The first verses of the Gospel of Luke project переносят us back to the O.T. times and give us a fairly clear picture of how the believers then lived their faith; What was it like for them, what did they know and how did they sustain their faith?
We today have the whole Bible, with the N.T., that enhances подкрепляют and brings to light all the prophecies and types and many other things we find in our H.S. For us the Messiah has come, we have a thorough rendering of His life and Words — but what about them? How did they manage to walk the right path? And what did they know about the Messiah to come?
Surprisingly…these do not seem to lack anything at all. – The lives of those that are mentioned at the beginning of this Gospel are, so say the least, exceptional and rare even in our world today, with abundance of knowledge and information we all have access.
Luke brings to us a peek into the lives of five individuals, whose faith in God outstanding and whose circumstances in life, were for the most part, very difficult. Zachariah and Elizabeth, two of them, are seen living in state of reproach among the people because Elizabeth was barren, and this reproach was still there even in their old age. Yet they knew their God so well. Mary, the mother of the Messiah, was living in poverty – but we had to guess it, because there was never a complain. Anna, the prophetess, was widowed for so many years, yet, her situation did not deter her faith, and what a faith!
This is how the Gospel of Luke begins, with a great story of ordinary people, who did not have much, but were so rich – people whose lives and conduct attracted the attention of God who must have been so impressed by them, that He spokes of them so highly and decided to have their name in His Book –
As for us today we have so much to learn from them, because they had so little and it seems that we have so much. – And the first question we may ask is what makes them stand out? What was so special about these people to be counted worthy to be part of the life of the Messiah?
There is not much we are told about them, but there one thing that stands out in the beginning of the Gospel, something they all shared. -
That one thing that really stand out in all of them is their knowledge of Scriptures and their clear understanding of their times.
If you remove the conditions of their lives and just read their prayers, their worship, you would think that they went to seminary to know all these things.
The knowledge of this very young girl Mary, that she displays in her prayer to God, the one we call the Magnificat, is so impressive. How did she know so well about the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenant? And of all the mercies and promises of God to come? These things were surely not taught in the school system of Nazareth, this young girl must have read and studied her Bible well. This is why she could recognize the Word of God right away and told the angel after the revelation of her virgin birth, in Vs.38: «Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.» се, Раба Господня; да будет Мне по слову твоему.
According to the Word of God, with whom she seemed to be so acquainted.
And this woman Elizabeth — where is the source of her words we find in Luke 1:45 when she says to Mary “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.» И блаженна Уверовавшая, потому что совершится сказанное Ей от Господа. She also believed the Words of God. — She must have known about the prophecy of the virgin birth, she knew about Genesis and Isaiah. – And she linked them to the situation.
And her husband Zachariah, while at first he lacked faith, — but the prayer he pronounces afterward shows such a deep knowledge of the Word of God. – In Luke 1:68-70 he says: «Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began, благословен Господь Бог Израилев, что посетил народ Свой и сотворил избавление ему, и воздвиг рог спасения нам в дому Давида, отрока Своего, как возвестил устами бывших от века святых пророков Своих…
He knew of the prophets and of the covenants. – He knows David and the prophets. — He knew His Scriptures.
And this man Simeon, an old man who prayed that the Lord will not let him go until he sees the Messiah. – How could he make such a request, if he did not know the prophecy of Daniel who gave the date for the First Coming of the Messiah? We see him saying in Luke 2:30-31: For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples… ибо видели очи мои спасение Твоё, которое Ты уготовал пред лицем всех народов,
He knew of the coming Messiah, he knew so much through the Word.
And this blessed woman Anna who is called a prophetess, we are told in Luke 2:38 that she also was looking for the redemption of Jerusalem избавления в Иерусалиме. – We are told that as soon as she saw the Messiah, she recognized him, while others did not – she knew Him because He is all over the H.S.
How then did these people recognize the Messiah of Israel while the most learned man did not? It all lies in the Scriptures, in the knowledge of the Word of God. – For us today it is the same as for them. – We can know God, know Him intimately through His Word.
And then again, this is really nothing new here. – Before them, David said in Psalm 119:97: How I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Как люблю я закон Твой! весь день размышляю о нём. Psalm 119, the longest Psalm of the Bible, speaks so much of the power of the Word. – These believers have already the power of the Messiah, before He appeared on earth.
