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Posts tagged ‘Restoration’

Matthew 17:10-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Elijah Has Already Come

Matthew 17:10-13 – Elijah Has Already Come

|| Mark 9:9-13

MT17:10 Now the disciples inquired of Jesus, asking, “Why do the Scribes[1] say it is necessary for Elijah[2] to come first?” [Malachi 4:5] MT17:11 Jesus answered them, saying: “Indeed, Elijah is coming[3] and will restore everything.[4] MT17:12 But, I tell you: Elijah has already arrived[5] and they did not acknowledge him;[6] rather, they treated him as they wished.[7] And just so the Son of Humankind is about to suffer because of them.”[8] MT17:13 Finally the disciples understood that Jesus spoke to them about John the Baptist.

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[1] Scribes: Search the word scribe for notes elsewhere. Or, NEB: teachers.

[2] Elijah: Likely this prophet is raised as a result of the vision. We may suppose only the three disciples were asking the question. On Elijah research the name for other notes.

[3] Elijah is coming: Judging from Jesus’ words may we suppose there are two “Elijahs”? One to appear before the desolation of Jerusalem (Malachi 4:5). And, still another before the Parousia of Christ (Revelation 11:4, 5). The Nazarene does not mean the literal prophet but something like him.

[4] Restore everything: Or, NEB: set everything right; GDSP: reform everything; RIEU: reestablish everything. Compare Acts 3:21. Malachi 4:6 foretold the result of Elijah’s coming:

“He must turn the heart of fathers back toward sons, and the heart of sons back toward fathers.”

If this be the ‘restoration’ it deals strongly with family relationships and involves love. If we were to also apply Isaiah 40:5 to the coming of Elijah then this also would be involved: “The glory of Jehovah will certainly be revealed, and all flesh must see it together.” Additionally, consider Malachi 3:1-4: “And suddenly there will come to His temple the [true] Lord, whom you people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom you are delighting. Look! He will certainly come,” Jehovah of armies has said. “But who will be putting up with the day of his coming, and who will be the one standing when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye of laundrymen. And he must sit as a refiner and cleanser of silver and must cleanse the sons of Le’vi; and he must clarify them like gold and like silver, and they will certainly become to Jehovah people presenting a gift offering in righteousness. And the gift offering of Judah and of Jerusalem will actually be gratifying to Jehovah, as in the days of long ago and as in the years of antiquity.” (NWT) The ‘restoration’ not only involves family relationships but also the true Temple and the cleansing of the People of God. Compare Revelation 11:1-12; 11:19.

[5] Elijah has already arrived: See notes on Matthew 11:14 and Matthew 16:14 and the name Elijah elsewhere.

[6] They did not acknowledge him: “They” includes the Scribes. Or, KJV: knew him not; RHM: they recognized him not.

[7] They treated him as they wished: Or, KJV: have done unto him whatsoever they listed; RHM: did with him whatsoever they pleased; MOF: they have worked their will on him; KNX: misused him at their pleasure. “They” imprisoned and then beheaded John the Baptist.

[8] Suffer because of them: This is the second of two times Jesus mentions his foretold ‘suffering.’ (see notes at Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 17:25) That the Messiah would “suffer” is foretold by Psalm 22:1+ and Isaiah 53:1+. Compare also Isaiah 50:6 and Daniel 9:26.

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Preceding

Matthew 17:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Transfiguration Vision

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Related

  1. Will Elijah Come Again? No, Elijah has already come.

Bring praise to the Creator

Often people moan about their life. It is as if they do not like to be here on this world. Many think the grass is greener somewhere else.

We have our good and our bad days on this earth. Some days we like it here very much, other days we hate it. Most of us do have questions why we are here and what life is all about. Many also wonder how they came about and what the reason of all the things that happen are. Lots of people only think of God when something goes wrong and than they question Him. It is not that God is silent when bad things happen here or when justice appears not to be meted out on our terms for the terrors of this world. It is also not God who created the terrors of this world. People do forget that most of the difficulties which come over them are a result of them leaving God, not listening to His ordinances. Most people have separated themselves  from the Creator, Jehovah God.

