"And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord."
Those who were outside knew how long it would take to burn incense and offer the morning prayer, therefore when too much time had passed they were troubled by the delay. (Luke 1: 21.)
The prayer he offered was set, given each day as part of offering incense in the Holy Place, and is as follows:
True it is that Thou art Jehovah our God, and the God of our fathers; our King of our fathers, our Saviour and the Saviour of our fathers; our Maker and the Rock of our salvation; our Help and our Deliverer. Thy name is from everlasting and there is no God beside Thee. A new song did they that were delivered sing to Thy name by the seashore; together did all praise and own Thee as King, and say, Jehovah shall reign who saveth Israel.
Be graciously pleased, Jehovah our God, with Thy people Israel, and with their prayer. Restore the service to the oracle of Thy house; and the burnt-offerings of Israel and their prayer accept graciously and in love; and let the service of Thy people Israel be ever well-pleasing unto Thee.
We praise Thee, who art Jehovah our God, and the God of our fathers, the God of all flesh, our Creator, and the Creator from the beginning! Blessing and praise be unto Thy great and holy name, that Thou hast preserved us in life and kept us. So preserve us and keep us, and gather the scattered ones into Thy holy courts, to keep Thy statutes, and to do Thy good pleasure, and to serve Thee with our whole heart, as this day we confess unto Thee. Blessed be the Lord, unto who belongeth praise.Appoint peace, goodness, and blessing; grace, mercy and compassion for us, and for all Israel Thy people. Bless us, O our Father, all of us as one, with the light of Thy countenance. For in the light of Thy countenance has Thou, Jehovah, our God, given us the law of life, and loving mercy, and righteousness, and blessing, and compassion, and life, and peace. And may it please Thee to bless Thy people Israel at times, and at every hour with Thy peace. Blessed be Thou, Jehovah, who blessest Thy people Israel with peace. (Alfred Edersheim, The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, pp. 128-29.)
When the angel appeared and said, "Fear not, Zacharias; for thy prayer is heard" (Luke 1: 13), the prayer asked for "the light of [God's] countenance" to shine again upon Israel. The promised son (to be named "John"--Luke 1: 13) was to "go before him in the spirit and power of Elias." (Luke 1: 17.) The One before whom John was to go was "the light of [God's] countenance" or, in other words, Jehovah. John was to be Elias to precede and prepare the way for Jehovah.
Following his birth, John was "ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power." (D&C 84: 28.) He prepared the way, was imprisoned and beheaded. Then he appeared with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. (JST-Mark 9: 4; Matt. 17: 2-3, 13.) Moses opened, and John closed, the prior dispensation and met with Christ as the founder of the new dispensation.
John was as great a prophet as ever lived. The Lord said he was "more than a prophet." (Luke 7: 24-28.) Foretold in prophecy, born to bring "the light of God's countenance" back to Israel, fulfilling an angel's promise, named by heaven, ordained at eight days, sent to close one and open another dispensation, slain for his testimony, and then called to minister as an angel to the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration, John was "more than a prophet."
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