Solomon also said in Proverbs 30:5: Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Всякое слово Бога чисто; Он — щит уповающим на Него. How did he know this, if he did not spend much time in the study of the Word?
Moses before them even said in Deut.8:3: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. не одним хлебом живёт человек, но всяким [словом], исходящим из уст Господа. This is how important it is for a good life here on earth.
They say that a Bible that is falling apart probably belongs to someone who is not. And it is a truth we find in the Scriptures that the people that held on to the Word, always come out of the difficult circumstances of life. – Here in Luke, Jerusalem was falling apart разваливался, the Jewish society was about to literally be shattered and the Jews put out of their land, but these people stood strong. – They were there, like a light in darkness, these were like a reed камыш that stood strong and could not be shaken by the strong wind (Luke 7:24) — as Yeshua spoke later of the faith of John the Baptist –
These suffered, they had their struggle but they are so exceptionally equipped to face the big changes that were to occur in their lives in the world around them. – This is what the Word of God will do to us. – It does prepare for all circumstances. –
This is what first stands out from the beginning of the Gospel, – the miracle of change that God performs in the hearts of people. – Let us now go into the text and see how this information is brought to us.
Let’s read Vs.5-10: There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.` Во дни Ирода, царя Иудейского, был священник из Авиевой чреды, именем Захария, и жена его из рода Ааронова, имя ей Елисавета. Оба они были праведны пред Богом, поступая по всем заповедям и уставам Господним беспорочно. У них не было детей, ибо Елисавета была неплодна, и оба были уже в летах преклонных. Однажды, когда он в порядке своей чреды служил пред Богом, по жребию, как обыкновенно было у священников, досталось ему войти в храм Господень для каждения, а всё множество народа молилось вне во время каждения, —
This is the first time, after 400 years, after the last words of God through the prophet Malachi, that the Word of the Lord comes back to Israel. After mentioning Herod, whom we have seen standing here for the failing condition of the world — the first two people mentioned and who belong to the remnant of Israel are Zachariah and Elizabeth. In the Scriptures, names have meanings and theirs is very appropriate here: Zachariah means “God remembers”. And Elizabeth means “Promises of God” – Eli/God – Shevar/remembers. And the name of Elizabeth, the word for promises Shevar, is from the same root word as the word seven, Sheva, which denotes something full, completed, so the time was ripe созрело for the coming of the Messiah, for the prophecies to begin to come to fulfillment. And so, after a long time of silence, God “remembers His promises” to Israel and to the world and with Zachariah and Elizabeth, begins the story of the First Coming of the Messiah. /////////////////////////
On a technical point, we learn from Vs.5 that Jesus could have been born before, at least, 4 B.C. – Herod is here mentioned before the birth of the Messiah and this man died in 4 B.C. So the Messiah was born before 4 B.C. The good news is that we may add 4 years to our age.
And history gives us more information that helps us to narrow the gap; Josephus, the Jewish historian of the time tells us that Herod left Jerusalem in the year 5 B.C., never to return. He spent his final months of life in the city of Jericho and died there. So Jesus was born before 5 B.C. One more year to add to.
Matthew also tells us that Herod met the wise men in Jerusalem at the time when Jesus was already about two years old. So Jesus must have been born in 7 B.C. – So now you can add 7 years to our age – see how this Gospel can rejuvenate you?
And one more thing – Yeshua could not have been born in 8 B.C. because Josephus tells us that during this year Herod was away from Jerusalem fighting a war. So the wise men could not have met him in this year – the only remaining possible year of the birth of the Messiah is 7 B.C.
So we may know the year but not the month or the day, and it is better this way otherwise we would tend to idolize this day above the Messiah. (Show graphic Arnold *)
We also learn from Vs.5 that Zachariah was from the division of Abijah Авиевой чреды. What does that mean and why are we given this information?
David had originally divided the priests into 24 divisions so to allow each division and each priestly family to be able to serve in the daily rotation at the temple. – This is found in 1Ch.24 – easy to remember – twice the number 24.
There were many priests and, through these divisions, each will have at least one chance in his lifetime to serve at the Temple. – And here the lot fell on Zachariah to serve at the altar of incense благовоний.
The same division of 24 is seen for the Church in Revelation, where the presence of the Body of the Messiah in heaven is seen represented by 24 elders (Rev.4:4). Perhaps each of us will have this great opportunity to have our throne placed there, many times over throughout eternity.