The Creator has always walked alongside His people and was always longsuffering, patient and waiting for any of us that would turn to Him. He provided the solution for mankind to come back to Him, but many still do not see the Restoration. God gave His only begotten son as The Way to come to Him. His door, through Christ, is always open.

One of the main problems of the human beings is that they put their trust in mere man. They look forward that other men can find a political solution to make this life better. Some look to their idols to inspire them, other put all their trust in so called powerful persons.  They all forget that no ordinary man shall be capable to find the most sublime best solution. They hope to find any kind of consistency and salvation in mankind.  They forget what happened in passed time. Many do not know the history of mankind.

English: Plaque at coastal viewpoint Quoting a...

Plaque at coastal viewpoint Quoting a Psalm in the praise of the Creator God. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In case more people would know the history of the world and religion they would know that the reasons why it is such a mess is that people have far gone off the Law of God. Many our blinded, even when they do think they are religious and belonging to a church. In those churches they eat dogmatic words and often have not much Words of God coming unto them. Words of pastors and men surround them. Some of them want to bring the flock to see through the mist, to look at God, who alone is our rock and source of eternal lifeGod alone is worthy of our praise.

And because humankind does not recognises the works of the Creator, they also do not praise enough. In case they would praise more they would also be more enlightened.

Praise is not some non-emotional reaction – it is a holistic pouring out of self to lift up our voice and spirit to the Lord.  It isn’t a suggestion – it is a command.  It is an action.  It requires us to be totally involved emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Praising the Most High, Creator of all things, should become a way of life.

For every God loving person it is a way of living. It is a lifestyle.

Praising God is something that comes in earnest from the heart. It is the fulfilment of the grace of love. To Praise God involves all of the individual ‘I’.

To praise the Almighty God isn’t some external only action. It involves our entire being.  It takes all of us, down to our very soul, to praise Jehovah, God of all gods, King of all kings and King of all gods.

Praising God, is showing our love to Him and giving Him notice that we do not put ​our​ trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. It is recognising how small we are and that when we come to the end of our life our spirit goes out and we go back to the ground of this world, becoming dust. It is recognising that in the day of our death it shall be the day that our thoughts do perish.

Simeon's song of praise.

Simeon’s song of praise. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By praising Jehovah, using His Name, we show Him that we want to give ourselves to Him and that we want to show are thanks for the many blessed moments we get in this life, though it may also be filled with difficult moments and moments never to be remembered. But by praising God we show Him and the world around us that we are belonging to the happy ones who has the God of Jacob for their help, whose hope is in Jehovah their God,  the Maker of heaven and earth, of the sea, and of all that is in them, the One keeping trueness to time indefinite.

By praising Him alone we show the world and its Creator that we are willing to give ourselves in the hand of the Elohim, the One executing judgement for the defrauded ones, the One giving bread to the hungry ones, because we know that Jehovah is releasing those who are bound. We are sure that Jehovah is opening our eyes and even those of the blind ones.

In case we do bow down in front of God He might raise us up.

Jehovah is loving the righteous ones and is guarding the alien residents. Wherever we may be on this earth or this universe God is willing to be with us. When we call unto Him He shall come unto us.

Giving praise to Jehovah the king to time indefinite, we let Him know that we do recognise those facts, as written in His Word, the Bible. We do recognise that His Word is infallible and let it inspire us every hour of the day. Reading in the Bible is also a form of praising God, often forgotten by many. It is like reading the love letter from your most beloved over and over again, thinking of Him all the time, wanting to be close by Him.

We should take as much time as we can in the Word of God, reading it and taking it at heart. By reading those Words of Hope we shall get to know better the rock on which our fortress shall stand strong. In the Words of God we shall be able to find who is our Deliverer; our God being our rock, in whom we take refuge.

He is my and your shield and the horn of my and your salvation, my and your stronghold, in case you are willing to recognise the Most High. His only begotten son made it possible for all people to be reconciled again with the Father of all. It is on Him that we should call. Jesus learned his followers to pray to his Father with the words ‘Our Father’. Yes we can say “Our Father” to the creator of all things and praise Him. We also can ask Him many things in the name of His son Jesus.

