEFORE one gives his heart to GOD.  But here we see GOD makes a choice…does a miracle conception and birth of a child who will become the one to prepare the way of the Lord for that generation.  Note it is GOD WHO chooses men; and this in a very miraculous way.  Holy Spirit will control him even from birth.  And so it is with many as far as destiny in this age who are being prepared to lead people to Christ in this hour.  For the hour of His coming is close at hand. They have been prepared even when it seems like they are not for the hour to come.  And many will be suddenly changed into new men and women for sake of end times Harvest that is at the door.

16And he will [himself] go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn back the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient and incredulous and unpersuadable to the wisdom of the upright [which is the knowledge and holy love of the will of God]--in order to make ready for the Lord a people [perfectly] prepared [in spirit, adjusted and disposed and placed in the right moral state]. [Isa 40:3; Mal 4:5,6.]

Somehow we think this generations is unsalvageable, but God is not mocked and He is able with a touch, to change anyone, for NOTHING is impossible with God !  He is able to change the incredulous and unpersuadable to the wisdom of the upright !

18 And Zachariah said to the angel, “By what shall I know and be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
19 And the angel replied to him, I am Gabriel. I stand in the [very] presence of God, and I have been sent to talk to you and to bring you this good news. [Dan 8:16; 9:21.]
20 Now behold, you will be and  will continue to be silent and not able to speak till the day when these things take place, because you have not believed what I told you; but my words are of a kind which will be fulfilled in the appointed and proper time.   21 Now the people kept waiting for Zachariah, and they wondered at his delaying [so long] in the sanctuary.  22 But when he did come out, he was unable to speak to them; and they [clearly] perceived that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary; and he kept making signs to them, still he remained dumb.

      So dumbness here, inability to speak was chastisement for UNBELIEF !
This is the angel Gabriel speaking who is also about to go speak to a young virgin some startling words and you will note the difference in response in her as we get to that.

23 And when his time of performing priestly functions was ended, he returned to his [own] house.   24 Now after this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant, and for five months she secluded herself entirely, saying, [I have hid myself]   25 Because thus the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He deigned to look on me to take away my reproach among men. [Gen 30:23; Isa 4:1.]

26 Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth,  27   To a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]!  The Lord is with you!   Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!  29 But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean.  30  And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace ( free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God.   31 And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus.

32 He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David,   33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end. [Isa 9:6,7; Dan 2:44.]    34  And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband?
35   Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. [Ex 40:34; Isa 7:14.]   36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren.  37   For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. 

38Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.

This is most remarkable considering that if she were pregnant without husband the consequences would be quite difficult in those days. She would bear great reproach for not having husband and could be stoned to death.  But the angel told her SHE would give birth.
So from that alone she would know that the other outcome was not going to happen.  If an angel of the Lord says…this will happen, it WILL HAPPEN !  I love Heidi Baker’s take on this whole thing.  She shared how she imagined saying to the angel…”You’re very terrifyingly beautiful angel, but  I don’t think so.”  Maybe she could have said that…and chances are many girls in our age would.  But instead, I believe she was GRANTED GRACE to say, BE it done unto me, according to Your will.   I have experienced that kind of GRACE many times.

I remember when my ex husband had a dream that we would go to Russia and it would be that we HAD to go quickly and we never returned.  And out of my mouth came “ To live is Christ, to die is gain”  and I remember very well it was coming from my spirit man, certainly NOT my flesh.  That is GRACE given.  Even Heidi speaks of this when she was offered a beautiful purple robe to wear or a burlap one…and she wanted the purple, but out she blurted, THAT ONE pointing to the burlap robe which represented HUMILITY.  THAT is God’s great GRACE !  We can do nothing apart  from HIM.

39  And at that time Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country to a town of Judah,  40  And she went to the house of Zachariah and, entering it, saluted Elizabeth.
41  And it occurred that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit.  42 And she cried out with a loud cry, and then exclaimed, Blessed (favored of God) above all other women are you! And blessed (favored of God) is the Fruit of your womb! 43 And how [have I deserved that this honor should] be granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?   44 For behold, the instant the sound of your salutation reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  45 And blessed (happy, to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord.

Again…great grace in the form of prophetic utterance explodes as these two women meet.

46 And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord,  47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,   48 For He has looked upon the low station and humiliation of His handmaiden. For behold, from now on all generations [of all ages] will call me blessed and declare me happy and  to be envied!   49 For He Who is almighty has done great things for me--and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]!   50 And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age. [Ps 103:17.]  

51 He has shown strength and  made might with His arm; He has scattered the proud and haughty in and by the imagination and purpose and designs of their hearts.  52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree. 53 He has filled and satisfied the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty-handed [without a gift].  54 He has laid hold on His servant Israel [to help him, to espouse his cause], in remembrance of His mercy,   55 Even as He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. [Gen 17:7; 18:18; 22:17; 1 Sam 2:1-10; Mic 7:20.]