The course чреда Zachariah belong to is the one of Abijah Авия, which in Hebrew means “Jehovah is my Father”. – We can see in the meaning of his name a confirmation of God’s faithfulness to Israel.
But Zachariah did not really belong to the family of Abijah, since, at the return of the Babylonian exile with Ezra and Nehemiah, only 4 of the 24 divisions came back (Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, and Harim.). And in order to restore the original number 24, the leaders asked each of these four families to draw five lots for those which had not returned, so as to form once more 24 courses, and not lose any names.
So, in some ways, Zachariah did come in the spirit of Abijah as his son will come in the spirit of Elijah.
Elijah in the Hebrew means, “My God is Jehovah” – and both Elijah and Abijah names give us “God is our Father, God is our Jehovah” which we may see as confirmation of God’s love for Israel and for us as well. – He is our Father — this is an eternal truth that Jehovah is our Father, our Creator, our sustainer опора.
And one more thing about numbers. — Zachariah then was of the division of Abijah, and this division happens to be the 8th of the 24. The number 8 speaks of what is full, complete — according to Bullinger in his book “Numbers in Scriptures”, he says that 8 is “as a noun, it is superabundant fertility”. – And from this we can think of Elizabeth who in her old age was barren, but now was about to give birth to a son who will prepare the way of the Messiah so that an abundance of people will come to a saving knowledge of God.
And this godly couple, Elizabeth and Zachariah, do mark a new birth of the nation of Israel leading to the gathering of the remnant of the Jews into one Body, as Abraham and Sarah did mark the beginning of the birth of the nation of Israel. – And we find both these two couples in the same condition at the time of their calling. — Both Sarah and Elizabeth were in their old age and barren. – Both Abraham and Zachariah were in their old age with no children. — But this is how the Lord works. – He often surprises us by taking the back door чёрный ход.
These are types of the coming and rejection of the Messiah they somehow typified. – Yeshua did not first come on a white horse followed by His armies, He came lowly скромно, riding on a donkey, and so are the people who follow Him. – And I believe it will be as such until the Second Coming.
God could have chosen the richest man in Israel and the most prominent woman through whom His Son would be born. – But this would not have been appropriate, because His Son first came to die. Because His Son was never accepted by the mainstream, He could not come from them.
And so, we are told in Vs.8-10 that it was the turn of Zachariah to burn incense in the Holy place. – This may have been the best job at the Temple – what is better than to mix flagrant spices and to burn them in an altar so to symbolize the prayers of the believers.
But let’s go in history and see how it happen at the time – let’s see the procedure behind such a work –
The offering of the incense occurred twice a day, at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and it was necessary to cast lots to determine which priest would offer it, and only once in his life would a priest receive this great privilege to offer incense in the Holy Place – here Zachariah was chosen.
The Altar of Incense itself was in the first room, the Holy Place, right in front of the Veil separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. (chart *)
At the time three priests will enter the room, one will clean the altar from the preceding offering – the other will carry coals from the Altar of Sacrifice and place them on the Altar of Incense – now this is very significant – why did God order that the coals must be taken from the altar of sacrifice?
The coals of the altar of sacrifice validated the offering of the incense. — Since the Altar of Incense represent the prayers of the believers, these prayers are effective only if they are done under the Name of the One who represents all these animal sacrifices performed at this time.
Through the presence of these coals, God already decreed that no one come to Him but through Yeshua the final sacrifice. — As Jesus said, “no one come to the Father, but by Me.” никто не приходит к Отцу, как только через Меня. (John 14:6)
Once these two priests would have done the work, the main one. And in this case, Zachariah was left alone in the room. – And, when he was left there — something unique happened – something that never happened before in history – let us read Vs.11-17: Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, «Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. «And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. «For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. «And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. «He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ’to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.» тогда явился ему Ангел Господень, стоя по правую сторону жертвенника кадильного. Захария, увидев его, смутился, и страх напал на него. Ангел же сказал ему: не бойся, Захария, ибо услышана молитва твоя, и жена твоя Елисавета родит тебе сына, и наречешь ему имя: Иоанн; и будет тебе радость и веселие, и многие о рождении его возрадуются, ибо он будет велик пред Господом; не будет пить вина и сикера, и Духа Святаго исполнится еще от чрева матери своей; и многих из сынов Израилевых обратит к Господу Богу их; и предъидет пред Ним в духе и силе Илии, чтобы возвратить сердца отцов детям, и непокоривым образ мыслей праведников, дабы представить Господу народ приготовленный.
