The Other Miraculous Birth
Zacharias is the New Testament Greek transliteration (writing a word in one language according to how it is pronounced in another, not to be confused with translation) of the Old Testament Hebrew name Zechariah. Some Bible versions use Zechariah in both the Old and New Testaments, while others, such as the King James use Zechariah in the Old Testament and Zacharias in the New Testament. There were about two dozen people in recorded Bible History with the name Zechariah / Zacharias. This study is about Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (see also Was John A Baptist?).
The Other Miraculous Birth, Zacharias' Son John
The angel Gabriel's appearance to Mary is one of the most famous events of the Bible. Mary was however the second person that Gabriel appeared to regarding the birth of children. He went first to Zacharias to announce that his wife Elisabeth would bear a son by miraculous means. Mary was a virgin, and Elisabeth (or Elizabeth) was far past the age of having children.
"There was in the days of Herod [i.e. Herod The Great, see also The Herods], the king of Judaea, a certain priest [see Levites] named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years."
"And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the Temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense."
"And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 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." (Luke 1:5-13 KJV)
"And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 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 show thee these glad tidings." (Luke 1:18-19 KJV)
Gabriel later appeared to Mary:
"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."
"And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end."
"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth [see also Cousins John], she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:26-27,30-37 KJV)
Fact Finder: Gabriel is identified as the angel who appeared to both Zacharias and then Mary. What major prophet of the Bible did Gabriel appear to centuries before?
Daniel 8:15-16, 9:21