Zechariah (New Testament figure)

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Zechariah
Cappella tornabuoni, 10, annuncio dell'angelo a zaccaria.jpg
Priest, Prophet, Guardian of Mary, Devotee, Martyr [1]
Born1st century BC
Hebron (Joshua 21:11), the Levant
Died1st century BC (or early AD)
Jerusalem (Matthew 23:35), the Levant
Venerated in Catholic Church
Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
Anglicanism
Lutheranism
Islam
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast September 5 – Eastern Orthodox
September 5 – Lutheran
September 23 – Roman Catholic

Zechariah (Hebrew : זכריהZəḵaryāh, "remember Yah"; Greek : Ζαχαρίας; Zacharias in KJV; Zachary in the Douay-Rheims Bible; Zakariyyāʾ (Arabic : زَكَـرِيَّـا) in Islamic tradition) is a figure in the New Testament Bible and the Quran, [2] hence venerated in Christianity and Islam. [3] In the Bible, he is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron in the Gospel of Luke (1:67-79), and the husband of Elizabeth who is a relative of the Virgin Mary (Luke, 1:36). [4]

Hebrew language Semitic language native to Israel

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel. Modern Hebrew was spoken by over nine million people worldwide in 2013. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name "Hebrew" in the Tanakh itself. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only Canaanite language still spoken, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

Jah or Yah is a short form, the first syllable, of Yahweh, the proper name of God in the Hebrew Bible. This short form of the name occurs 50 times in the text of the Hebrew Bible, of which 24 form part of the phrase "Hallelujah", which is actually a two-word phrase, not one word.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Contents

Biblical account

Zechariah and St. John the Baptist. A medieval Georgian fresco from Jerusalem. Holy Cross Monastery in Jerusalem. Georgian frescoes 01.JPG
Zechariah and St. John the Baptist. A medieval Georgian fresco from Jerusalem.

According to the Gospel of Luke, during the reign of king Herod, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the course of Abia, whose wife Elizabeth was also of the priestly family of Aaron. The evangelist states that both the parents were righteous before God, since they were "blameless" in observing the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. When the events related in Luke began, their marriage was still childless, because Elizabeth was "barren", and they were both "well advanced in years" ( Luke 1:57 ).

Gospel of Luke Book of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Luke, also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, is the third of the four canonical Gospels. It tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Herod the Great King of Judea

Herod, also known as Herod the Great and Herod I, was a Roman client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom. The history of his legacy has polarized opinion, as he is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the expansion of the Temple Mount towards its north, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada, and Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century CE Roman–Jewish historian Josephus. Herod also appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew as the ruler of Judea who orders the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus, although a majority of Herod biographers and biblical scholars hold this to be false. Despite his successes, including singlehandedly forging a new aristocracy from practically nothing, he has still garnered criticism from various historians. His reign polarizes opinion amongst scholars and historians, some viewing his legacy as evidence of success, and some as a reminder of his tyrannical rule.

Abijah is a Biblical Hebrew unisex name that means "my Father is Yah".

The duties at the temple in Jerusalem alternated between each of the family lines that had descended from those appointed by king David ( 1st Chronicles 24:119 ). [5] Luke states that during the week when it was the duty of Zechariah's family line to serve at "the temple of the Lord", the lot for performing the incense offering had fallen to Zechariah ( Luke 1:811 ).

Temple in Jerusalem one of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem

The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. These successive temples stood at this location and functioned as a site of ancient Israelite and later Jewish worship. It is also called the Holy Temple.

David King of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah

David is described in the Hebrew Bible as the third king of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah, after Ish-bosheth. In the biblical narrative, David is a young shepherd who gains fame first as a musician and later by killing the enemy champion Goliath. He becomes a favorite of King Saul and a close friend of Saul's son Jonathan. Worried that David is trying to take his throne, Saul turns on David. After Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle, David is anointed as King. David conquers Jerusalem, taking the Ark of the Covenant into the city, and establishing the kingdom founded by Saul. As king, David commits adultery with Bathsheba, leading him to arrange the death of her husband Uriah the Hittite. Because of this sin, God denies David the opportunity to build the temple, and his son Absalom tries to overthrow him. David flees Jerusalem during Absalom's rebellion, but after Absalom's death he returns to the city to rule Israel. Before his peaceful death, he chooses his son Solomon as successor. He is honored in the prophetic literature as an ideal king and the forefather of a future Messiah, and many psalms are ascribed to him.