Here an angel from heaven appeared to him. – For the first time in 400 years, the direct words of God were to be pronounced through this messenger. Who was this angel? His name is Gabriel – the last and only other time we read of him is when he announced to Daniel the prophet the exact date of the birth of the Messiah in Dan.9:24-27. – Now, as the date approaches, he comes to prepare those who will play a role in the First Coming.
Gabriel in the Hebrew means the “mighty individual of God” – Geber, strong & El/God. — And it is not surprising that when Zachariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. Он смутился, и страх напал на него.
Just imagine the scene – as when Zachariah first notice his presence. — We are told that Gabriel appeared at the right side of the altar, that is between the Menorah and the altar, – as if sent by the Spirit, which the light of the Menorah symbolized. – Surely Zachariah was given enough strength to sustain this great sight зрелище, in fact, so much must have been given to him, because soon after this, he finds the strength to argue with the angel.
It is amazing how humans adapt so fast – the more you give, the more they need. — More on this when we get to Vs.18 and see what is behind the lack of faith of Zachariah.
And did the angel appear to Zachariah who was a common priest and not the High Priest? He could not!
The High priest at this time was a man called Simon son of Boethius. – Did you know that this man was the father in law of Herod and, he was appointed by Herod to the High Priesthood. –
It was a real joke! High Priests were not supposed to be appointed, they were High Priests because of being direct descendants of Aaron, and they were High Priests for life. –
This Simon son of Boethius we do not know, and he was a precursor of those High Priests who condemned the Messiah, Annas and Caiphas – they also were appointed by strangers. – They were as Yeshua called them in John 10, thieves and robbers воры и разбойники who climbed the fence ограду and did not come in through the door.
But notice what is among the first words of Gabriel to Zachariah — for your prayer is heard. услышана молитва твоя – His prayer and His wife’s as well were so that they would have a child. – But do you realize how long he and his wife prayed for this?
They were old already, we read that they were well advanced in years в летах преклонных. – And the Mishnah, which throws much light on the things of this time — considers 60 as the beginning of old age. — They must have been past their 60’ – and the reproach persisted, it did not go away with age.
See that when we pray, and do not have an answer right away, it is not because God did not hear your prayer.
God hears all our prayers – but we will hear His answer only at the appropriate time – with prayer come faith and patience. Otherwise, it becomes like commandments to the Lord.
One thing we know is that He hears all our prayers, and He will answer each one when the appropriate time comes – unless we know better than God.
If we pull our rope трос too hard, it may break and we will lose contact with God through disappointments that we would have created. –
Effective prayer requires knowing God we pray to, as He reveals Himself in the Scriptures. – The more we know Him, the more effective our prayers would be.
And one main problem we find in prayer is that we look at them as a means of getting things for ourselves. It is OK to ask things for yourself, but our prayers should rise above our immediate problems and cover the overall picture, – as Moses prayed constantly for his people. – And so did Daniel. – Paul’s prayers were mainly for the believers and the salvation of others. – When he asked for his personal needs, it was so that he could better serve others.
I read of a story of a young girl, which was very sick and did not expect to recover. Because of her love for Jesus, she was troubled беспокоилась that she had not been able to do more for Him in her short life. Her pastor suggested that she make a list of people in their little town who needed Christ and pray that they might put their faith in Him. She took his advice, made a list, and prayed often for each person.
Sometime later God began to stir поднял a revival in the village. The girl heard of the people who were coming to the Messiah and prayed even more. As she heard reports, she checked off the names of those who had been led to the Lord.
After the girl died, a prayer list with the names of 56 people was found under her pillow. All had put their faith in Christ — the last one on the night before her death.
Such is the power of definite, specific, fervent точной, особой и горячей prayer. Do you have a prayer list?
It is worthy of note that in the Scriptures, the Spirit’s assistance in prayer is more frequently mentioned than any of His other offices. He is there to help us use this great power.
In all — the message of Gabriel to Zachariah is that of hope. – Not only was he going to be personally blessed, and joy and gladness will come back in this couple, but the son that will come from him would begin a revolution in Israel. – One that gave a new direction to the whole world. –
And what is the first thing that is said about this son to come? – see Vs.15 — For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. – That is very significant and brings us to truly measure what success is.