Let us be humble enough and give praise to the right one. Praise to the LORD of lords, who is worthy of praise.

We need to recognize God and His sovereignty continually. And we should praise Him with all our heart,with all our soul, but also we are told

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being”.

"Jehovah" at Exodus 6:3 (1611 King J...

“Jehovah” at Exodus 6:3 (1611 King James Version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That reinforces the lifelong aspect of praise, but also that singing is one way we should be lifting up His name.  We should praise Him with our voice.  It isn’t something we should always do in a closet but verbally and often in front of others. His son also asked his pupils to go out in the world and proclaim the Name of the Father. This Name: Jehovah, should sound all over the world, through many generations.

We should let as many as possible know that we love Jehovah our God, for generation after generation.

It is a personal relationship with us the Creator God desires.  Not because He needs us, but because He loves us.  He desires that we enter into His presence and have a relationship.
Do you have that with God?
Are you praising Him with all your soul?
If not, today is the day to begin.  He is worthy.  He deserves and desires our praise!

“Praise Jah, ​YOU​ people!”

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Next: Praise Jehovah, ​You people

Preceding:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:67-80 – Zechariah’s Prophecy

We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”

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Please also do read:

  1. Jehovah God Almighty greater than all gods
  2. Creator and Blogger God 5 Things to tell
  3. Fear and protection
  4. For Jehovah is greatly to be praised
  5. Praise be to God
  6. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  7. Song of Praise for the Elohim Set-Apart
  8. Songs of Moses and the servants of God
  9. Worship and worshipping
  10. Dealing With the “Silence” of God
  11. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart
  14. Good and bad things in this world
  15. Longsuffering
  16. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  17. Looking at the Source of joy
  18. God our refuge
  19. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  20. sinking world….
  21. Best intimate relation to look for
  22. Look for your Refuge by God

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Please do find also of interest:

Previous articles on this subject:

  1. Contents of the Book of Revelation
  2. The Song of The Lamb #1 Visions, symbols and suggested meanings
  3. The Song of The Lamb #2 Sevens
  4. The Song of The Lamb #3 Daniel and Revelation
  5. The Song of The Lamb #4 Methods of Interpretation
  6. The song of the lamb #5 Revelation 5
  7. The Song of The Lamb #6 Revelation 14
  8. The Song of The Lamb #7 Revelation 15
  9. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  10. Kingdom Visions of Rainbowed angel, Lamb in Mount Zion
  11. Kingdom Visions of God’s judgements and Marriage of the Lamb
  12. 144 000 following the Lamb
  13. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  14. Seals, a flying scroll, a statue and blessings
  15. Songs of Moses and the servants of God
  16. Attributes to God, names and titles
  17. Believe in only One God
  18. God is one
  19. Suffering through the apparent silence of God

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Different approach in organisation of services #3

Radio calls and booklets

Today the Jehovah Witnesses are the biggest known Bible Student Group in Belgium. At first they could find Bible Students groups associating with them and start growing from the previous preparations of those groups. But they too had to see members leaving them.

Français : Jumet (Charleroi - Belgique) - Chap...

Français : Jumet (Charleroi – Belgique) – Chapelle Notre Dame de Heigne (XIIe siècle) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As result of the broadcastings in the mid 20° century, in French and sponsored by the Brethren of Dawn from the U.S; 3 Belgian families were interested in the Present Truth. It was Brother Armand Lechien who got in touch with Brother Félix Pilarski through the mail service of Radio Luxemburg: Brother Félix aimed him towards Jumet. These 3 families left the movement they were members of (the Jehovah Witnesses) because they thought the teachings they heard were not in harmony

with the Scriptures. The Polish-Belgian Brother and Sister Wlodarski had got French brethren and sisters in their circles and found more brethren from the French Association des étudiants de la Bible coming more and more frequently to serve the Word of God (brother François Wozniak, Kosmalski A. Liszka, T. Kubiak, J., Osorowski S.,TF et Ed. Pilarski, Speil, a few from Saint Etienne and many others …..); the family Kula, their younger daughter and one son attended the meetings, in the following years just like in France, pilgrim brethren came from the United States and later from Poland.

