Harmony of the Gospels

 

-7 BC-

Jerusalem

(1) The Birth of John the Baptist is Announced at the Temple in Jerusalem

Scriptures (Num. 6:3) Luke 1:5-25

 

Luke 1:5-25 (NKJV)

 

 5 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.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,
9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 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.
14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15 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.
16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
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.”
18 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.”
19 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.
20 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.”
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple.
22 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.
23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.
24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying,
25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

 

 

This was a dark period for the nation of Israel. The people had not heard a prophetic word from God in over 400 years, not since Malachi had announced the coming of Elijah ([1]Mal. 4:5-6). The spiritual leaders were shackled by tradition, and in some instances by corruption, and their king, Herod the Great, was a tyrant. He had nine (some say ten) wives, one of whom he had executed for no apparent reason. But, no matter how dark the day, God always has His obedient and devoted people. I believe that the story of the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist shows that God has a since of humor.  First, God has been silent for over 400 years and when He finally speaks, the man He speaks to doesn’t believe Him.  The angel Gabriel then strikes the man so that he can’t speak.  Can you imagine all the motions that he went through as he tried to explain that he had seen an angel and what had happened to him?  Now let’s look at what Luke says about this event

 5 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.

The events describing the announcements and births of John the Baptist and Jesus are very similar. The same angel, Gabriel, appeared to Zacharias and to Mary. Both were told of a future birth; both births were to be unusual; both sons would be a fulfillment of God’s plan and of OT prophecies.

Luke begins his narrative by introducing us to two people, the parents of John the Baptist. They lived at a time when the wicked Herod the Great was king of Judea. He was an Idumean, that is, a descendant of Esau.

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea.  Luke is very exact in giving precise historical and chronological information. This is seen in these words, as well as other references to major historical persons, events, and dates. This Herod, known as Herod the Great (See page 58) was a descendant of Esau ([2]Gen 27:39–40). Born in 73 b.c., he was appointed King of the Jews by the Roman Senate in 40 b.c. He ruled until his death in March or April, 4 b.c. He was an able ruler, but he was also ruthless and corrupt. He did not become the actual ruler of all of Palestine over night. Rather, he had been nominated King of [3]Judea by the Roman senate in the year 40 B.C. An army was given to him. With this army, he was to carve out a kingdom for himself. He gradually succeeded in this. Archelaus ([4]Mt 2:22), Philip ([5]Lk 3:1), and Herod Antipas ([6]Lk 23:7–12, 15) were his sons. Herod Agrippa I of [7]Acts 12:1–6, 19–23 was his grandson, and Herod Agrippa II of Acts 25–26 was his great-grandson.

A certain priest named Zacharias (from the tribe of Levi), of the division of Abijah. [8]Zacharias was a priest who belonged to the division of Abijah, one of the [9]twenty-four shifts into which the Jewish priesthood had been divided by David ([10]1 Chr. 24:10). Each shift was called on to serve at the temple in Jerusalem twice a year from Sabbath to Sabbath. There were so many priests at this time (about 20,000 according to some estimates) that the privilege of burning incense in the Holy Place came only once in a lifetime, if at all.

His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Elizabeth (who is called a “cousin of Mary,” the mother of Jesus in verse 36) was also descended from the priestly family of Aaron. The priests could marry into any tribe, but it was most commendable of all to marry one who was from the priestly line. She and her husband were devout Jews, scrupulously careful in observing the OT Scriptures, both moral and ceremonial. Of course, they were not sinless, but when they did sin, they made sure to offer a sacrifice or otherwise to obey the ritualistic requirement.

Zachariass means “God remembers” and Elizabeth means “His Oath.”  Together their names mean, “God remembers His oath.”  When did God take an oath?  His oath is recorded in Psalms 89:34-37.  “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.  Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness-and I will not lie to David-that his line will continue for ever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.  Selah.”  God swore this oath by the greatest of all His attributes, His holiness.  He swore to David that one of his descendents would rein throughout eternity and the one He is talking about is Jesus Christ.

Now notice that the next verse tells us that both Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous.  They were righteous because they understood that they were sinners and they brought the necessary sacrifices.

6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless..

What is meant by “…were righteous”? Apart from the sovereign grace of God revealed in the atoning death (the “blood”) of Christ, no one can ever be truly “righteous” ([11]Rom 3:21-24). It is through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness that a sinner’s guilt is laid upon the Savior, and the Savior’s righteousness upon the sinner. The best commentary on “righteousness in the sight of God” is the text itself: “walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.” These two lead a life that brought the approval of God.  They were obedient to God as far as they were able to understand His commands.  When they made a mistake or sinned, they expressed genuine sorrow; they repented and brought the proper sacrifices.  But they did not have a child and that caused them to be dissatisfied and to continually ask God for a child.