Looking at the life of John the Baptist, this man was rejected, persecuted, imprisoned and killed. – Not many believed in him, he stood against the religious institution, they made fun of him, they mistreated him. — Yet… he was great in the sight of the Lord. велик пред Господом
How then do you measure success?
Here we learn that right at the start, those who will follow Yeshua need to be ready for persecutions. – We need to know that we are rowing upstream гребём против течения. – We need to know that we can only succeed but through the help of God, through MIRACLES, – because the battle is His.
Do you see the difference between this world and God’s world, between the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God?
The greatest success stories are those of men and women of God in the Scriptures. – And this may not always be obviously successful to us, because we fail to see the connection between success and suffering. – For many, success is to live a flourishing material life. – The more you have the happier you are, but this is not how one measures success in the Bible.
In this world perspective, the most successful of the 12 apostles must be Judah Iscariot. – He carried the moneybag. – He had the best connections in the world. – He knew the people of the Sanhedrin. – He was both financially and politically successful. – And he was also performing miracles with Jesus. – He must have stood out выделялся from the other 11 apostles. – And he must have attracted the admiration of others. – He had it all. — But what was he in the eyes of God? At the end, he became one of the most infamous men in the history of this world.
There is a story that comes to us out of the long ago of a king who organized a great race within his kingdom. All the young men of the kingdom participated. A bag of gold was to be given to the winner, and the finish line was within the courtyard of the king’s palace. The race was run, and the runners were surprised to find in the middle of the road leading to the king’s palace a great pile of rocks and stones. But they managed to scramble over it or to run around it and eventually to come to the courtyard.
Finally, all the runners had crossed the finish line except one. But still the king did not call the race off. After a while, one lone runner came through the gate. He lifted a bleeding hand and said, «O King, I am sorry that I am so late. But you see, I found in the road a pile of rocks and stones, and it took me a while, and I wounded myself in removing them.» Then he lifted the other hand, and in it was a bag. He said, «But, Great King, I found beneath the pile of rocks this bag of gold.»
The king said, «My son, you have won the race, others have come to me through what they thought was the easy way, – but you understood, and fought your way through, and did good things and succeeded, – and made the way easier for others to come to me.
We read in 1Cor.9:24: Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. Не знаете ли, что бегущие на ристалище бегут все, но один получает награду? Так бегите, чтобы получить.
This race is not against the others, it is against ourselves, – our old nature, – because there is only one prize that you alone can win. – So we are running together for this special prize that was designed for us.
John the Baptist ran the race and he won his prize, and today he is cited to us as an example of a truly successful man.
True success for us then is to overcome a hostile environment. – It is to overcome persecution, criticism and adversity бедствия. – It is to overcome our past and to look forward to our great future – and not be discouraged.
And of John the Baptist, Gabriel says in Luke 1:17: He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.» и предъидет пред Ним в духе и силе Илии, чтобы возвратить сердца отцов детям, и непокоривым образ мыслей праведников, дабы представить Господу народ приготовленный.
It is interesting to note that Gabriel quotes a passage from Mal.4:6 when there is another verse in Mal.3:1 that speaks directly of John the Baptist. (chart of both *)
Mal.3:1 speaks of John the Baptist in saying: «Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,» Says the LORD of hosts. Вот, Я посылаю Ангела Моего, и он приготовит путь предо Мною, и внезапно придёт в храм Свой Господь, Которого вы ищете, и Ангел завета, Которого вы желаете; вот, Он идёт, говорит Господь Саваоф.
Later on in Vs.76 Zachariah brings back this prophecy –
However, Gabriel quotes the passage of Elijah for John the Baptist, but only uses a part of it Mal.4:6: And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. И он обратит сердца отцов к детям и сердца детей к отцам их, чтобы Я, придя, не поразил земли проклятием.
The two verses begin the same way, but must finish differently, – because the dispensations of John the Baptist and that of Elijah’s return, are different – (chart *).