Courcelles coal mine ” 6 périer ” Souvret

The families – Armand et Louise Lechien – Ernest et Helena Duchateau –  Edmond et Jeanne Henrioule decided to have meetings during the week (on Wednesday and Thursday) to study the Figures of the Tabernacle. With their agreement, the families Wlodarski and Kula joined them. The studies were held in two languages with the help of a translator (2 languages were spoken French and Polish).

Brother Félix Pilarski and other brethren worked a lot for these meetings because they spoke French perfectly.
Brother Félix Pilarski made a handsome contribution to the development of the meeting of Courcelles with edifying biblical discourses and his visits. He was also personally active in the country of Liège and in Brussels where he had a deposit of booklets. Other brethren also paid many visits; among them we can mention Brother Joseph Wozniak, Adolphe Debski, and others.
After Brother Ernest Duchateau died suddenly, meetings continued for some time. When Brother Lechien died after a quite long disease, we could see a repetitive thing around the house churches, the ecclesia of Courcelles disappeared in the mid 70’s.

Former town hall of Jumet, where the film “Why did He come to earth?” of the Bible Students was given.

On October 24th 1987, the ecclesia of Jumet organised two projections of the film “Why did He come to earth?” in the community City Hall of Charleroi. Those shows were announced with advertising: posters in public places, advertising in the city with loudspeakers, spots on local newspapers radio and TV, display on electronic screens, distribution of leaflets.
More than hundred persons attended these film projections. Leaflets and tracts were given to the participants but only few asked for further information and other booklets.

Soothed to sleep with man’s talk

Very soon in history the majority in Christendom went running after the false teachers. The myths were more pleasing to the ear than the actual truth. They were soothed to sleep with it. Early on the Brothers, as true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, were in the minority. Their faith of the true gospel was of ‘origin’ pure, by the human impurities it was swung back and forth by the years gone.

In Belgium and the Netherlands remained Bible Faithful following Jesus’ command and continued preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
The first nor the second world war had kept them from it, even though many of them were anxiously looking forward to the action of the two warring camps, because they were against fighting, and because they adhered to a faith that was not liked by anyone.

That Jesus and his apostles spoke about the news that there would be established a Kingdom on earth, that would be ruled by Jesus Christ and in which the faithful of all ages would have a place alongside their Lord: i.e. as co-rulers, this sounded obviously not fine in the ears for them (the German Fuehrer wished to be the only ruler). But the cheerful message for humanity survived now the fight under people and brought unprecedented peace in some families.

The doctrine of Christ’s reign on earth was first treated as highly symbolic, gradually became labelled as a very questionable and useless thought and was ultimately rejected as an absurd invention of heresy and fanaticism.
God’s light happily extinguishes not; it is an eternal flame. The people of Israel in ancient times also reached detritus. They even served other gods. Nevertheless, there remain at this time believers in the One God and history now could repeat itself. Faithful to God those bible students wanted to share their findings and in spite the continuous opposition dared to go against the most popular doctrine of men.

Getting a base in Holland

After attempts from the Netherlands were made to bring Truth to England (in the 16th Century) and having a flight of truth seekers to the New World in the 19th century, now letters of truth seekers from the New World could again send truth to Europe.

The teachings of Elias Smith and John Thomas now, the time was ripe, an opportunity was given to a ‘resurgence‘ of Bible Faithful. They also found their way across the ocean and in all English-speaking countries they could find a foothold.

Through the centuries, the Gospel of God’s Kingdom, which was preached by Jesus and the apostles, showed a dynamic force which has all the opposition of powerful religious groups defied and still serves as the sole basis of faith for those who want to search God.

Website of the Brothers in Christ or Christadelphians in the Netherlands - Website van de Nedrlandse Broeders in Christus

Website of the Brothers in Christ or Christadelphians in the Netherlands – Website van de Nedrlandse Broeders in Christus

In 1956 in the Netherlands finally the group of Brothers in Christ could get solid and communities as “de Broeders in Christus“, arose in Den Haag (The Hague), Amersfoort, Ede and Groningen.

