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RICHARD - Can you tell me how old was John the Baptist when his father died? And how did zacharias die?

JOEL - Zacharias was surprised when the angel told him that his “wife Elisabeth [would] bear. . . a son” (Luke 1:13). He objected saying, “Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years” (Luke 1:18).

So we know that he was already an old man when his son was born; but of course "old" then is not what we call old now. Besides this there is no indication in the scriptures about his age when he died.

An early Christian text dating to about A.D. 150 claims that Zacharias was killed in the area of the temple because he refused to disclose the whereabouts of his son to authorities, but this tradition is unreliable.

Some assume that scriptures where Jesus refers to a Zacharias (son of Barachias) being killed "between the altar and the temple" (Matt 23:35, Luke 11:51), are referring to the father of John the Baptist. But most likely He was referring to an old Testament prophet who was killed in a similar manner (See 2 Chr. 24: 20-21). So we don't know for sure how he died or how old he was.

See "The Confusing Case of Zacharias"

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, 'John was about six months older than Jesus, and came under this hellish edict, and Zacharias caused his mother to take him into the mountains, where he was raised on locusts and wild honey. When his father refused to disclose his hiding place, and being the officiating high priest at the Temple that year, [he] was slain by Herod's order, between the porch and the altar, as Jesus said.' (Teachings, p. 261; Matt. 23:35.)" (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary).

He got this information from the early Christian text referred to earlier and also makes the assumption that Jesus is talking about the death of the same Zacharias that was John's father. Joseph Smith wrote this in a Times and Seasons article; and because it is not really backed up by scripture, he may have just been expressing his opinion, but it could be a correct one.

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