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Luke 1:8-17 – An Angel Appears to a Priest

LK1:8 Now [something] happened while Zechariah was serving as priest before The God when it was the turn for his [priestly] division. LK1:9 Then according to the ritual of the priesthood it was his turn to burn incense[1] when he entered the temple of the LORD. LK1:10 Outside the throng of worshippers were praying at the time of the offering of incense. LK1:11 Suddenly YHWH’s angel[2] appeared on the right side of the altar of incense [in the Holy Place]. LK1:12 Now when Zechariah saw the angel he was startled and he began to tremble in fear. LK1:13 Then the angel said to him: “Do not to be frightened, Zechariah! For your prayer has been heard and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son and you will call his name ‘John’.[3] LK1:14 And you will become filled with joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. LK1:15 For he will be great in YHWH’s sight[4] and he will not drink wine or strong drink.[5] [Numbers 6:3] He will be filled with holy Pneuma even while in his mother’s womb. LK1:16 He will restore many of the children of Israel[6] to YHWH their God. LK1:17 He will be a forerunner before [the Messiah] in the inspiration and power of Elijah – to restore the hearts of fathers to their children [Malachi 4:5, 6] and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to get ready YHWH’s people[7] prepared for [Messiah].”

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[1] His turn to burn incense: Something rotated in the priestly divisions. In the first compartment of the Temple called the Holy Place there was an incense altar before the curtain to the Most Holy. [Exodus 25:1, 2, 6; 35:4, 5, 8, 27-29; 30:34-38]

[2] YHWH’s angel: A Hebraism where the Greek could suggest YHWH originally occurred here.

[3] ‘John’: Meaning “Jehovah Has Favored” or “God’s Gift.” One of the most common names in the Western world, occurring as Juan, Yves, Ivan, Sean, etc.

[4] YHWH’s sight: It is possible the Tetragram originally occurred here.

[5] He will not drink wine or strong drink: That is, a Nazarite from birth by God’s choosing like Samson. [Numbers 6:3; Judges 13:7]

[6] He will ‘restore many of the children’ of Israel: The phrase is borrowed from Malachi 4:5-6. This foretold “restoration” by Elijah was that of Israel to their God and also between Hebrew fathers and sons.

[7] To get ready YHWH’s people: The allusion to Malachi 4:5-6 gives an inspired interpretation to the prophecy. Peter alludes to a similar “restoration” at Acts 3:21. John the Baptist would go ahead of Christ by six months to prepare Israel for Messiah’s appearance by a baptism of repentance. All of Jesus’ apostles and early disciples were most likely disciples of John first.

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Preceding

Luke – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Introduction to the Third Gospel

Luke 1 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Luke 1:1-4 – A Factual and Logical Statement

Luke 1 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Luke 1:5-7 – Zechariah and Elizabeth

Matthew 9:14-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Bridegroom and Fasting

Matthew 11:2-6 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 2 Imprisoned Baptist Encouraged

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Additional reading

Truth, doubt or blindness

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