In Luke 1:68–69, Zechariah says under the influence of the Holy Spirit:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,"
ESV uses past perfect tense: "has visited and redeemed" as well as "has raised up."
From the context of the rest of his prophetic prayer of praise, some might infer that Zechariah refers here only to God saving physically, by His presence or intervention in the past.
God was silent for about 400 years before sending Gabriel to Zechariah and then Mary.
Did Zechariah grasp the spiritual implication of the salvation that was at hand from reading "the prophets from of old" (70) through whom God had spoken?
He speaks of promises in regard to being "saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;" (71)
But this had a spiritual purpose:
"that we...might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days." (74–75)
He also says that his son, John,
will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Zechariah had nine months to study what Gabriel had said and what was recorded by the prophets of old.
1) What did he understand about spiritual salvation and the Lord's visitation through the child to be born to Mary? (He likely heard her account of Gabriel's visit to her during the three months that she stayed with them.)
2) What specific prophesies in the Old Testament, and fulfillments during Jesus' first advent, can be connected with Zechariah's prophecy?