An *angel comes to Zechariah

The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 1 - The Birth of a *Saviour - Part 3

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An online Bible Study course by Barrie Wetherill about the life of Jesus. This book is in EasyEnglish Level B. Use the links below for other online Bible Study books and commentaries that will help you. Or go to the Word List, which explains words with a *star.

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Zechariah and Elizabeth

The words of the *prophets were true. What they said would happen, began to happen. There were still Jews who loved God. They were honest. They wanted to please God.

Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, loved God. Zechariah was a *priest. He was on duty at the *Temple twice a year. Zechariah and Elizabeth loved God very much. But they had no children. For Jews to have no children was very sad. They also felt ashamed. They had prayed for a child for a very long time. God did not seem to answer.

Then one day Zechariah was on duty in the *Temple. He had a very special duty. He would do this only once in his life. He had to burn incense to God at the *altar in the *Holy Place in the *Temple. [This incense would have a very lovely smell. The Jews believed that the smell carried their words to God.]

When Zechariah was doing this, an *angel suddenly appeared to him. The *angel had a message for him from God.

The *angel's message about John the Baptist

Luke 1:13: Do not be afraid, Zechariah; God has heard your prayer. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son. You are to call him John

Zechariah and Elizabeth were now old. So Zechariah could not believe the *angel’s message. The angel made him unable to speak (and probably unable to hear) until Elizabeth had her son, John. The angel said that John was to be ‘great in the sight of the Lord’ [God would think that John was great]. God would give John the *Holy Spirit. The *angel also said this.

The words of the angel referred to the *prophecy of Malachi:

Malachi 4:5, 6: See, the great day of the *Lord will come. Before that, I will send the *prophet Elijah to you. He will help fathers to love their children. And help children to love their fathers. If not, I will come. I will bring bad things to the land.

 

Luke 1:17: And he [John] will go on before the *Lord, like Elijah. [God would think that John was as great as Elijah.] He will have the same kind of spirit and power as Elijah. He will help fathers to love their children. And help the bad people to love the wisdom of the good people. He will prepare for the *Lord.

Before the birth of John, Zechariah probably studied the *prophecies in our previous section. And he would have studied other *prophecies like them.

John the Baptist would be a Nazirite

The *angel also said this: John was to be a Nazirite as long as he lived, (see Numbers 6:1-21). This meant that John would not drink any wine. And John would not cut his hair. A Nazirite promised to live only for the *Lord. We know about two other men who were Nazirites for all of their lives. These were Samson and Samuel. John was to be a very special person. To be a Nazirite helped him to remember this.

 

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