An angel of the Lord appeared to [Zechariah], standing to the right of the altar of incense. (Luke 1:11)
Every detail matters in Scripture. Here, the angel stands to the RIGHT of the altar of incense. Why?
In this culture and many others, the right side was and is the side of favor and blessing. For example…
In Acts 7:55, Stephen the martyr sees a vision of Jesus at the right hand of the Father. In Genesis 48, Jacob the patriarch intentionally crosses his hands when blessing the two children of Joseph, his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, so that he places the right hand of blessing on the younger one.
The angel appeared on the right side of the alter. This was a sign of favor to Zechariah.
In Hebrews we see that Jesus “holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them…” (7:24b-25) and that He “sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (8:1b).
This is a sign of favor to us.