56  And Mary remained with her [Elizabeth] for about three months and [then] returned to her [own] home.  57  Now the time that Elizabeth should be delivered came, and she gave birth to a son.  58  And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy on her, and they rejoiced with her.

59  And it occurred that on the eighth day, when they came to circumcise the child, they were intending to call him Zachariah after his father, [Gen 17:12; Lev 12:3.]
60  But his mother answered, Not so! But he shall be called John.
61  And they said to her, None of your relatives is called by that name.
62  And they inquired with signs to his father [as to] what he wanted to have him called.

63  Then Zachariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote, His name is John. And they were all astonished.  64  And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak, blessing and praising and thanking God.  65   And awe and reverential fear came on all their neighbors; and all these things were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.

It becomes evident the work of angels is all around when over and over you see prophetic
Declarations and utterances coming from the lips of all in this scenario.

66   And all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, Whatever will this little boy be then? For the hand of the Lord was [so evidently] with him [protecting and aiding him].  67   Now Zachariah his father was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,  68   Blessed (praised and extolled and thanked) be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and brought deliverance and redemption to His people!
69 And He has raised up a Horn of salvation [a mighty and valiant Helper, the Author of salvation] for us in the house of David His servant--70 This is as He promised by the mouth of His holy prophets from the most ancient times [in the memory of man]--71  That we should have deliverance and be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who detest and pursue us with hatred;    72  To make true and show the mercy and compassion and kindness [promised] to our forefathers and to remember and carry out His holy covenant [to bless, which is all the more sacred because it is made by God Himself],   73 That covenant He sealed by oath to our forefather Abraham:  74 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our foes, might serve Him fearlessly   75   In holiness (divine consecration) and righteousness [in accordance with the everlasting principles of right] within His presence all the days of our lives.

76 And you, little one, shall be called a prophet of the Most High; for you shall go on before the face of the Lord to make ready His ways, [Isa 40:3; Mal 4:5.]   77 To bring and give the knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness and remission of their sins.  78 Because of and through the heart of tender mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit [us]  [Mal 4:2.]
79To shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace. [Isa 9:2.]  80 And the little boy grew and became strong in spirit; and he was in the deserts (wilderness) until the day of his appearing to Israel [the commencement of his public ministry].

This is important to note that he was in the WILDERNESS [ HIDDEN ] until the day of his commissioning to the work of the Lord and being revealed to the nation.  This is evident in this hour as well. Many have been hidden until this time in relative obscurity until the time of their catapulting into ministry/fullness of what God has for them.

Matt 1:18-25  Amp

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place under these circumstances: When His mother Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be pregnant [through the power] of the Holy Spirit.    19 And her [promised] husband Joseph, being a just and upright man and not willing to expose her publicly and to shame and disgrace her, decided to repudiate and dismiss (divorce) her quietly and secretly.
20 But as he was thinking this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary [as] your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of (from, out of) the Holy Spirit.   21 She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].

Now just imagine being Joseph.  Talk about a paradigm shift. NEVER was it known that a woman would be overshadowed and made pregnant by the Almighty GOD !!!  Such a thing had never taken place…so how hard would it be to understand all this and to adapt to what you are being told ?  I imagine these two to have gone through a lot of gossip being thrown around about them, and talking behind their back, judging , etc…before the birth of Jesus and even after.  I wonder how many other children chided Jesus for being a “bastard”.  After all people tend to think always in earthly terms and not heavenly…or spiritually.

22 All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet,  23 Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel--which, when translated, means, God with us. [Isa 7:14.]   24 Then Joseph, being aroused from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him: he took [her to his side as] his wife.   25 But he had no union with her as her husband until she had borne her firstborn Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Luke 2:4-39 AMP
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
5 To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused ( married) wife, who was about to become a mother. [Matt 1:18-25.]  6 And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,
7 And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.
8 And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night.

9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened.  10 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.  11 For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! [Mic 5:2.]  12 And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. [1 Sam 2:34; 2 Kings 19:29; Isa 7:14.]

Now did those shepherds forget ? Did the people who saw the stars and angels rationalize it all away later on ?  Because we see them wanting to stone him when he comes to the temple declaring His commission later on in scripture.

13 Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven ( a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying, 14  Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing ( saying) that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.  16 So they went with haste and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it,
they made known what had been told them concerning this Child,  18 And all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary was keeping within herself all these things ( sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them.

When I was in Jerusalem I stayed with Simantov and Linda in Har Homa which is where the angels appeared to the shepherds.  Bethlehem is just a short ways off.
It was amazing to imagine I was lying in bed in a room over the place where they
announced the birth of Messiah !  Here they had proclaimed peace on earth.  But the last three nights there I could not sleep but only PRAY in tongues.  Har homa is like an island with Arab villages all around. The enemy is always at their gates.  Peace
is something much needed now.