From 1957 officially recognised, seeing it as our duty to our Lord to make his name known among the people in our area, as well as among other nations, they made work of it to go around billing leaflets. They kept their focus on the Bible as the source of all knowledge and followed the guiding principle of the word of our Lord, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” They also began to spread the magazine “Met Open Bijbel” (With Open Bible) of which Rudolf Rijkeboer was the driving force.

Vanishing interest

It clearly appeared that after the ‘golden age’ with the children boom and citizens of Belgium having their life becoming better, the interest for the biblical message of Truth is vanishing with time passing on.
The Bible Students saw their number of members in ecclesiae decreasing.The visiting brethren and sisters from the Christadelphian Bible Mission (CBM) for 25 years made regular visits to put leaflets and pamphlets in the postboxes. Their short visits trying to get people on the street interested in the works of Christ and in the promises of God, did not work out. At the time (early 21° Century) they wanted to give it all up and several Christadelphians left Holland to return to England or to go to Australia.
At the end of the 20° Century some Bible Students with ex-Jehovah Witnesses formed the Vrije Christenen or Free Christians. In that movement was also the non-trinitarian Baptist Marcus Ampe very active. Even before he himself became a Christadelphian he had already brought others to the Christadelphian faith. In Flemish Brabant and in Hainaut, plus on the net, with him, again an effort was made to bring the Good News of the coming Kingdom.
The Belfry in Mons

The Belfry in Mons, one of the meeting places of the Free Belgian Christadelphians

Last year brother Marcus tried to get several Bible Student groups together, but failed because of their will to have a certain power and the will to keep everything in control themselves. Plus some, like our confrères which we ourselves could not get over the bend to join the other Christadelphians in Belgium, made it impossible to have the different bible Students exchanging ideas, meeting sessions and information about their where-about and working. For our Australian brothers, of the Australian Bible Students, the CBM members were not close enough in following the teachings of brother Dr. John Thomas and mixing with the too loose teachings would dilute the whole system (they thought).

The man from the North and his organisation, have most of the Bible Students (except the JW) living in Belgian. But they resisted in giving the addresses of their ecclesiae in Oostende, Gent, (Brussels) and Antwerp. this made that the few but very active Christadelphians from Brussels, Leuven and Mons, could not meet with more Christadelphians in Belgium.
We too had to face the difficulty of bringing people together in peace and where confronted with a loss in our ranks, but our invitation is still open to join as members of the Body of Christ, united in the love of Christ.
We are convinced that our preaching work is important and that even when we do not reach so many people in Belgium, we do hope we can reach some others far away from us. We do hope that our voice may also sound in the darkness and bring some light to people we do not know, but who we do hope to meet in the Kingdom of God. We look forward to meet many new faces, happy to be under the Guidance of the Lord and not bounded by single people, but constructed on the cornerstone Jesus Christ.
Though we may have a different approach in organisation of services we do believe we all should go for the same truth and for the unification under Christ, by which each group might have a different name, but is willing to be united in spirit, sharing to build up and construct positively working to help each other entering the gate of the coming Kingdom.
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Preceding articles:
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Please do find out more about the Christadelphians and find further related articles:

  1. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  2. Two new encyclopaedic articles
  3. Who are the Christadelphians
  4. What are Brothers in Christ
  5. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  6. Christadelphian people
  7. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews
  8. About the Belgian Free Christadelphians
  9. What Christadelphians teach
  10. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  11. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  12. 19° Century London Christadelphians
  13. Breathing and growing with no heir
  14. Commitment to Christian unity
  15.  Parts of the body of Christ
  16. What part of the Body am I?
  17. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  18. United people under Christ
  19. Fellowship
  20. The Ecclesia
  21. The Ecclesia in the churchsystem
  22. The ecclesia or Christadelphian church
  23. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  24. Our ecclesia or Christadelphian-church
  25. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  26. An ecclesia in your neighbourhood
  27. Communion and day of worship
  28. Christadelphians today
  29. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  30. Who Celebrates Easter as Religious Holiday
  31. Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. Harvest in Belgium
  34. Building up the spirit of the soul
  35. No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks
  36. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  37. Change of name
  38. Quibbling siblings united or allied children of an organisation or a church
  39. Small churches of the few Christadelphians

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Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest

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].”