Both Elijah and John the Baptist came to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children —
But with John, the striking of the earth with a curse is missing because Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save the world пришёл не судить мир, но спасти мир. (John 12:47). – In his first coming, He did not come to establish a worldwide justice or to bind evil. – This is why things are the same as they were before. – But he came so to bring peace in our hearts – a peace that this world cannot give. -
Up to now, a lap of time of 2000 years separates John from Elijah –
But at the end of the ministry of Elijah the world will experience the wrath of the Lamb гнев Агнца (Rev.6:16) – as Malachi says — Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse чтобы Я, придя, не поразил земли проклятием.
This curse represents the final wars this world will experience before the Second Coming. – All of this is described to us in the Book of Revelation.
This is why for John, Vs.17 ends with the words: and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord и непокоривым образ мыслей праведников, дабы представить Господу народ приготовленный. – A people that will be prepared for the Messiah. – This group will eventually be gathered and called the Body of the Messiah, the Church, which will be composed of the remnant of Israel and of the remnant of the nations. – A group of people who is being prepared for the Messiah – a body of people – as Eph.5:26-27 says, sanctified and cleansed… with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. освятить её, очистив банею водною посредством слова; представить её Себе славною Церковью, не имеющею пятна, или порока, или чего-либо подобного, но дабы она была свята и непорочна.
All of this is announced by John the Baptist. – The alternative is to wait for Elijah, at the time when this earth will be stroked by a curse. – Do you see the choice here?
As Yeshua said in Mt. 11:14: «And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. И если хотите принять, он есть Илия, которому должно придти.
It is then our choice!
This is a first indication that a time of grace was about to be ushered. – The Jews expected the Messiah to establish His Kingdom now, but this time is for later, what counts now is to turn from disobedience to God with the help of His wisdom and… to prepare ourselves for our eternal life with Him.
And notice again the beginning words of Vs.17: He (John the Baptist) will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah… и предъидет пред Ним в духе и силе Илии
The word power is that Greek word dynamos where from we get our word dynamite. — It is a word that is predominantly преимущественно used to describe miracles. – Yet… it was never recorded that John the Baptist performed miracles. – Miracle as many understand miracle. – But in reality, he was a great miracle worker, – because the true miracles in the Bible really are those who touch the hearts of the people.
The true miracles of the bible are those that describe the conversion of one’s heart to God. – And John the Baptist was chief in this area. – He prepared the way of the Lord. — Andrew and Peter were disciples of John, and in his humility смирении he directed them to Yeshua and they in turn repeated this miracle to leading others to Yeshua. This is what I believe is meant when it speaks of the power of John the Baptist.
And this son was to be called John. — This is the anglicized form. – The Greek has Ioannes which is from the Hebrew, Yohannan meaning Jehovah is a graceful giver милостивый даятель. – In this case, it was not only our God that is a graceful giver, but John himself of such a graceful and powerful character we will get to know as we move deeper into the Gospel.
So far if we put all the names together we can read – “Jehovah remembers His promises, (Zachariah & Elizabeth), God is my Jehovah and Jehovah is my Father (Elijah and Abijah), and now “He is a graceful giver” (John) because Salvation is coming, (Yeshua).
And it is after the words of Gabriel that Zachariah began to speak. – He spoke words he should not have to, but the Lord turned the whole things for His glory – let read Luke 1:18-22: And Zacharias said to the angel, «How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.» And the angel answered and said to him, «I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. «But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.» And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. И сказал Захария Ангелу: по чему я узнаю это? ибо я стар, и жена моя в летах преклонных. Ангел сказал ему в ответ: я Гавриил, предстоящий пред Богом, и послан говорить с тобою и благовестить тебе сие; и вот, ты будешь молчать и не будешь иметь возможности говорить до того дня, как это сбудется, за то, что ты не поверил словам моим, которые сбудутся в свое время. Между тем народ ожидал Захарию и дивился, что он медлит в храме. Он же, выйдя, не мог говорить к ним; и они поняли, что он видел видение в храме; и он объяснялся с ними знаками, и оставался нем.
What happened there?
The problem here is that Zachariah did not believe the Words of God reported to him by the angel. – The reason for the deafness, Gabriel said in Vs.20: because, the angel said, you did not believe my words ты не поверил словам моим. These were not the Words originating from Gabriel, but from God through Gabriel. – This angel was just a servant.
The question Zachariah asked stemmed out of unbelief. — And because of this, he was to be deaf and mute for a period of 9 months.
Here we see Zachariah going from fear to rebellion. – From wonder to rebellion. — In many ways, this is so typical in the history of Israel. Miracles after miracles were given, but we see them turn their back to the Messiah.
