352-353 : The Arch Angel Gabriel visits Zacharias
THERE was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea,
a priest named Zacharias,and his wife Elizabeth.
They were both righteous before God, keeping the commandments of the Lord. But they had no children,
and they were both well advanced in years.
Now when it was Zacharias' turn to serve in the temple, he went into the temple to burn incense
while the whole multitude of the people prayed outside.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to him at the right side of the altar, and when Zacharias saw him,
he was troubled and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him:"Fear not, Zacharius, for your prayer is heard. Your wife shall bear you a son,and you shall call his name John.
You shall have joy and gladness and many shall rejoice at his birth.
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink.He shall be filled with the Holy Spirit.
And he shall turn many of the Children of Israel to the Lord their God.
He shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,
and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,to make ready a people prepared for the Lord".
"How am I to know this is to be?"said Zacharias to the Angel. "For I am an old man and my wife too is advanced in years."
The Angel answered him, saying:"I am Gabriel, and I stand in the presence of God. I have been sent to speak to you
and to tell you these glad tidings. And, behold, you shall be dumb and unable to speak until these things come about,
because you did not believe my words."
The people waiting outside wondered why Zacharias was so long in the temple.
When he came out he could not speak to them, and they sensed that he had seen a vision in the temple,
for he made signs to them and remained speechless.
And when his time of service was completed he returned home,and before long his wife Elisabeth knew that she was going to have a child.
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