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Posts tagged ‘Restorer’

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 9:36 (translation by )
Seeing the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and thrown down like sheep with no shepherd.

Can you imagine how a flock sheep would behave when there is no leader around them or no shepherd?

The people listening to Jesus knew about harvesting. But we can wonder if the fishermen would have understood Jesus talking about a master of the harvest and a harvest truly being plenteous, but only having a few labourers. We can look forward to a rich harvest but still have to see that the workers are few.

People should come to see that the son of man, who is also the son of David and the son of God at the same time, as the sent one from God is next to the King also the Good Shepherd who wants all his sheep to be saved. Just as a shepherd looks after his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so Jesus also will look after his sheep, the people who God has given him. Though at his time like in our time they need rescue from all the places where they were or are scattered when it was or is cloudy and dark. (Ezechiel 34:11–12, 15–17) Like the Adonai Elohim will seek the lost, bring back the outcasts, bandage the broken, and strengthen the sick, He has given the world His only begotten beloved son to heal them and to gather them.

In this ninth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew we could see how Jesus takes care of those who are willing to belief in him and for those who put their hope in him. He is there for the needy and helpless people. Throughout the gospels we can see that Jesus was patient to listen to people and to answer their questions. He spoke to crowds, fed them, healed the sick and reached out to outcasts, even not to be afraid to mingle with them or to eat with them. Therefore he got criticized (Matthew 9 & 15)

In this world people could see many kings. But none of them managed to be as good as the king God would provide from the seed of king David.

Among the scattered sheep in exile, Ezekiel explained that God had to remove the bad kings; yet he also promised that God would raise up a son of David to rule over them again:

Ezekiel 34:10, 23 (NIV)
10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. …
23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. {
Jesus our shepherd (Matthew 9:35-38)}

Jesus looked at the people around him and could feel their agony.

writes

sheep harassed (skullō) and thrown down (rhiptō) under empire after empire (9:36).

But just as God had said, the promised king now stood among them in the person of Jesus. He was the ruler anointed to restore David’s kingship, the shepherd of Israel. Matthew has already used that language to describe Jesus as their king:

Matthew 2:6 (NIV)
But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.

When Matthew speaks of Jesus’ authority, this is what he means. He is Israel’s shepherd. That’s what Jesus was doing:

  • announcing the good news of the kingdom;
  • being the shepherd who restores his people (9:35).

That’s what he’s been doing since the start (compare 4:23).

The unshepherded sheep of Israel were scattered all over the ancient world in Jesus’ time. Drawing them back into the care of the Davidic shepherd would be a massive task.

For Jesus, it felt like standing in a field with a massive crop around him, and only a few workers to help bring them in (9:37). That’s why he asked his disciples to go and petition the Lord of the harvest to send out workers right across the harvest field, to every corner where the sheep were scattered (9:38).

The king will not complete this harvest alone. He appoints workers for his government, delegating his regal authority to those who ask him for help to harvest, to bring the earth back under his kingship (10:1).

We are not individual sheep, searching for existence in postmodern isolation for fear of being harassed and mistreated. We belong to the shepherd. He’s everyone’s shepherd. And the shepherd is drawing the scattered sheep together into a kingdom where we belong, a community where we care for each other the way the shepherd cares for us.

 

What others are saying

G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 174:

The miracles were a sign of the inbreaking new creation, where people would be completely healed.

Craig Blomberg, Matthew, New American Commentary (Nashville: B & H, 1992), 166:

The language of “sheep without a shepherd” echoes Num 27:17 and Ezek 34:5, in which the shepherd is most likely messianic (cf. Ezek 34:23). Similar sentiments will well up in Jesus again at the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:34). As in the days of the prophets, the rightful leadership of Israel had abdicated its responsibility, as demonstrated by its inability or unwillingness to recognize God’s true spokesmen. “Harassed and helpless” literally means torn and thrown down (cf. Berkeley, “mangled and thrown to the ground”). Predators, and possibly even unscrupulous shepherds (Zech 10:2–3; 11:16) have ravaged the sheep. Verse 36 provides a stinging rebuke to the Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees.

Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009), 309:

The term Jesus uses for “workers” here recurs in 10:10 (cf. 20:1), indicating that the workers Jesus wished to send forth into the harvest were his own disciples. … After commissioning them to pray for “workers,” Jesus commissioned them as “workers” (10:10).