7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

This couple had no children, a reproachful condition for any Jew. Doctor Luke notes that the cause of this was Elizabeth’s barrenness. The problem was aggravated by the fact that they were both well advanced in years. That was a theme repeated throughout the Old Testament, as with Sarah, Rebekah, Manoah’s wife, and Hannah. Zacharias was a priest, and he was serving for about a two-week period in the Temple.

This Temple was built by Zerubbabel and others in 516 b.c., but since 20 b.c. was in the process of being enlarged and redone by Herod the Great ([12]see Jn 2:20). Zacharias had the unique opportunity of offering incense before the Holy of Holies. The people outside prayed and awaited his blessing.

 

8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,
9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

One day Zacharias was performing his priestly duties in the temple. This was a great day in his life because he had been chosen by lot to burn incense in the Holy Place. The incense was kept burning perpetually in front of the veil that divided the holy place from the Most Holy Place. The incense was offered daily before the morning service, and after the evening service. Probably the evening service was assigned to Zacharias. Three priests took part in the ceremony. They began by removing the ashes from the former service. Next they would bring in and place on the golden alter the pan filled with hot burning coals taken from the alter of burnt offerings. They would sprinkle the incense on the hot coals and while the smoke that was created ascended, they made intersession for the people. This was the most distinguished part of the service ([13]Rev. 8:3). The people had gathered outside the court in front of the Temple, where the alter of burnt offerings stood.  The men and women were in separate courts praying, but the alter could be seen by all.

It is inspiring to notice that the Gospel opens with people praying at the temple and it closes with people praising God at the temple. The intervening chapters tell how their prayers were answered in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus.

With priests and people engaged in prayer, it was an appropriate time and setting for a divine revelation. An angel of the Lord appeared on the right side of the altar—the place of favor. No description of angels is given in the NT, but they must have had some distinctive features to differentiate them from men.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

Zacharias was standing by the altar of incense and at this point of the service; he was to place the incense upon the altar.  An angel appeared and his reaction was just like you or I would react; he was afraid. None of his contemporaries had ever seen an angel.

13 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.

At that moment, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, who was suddenly shaken with fear, but the angel reassured him with wonderful news; his prayers had been answered. A son would be born to Elizabeth, and he was to be named John (the favor or grace of Jehovah). Zacharias’s prayer could have been (1) his long-standing request for a son, or (2) his general petitions for the coming of the Messiah, or (3) both. Both were shortly accomplished. This Gabriel was the same angel who appeared five hundred years earlier to Daniel (Dan 8:15–16; 9:21). No recorded revelation from God had been given to men for over four hundred years. Naturally, Zacharias was stunned. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15 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.

Zachariass and Elizabeth will have this delightful boy to love and enjoy. In addition to bringing joy and gladness to his parents, he would be a blessing to many. This is truly a gift from God, and answered prayer.  He must have been an exceptional child and young man, because he was filled with the Holy Spirit; chosen by God and anointed to preach repentance, that the Kingdom of God is very close (the Messiah) and to prepare the way for Christ.  As a man, when he preached, many would repent of their sins and return to God. This child would be great in the sight of the Lord (the only kind of greatness that really matters). First of all, he would be great in his personal separation to God. Secondly, he would be great in his spiritual gifts; he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. (This cannot mean that John was saved or converted from birth, but only that God’s Spirit was in him from the outset to prepare him for his special mission as Christ’s forerunner.). How great was John? For the answer, listen to what Jesus said about Him:

  • “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Mt.11:11).

  • “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).

 John will be a Nazarite.  The vow of a Nazarite is found in Numbers 6:1-8. This was a voluntary vow and they were forbidden to do three things.  First, he was not to drink wine or strong drink.  He was not to have anything to do with the fruit of the vine.  Today, there is a debate about whether a Christian should drink alcoholic beverages, but for the Christian it is not a matter of right or wrong.  The question is what is the purpose for doing what you are doing?  Is it meant to please Christ?  Do you want to live for Him?  That is the question.  Wine in the scripture represents earthly joy.  The whole point is that a Nazarite is to find his joy in God.  Second, when a person took a Nazarite vow, he was not to shave his head (cut his hair).  Third, he was not to touch a dead body.  And finally, in Numbers 6:8, it says, “Throughout the period of his separation he is concentrated to the Lord.” Just as the leper was the living symbol of sin, so was the Nazarite the symbol of holiness. Probably the best-known Nazarite, if it is not John the Baptist, is Samson.