 


[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:

The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression

Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth

Next:

Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief

Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant

Nazarene Commentary to Gabriel’s Appearance to Mary

Nazarene Commentary to Mary Visits Elizabeth

Nazarene Commentary to Mary Magnifies God

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Cappella tornabuoni frescoes in Florence. Annu...

Annunciation of the angel to Zecharia. – Cappella tornabuoni frescoes in Florence. Annuncio dell’angelo a San Zaccaria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • With God Nothing is Impossible (thebeggardanced.com)
    As a priest of Israel, during the time that Jesus was born, you could only minister at the altar of Incense that stood before the great curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place once in your life. There were so many priests that they were divided into divisions and that division would serve for a two-week period at the great Temple in Jerusalem. Two priests were appointed by casting lots to serve each day, and as a result only 28 priests would have the privilege of representing their nation before God through supplication and prayer within the Holy Place.It was with great excitement that Zechariah of the division of Abijah (Luke 1:5) was called upon to, “enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.” (v. 9) While he was serving as a priest before God Luke tells us, “The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.” (v. 10)
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    Zechariah, when confronted by Gabriel himself, still couldn’t believe and wanted a sign. What a contrast with the young girl Mary who, when she came face to face with Gabriel said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 Sometimes in life, regardless of our learning and our status, we understand less about the workings of God than a theologically uneducated person who simply has an honest heart for truth. Mary had faith and needed no further proof that God was leading her, while Zechariah couldn’t accept by faith Gabriel’s announcement and asked instead for proof. It is fitting that Luke should remind us, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37 Regardless of what difficulties and problems you encounter, that text is as true for you as it was for Mary and Zechariah.
  • Thursday, 19 December 2013 : 3rd Week of Advent (Gospel Reading) (petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com)
    Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I believe this? I am an old man and my wife is elderly, too.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel, who stands before God, and I am the one sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news! My words will come true in their time. But you would not believe, and now you will be silent and unable to speak until this has happened.”
  • Thursday (December 19): “Do not be afraid because your prayer has been heard.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
    Do you believe that God will fulfill all his promises just as he said? Advent is a time to renew our hope and confidence in God’s faithfulness to the covenant he made with his people. In preparing the way for a Savior, we see the wondrous miracle of two barren couples who conceive and bear sons – Samson in the Old Testament (Judges 13) and John the Baptist in the New Testament (Luke 1:5ff) – who are called by God to bring hope and deliverance at a time of spiritual darkness and difficulty for the people of God.
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    When God draws us into his presence, he wants us to be still and quiet before him so we can listen to his voice as he speaks to our hearts and reveals his mind to us.  Do you listen attentively to the Lord and do you ponder his word in your heart with trust and confidence?
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    In the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist, the angel explains to Zechariah the role his son is to play in preparing the way for the Messiah. John will be great in the sight of God. He will live as a Nazarite (see Numbers 6) – a person set apart for the Lord. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even within his mother’s womb. And he shall be sent to the people of God, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers and children to God and one another, by turning the “disobedient to the wisdom of the just.” The name John means “the Lord is gracious”. When God acts to save us he graciously fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes our faith “alive” to his promises. Do you pray that “the hearts of parents and children may be turned to God and one another”?
  • The Daily Gospel and Readings 19 December 2013 (prayersandmeditations.com)
    There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children.
    An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean.
    As for the son you will conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb.
    It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines.”
  • Advent Series, part II – Zechariah (matthewjabate.wordpress.com)
    Gabriel informed Zechariah that his son would fulfill Biblical prophecy in Malachi 4:6, which stated that “he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children.” This was an unbelievable revelation for Zechariah to digest in one sitting. His son would pave the way for the coming of the Messiah. The sheer magnitude of this more than likely allowed Zechariah’s unbelief to come out; therefore, Gabriel told him that he would be unable to speak until God’s word took place (Luke 1:18-20, ESV).