21 And at the end of eight days, when [the Baby] was to be circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the time for their purification [the mother's purification and the Baby's dedication] came according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord-- [Lev 12:1-4.]   23 As it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every [firstborn] male that opens the womb shall be set apart and dedicated and called holy to the Lord-- [Ex 13:1,2,12; Num 8:17.]

24 And [they came also] to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. [Lev 12:6-8.]  25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout [cautiously and carefully observing the divine Law], and looking for the Consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.   26 And it had been divinely revealed (communicated) to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).
27 And prompted by the [Holy] Spirit, he came into the temple [enclosure]; and when the parents brought in the little child Jesus to do for Him what was customary according to the Law,  28    [Simeon] took Him up in his arms and praised and thanked God and said,
29 And now, Lord, You are releasing Your servant to depart (leave this world) in peace, according to Your word.  30 For with my [own] eyes I have seen Your Salvation, [Isa 52:10.]   31  Which You have ordained and prepared before (in the presence of) all peoples,
32  A Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was before unknown] and [to bring] praise and honor and glory to Your people Israel. [Isa 42:6; 49:6.]  33   And His [legal] father and [His] mother were marveling at what was said about Him.
34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against-- [Isa 8:14,15.]   35 And a sword will pierce through your own soul also--that the secret thoughts and purposes of many hearts may be brought out and disclosed.

Again prophetic utterance comes upon Simeon as he holds little baby Jesus in his arms,and confirms again what the angels had told Mary and Joseph previously and adds a bit to it – how a sword will pierce her heart.

36 And there was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having lived with her husband seven years from her maidenhood, [Josh 19:24.]  37 And as a widow even for eighty-four years. She did not go out from the temple enclosure, but was worshiping night and day with fasting and prayer. 38 And she too came up at that same hour, and she returned thanks to God and talked of [Jesus] to all who were looking for the redemption (deliverance) of Jerusalem.  39  And when they had done everything according to the Law of the Lord, they went back into Galilee to their own town, Nazareth.

Here is a nobody by modern terms, an elderly woman prophetess, who also confirms the revelation of Jesus as Messiah.  She is living her life with fasting and prayer and not one recognized as important by the established church, but well known to the people.  Isn’t it interesting that Mary and Joseph get their confirmation and encouragement and words from those thought to be less than in the eyes of the “established church ?”

Matt 2:1-9  AMP
1    NOW WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [astrologers] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking,  2 Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east at its rising and have come to worship Him. [Num 24:17; Jer 23:5; Zech 9:9.]   3 When Herod the king heard this, he was disturbed and troubled, and the whole of Jerusalem with him.
4   So he called together all the chief priests and learned men (scribes) of the people and anxiously asked them where the Christ was to be born.  5 They replied to him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:  6   And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are not in any way least or insignificant among the chief cities of Judah; for from you shall come a Ruler ( Leader) Who will govern and  shepherd My people Israel. [Mic 5:2.]

7 Then Herod sent for the wise men [astrologers] secretly, and accurately to the last point ascertained from them the time of the appearing of the star [that is, how long the star had made itself visible since its rising in the east].  8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search for the Child carefully and diligently, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.
Of course Herod was lying through his teeth to the wise men.  And praise the Lord HE sends angels to impress them NOT to return to Herod or the same way so as to keep Jesus hidden.  This shows us also that no matter what comes against us in this move of God where He is birthing Christ in us, that NOTHING can stop it. Nothing can hinder what HE has designed to happen.  He protects what He is establishing.

9 When they had listened to the king, they went their way, and behold, the star which had been seen in the east in its rising went before them until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was.  10 When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy.
11   And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts--gold and frankincense and myrrh.

12   And receiving an answer to their asking, they were divinely instructed and warned in a dream not to go back to Herod; so they departed to their own country by a different way.
13Now after they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Get up! [Tenderly] take unto you the young Child and His mother and flee to Egypt; and remain there till I tell you [otherwise], for Herod intends to search for the Child in order to destroy Him.  14 And having risen, he took the Child and His mother by night and withdrew to Egypt 15 And remained there until Herod's death. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called My Son. [Hos 11:1.]

Again Joseph is warned by an angel in a dream to escape with Mary and Jesus because
Herod wants to destroy Him.

Matt 2:16-23
16 Then Herod, when he realized that he had been misled by the wise men, was furiously enraged, and he sent and put to death all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that territory who were two years old and under, reckoning according to the date which he had investigated diligently and had learned exactly from the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:  18 A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they were no more. [Jer 31:15.]

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt   20 And said, Rise, [tenderly] take unto you the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the Child's life are dead.  21 Then he awoke and arose and [tenderly] took the Child and His mother and came into the land of Israel.  22   But because he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in the place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being divinely warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee.   23 He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled: He shall be called a Nazarene [Branch, Separated one]. [Isa 11:1.]
       Again it is an ANGEL sent to tell Joseph when to return to Israel from Egypt. Which also tells us to WAIT on the LORD and be very dependent on HIM before doing anything when He has not said to do so.