|Priest, Prophet, Guardian of Mary, Devotee, Martyr|
|Born||1st century BC|
Hebron (Joshua 21:11), the Levant
|Died||1st century BC (or early AD)|
Jerusalem (Matthew 23:35), the Levant
|Venerated in|| Catholic Church |
Oriental Orthodox Church
|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, hence venerated in Christianity and Islam. 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).
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 1:5–7 ).
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 24:1–19 ). 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 1:8–11 ).
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 1:12–17 ). 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 1:18–22 ).
After returning to his house in "Hebron, in the hill country of Judah",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; 3:2-3; Matthew 3:1).
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.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.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.
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.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.
Part of a series on Islam
Zechariah (Arabic: زَكَرِيَّا Zakariyyā) is also 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,in a death which resembles that attributed to Isaiah in Lives of the Prophets .
Zakariyah was a righteous priestand 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 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.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 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.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.
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– 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 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.
Elijah or latinized form Elias was, according to the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible, a prophet and a miracle worker who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah defended the worship of the Hebrew God over that of the Canaanite deity Baal. God also performed many miracles through Elijah, including resurrection, bringing fire down from the sky, and entering Heaven alive "by fire". He is also portrayed as leading a school of prophets known as "the sons of the prophets". Following his ascension, Elisha, his disciple and most devoted assistant took over his role as leader of this school. The Book of Malachi prophesies Elijah's return "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD", making him a harbinger of the Messiah and of the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Hebrew Bible. References to Elijah appear in Ecclesiasticus, the New Testament, the Mishnah and Talmud, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Bahá'í writings.
John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early 1st century AD. Other titles for John include John the Forerunner in Eastern Christianity, John the Immerser in some Baptist traditions, and the prophet John (Yaḥyā) in Islam. He is sometimes alternatively called John the Baptizer.
In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divine being and is said to speak on that entity's behalf, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the supernatural source to other people. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy.
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.
Gabriel, in the Abrahamic religions, is an archangel. He was first described in the Hebrew Bible and was subsequently adopted by other traditions.
Abraham, known as Ibrahim, in Arabic, is recognized as a prophet and messenger of God in Islam. Abraham plays a prominent role as an example of faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Muslim belief, Abraham fulfilled all the commandments and trials wherein God nurtured him throughout his lifetime. As a result of his unwavering faith in God, Ibrahim was promised by God to be a leader to all the nations of the world. The Quran extols Ibrahim as a model, an exemplar, obedient and not an idolater. In this sense, Abraham has been described as representing "primordial man in universal surrender to the Divine Reality before its fragmentation into religions separated from each other by differences in form". The Islamic holy day 'Eid al-Adha is celebrated in memory of the sacrifice of Abraham, and each able bodied Muslim is supposed to perform the pilgrimage to pay homage at the Kaaba in the Hejazi city of Mecca, which was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael as the first house of worship on earth.
Hud was a prophet of ancient Arabia mentioned in the Qur’an. The eleventh chapter of the Quran, Hud, is named after him, though the narrative of Hud comprises only a small portion of the chapter.
Yūsuf ibn Yaʿqūb ibn Isḥāq ibn ʾIbrāhīm is a prophet mentioned in the Qurʾān, the scripture of Islam, and corresponds to Joseph, a person from the Tanakh, the Jewish religious scripture, and the Christian Bible, who was estimated to have lived in the 16th century BCE. It is one of the common names in the Middle East and among Muslim nations. Of all of Jacob's children, Joseph was the one given the gift of prophecy. Although the narratives of other prophets are mentioned in various Surahs, the complete narrative of Joseph is given only in one Surah, Yusuf, making it unique. It is said to be the most detailed narrative in the Qur'an and bears more details than the Biblical counterpart.
Elizabeth, also spelled Elisabeth derives from Elisheba:, was the mother of John the Baptist and the wife of Zechariah, according to the Gospel of Luke. She was at least 60 years of age and well past child bearing years when she gave birth to John.
Job is the central figure of the Book of Job in the Bible. In rabbinical literature, Job is called one of the prophets of the Gentiles. In Islam, Job is also considered a prophet.
Asiya, alternatively Asiyah, sometimes called Asiya bint Muzahim, was the Great Royal Wife of the Ancient Egypt's Pharaoh of the Exodus and the adoptive mother of Moses in the Islamic tradition. She is revered by Muslims as one of the four greatest women of all time, and according to a prophetic narration found in Sahih al-Bukhari, the second ever. She is believed to have secretly accepted monotheism after witnessing the miracle of Moses in her husband's court. The tradition holds that Asiya worshipped God in secret and prayed in disguise fearing her husband. She adopted Moses and convinced her husband Pharaoh not to kill him. She died while being tortured by her husband, who had discovered her monotheism and retaliated to her rebellion against his tyranny.
In religion, a false prophet is one who falsely claims the gift of prophecy or divine inspiration, or to speak for God, or who makes such claims for evil ends. Often, someone who is considered a "true prophet" by some people is simultaneously considered a "false prophet" by others, even within the same religion as the "prophet" in question. In a wider sense, it is anyone who, without having it, claims a special connection to the Deity and sets himself up as a source of spirituality, as an authority, preacher, or teacher. Analogously, the term is sometimes applied outside religion to describe someone who fervently promotes a theory that the speaker thinks is false.
The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, also known as the Parable of the Bad Tenants, is a parable of Jesus found in the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke. It is also found in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas. It describes a householder planting a vineyard and letting it out to husbandmen(tenants in some translations) who failed in their duties.
The Benedictus, given in Gospel of Luke 1:68-79, is one of the three canticles in the first two chapters 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.
The male given name Zechariah is derived from the Hebrew זְכַרְיָה, meaning "The Lord has remembered." It has been translated into English in many variant forms and spellings, including Zachariah, Zacharias and Zachary.
Zechariah ben Jehoiada is a figure in the Hebrew Bible described as a priest who was stoned to death by Jehoash of Judah and may possibly have been alluded to in the New Testament.
The Quran, the central religious text of Islam, contains references to more than fifty people and events also found in the Bible. While the stories told in each book are generally comparable, important differences sometimes emerge. The versions written in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament predate the Quran's versions. As such, Christians regard the Quran's versions as being derived directly or indirectly from the earlier materials. Muslims understand the Quran's versions to be witness accounts from an omnipotent God. As such, Muslims generally hold that the earlier versions are distorted through flawed processes of transmission and interpretation, and understand the Quran's versions to be more accurate to the actual events.
There are many Biblical figures which the Qur'an names. Some, however, go unnamed in the Qur'an, but are referenced or referred to in the hadiths, tafsirs, literature or seerah. Other figures are mentioned elsewhere in tradition and in the sunnah and sayings of the prophet Muhammad. Such figures which are not mentioned by name in the Qur'an, are included below.
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 Quran. The Quran 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 is the second of the total 14 chapters in 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 is a part of a section consisting of Zechariah 1–8. It records the third of eight visions received by the prophet, followed by an oracle calling the exiles to return to the city where Yahweh is about to dwell and all nations will come.
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Zechariah (New Testament figure)
Renovating the Second Temple
into Herod's Temple begins
| New Testament |
Gabriel announces to Mary
that she will give birth to Jesus