35 Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. [Exodus 40:34; Isaiah 7:14.]

36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

38 Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.

39 And at that time Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country to a town of Judah,

40 And she went to the house of Zachariah and, entering it, saluted Elizabeth.

41 And it occurred that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

42 And she cried out with a loud cry, and then exclaimed, Blessed (favored of God) above all other women are you! And blessed (favored of God) is the Fruit of your womb!

43 And how [have I deserved that this honor should] be granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 For behold, the instant the sound of your salutation reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

45 And blessed (happy, to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord.

46 And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord,

47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48 For He has looked upon the low station and humiliation of His handmaiden. For behold, from now on all generations [of all ages] will call me blessed and declare me happy and to be envied!

49 For He Who is almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]!

50 And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age. [Psalms 103:17.]

51 He has shown strength and made might with His arm; He has scattered the proud and haughty in and by the imagination and purpose and designs of their hearts.

52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree.

53 He has filled and satisfied the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty-handed [without a gift].

54 He has laid hold on His servant Israel [to help him, to espouse his cause], in remembrance of His mercy,

55 Even as He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. [Genesis 17:7; 18:18; 22:17; 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Micah 7:20.]

56 And Mary remained with her [Elizabeth] for about three months and [then] returned to her [own] home.

57 Now the time that Elizabeth should be delivered came, and she gave birth to a son.

58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy on her, and they rejoiced with her.

59 And it occurred that on the eighth day, when they came to circumcise the child, they were intending to call him Zachariah after his father, [Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3.]

60 But his mother answered, Not so! But he shall be called John.

61 And they said to her, None of your relatives is called by that name.

62 And they inquired with signs to his father [as to] what he wanted to have him called.

63 Then Zachariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote, His name is John. And they were all astonished.

64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak, blessing and praising and thanking God.

65 And awe and reverential fear came on all their neighbors; and all these things were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.

66 And all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, Whatever will this little boy be then? For the hand of the Lord was [so evidently] with him [protecting and aiding him].

67 Now Zachariah his father was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 Blessed (praised and extolled and thanked) be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and brought deliverance and redemption to His people!

69 And He has raised up a Horn of salvation [a mighty and valiant Helper, the Author of salvation] for us in the house of David His servant

70 This is as He promised by the mouth of His holy prophets from the most ancient times [in the memory of man]

71 That we should have deliverance and be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who detest and pursue us with hatred;

72 To make true and show the mercy and compassion and kindness [promised] to our forefathers and to remember and carry out His holy covenant [to bless, which is all the more sacred because it is made by God Himself],

73 That covenant He sealed by oath to our forefather Abraham:

74 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our foes, might serve Him fearlessly

75 In holiness (divine consecration) and righteousness [in accordance with the everlasting principles of right] within His presence all the days of our lives.

76 And you, little one, shall be called a prophet of the Most High; for you shall go on before the face of the Lord to make ready His ways, [Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 4:5.]

77 To bring and give the knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness and remission of their sins.

78 Because of and through the heart of tender mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit [us] [Malachi 4:2.]

79 To shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace. [Isaiah 9:2.]

80 And the little boy grew and became strong in spirit; and he was in the deserts (wilderness) until the day of his appearing to Israel [the commencement of his public ministry]. AMP

The house of Jacob is the nation of Israel. All twelve tribes of Israel are descended from the sons of Jacob. So this is a promise which specifically relates to the future time when Jesus assumes the throne of David and Israel is made the head of the nations. That future time, as we have seen in previous letters, is the Millennium. The promise of these verses is that the resurrected and glorified church will one day share with Jesus in reigning over His millennial kingdom.

This is the same amazing promise the Lord made to His disciples when He said, "I tell you the truth [literally, Amen, Amen], at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." This promise could not be any plainer.

But the end of the Millennium does not mean the end of the reign of the church alongside Jesus. We shall reign with Christ on into eternity, in the unimaginably sublime realm called the new heaven and the new earth.

In the last verse of Revelation 3, we hear the Lord's refrain for the final time: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Are we listening to what the Spirit says to you and me in the church at the end of the twentieth century? The promises and warnings to
the seven churches are as relevant to our lives as to the lives of the first-century believers. The seven letters could be summarized as follows:

To Ephesus: "Do not let your love for Jesus grow cold."

To Smyrna: "Do not fear the persecution of the world."

To Pergamum: "Trust the Word of God to keep you strong and faithful."

To Thyatira: "Avoid both sexual and spiritual adultery. Be pure."

To Sardis: "Wake up now! Strengthen what remains and is about to die!"