he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense.
Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside.
Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.
When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him.
But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.
You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Zechariah said to the angel, "How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years."
The angel replied, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)