Ellen G. White Writings

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Humble Hero, Page 38

same angel through whom God had given the prophecy had come to announce its fulfillment.

Zacharias Doubted

Zacharias had expressed doubt about the angel’s words. Now he was not to speak again until they were fulfilled. “Behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” It was the duty of the priest in this service to pray for pardon of sins and for the coming of the Messiah. But when Zacharias attempted to do this, he could not speak a word. As he came out from the Holy Place, his face was shining with the glory of God, and the people “perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple.” Zacharias “remained speechless,” but he communicated to them what he had seen and heard.

Soon after the birth of the promised child, the father’s speech was restored. “And all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, ‘What kind of child will this be?’% 7D’ All this called attention to the Messiah’s coming.

The Holy Spirit rested on Zacharias, and he prophesied about the mission of his son:

“You, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins.”

“So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.” God had called the son of Zacharias to the greatest work ever committed to human beings. And the Spirit of God would be with him if he obeyed the angel’s instruction.

John was to bring the light of God to the people. He must impress them with their need of God’s righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy, a temple for the Spirit of God to dwell in. He must have good physical health and mental and spiritual strength. For this reason, it would be necessary for him to control his appetites and passions.

In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches and the love of luxury and display were everywhere. Sensual pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical harm, numbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the awareness of sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his self-denying life and plain dress, he was to rebuke the excesses of his time. This was the reason an angel from the throne of heaven gave the lesson about temperance to his parents.

Childhood and youth is the time to develop the power of self-control. Habits established in early years decide whether we will be victorious or defeated in the battle of life. Youth—the sowing time—determines the character of the harvest for this life and the life to come.

In preparing the way for Christ’s first advent, John was a representative of those who prepare a people for our

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