5During the rule of King Herod of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron. 6They were both righteous before God, blameless in their observance of all the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to become pregnant and they both were very old. 8One day Zechariah was serving as a priest before God because his priestly division was on duty. 9Following the customs of priestly service, he was chosen by lottery to go into the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense. 10All the people who gathered to worship were praying outside during this hour of incense offering. 11An angel from the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw the angel, he was startled and overcome with fear. 13The angel said, "Don’t be afraid, Zechariah. Your prayers have been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to your son and you must name him John. 14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many people will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the Lord’s eyes. He must not drink wine and liquor. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth. 16He will bring many Israelites back to the Lord their God. 17He will go forth before the Lord, equipped with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will turn the hearts of fathers#Or parents back to their children, and he will turn the disobedient to righteous patterns of thinking. He will make ready a people prepared for the Lord." 18Zechariah said to the angel, "How can I be sure of this? My wife and I are very old." 19The angel replied, "I am Gabriel. I stand in God’s presence. I was sent to speak to you and to bring this good news to you. 20Know this: What I have spoken will come true at the proper time. But because you didn’t believe, you will remain silent, unable to speak until the day when these things happen."