1 SINCE many have undertaken to compose a history of the things that are fully believed among us, 2 even as they were delivered to us by those who were, from the beginning, eye-witnesses and. ministers of the word; 3 it seemed good to me also, having obtained exact information of all things from the very first, to write them in order for you, most excel lent Theophilus, 4 that you might know the certainty of the things in which you have been instructed.
5 There was, in the days of Herod the king of Judea, a certain priest, named Zachariah, of the class of Abijah; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Eliza beth. 6 They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless. 7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
8 It came to pass, while he was officiating as priest before God, in the order of his class, that, 9 according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense, when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And all the multitude of the people were praying without, at the time of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zachariah was troubled at the sight, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachariah; 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 before the Lord; and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb. 16 And many of the sons of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And 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, by the wisdom of the just, in order to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.
18 And Zachariah said to the angel: By what sign shall I know this? for I am old, and my wife is advanced in years.
19 And the angel answered and said to him: I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I am sent to speak to you, and to announce to you this good news. 20 And behold, you shall be dumb and not able to speak, till the day in which these things shall take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their proper time.
21 And the people were waiting for Zachariah, and they wondered that he stayed so long in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was not able to speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them, and remained speechless. 23 And it came to pass, when the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived, and kept herself retired for five months, saying: 25 Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days in which he has looked with regard upon me, to take away my reproach among men.
26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin be trothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary. 28 And the angel came into her presence, and said: Hail, graciously accepted: the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women. 29 And she was perplexed at his words, and reasoned, what this salutation could mean. 30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of David his father; 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 But Mary said to the angel: How shall this be, since I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said to her: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for which reason, also, that which is begotten, being holy, shall be called the Son of God.
36 And behold, Elizabeth your kinswoman, even she has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who is called barren; 37 for nothing shall be impossible with God.
38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
39 And Mary arose in those days, and went with haste into the mountainous country, into a city of Judah; 40 and she came into the house of Zachariah, and saluted Elizabeth. 41 And it came to pass, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, that the babe in her womb leaped for joy. 42 And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke with a loud voice, and said: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, behold, when the voice of your salutation sounded in my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed; for there shall be a fulfillment of the things which were spoken to her from the Lord.
46 And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior; 48 for he has looked upon the lowly condition of his handmaid. For, behold, from this time, all generations shall call me blessed; 49 for He that is Mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name: 50 and his mercy is from generation to generation upon those who fear him. 51 He has done mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in the understanding of their hearts. 52 He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, but the rich he has sent empty away. 54 He has helped Israel his servant, (as he spoke to our fathers,) 55 by remembering his mercy to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now the time for Elizabeth to be delivered had fully come; and she gave birth to a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had showed great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59 And it came to pass, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they called him by the name of his father, Zachariah. 60 And his mother answered and said: Not so: but he shall be called John.
61 And they said to her: There is no one among your relatives that is called by this name. 62 And they made signs to his father, to know what he wished him to be called. 63 And having asked for a writing tablet, he wrote, saying: His name is John. And they were all astonished. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue was loosed, and he spoke, and praised God. 65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them; and all these things were talked of everywhere throughout the mountainous country of Judea. 66 And all that heard them, laid them up in their hearts, and said: What, then, will this child be? And the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And Zachariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people; 69 and he has raised up for us, in the house of David his servant, a horn of salvation, 70 (as he spoke by the mouth of all his holy prophets of ancient times,) 71 salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us, 72 in order to show the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath which he swore to Abraham our father, 74 that he would grant to us, that being delivered from the hands of our enemies, we might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him, all our days. 76 And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you shall go before the face of the Lord, to make ready his ways, 77 by giving to his people the knowledge of salvation in the remission of their sins, 78 through the tender mercies of our God; by which the dawn from on high has visited us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, by guiding our feet in the way of peace.
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.