This same spirit we see throughout her history and especially in the Book of Malachi, – which in time directly precedes the Gospel of Luke. – And there is much similarities between both these books. – There, after that God declared to the nation that He loves them, in Malachi 1:2 the Jews turn to Him and say ’In what way have You loved us? в чём явил Ты любовь к нам?’ They seem to have reach a point of saturation. – They did not see the extraordinary and wonder anymore. -
At this time, the people of Israel were tired, fatigued изнурённый after so long a wait. – They have seen these miracles, but could not understand why the changes have not yet occurred. And perhaps Zachariah was experiencing the same fatigue. — He waited, not only his whole lifetime to be blessed with a child, but as a type of Israel, he also waited so long, 1500 years to finally see the beginning of the fulfillment of the promises. – And when it came, he did not believe it.
It is not that Zachariah did not believe in God — he did, — but he could not make sense of His promises, because he was worn out изнурён by time. – He was, as his people, tired.
Zachariah lost the overall perspective. – God promised him joy and gladness, but his situation and the situation of his people blinded him from enjoying this wonderful promise that was fulfilled in time.
And how many times we fall into the same predicament затруднение. The things of this life invade захватывают us in such a way that we lose sight теряем из виду of God.
We often focus in the wrong areas and we get lost and become depressed and unhappy, when in fact there are so many promises given to us. – Zachariah is a type of Israel who is type of each one of us. –
I read that in northern Chile, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, lays a narrow strip of land where the sun shines every day! Clouds gather so seldom over the valley that one can say, “It almost never rains here!”
Morning after morning the sun rises brilliantly over the tall mountains from the east. Each noon it shines brightly overhead, and every evening it brings a picturesque sunset. Although storms are often seen rising high in the mountains, and heavy fog banks hand their gray curtains far over the sea, Old Sol continues to shed his warming rays upon this “favored привилегированную” and protected strip of territory. One might imagine this area to be an earthly paradise, but it is far from that! It is a sterile and desolate wilderness! There are no streams of water, and nothing grows there. We often long for total sunshine and continuous joy in life, and we desire to avoid the heartaches that bring tears to our eyes. Like that sunny, unfertile part of Chile, however, life without clouds and even an occasional downpour would not be productive or challenging. But though showers do come, they will also end, and the sun will shine again: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. вечером водворяется плач, а на утро радость.” (Psalm 30:5).
There is so much to learn from Zachariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, and Mary and so many others that are mentioned in this great Gospel. We will resume in two weeks.
Let us pray:
|Almighty God, may our hearts join the angelic song today, crying, ”Alleluia! The Lord God Omnipotent reigns!”
May we gladly submit to Your rule in our own lives, may we be obedient to Your Word – so that we may serve, as we must.
Forgive this insistent selfishness that expects our brothers, our sisters, our family members to serve us.
Remind us that even the Lord Himself came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.
And I take this time Lord to bring to Your throne, all our workers today, those that are obedient to You – those that teach the children, those that set up the kitchen – those that sing and bring us to worship You – those that set up the sound system – those that translate – those that pray – and the many others who have a willing heart. Bless them Lord – bless their obedience to You and
Make us willing workers, generous givers, and selfless servants for Yeshua’ sake. Amen.
Всемогущий Бог, да присоединятся наши сердца к ангельской песне сегодня, крича ”Аллилуйя! Господь Бог Всемогущий царит!”
Да подчинимся с довольством Твоему правилению в нашей собственной жизни и будем послушны Твоему Слову — чтобы мы служили, как должны.
Прости этот настойчивый эгоизм, ожидающий, чтобы наши братья, сёстры, члены семьи служили нам.
Напомни нам, что даже сам Господь пришёл, чтобы не быть обслуженным, но послужить и отдать Свою жизнь как выкуп за многих.
И сейчас я приношу, Господи, к Твоему престолу, всех наших работников, послушных Тебе — учащих детей, устраивающих кухню, поющих и ведущих нас к поклонению Тебе, настраивающих звуковую систему, переводящих, молящихся — и многих других с желанием сердца. Благословите их, Господь — благослови их послушание Тебе и
Сделай нас добровольными работниками, щедрыми даятелями и самоотверженными служителями ради Йешуа. Аминь.
Isaac Gabizon, Beth Ariel, 22 Oct. 2011