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Since many have attempted to set forth the story of those things of which we are fully persuaded

(exactly as they were delivered to us by those ministers of the word who saw them themselves from the beginning),

it seemed good to me also - once I had carefully investigated all things from the beginning - to write to you of them from point to point, most noble Theophilus,

so that you might acknowledge the certainty of those things of which you have been instructed.

In the time of Herod, King of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the class of Abijah. And his wife was among the daughters of Aaron. And her name was Elizabeth.

Both were righteous before God and walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, without reproof.

And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren. And both were well-advanced in age.

And it so happened that as he executed the priest’s office before God (as per his class),

the lot fell to him to burn incense when he went into the Temple of the Lord, according to the custom of the priest’s office.

10 And the whole multitude of the people were outside in prayer while the incense was burning.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the Altar of Incense.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said to him, “Fear not, Zacharias. For your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son. And you shall call his name, John.

14 “And you shall 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 he shall turn many of the children of Israel to their Lord God.

17 “For 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 righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Then Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is of a great age.”

19 And the angel answered, and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I am sent to speak to you, and to show you these good tidings.

20 “And behold, you shall be silent, and unable to speak, until the day that these things are done, because you did not believe my words which shall be fulfilled in their season.”

21 Now the people waited for Zacharias. And they marveled that he remained so long in the Temple.

22 And when he came out, he could not speak to them. Then, they perceived that he had seen a vision in the Temple. For he made signs to them and remained silent.

23 And it happened that when the days of his office were fulfilled, he departed to his own house.

24 And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself for five months, saying,

25 “Thus has the Lord dealt with me, in the days on when he looked on me, to take from me my rebuke among man.”

26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the House of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.

28 And the angel went in to her, and said, “Hail, you who are freely beloved. The Lord is with you. You are blessed among women.”

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and thought what kind of greeting that should be.

30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not fear, Mary. For you have found favor with God.

31 “For lo, you shall conceive in your womb, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name, Jesus.

32 “He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give to Him the throne of his father David.

33 “And He shall reign over the House of Jacob forever. And of His Kingdom shall be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I do not know man?”

35 And the angel answered, and said to her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you. Therefore, also, that Holy Thing which shall be born by you, shall be called the Son of God.

36 “And behold, your cousin, Elizabeth. She has also conceived a son in her old age. And this is her sixth month, who was called barren.

37 “For with God shall nothing be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the servant of the Lord. May it be to me according to your word.” So, the angel departed from her.

39 And Mary arose in those days and quickly went into the hill country, to a city of Judah,

40 and entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

41 And it happened that, as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby sprang in her belly. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.

42 And she cried with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed are you among women, because the fruit of your womb is blessed!

43 “And how can it be that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 “For lo, as soon as I heard the voice of your greeting in my ears, the baby in my belly sprang for joy!

45 “And blessed is she who believed. For those things shall be completed, which were told her from the Lord.

46 Then Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.

47 “And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

48 “For He has looked on the poor degree of His servant. For behold, from now on all ages shall call me blessed.

49 “Because He Who is mighty has done great things for me, and Holy is His Name.

50 “And His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.

51 “He Who showed strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 “He has put down the mighty from their seats and exalted those of low degree.

53 “He has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty.

54 “He has upheld Israel, His servant, to be mindful of His mercy,

55 “(as He has spoken to our fathers – that is, to Abraham and his seed) forever.”

56 And Mary stayed with her about three months. After which, she returned to her own house.

57 Now, Elizabeth’s time came for her to be delivered. And she brought forth a Son.

58 And her neighbors and cousins heard tell how the Lord had showed His great mercy upon her. And they rejoiced with her.

59 And it was so that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the baby. And they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

60 But his mother answered, and said, “Not so. But he shall be called John.”

61 And they said to her, “There is no one in your family that is named with this name.”

62 Then they made signs to his father, asking how he would like him called.

63 So he asked for writing tablets, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” And they all marveled.

64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue. And he spoke and praised God.

65 Then fear came on all those who lived near them. And all these words were spread throughout all the hill country of Judea.

66 And all those who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child shall this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 Then his father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because He has visited and redeemed His people!

69 “And He has raised up the Horn of Salvation unto us, in the House of His servant David,

70 “as He spoke by the mouth of His Holy Prophets. Who were, since the world began, saying,

71 ‘deliverance from our enemies, and from the hands of all that hate us.’

72 “So that He might show mercy towards our fathers, and remember His Holy Covenant -

73 “the oath, which He swore to our father, Abraham -

74 “that he would grant to us. So that we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, should serve him without fear

75 “all the days of our life, in holiness and righteousness before him.

76 “And you, child, shall be called the Prophet of the Most High. For you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,

77 “to give knowledge of salvation to His people, by the remission of their sins

78 “through the tender mercy of our God (whereby the Dayspring from on high has visited us),

79 “to give light to those who sit in darkness (and in the shadow of death), and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit. And he was in the wilderness until the day came that he should show himself to Israel.