 

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Preceding articles

More than just a man with authority of speaking

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:27-31 – Blind Men Healed

Matthew 9:27-31 – What others are saying about the blind men recognising the son of David

Matthew 9:32-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Speechless Demoniac Healed

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Preaching Tour in a Great Harvest

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

Hebraic Roots Bible Matthew Chapter 28

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Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Bible, helmet of health, salvation and sword of the spirit
  3. Counterfeit Gospels
  4. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  5. A birthday passed nearly unnoticed
  6. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  7. Atonement And Fellowship 2/8
  8. Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats
  9. Others that hinder the message
  10. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  11. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  12. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go

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Further related articles

  1. Jesus!
  2. Solemnity of Jesus Christ the king- (A): Jesus is King, Shepherd and Judge.
  3. Jesus-Shepherd for All Who Believe
  4. Names of Jesus – The Good Shepherd
  5. “Why Is Jesus the Good Shepherd?”
  6. Jesus: The Good Shepherd (ready writer)
  7. Jesus The Good Shepherd (by Grace Apocalypse)
  8. The Sheep of God’s Pasture
  9. The Good Shepherd
  10. Jesus – My Good Shepherd
  11. Jesus is for Kings and Shepherds
  12. The Compassionate Jesus
  13. Called by Jesus the shepherd of your soul
  14. How does Jesus meet our needs?
  15. Every Good Work
  16. What They Really Need
  17. All You Have to do is Follow Jesus!

Honest-hearted people are losing faith in humanity and humanity losing faith in God

A man protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 9, 2016.

A man protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 9, 2016.

A retired general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency doesn’t buy the Obama administration‘s argument that the US is winning the war against ISIS. {Former intelligence chief explains why Obama is wrong when he says we’re winning the war against ISIS}

2015 January 11 in remembrance of 2001 September 11 again an Islamic terrorist act on symbols of the Western society and its freedom - Attack on Charlie Hebdo mazazine in Paris, France

015 January 7 in remembrance of 2001 September 11 again an Islamic terrorist act on symbols of the Western society and its freedom – Attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, France

The Nato-Russia Founding Act, signed in Paris says

Nato and Russia, based on an enduring political commitment undertaken at the highest political level, will build together a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

Following the attack on Belgium’s Zaventem airport the 22nd of March, when suicide bombers blew themselves up in the check-in hall, government aviation experts from across the EU met for an emergency security review on Thursday March the 31st to examine how best to protect “publicly accessible areas”.

Every day we hear of terrorist attacks and of people just killing others because they have a grudge against something or some one. Every day on our television screen we can see crimes against humanity. Often when bad things happen to people they ask why such badness came over them and why they ‘deserved’ such thing.

Honest-hearted people are losing faith in humanity, and humanity is losing faith in God. Lots of people who have been a member of a church have seen how badness also came into their church or even affected those who claim to be men of God, priests and ministers. They forgot that all those priests, bishops, cardinals, ministers and other church people are just like any body else just human beings who have their little and big faults.

Because of the pressure in this life, lots of people do not have much time any more or do not want to spend time for church nor God. At work, on the streets, even at home there are not many moments where one is taking time to talk about faith or religion. Men can even wonder if faith can survive.

For sure we live in a very misleading world where we are bombarded with lots of news-gathering, information but also lots of disinformation. In this world full of social media we may see lots of people lost track and by the wood can’t see the trees any more.

Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 10, 2016.

Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 10, 2016.

Man’s inhumanity to man plays out in the news on an hourly basis. And images of violence and injustice are brought before the public eye as never before. From the States of America we get many newsshots where we see police officer taking on an uncontrolled aggressive attitude against coloured people. More than once we see such agitated police officers killing a fearful black person who is already immobilised by the cops. The majority of people are rightfully enraged over injustice, but most seek ways of coping by peaceful protest, such as was the intent of the rally in Dallas. Downtown Dallas was in lockdown early Friday after what appeared to be one attacker shot 12 officers, five fatally, during a protest over deadly police shootings of black men elsewhere. {Dallas sniper suspect dead, likely acted alone, officials say; Five officers killed}

Detectives found bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics while searching the suspect’s home. Once more in the U.S.A. it was shown how dangerous it can be when ordinary people can buy any sorts of weapon just like they are going to a grocery shop buying their daily food.

The daily food of man today is violence more than peace.

Loretta Lynch, official portrait.jpg

83rd United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch

Attorney General Loretta Lynch called it an “unfathomable tragedy,” and said the Department of Justice is working closely with its local counterparts in Texas.

“After the events of this week, Americans across the county are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear,”

Lynch said, adding that the answer

“must not be violence.”

Every time such unnecessary killings happened in the states we could see a domino effect of one shooting after the other, certain people taking revenge for what happened before.

“We must continue working to build trust between communities and law enforcement.”

Lynch also said.