The Gospel of Luke states that while Zechariah ministered at the altar of incense, an angel of the Lord appeared and announced to him that his wife would give birth to a son, whom he was to name John, and that this son would be the forerunner of the Lord ( Luke 1:1217 ). Citing their advanced age, Zechariah asked with disbelief for a sign whereby he would know the truth of this prophecy. In reply, the angel identified himself as Gabriel, sent especially by God to make this announcement, and added that because of Zechariah's doubt he would be struck dumb and "not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed". Consequently, when he went out to the waiting worshippers in the temple's outer courts, he was unable to speak the customary blessing ( Luke 1:1822 ).

Gabriel angel in Abrahamic religions

Gabriel, in the Abrahamic religions, is an archangel. He was first described in the Hebrew Bible and was subsequently adopted by other traditions.

After returning to his house in "Hebron, in the hill country of Judah", [6] his wife Elizabeth conceived. After Elizabeth completed her fifth month of pregnancy, her relative Mary was visited by the same angel, Gabriel, overshadowed by the Holy Ghost and – though still a virgin – became pregnant with Jesus. Mary then travelled to visit her relative Elizabeth, having been told by the angel that Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy. Mary remained about three months before she returned to her own house ( Luke 1:23–45, 56 ).

Elizabeth gave birth, and on the eighth day, when their son was to be circumcised according to the commandment, her neighbours and relatives assumed that he was to be named after his father. Elizabeth, however, insisted that his name was to be John; so the family then questioned her husband. As soon as Zechariah had written on a writing table: "His name is John", he regained the power of speech, and blessed "the Lord God of Israel" with a prophecy known as the Benedictus or "Song of Zechariah" (Luke 1:57–79 ). The child grew up and "waxed strong in spirit", but remained in the deserts of Judæa until he assumed the ministry that was to earn him the name "John the Baptist" ( Luke 1:80, Luke 3:2–3, Matthew 3:1 ).

Circumcision Removal of the foreskin from the human penis

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common procedure, the foreskin is opened, adhesions are removed, and the foreskin is separated from the glans. After that, a circumcision device may be placed, and then the foreskin is cut off. Topical or locally injected anesthesia is used to reduce pain and physiologic stress. The procedure is most often an elective surgery performed on babies and children, for religious or cultural reasons. In other cases it may be done as a treatment for certain medical conditions or for preventative reasons. Medically it is a treatment option for problematic cases of phimosis, balanoposthitis that does not resolve with other treatments, and chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs). It is contraindicated in cases of certain genital structure abnormalities or poor general health.

A prophecy is a message that is claimed by a prophet to have been communicated to them by a deity. Such messages typically involve inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of divine will concerning the prophet's social world and events to come. All known ancient cultures had prophets who delivered prophecies.

Benedictus (Song of Zechariah)

The Benedictus, given in Gospel of Luke 1:68-79, is one of the three canticles in the opening chapter of this Gospel, the other two being the "Magnificat" and the "Nunc dimittis". The Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah on the occasion of the circumcision of his son, John the Baptist.

Other Christian traditions

The so-called "Tomb of Absalom" or "Absalom's Pillar" in the Kidron Valley, built in the 1st century CE; an inscription added three centuries later claims that it is Zechariah's tomb Tomb of Avshalom in the Kidron Valley;.jpg
The so-called "Tomb of Absalom" or "Absalom's Pillar" in the Kidron Valley, built in the 1st century CE; an inscription added three centuries later claims that it is Zechariah's tomb
Domenico Ghirlandaio's fresco Zechariah Writes Down the Name of His Son (1490, fresco in the Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence) Cappella Tornabuoni, Zacharias Writes Down the Name of his Son 01.jpg
Domenico Ghirlandaio's fresco Zechariah Writes Down the Name of His Son (1490, fresco in the Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence)

Origen suggested that the Zechariah mentioned in Matthew 23:35 as having been killed between the temple and the altar may be the father of John the Baptist. [7] Orthodox Christian tradition recounts that, at the time of the massacre of the Innocents, when King Herod ordered the slaughter of all males under the age of two in an attempt to prevent the prophesied Messiah from coming to Israel, Zechariah refused to divulge the whereabouts of his son (who was in hiding), and he was therefore murdered by Herod's soldiers. This is also recorded in the Infancy Gospel of James, an apocryphal work from the 2nd century.

The Roman Catholic Church commemorates him as a saint, along with Elizabeth, on September 23. [8] He is also venerated as a prophet in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on September 5. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates the feast day of Zechariah on September 5, together with Elizabeth, who is considered a matriarch. Zechariah and Elizabeth are invoked in several prayers during the Orthodox Mystery of Crowning (Sacrament of Marriage), as the priest blesses the newly married couple, saying "Thou who didst... accept Zechariah and Elizabeth, and didst make their offspring the Forerunner..." and "...bless them, O Lord our God, as Thou didst Zechariah and Elizabeth...". In the Greek Orthodox calendar, Zechariah and Elizabeth are also commemorated on June 24.