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    Zechariah lived to see the Lord respond to his longings. He knew that the God of his ancestors answered prayer and moved among his people. Little did Zechariah know that God Almighty had chosen him and Elizabeth to bring about his purposes and plans. We must beware of unbelief when the Lord answers our prayers.
  • Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:5-25. (diizebuno.wordpress.com)
    You must be silent. Then God will be born in you, utter his word in you and you shall hear it; but be very sure that if you speak, the word will have to be silent. The way to serve the word is to keep silent and listen. If you go out, he will most surely come in; as much as you go out for him, he will come in to you; no more, no less
  • The Nazarene. (mjseymour1959.wordpress.com)
    The Temple is the kingdom of the Messiah. It is clear that Gentiles have trusted in the LORD since the time of the Nazarene (Branch) through the building of the church done by Jesus the Nazarene who as we have shown is literally “the Branch.”
    These two references to the Branch must speak of the same person. It is obvious that Joshua who is being addressed cannot be the branch which he is told will come in the future. Joshua, who bears the same human name (Joshua is the Hebrew form of the Greek Jesus), is a symbol and type of the “Branch” because he had a leading part in building the second Temple which was under construction when this message was given to him. The Messiah is spoken of here as in other Branch prophecies, all of which follow:
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    the man, “the Branch,” to come shall be of the house of David, he will be a judge, he will be a king, he will be a priest, he will be the Lord Our Righteousness, he will save Israel and Judah, he will build the Temple of God, in him will the Gentiles trust. Attention given to the context of these Branch prophecies will show that the Branch is the same person who will fulfill the David prophecies. They clearly refer to the Messiah and Jesus of Nazareth has astonishingly paralleled these predictions, so wonderfully fulfilled, yet unwittingly completed by those who reject him. Attention given to the context of these Branch prophecies will show that the Branch clearly refers to the Messiah, and Jesus has astonishingly paralleled these predictions, especially the last, that is, ”in him will the Gentiles trust.”
  • God Has a Plan – 12 Days of Christmas Devotional Day 3 (gloriousfilms.com)
    For childless couples, praying to God for a child can become a desperate cry of the heart that is not always answered by God.  Though some people take it better than others, many react with understandable bitterness.  But no matter how one reacts, there is something deeply heartbreaking about not being able to have a child.  It has been described as experiencing the death of a child, except there are no memories of its life. Now that is difficult stuff.One can only image the pain of the childless couple Zechariah and Elizabeth, whose misfortune was compounded by the suspicions of family and friends around them who viewed barrenness as a sign of God’s disfavor. In ancient Israel, if you couldn’t have children, it was assumed you must be committing some sin against God for which He was punishing you (although barrenness did befall disobedient persons and entire nations in Scripture, this was certainly not the rule).
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    we can learn something very important from Zechariah’s ordeal. The lesson goes beyond “God answers prayer” or “God loves the humble.” It goes beyond even “God is with us in our pain,” or “Trust in God.” All of these things are very important, and very true. But the deeper thing Zechariah discovered is that God has a Master plan, and that his life – and all of our lives – are intertwined in it. His suffering and his joy were both the result of God working out His divine plans on the earth. Even his momentary lack of trust in God was used by God to work out God’s plans (Zechariah got some quiet time, and his muteness brought even more attention to the special nature of his coming son and the Messiah he preceded). Zechariah was lucky because he lived to see this intersection very clearly. But we must remember that this happened when Zach was very old.
  • Israel’s Kings as Messiahs or Christs (mindingthetruth.com)
    In a previous post, I pointed out that in the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures Israel’s kings are spoken of as God’s anointed ones. In the Hebrew texts the word for “anointed one” is mashiach (משיח), which is anglicized as “messiah.” And in the Septuagint (LXX), the ancient Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures used by early Christians, mashiach was rendered christos (χριστος), which is anglicized as “christ.” Here are some examples of this usage of the term mashiach in the Hebrew texts and christos in the Greek translations. This usage, of course, is critical for rightly understanding Jesus as mashiach or christos. Against the background of Israel’s kings as mashiach or christos, it is evident that the claim Jesus is the Messiah or Christ is the claim that Jesus is the king appointed by God.

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