Zechariah, John, & the New Covenant

Friends in the Lord, we’ve read in the scriptures in these days, about Zechariah – he was officiating as a priest in the temple and was struck dumb, unable to speak, because he did not believe the angel; and his wife is Elizabeth, who will become the mother of John the Baptist.
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Today Zechariah’s tongue is loosed and he is able finally to speak, and it is interesting, that the people thought his son should be named after him; but the parents insisted that his name would be John. Here we are seeing the displacement of the Old Covenant by the New Covenant.
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Zechariah is a priest of the Old Covenant, a Levitical Priest. His priesthood was under the Law; he offered animal and grain sacrifices to God, which could not take away sins. The temple, and his priesthood, and those sacrifices however, were symbols pointing to the New Temple, and New Priesthood of Christ, thereby anticipating the True Sacrifice which will take away the sins of the world.
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Elizabeth and Zechariah represent the Old Covenant. Notice that they were sterile, signifying that they did not have the grace of Christ. But now with the coming of the Lord, both Elizabeth and Zechariah are filled with the Holy Spirit – grace comes to them. ‘And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, she was filled with the Holy Spirit.’ ‘And immediately his tongue was loosed, and Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit.’
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The name Elizabeth means ‘promise of God,’ or ‘God’s oath’. God promised he would save his people. The name Zechariah means ‘God remembered.’ God has not forgotten his people, the Savior is come. And the name John, which they insisted he have, means ‘God gives grace.’
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Thomas Aquinas says, it is evident by allegory that John the Baptist came to announce the grace of the New Covenant. The Jews who were under the Law of the Old Covenant wanted John to be named after his father, a priest of the Old Covenant; but the name John means the grace of God, and the ancient priesthood, of ceremonies and sacrifices was only a foreshadowing of the New Covenant; John comes to announce the New Covenant of grace.
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A torrent of grace poured onto the world at that first Christmas; so let’s us, be open to God’s grace in the coming days of Christmas.

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