“And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me to take away my reproach among men.&rdquo
Zachariah had been told by Gabriel that his prayer had been heard, yet he doubted asking how such a thing could happen since he was an old man and Elizabeth was ‘advanced in years’ of him. The marital relations had long since ceased in both will and way and his wife was barren. How could it be that he would have a son? This seems to be the same question that Abram asked of his wife, Sara, before Isaac was conceived. But just as with them, God returned the way of youth unto Zachariah and Elizabeth to both will and do His good pleasure. From his response, Zachariah seems to indicate that this prayer that was answered was not something that was made after the flesh for if it were we feel that his response would have been quite different. Instead of doubt there would have been relief that after so long of petitioning the throne for redress in this matter, the Lord finally heard him. Instead he, demonstrating the inability of the flesh, questions the Word of God. Sound familiar? (To our shame it is all to familiar to us and all who bare the image of the natural man)
He had to first complete his duties in the temple and since he lived in the temple compound (1 Chr. 9:27) he probably had not contact with his wife until one day, when his work was done, he came home deaf and virile. The power of God had caused this to happen, not only to him but, to Elizabeth also for could you imagine what the response would have been by a woman ‘well stricken in years’ to a frisky husband who can’t even tell her what was going on? “Thy people shall be willing in the day of His power” (Ps. 110:3) “for it is God that worketh in you both to will and do His good pleasure” (Phi. 2:13). No glory to man or woman and nothing whereof to boast in the flesh.
Elizabeth hid herself for fear. Zachariah held his peace lest he be branded a false prophet and Elizabeth, after all the years of shame and reproach for being barren, hid herself to it was proven to her. She did not run off to the local drug store to buy a pregnancy test and when the results were found positive begin to parade around boasting and vindicating herself before friends and family. She held her tongue and waited not knowing if the things told her, and now happening to her, were true.
Zachariah’s name means ‘Jehovah remembers’, Elizabeth’s name means ‘the oath of my God’ and unto them was given by Jehovah in remembrance of His oath, Johnathan (Jehovah Nathan) ‘God has given’. His life was ordained of old being predestinated to perform his assignment before all man as the messenger foretold by the prophet Malachi, in the power and spirit of Elijah (Jehovah is my God), to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. He was not sent out on some missionary escapade to find lost souls and bring them to the Christ, he was sent out to make ready a specific people already outfitted with all things necessary by the Lord for His immanent advent. He was the voice crying in the wilderness saying, prepare ye the way of the Lord for the Lord was about to come suddenly to His temple (he spake of His body), even the messenger of the covenant of peace with His people (Mal. 3:1). “Therefore, being justified by (His) faith, we have peace with God” (Rms. 5:1).
The great and terrible day of the Lord had come of age, the fullness of time in which the judgment of God would come to manifestation against the wickedness of the world, the great whore and the accuser of the brethren. It was also the day in which He would “finish transgression and make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness; and to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy” (Dan. 9:24). This was the time when He would remember His covenant and confirm it with many for one week and in the midst of the week he would cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease and for the overspreading of the abomination He shall make it desolate and that determined shall be poured out without measure in the fierceness and wrath of God. John was the messenger that was sent to prepare His people for the coming of the end of time. Not a doomsday prophet of despair, but of faith unto repentance and deliverance from the wrath that was to come. No universal invitation, no arguments and no uprisings. Just the Word of the Lord in power and faith as he stood against all of the Jewish society and Roman occupation in the wilderness baptizing unto the remissions of sins.
God had called these two elderly people His children. He had empowered them to do His will. He altered and augmented their week frail bodies and minds to conceive, bear and raise this child. (How could this old woman nurse her child but by faith and the power of God?) This is the gospel, which is the power of God unto deliverance. It is what Isaiah was told, “say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God”. This is what Gabriel was sent from the throne of God to, “speak unto thee and to shew thee these glad tidings” (of great joy Luke 1:19).
Neither Zachariah, Elizabeth or Johnathan had worldly success, a movie contract, radio or TV show or filled large theaters with the witness of God’s power and greatness. Nothing is told of Zachariah and Elizabeth and John ends up in prison doubting if Jesus is the Christ and then is beheaded. God did not perform these things in their lives that they may have the glory for He is a jealous God who will not share His glory with another. All was done by Him, for Him and through Him to His praise and the Glory of His great name. Behold your God!
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
July 11, 2010