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New International Version
12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.
13 But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John."
14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth
15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.
17 "And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
18 Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."
19 The angel said to him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news."
20 "And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time."
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.
22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home.
24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.
25 "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee
12 And when Zachariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear took possession of him.
13 But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John [God is favorable].
14 And you shall have joy and exultant delight, and many will rejoice over his birth
15 For he will be great and distinguished in the sight of the Lord. And he must drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit even in and from his mother's womb. [Num. 6:3.]
16 And he will turn back and cause to return many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God
17 And he will [himself] go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn back the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient and incredulous and unpersuadable to the wisdom of the upright [which is the knowledge and holy love of the will of God]--in order to make ready for the Lord a people [perfectly] prepared [in spirit, adjusted and disposed and placed in the right moral state]. [Isa. 40:3; Mal. 4:5, 6.]
18 And Zachariah said to the angel, By what shall I know and be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.
19 And the angel replied to him, I am Gabriel. I stand in the [very] presence of God, and I have been sent to talk to you and to bring you this good news. [Dan. 8:16; 9:21.]
20 Now behold, you will be and will continue to be silent and not able to speak till the day when these things take place, because you have not believed what I told you; but my words are of a kind which will be fulfilled in the appointed and proper time.
21 Now the people kept waiting for Zachariah, and they wondered at his delaying [so long] in the sanctuary.
22 But when he did come out, he was unable to speak to them; and they [clearly] perceived that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary; and he kept making signs to them, still he remained dumb.
23 And when his time of performing priestly functions was ended, he returned to his [own] house.
24 Now after this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant, and for five months she secluded herself entirely, saying, [I have hid myself]
25 Because thus the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He deigned to look on me to take away my reproach among men. [Gen. 30:23; Isa. 4:1.]
26 Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth
King James Version
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, 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.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
Becoming a Christian
Would you like to experience forgiveness and new life from the God of the Bible, who calls every person to believe that he sent his son Jesus Christ to make this possible?
The Bible explains why everyone needs to receive forgiveness and is called to serve Jesus Christ. The consistency of the Bible story, which was authored by people living thousands of years apart from diverse cultures and even different languages, is often cited as evidence of divine inspiration. Wikipedia has a list of many Biblical prophesies which have come true.
The story of God's plan to restore his relationship with us can be summarised in eight famous Bible verses below.
- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
- All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
- If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
- For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
- But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
- Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The truth in these verses is simple, yet to embrace it means letting go of all our personal hopes and dreams and embracing God's greater purpose for our lives instead, a purpose far above anything we could dream or imagine.
This is the most important decision you will ever make, because it affects not just the rest of your life here on earth, but what comes after as well. Don't put it off until too late. If you died tonight make the decision to spend eternity with your loving Father in Heaven.
If you're wondering what to do next as a new Christian, check out these helpful suggestions from Mary Fairchild on About.com: