SECTION II BETH
Birth and Infancy of John, the Harbinger, and of Jesus
Zacharias and Elizabeth. Prophetic messages of Gabriel to Zacharias, Elizabeth and Mary. Birth of John. Prophecy of Zacharias.
NEAR Hebron in the hills of Judah, Zacharias and Elizabeth abode.
2) They were devout and just, and every day they read the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms which told of one to come, strong to redeem;and they were waiting for the king.
3) Now, Zacharias was a priest, and in his turn he led the temple service in Jerusalem.
4) It came to pass as Zacharias stood before the Lord and burned the incense in the Holy Place, that Gabriel came and stood before his face.
5) And Zacharias was afraid;he thought that some great evil was about to come upon the Jews.
6) But Gabriel said, O man of God, fear not;I bring to you and all the world, a message of good will, and peace on earth.
7) Behold, the Prince of Peace, the king you seek, will quickly come.
8) Your wife will bear to you a son, a holy son, of whom the prophet wrote,
9) Behold, I send Elijah unto you again before the coming of the Lord;and he will level down the hills and fill the valleys up, and pave the way for him who shall redeem.
10) From the beginning of the age your son has borne the name of John, the mercy of the Lord;his name is John.
11) He will be honored in the sight of God, and he will drink no wine, and from his birth he will be filled with Holy Breath.
12) And Gabriel stood before Elizabeth as she was in the silence of her home, and told her all the words that he had said to Zacharias in Jerusalem.
13) When he had done the service of his course, the priest went home, and with Elizabeth rejoiced.
14) Five months passed by and Gabriel came to Mary in her home in Nazareth and said,
15) Hail Mary, hail! Once blessed in the name of God;twice blessed in the name of Holy Breath;thrice blessed in the name of Christ;for you are worthy, and will bear a son who shall be called Immanuel.
16) His name is Jesus, for he saves his people from their sins.
17) When Joseph's daily task was done he came, and Mary told him all the words that Gabriel spoke to her, and they rejoiced;for they believed that he, the man of God, had spoken words of truth.
18) And Mary went with haste to tell Elizabeth about the promises of Gabriel;together they rejoiced.
19) And in the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth did Mary tarry ninety days;then she returned to Nazareth.
20) To Zacharias and Elizabeth a son was born, and Zacharias said,
21) Most blessed be the name of God, for he has opened up the fount of blessings for his people, Israel.
22) His promises are verified;for he has brought to pass the words which holy prophets spoke in olden times.
23) And Zacharias looked upon infant John, and said,
24) You will be called the prophet of the Holy One;and you will go before his face, and will prepare his way.
25) And you will give a knowledge of salvation unto Israel;and you will preach the gospel of repentance and the blotting out of sins.
26) Behold, for soon the Day Star from on high will visit us, to light the way for those who sit within the darkness of the shadow-land, and guide our feet unto the ways of peace.