Gabriel: Prophecy of John the Baptist

Luke 1:14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth

Gabriel is revealing the promise of Zechariah’s son to him, John the Baptist. Zechariah is told his son will result in joy and gladness. In the Greek language, the root word for joy is a form of the word for grace or χαρά/chara. In other words, Zechariah will experience joy because of God’s grace. As a father, Zechariah would also experience “gladness” or ἀγαλλίασις/agalliasis. The translation of “gladness” does not fully define the term. Other translations could include wild joy, ecstatic delight, exultation, or exhilaration as noted by Strong’s Concordance.

and many will rejoice at his birth… The birth of John the Baptist will result in others to “rejoice”. This is the verb form of grace or χαίρω/chairó.

John the Baptist will be a source of God’s grace.

Luke 1:15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

for he will be great before the Lord.

God’s view of John the Baptist is “great” or μέγας/megas. John will be large, great, in the widest sense. -Strong’s Concordance.

And he must not drink wine or strong drink

Many take this charge to be a Nazarite vow. This concept has its origins in Numbers 6:1-21. John the Baptist is to set himself apart and dedicate himself to God for his entire life. John is one of three people in the Bible who were to devote their lives with a Nazarite vow to God. The other two were Samson and Samuel.

In general, there are three primary considerations when taking a Nazarite vow. One, a person is not to drink wine or any beverage product that comes from a grape. A person is not to eat grapes or raisins either. Two, no razor shall touch his head. In other words, no hair cuts or facial shaving allowed. Three, one is not to come in contact with a dead body.

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and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit…

Keep in mind, this is before the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost. That event was yet future.

There were not many people who were blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit prior to John the Baptist. Aspects of the Spirit allowed Moses, Joshua, Saul, and Solomon to carry out various duties with God given insights.

King David particularly valued the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

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…even from his mother’s womb.

This promise is confirmed later in the book of Luke.

Luke 1:41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

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