A portrait shot of Paul Ryan, looking straight ahead. He has short brown hair, and is wearing a dark navy blazer with a red and blue striped tie over a light blue collared shirt. In the background is the American flag.

54th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Paul Davis Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan addressed the Dallas shooting during a House session Friday morning, and said there is

“no cause under which this violence is justified.”

“It’s been a long month for America. We have seen terrible, senseless things,” {Dallas sniper suspect dead, likely acted alone, officials say; Five officers killed}

Ryan said.

“Every member of this body, every Republican and every Democrat, wants to see less gun violence.”

It is a small minority who take vengeance into their own hands, making matters even worse. All of these reactions erode faith that there will ever be peace on earth. Can faith survive the constant assault of terror and senseless violence portrayed in the news every day? Will God bring the peace on earth that He promised?

Prophecies tell in the end times that every man’s hand shall be against his neighbour. (Zechariah 14:13)

“On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other.” (Zechariah 14:13 NIV)

alton sterling vigil Alton Sterling

The officer-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling on Tuesday, July 5, 2016, spurred protests across Baton Rouge. Here, protesters gather on July 6 at the Triple S Food Mart where Sterling was shot. (Photo by Brett Duke, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune) (Brett Duke)

Look around you, hear the daily press and notice how violence has become part of the day. All that bad news we are confronted with every hour of the day brings an atmosphere of uncertainty and of anger, fear, jealousy and distrust throughout our village, city, country and throughout the world.

Many do have the idea that it is only to become worse. And to be honest, we can not deny that.

Though we do now that there are people who should not have to be afraid of the terrible times which are coming. For sure this world is going to face a third World War. Perhaps it is even not going to take such a long time before our children or their children shall face the most terrible time of this world.

Does the Bible offer any solution to end the madness and provide hope for a world in despair?

Although prophecies indicate that there will be a time of severe trouble, they also indicate that hope will follow this nighttime of sorrow.

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5 NIV)

The world again shall face, like it has done more, a weeping that may endure for nights, but those who love God do know that joy shall come in the morning God shall present to this world. Throughout the ages God provided His Word. That world could see that everything He said became a reality, except a few things still to come. It are those sayings of God which give us assurance that God intends to put an end to the radical, destructive behaviour which stems from soul sickness. This hope for all who have died and for all who are suffering is found in Acts 3:19-21:

“19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:19-21 NIV)

Notice that it is for those who are willing to repent and to turn to God that “times of refreshing shall come”. Though many still do not hear the Voice of God, He is not silent nor shall stay silent. He spoke by His prophets and his Words are written down in the Book of books (the Bible) so that all people of whatever period in time can read His Words.

God is allowing people living in the end times to learn that mankind is incapable of solving the world’s problems. This permission of evil has the very purpose of educating and preparing mankind for the promised times of restitution. At that time, they will begin to seek for God‘s righteous kingdom under the rule of the great Messiah. They will be blessed with a full knowledge of God and a full opportunity for attaining everlasting life through their redeemer — the great restorer and lifegiver.

Following are just a few of the hundreds of blessings promised by God’s kingdom to come, when His will shall be done on earth as it is being done in heaven . . .

• God promises peace after the shaking of all nations.

Zephaniah 3:8-9; Micah 4:3; Haggai 2:7

• He promises that happiness will replace all fear and sadness.
Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 35:10

• He promises that the world will learn righteousness after having experienced sin and death for over 6,000 years.
Isaiah 26:9; Zephaniah 3:9

• He promises that all tears shall be wiped off all faces.
Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:17; 21:4, 5

• He promises that there will be a time when sickness will come to an end.
Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 35:5; Revelation 21:4

• He promises that the great enemy death shall be swallowed up in victory.
Isaiah 25:8; 35:10; 1 Corinthians 15:24, 54-56; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; Revelation 21:4

• He promises that wars shall cease.
Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3; Psalm 46:9

• He promises that all evil shall be suppressed.
Psalm 37:10; Isaiah 35:8,9; 55:7; Revelation 20:2, 3

• He promises that truth shall triumph and lies shall be abolished forever.
Psalm 85:11; Habakuk 2:14; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17

• He promises that Satan, the prince of darkness who now rules in the hearts of men, shall be forever destroyed.
1 Corinthians 15:25, 26; Revelation 20:10, 14

• He promises that there will be no more poverty, but that ALL will have an abundance of food, shelter and comfort.
Isaiah 65:22, 23; Micah 4:4; Psalm 67:6; Isaiah 35:1; Psalm 67:6; 85:12; Isaiah 51:3

• He promises that one day, everyone will have liberty and justice.
Isaiah 26:9; 28:17; Jeremiah 31:33, 34; Ezekiel 34:26

• He promises that, in due time, nothing shall ever hurt or destroy again.

Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 35:8,9

• He promises life after death for everyone who has ever lived.
Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22; John 5:28, 29


For those who are seeking to maintain faith in an unstable world,

and who are searching for hope beyond the terror

please click the following link to read the article

Maintaining Faith in an unstable world


To read more on these prophetic promises,
please click the following link to read the book

The Divine Plan of the Ages

This Christian classic contains over 1,600 Old and New Testament Scriptures explained clearly and understandably. It provides a logical progression of the Scriptures, delineating God’s plan from paradise lost to paradise restored. It was the third best seller in the early 1900s — the Bible and the Chinese Almanac being first and second. Joseph Rotherham, who translated The Emphasized Bible, described the book as “…bold, broad, and breezy; very refreshing after the stereotyped dogmas and platitudes which pass current in the theological world…. The Chapter on ‘the Permission of Evil” is alone more than worth the price of the whole volume…” and provided us with the Rotherham Emphasized Bible and the Sacred Names bible.

All of the great Bible themes are examined, such as:

• Why God Permits Suffering and His Purpose for Allowing Evil for a Measured Time
• The Great Epochs, Characters and Events in God’s Merciful Plan for Mankind
• The Purpose and Expectation of Christ’s Second Advent
• The Day of Judgment and Its Relationship to the Benevolent Kingdom of God
• The Hope of the Good News Provided by the Promised Ransom & Restitution

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Preceding articles

2015 the year of ISIS

Back from gone #1 Aim of ungodly people

Back from gone #2 Aim of godly people

Back from gone #3 Giving worries to God and believing in His promises

Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions

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  11. The Crusader Rifle
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  14. American Senate ignoring many voices and tears of their own people
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  16. Why are we killing?
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  18. A world with or without religion
  19. The trigger of Aurora shooting
  20. Being Charlie 11
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  25. Is God behind all suffering here on earth
  26. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
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  28. God has not destined us for wrath
  29. We are ourselves responsible
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  31. Outreach to rednecks
  32. Profitable disasters
  33. Devotees and spotters
  34. Faith related boycotts
  35. Mocking, Agitation and Religious Persecution
  36. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
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  52. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
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  66. Give your worries to God
  67. 7 Ways To Become A Better Christian
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  29. Black Lives Matter & The Police…Simple Thoughts On Big Issues. 
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  106. Ask an Atheist: The Usual Questions
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  109. Reading for July 10th
  110. Journey – Daily Prompt
  111. Haunting the chapel: my thoughts on heavy metal and religion.
  112. The Door
  113. sky story #13: Peace, Around the World
  114. Dangerous words
  115. Re: The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were smarter theologians than the jihadis – Giles Fraser, The Guardian, Jan 9 2015
  116. I hate the term “Judeo-Christian.”
  117. Apostate American Church: Waiting for the Man Of Sin
  118. The Miscreants behind the Pulput…
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  120. The Internet knows you love the devil
  121. Does Pope Francis believe Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
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  123. 200 Churches Destroyed in 2 Months By Boko Haram; ISIS Threatens to Destroy 2700 Year Old Niniveh Walls
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  127. Bklyn Boro Pres Adams Leads Interfaith Rally Against Hate Attacks On Religious Communities
  128. How Spiritual Can You Be Without Religion?
  129. HumanistLife : A Humanism without the word ‘spirituality’
  130. Is Humanism a Religion?
  131. Spiritual Growth: What Holds Us Back & What Sets Us Free
  132. Religion vs Spirituality
  133. How do you define religion?
  134. Religious mentality
  135. Faithfulness to God
  136. But I am Trusting You, O Lord!
  137. Strength and Shield
  138. Choosing Faith
  139. The Problem With Faith Schools
  140. Trusting God is what God wants us to do! No matter what!!!
  141. Jeremiah 5-13
  142. The one who set the standard
  143. Endtime Prophecy Coming True
  144. TheVoiceOfWarning pt.6
  145. TheVoiceOfWarning pt.7
  146. This Is What God Looks Like, According To Different Religions Around The World
  147. The Importance of Our Faith in the Endtimes
  148. Christian Endtimes
  149. The Important Endtime Role of the Holy Spirit In Our Lives
  150. A War is Coming that will Kill 2.3 Billion Human Beings
  151. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
  152. Continued Confirmation on Endtime Revelation the Missing Flight

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)
    +
    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.
    +
    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?
    +
    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).
    +
    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:
    +
    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).
    +
    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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