Armenians believe that the Gandzasar Monastery in Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijan contains relics of Zechariah. However, his relics were also kept in the Great Church of Constantinople, where they were brought by the praefectus urbi Ursus on September 4, 415. [9]

In 2003, a 4th-century inscription on the so-called Tomb of Absalom, a 1st-century monument in Jerusalem, was deciphered as, "This is the tomb of Zachariah, the martyr, the holy priest, the father of John." This suggests to some scholars that it is the burial place of Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. Professor Gideon Foerster at the Hebrew University states that the inscription tallies with a 6th-century Christian text stating that Zechariah was buried with Simon the Elder and James the brother of Jesus, and believes that both are authentic. [10] What makes the theory less plausible is the fact that the tomb is three centuries older than the Byzantine inscriptions, that a tomb with just two burial benches is unlikely to be used for three burials, as well as the fact that the identification of the tomb has repeatedly changed during its history. [11]

In Islam

The tomb of Zechariah within the Great Mosque of Aleppo, Syria Aleppo - Prophet Zakariyya.JPG
The tomb of Zechariah within the Great Mosque of Aleppo, Syria

Zechariah (Arabic: زَكَرِيَّا Zakariyyā) is also as a prophet in Islam, and is mentioned in the Qur'an as the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah is also believed by some Muslims to have been a martyr. An old tradition narrates that Zakariyah was sawed in half, [12] in a death which resembles that attributed to Isaiah in Lives of the Prophets .

Zakariyah was a righteous priest [13] and prophet of God whose office was in the Second Temple in Jerusalem. He would frequently be in charge of managing the services of the temple [14] and he would always remain steadfast in prayer to God.

As he reached his old age, Zakariyah began to worry over who would continue the legacy of preaching the message of God after his death and who would carry on the daily services of the temple after him. Zakariyah started to pray to God for a son. The praying for the birth of an offspring was not merely out of the desire for a child. [13] He prayed both for himself and for the public – they needed a messenger, a man of God who would work in the service of the Lord after Zakariyah. Zakariyah had character and virtue and he wanted to transfer this to his spiritual heir as his most precious possession. His dream was to restore the household to the posterity of the Patriarch Jacob, and to make sure the message of God was renewed for Israel. As the Qur'an recounts:

A mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zakariya. When he cried unto his Lord a cry in secret, saying: My Lord! Lo! the bones of me wax feeble and my head is shining with grey hair, and I have never been unblest in prayer to Thee, my Lord. Lo! I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren. Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor who shall inherit of me and inherit (also) of the house of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, acceptable (unto Thee). [Quran   19:4–6  (Translated by  Pickthall)]

As a gift from God, Zakariyah was given a son named Yaḥyá (Arabic : يحيى, identified with John the Baptist), a name specially chosen for this child alone. Muslim tradition narrates that Zakariyah was ninety-two years old [15] when he was told of John's birth.

In accordance with Zakariyah’s prayer, God made John renew the message of God, which had been corrupted and lost by the Israelites. [16] As the Qur'an says:

O Zachariah! Lo! We bring thee tidings of a son whose name is John; we have given the same name to none before (him). He said: My Lord! How can I have a son when my wife is barren and I have reached infirm old age? He said: So shall it be, your Lord says: It is easy to Me, and indeed I created you before, when you were nothing. He said: My Lord! give me a sign. He said: Your sign is that you will not be able to speak to the people three nights while in sound health.

[Quran   19:7–10  (Translated by  Pickthall)]

According to the Qur'an, Zakariyah was the guardian of Maryam . The Qur'an states:

(Remember) when the wife of 'Imran said: My Lord! I have vowed unto Thee that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower! And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female - Allah knew best of what she was delivered - the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave Thy protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast. And her Lord accepted her with full acceptance and vouchsafed to her a goodly growth; and made Zachariah her guardian. Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary where she was, he found that she had food. He said: O Mary! Whence cometh unto thee this (food)? She answered: It is from Allah. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will.[Quran   3:35–37  (Translated by  Pickthall)]

Muslim theology maintains that Zakariyah , along with John the Baptist and Jesus, ushered in a new era of prophets – all of whom came from the priestly descent of Amram, the father of the prophet Aaron. The fact that, of all the priests, it was Zakariyah who was given the duty of keeping care of Mary shows his status as a pious man. Zakariyah is frequently praised in the Qur'an as a prophet of God and righteous man. One such appraisal is in sura al-An'am: "And Zakariyah and Yahya and Isa and Eliyas. Each one was of the righteous."[Quran   6:85  (Translated by  Pickthall)]

