The Consequences of Prophecy-
The Priest Who Lost His Voice for His Lack of Faith
It is often taken for granted that those who are deeply involved in church affairs, through ministering within churches or even holding high respected public positions, should have incredible amounts of Faith. But Zechariah the Priest, the future father of John the Baptist, doubted the prophecy delivered to him by Archangel Gabriel, inside the Temple. Despite being described as a righteous man, for his doubt, he was punished.
Zechariah had an extremely impressive heritage. Both he and his wife Elizabeth were from the priestly class of Aaron and were described as blameless in observing the commandments and ordinances of God. Though they were seen as honorable people, they had not been blessed with any children because Elizabeth was barren and were both well advanced in years (ref. Luke 1:5-7).
Zechariah, due to his priestly bloodline, was required to show up for ministerial service twice a year with the other members of his family line (the course of Abijah), and three additional times during Sukkot, Passover, & Pentecost with the entire priest class. Our previous article “The Voice Crying in the Wilderness” goes into further detail concerning when Zechariah served and how the rotating calendar can narrow the date of John the Baptist’s birth.
During his family tribes’ rotation week, Zechariah was chosen by lots to perform the incense offering in the Temple of the Lord. While Zechariah was ministering, within the Temple, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the Altar of Incense. Zechariah was rightfully terrified at the angel’s presence, but the angel urged him to not be afraid, for God had heard his prayer for a child. The angel announced that his wife Elizabeth (relative of the future Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus) would bear a son who would be a great joy and delight to his parents, and he was to name the child John.
John would be great in the sight of the Lord and many would rejoice because of his birth. John would not be allowed to have wine or any fermented drink and would be filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born. He would bring back the hearts of many Israelites to return to the Lord their God. He would go before the Lord, in the Spirit and Power of Elijah, to even turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the Wisdom of the Righteous-making the people ready for the Lord” (ref. Luke 1:7-17).
Despite his religious family background, despite his years of service in the Temple, despite previous stories of the patriarchs and matriarchs being able to conceive in advanced ages, despite having an angel appear to him as he was offering incense to the Lord; Zechariah was filed with doubt and unbelief.
Zechariah questioned the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” (ref. Luke 1:18).
The angel revealed himself to be Archangel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. Because Zechariah had received this message of good news, and did not believe Gabriel’s words, Zechariah would be disciplined by being unable to speak until John was born (ref. Luke 1:19-20).
Those outside the Temple who were waiting for Zechariah became worried that he was inside for so long. When he finally came out, he was unable to speak, but the audience understood that he had had a vision in the Temple (ref. Luke 1:21-22).
Zechariah finished his two weeks of service (course of Abijah + preceding Feast of Weeks), then returned home. Afterwards, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant (ref. Luke 1:23-24).
When Elizabeth finally gave birth, she did indeed have a son, like Gabriel prophesied. Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives celebrated this miracle with her, recognizing that the Lord had shown her mercy. On the eighth day, when the baby was to be circumcised, Elizabeth informed the family that the boy would be named John. When asked what to name the child, Zechariah motioned for a writing tablet and wrote “His Name is John”.
Immediately after this, his mouth was opened and his tongue was set free and he began to speak, praising God. Those who witnessed these signs and miracles were struck with awe and word spread through the region, with people asking what would become of this child who had the Lord’s Hand upon him (ref. Luke 1:57-66)
Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy. His revelations became known as the “Benedictus” or the “Song of Zechariah” (ref. Luke 1:67-79).
Zechariah the Priest was perfectly positioned to eagerly and faithfully accept the prophetic message that Archangel Gabriel gave to him regarding his future son. Not only was Zechariah a part of the priesthood class, but he would have known the stories of the previous Great Men and Women of Faith who were blessed with children in their later years. Zechariah had served in the Temple for years and both he and his wife were considered to be upright and perfect in keeping God’s Commandments and Statutes. Even as he was ministering and offering incense in the Temple and had an angel appear to him, Zechariah’s human side presented itself and he doubted the prophecy he received.
In our modern age, many of our ministers are more highly educated than ever before, often having to earn Masters or Doctorate Degrees in Theology, with years of previous experience, before they are considered to lead even small churches. Some of them even have dissertations focused on aspects of Prophecy, yet, despite all this human learning, when confronted with the Prophetic, they stumble and question God’s Messengers.
Unfortunately for many of these Great Learned Men and Women of God, their disbelief will cost them. Because they have been blessed with higher status, greater positions, and more responsibilities, they should lean on the Lord far more than their own understanding or schooling. In the case of Zechariah the Priest, his voice was taken away for nine months. Modern Pastors and Church leaders have much more examples of God’s Modern Workings than ever before, but their failure to hear His Messages will result in them losing far more.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT AdministratorFor more prophetic media groups click here