NSB(i) 1 Many have attempted to write an orderly narrative about the things that have taken place. 2 They received testimony from those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning. Ministers of God’s word delivered it to us. 3 Most excellent Theophilus (Greek: Theo philos: friend of God): I have accurately traced the course of all things from the beginning. Now it seems good to me to write this report to you. 4 In this way you will know with certainty the truth that you were taught. 5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a priest named Zechariah. He was of the priestly division of Abijah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous before God. They blamelessly obeyed all the commandments and ordinances of God (Greek: kurios: God). 7 They had no child for Elizabeth was barren and they both were well advanced in years. 8 He faithfully executed the priest’s duties before God. 9 The custom was to draw lots to see who served in the temple. It was his turn to enter into the temple of God and burn incense. 10 The whole crowd of people prayed outside at the hour of incense. 11 God’s angel appeared to him when he was standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 Zechariah was troubled. When he saw the angel he was filled with fear. 13 »Have no fear Zechariah,« said the angel, »for God has heard your prayer. Your wife Elisabeth will have a son and his name will be John. 14 »You will be filled with joy, and many will be happy at his birth. 15 »He will be great in the eyes of God. He will not drink wine or strong drink and he will be full of Holy Spirit from the time of his birth. 16 »Great numbers of the children of Israel will return to Jehovah their God because of him. (1 Samuel 7:3) 17 »He will go before God in the spirit and power of Elijah. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and wrongdoers to the way of righteousness. This will make ready a people whose hearts have been directed to Jehovah (YHWH).« (Malachi 3:1) 18 Zechariah asked: »How might I be certain of this for my wife and I are old?« 19 The angel answered: »I am Gabriel, whose place is before God. I have been sent to give you this good news. 20 »You will be without voice or language till the day when these things happen. Your lack of faith in what I say has caused this.« 21 The people were waiting for Zechariah. They were surprised he was in the Temple for such a long time. 22 When he came out he could not speak to them. They realized he saw a vision in the temple. Instead of talking he made signs to them. 23 When the days of his priestly service ended he went home. 24 His wife Elisabeth became pregnant. She remained in seclusion for five months. 25 She said: »This is the way God has dealt with me by taking away my reproach among men.« (1 Samuel 1:11) 26 The next month God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth in Galilee 27 to a virgin named Mary. Mary was engaged to Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said: »Greetings highly favored one. God is with you.« 29 She was greatly troubled by this and wondered about the meaning of this salutation. 30 The angel said to Mary: »Do not fear for you have found favor with God. 31 »You will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son. You will call his name Jesus. 32 »He will be great. He will be called the Son of the Most High. Jehovah God will give him the throne of his father David. (Isaiah 11:1-10) 33 »He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will not end.« 34 Mary asked the angel: »How is this to be for I have had no intercourse with a man?« 35 The angel replied: »Holy Spirit would come to you and the power of the Most High will envelope you. Because of this the newborn will be called the Son of God.« 36 »Your relative Elisabeth has also conceived a son even in her old age. This so-called barren woman is in her sixth month. 37 »When God speaks, these things are possible.« 38 Mary said: »Look, Jehovah’s servant. Let it happen to me as you spoke.« The angel departed from her. (1 Samuel 1:11) 39 Mary traveled with haste to the city of Judah in the hill country. 40 She entered the home of Zechariah and greeted Elisabeth. 41 When Elisabeth heard the greeting from Mary, the babe leaped in her womb. Elisabeth was filled with Holy Spirit. 42 She shouted loudly: »Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!« 43 »How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 »When I heard your greeting the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45 »Blessed is she that believes. That which God spoke will be fulfilled.« 46 Mary said: »My life magnifies Jehovah my God. (1 Samuel 2:1) 47 »My heart and mind rejoice in God my Savior. 48 »He has looked on the low position of his servant. All generations from now on will call me blessed. 49 »He that is mighty has done great things to me. Holy is his name. 50 »His mercy is to all generations for all who respect him. 51 »He shows strength with his arm. He scatters the proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52 »He removes rulers from their thrones and exalts the humble. 53 »He fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty handed. 54 »He has helped Israel his servant that he might remember mercy. 55 »He spoke to our fathers. To Abraham and his seed forever.« 56 Mary stayed with Elisabeth about three months, and returned to her house. 57 Now it was time for Elisabeth to give birth. She gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that Jehovah magnified his mercy towards her; and they rejoiced with her. 59 On the eighth day they circumcised the child. They planned to call him Zechariah, after the name of the father. 60 His mother spoke up and said: »He shall be called John.« 61 They all said: »None of your relatives are called by this name.« 62 They made signs to his father, what he would have him called. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, »His name is John.« They were all amazed. 64 Immediately his tongue loosed, his mouth opened and he spoke, blessing God. 65 Everyone nearby was in fear. These accounts spread abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66 All that heard them wondered in their heart, saying, »What will this child be? For the hand of Jehovah was with him.« 67 His father Zechariah was filled with Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, 68 »Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel. He has visited his people and brought them redemption. (Psalm 72:18) 69 »He raised up a horn of salvation (power of deliverance) for us in the house of his servant David 70 »He spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from ages past. 71 »He provided salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us. 72 »He shows mercy towards our fathers and remembers his holy covenant. 73 »It was the oath he spoke to Abraham our father. 74 »He gave us deliverance out of the hand of our enemies so we could serve him without fear. 75 »May we serve in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 »Your child will be called the prophet of the Most High. You will go in advance of Jehovah God to make his ways ready. (Malachi 3:1) 77 »To give knowledge of salvation to his people in the remission of their sins. 78 »A rising of light will visit us from on high because of the tender mercy of our God. 79 »The light will shine on them who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. It will guide our feet into the way of peace.« 80 The child grew and became spiritually strong. He lived in the deserts till the time came to show himself to Israel.