From Heaven With Love


Chapter 10—The Voice in the Wilderness

This chapter is based on Luke 1:5-23, 57-80; 3:1-18; Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8.

From among the faithful in Israel the forerunner of Christ arose. The aged priest Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth were “both righteous before God,” and in their quiet lives the light of faith shone out like a star amid the darkness. To this godly pair was given the promise of a son, who should “go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.” HLv 57.1

Zacharias had gone to Jerusalem to minister for one week in the temple. Standing before the golden altar in the holy place of the sanctuary, suddenly he became conscious of an angel of the Lord “standing on the right side of the altar.” For years he had prayed for the coming of the Redeemer; now these prayers were about to be answered. HLv 57.2

He was greeted with the joyful assurance: “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John... . 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... . 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. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” HLv 57.3

For a moment the aged priest forgot that what God promises, He is able to perform. What a contrast between his unbelief and the faith of Mary, whose answer to the angel's announcement was, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38, RSV. HLv 57.4

The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great truth: that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every believing soul. Through faith the child of promise was given. Through faith spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness. HLv 58.1

Five hundred years before, the angel Gabriel had made known to Daniel the prophetic period which was to extend to the coming of Christ. The knowledge that the end of this period was near had moved Zacharias to pray for the Messiah's advent. Now, the very same angel through whom the prophecy was given had come to announce its fulfillment. HLv 58.2