Qur'an translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali offers commentary on this one line [3] – suggesting that these particular prophets make a spiritual connection with one another. He points out that Yahya was a relative of Isa, while Eliyas was one who was present at the Transfiguration of Isa [17] on the Mount, as mentioned in the New Testament. Zakariyah meanwhile, through marriage, was the uncle of Isa and his son Yayha was referred to as Eliyas in the New Testament. [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Elijah Biblical prophet

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John the Baptist 1st-century Hebrew preacher and later Christian saint

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Zechariah (Hebrew prophet) Biblical prophet

Zechariah was a person in the Hebrew Bible and traditionally considered the author of the Book of Zechariah, the eleventh of the Twelve Minor Prophets. He was a prophet of the Kingdom of Judah, and, like the prophet Ezekiel, was of priestly extraction.

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Jacob in Islam Prophet and son of Isaac in Islam

Yāˈqubibn Isḥāq ibn Ibrāhīm يَعْقُوب إِبْنُ إِسْحَٰق إِبْنُ إِبرَٰهِم, also known as Jacob, is a prophet in Islam. He is acknowledged as a patriarch of Islam. Muslims believe that he preached the same monotheistic faith as did his forefathers: Abraham (Ibrahim), Isaac (Ishaq) and Ishmael (Ismail).

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Biblical and Quranic narratives Comparison between the texts of the Bible and the Qoran

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Prophets in Islam are individuals who Muslims believe were sent by God to various communities in order to serve as examples of ideal human behavior and to spread God's message on Earth. Some prophets are categorized as messengers, those who transmit divine revelation through the intercession of an angel. Muslims believe that many prophets existed, including many not mentioned in the Qur'an. The Qur'an states: "There is a Messenger for every community". Belief in the Islamic prophets is one of the six articles of the Islamic faith.

Zechariah 2

Zechariah 2 is the second chapter of the Book of Zechariah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies spoken by the prophet Zechariah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Zechariah 9

Zechariah 9 is the ninth chapter of the Book of Zechariah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zechariah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This chapter contains a continuation of the subject in the seventh chapter.

References

  1. Did John the Baptist’s father die a martyr?
  2. Quran   19:2–15
  3. 1 2 Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary , Note. 905: "The third group consists not of men of action, but Preachers of Truth, who led solitary lives. Their epithet is: "the Righteous." They form a connected group round Jesus. Zachariah was the father of John the Baptist, who is referenced as "Elias, which was for to come" (Matt 11:14); and John the Baptist is said to have been present and talked to Jesus at the Transfiguration on the Mount (Matt. 17:3)."
  4. Gospel of Luke, 1:579
  5. THE Dedication (Jesus' birth) "The priests serve 4 weeks per year: 1 week twice a year in courses, and the two week-long feasts, unleavened bread and tabernacles. Pentecost is a one-day observance, which would have come before Zacharias' (the 8th) course began, or at the latest, the 1st day of his course, which was from 12 thru 18 Sivan, or noon on the 19th, if Josephus is correct that courses changed at noon on the sabbaths." Josephus Antiquities b.7 ch.14 s.7 "eight days, from sabbath to sabbath." Josephus against Apion b.2 sect.8 "mid-day".
  6. compare Luke 1:3940 with Joshua 21:11 The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge says, "This was most probably Hebron, a city of the priests, and situated in the hill country of Judea, (Jos 11:21; 21:11, 13,) about 25 miles south of Jerusalem, and nearly 100 from Nazareth."
  7. Reimund Bieringer, The Corinthian Correspondence (Peeters Publishers, 1996), page 497, footnote 20, ISBN   978-9068317749.
  8. Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN   88-209-7210-7)
  9. Chronicon Paschale , sub anno 415.
  10. Jewish Yad Avshalom revealed as a Christian shrine from Byzantine era, Haaretz , July 22, 2003
  11. Joe Zias and Émile Puech (2004). "The Tomb of Absalom Reconsidered". The Foundation for Biblical Archaeology. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  12. A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, B. M. Wheeler, Zechariah, Father of John
  13. 1 2 Lives of the Prophets, Leila Azzam, Zacharias and John
  14. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Qur'anic commentary to Chapter 19
  15. Historical Dictionary of Prophets In Islam and Judaism, B. M. Wheeler, Zechariah, father of John
  16. Luke 1:16 : "And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God."
  17. Matthew 17:3 : "And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him."
  18. Matthew 11:1415 : "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. [15] He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Easton, Matthew George (1897). "Zacharias"  . Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.

Zechariah (New Testament figure)
Preceded by
Renovating the Second Temple
into Herod's Temple begins
New Testament
Events
Succeeded by
Gabriel announces to Mary
that she will give birth to Jesus