16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
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.”

Elijah, like John the Baptist, was known for his bold, uncompromising stand for the Word of God—even in the face of a ruthless monarch. The final two verses of the Old Testament (Mal 4:5-6, See note 1) had promised the return of Elijah before the Day of the Lord.

Although John was to have the spirit and power of Elijah, he was not that prophet.  He would bridge the generation gap between young and old.  Today, we hear that there is a generation gap, but that is not the problem.  The problem is the gap that exists between God and mJohn was to prepare the way for the Messiah. He would be great in his role as the herald of the Messiah. He would turn many of the Jewish people to the Lord. His ministry would be like that of Elijah, the stern prophet of repentance—seeking to bring the people into a right relationship with God. Their success was great, but it was only partial—the nation never came back to God. As G. Coleman Luck points out: His preaching would turn the hearts of careless parents to a real spiritual concern for their children. In addition, he would bring back the hearts of disobedient, rebellious children to the “wisdom of the just.” In other words, he would strive to gather out of the world a company of believers who would be ready to meet the Lord when He appeared. This is a worthy ministry for each of us.

Notice how the deity of Christ is implied in verses 16 and 17. In verse 16, it says that John would turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. Then in verse 17, it says that John would go before Him. To who does the word, Him refer? Obviously, to the Lord their God in the preceding verse. Yet we know that John was the forerunner of Jesus. The inference then is clear. Jesus is God.

The fathers are the patriarchs. The conversion of many people through John’s ministry would cause the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.—to look down favorably from Heaven on the formally disobedient, but now transformed children. Support for this theory—that the souls of the departed are spectators who are constantly looking down on their struggling descendents who are still living, is found in Hebrews 12:1—“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

18 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.”

The aged Zacharias was really questioning God’s ability to fulfill His own Word! He was struck by the sheer impossibility of the promise. Both he and his wife were too old to become the parents of a child. His sad question expressed all the pent-up doubt of his heart. He had forgotten what God did for Abraham and Sarah (Gen 18:9-15). Did he think that his physical limitations would hinder God? But before we criticize Zacharias too much, we should examine ourselves and see how strong our own faith is.

Now I find this funny. Zacharias is a priest and he asks God for a son.  But when an angel tells him that he will have a son, he can’t believe it.  Are you ever like that?  Have you ever prayed for something even though you did not believe God would give it to you?  This is the reason that some prayers are not answered.

19 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.

The angel identifies himself as Gabriel and says that he has authority to speak for God and that he is blessed to stand in the very presence of God.  That is quite a statement.  However, the word of God has the seal of God on it whether it is spoken by an angel or read from the Bible.  What I say is not important, but what God says is important.

Gabriel’s name means “strong one of God.” Though commonly described as an archangel, he is mentioned in the Scripture only as one who stands in the presence of God and who brings messages from God to man.

20 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.”

Zacharias will not be able to speak until the baby is born, because he expressed doubt.  You may think that this was harsh treatment of Zacharias, but God, who dispensed this treatment, knew his heart.

Unbelief never has anything worthwhile to say. Zacharias is cut off from speaking to anyone, because he did not believe, and those that will not believe in Jesus Christ are cut off from God. Whenever a believer entertains doubts concerning God’s word, he loses his testimony and his song. Unbelief seals the lips, and they remain sealed until faith returns and bursts forth in praise and witness.

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple.

Outside, the people were waiting impatiently; ordinarily the priest who was burning incense would have appeared much sooner. According to the Talmud, it was customary for the priest whose duty it was to offer incense to leave the alter as quickly as possible, so that he doesn’t unwittingly commit some act that would offend God.

22 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.

When Zacharias finally came out, he had to communicate with them by making signs. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. He would not bestow the customary priestly blessing on the people, because he was unable to speak.

Once again, this strikes me as funny.  I can just imagine Zacharias trying to get people to understand what happened to him.  What motions do you think he used to communicate an angel?

23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.

Long before this, King David had determined that a priest would serve in the temple for a certain time, then he would take a vacation and another priest would take his place.  But first Zacharias had to finish his term unable to speak.  When his tern was over, he was still unable to speak, so I guess he went home to the hill country of Judea to listen to Elizabeth.

24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying,
25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

This is an interesting situation. Zacharias can’t talk, but Elizabeth is staying in the house all the time, rejoicing within herself that the Lord had seen fit to free her from the reproach of being childless.  I bet that all she talked about was the son that she was going to have. Elizabeth conceived, for God’s promises never fail.

Herod the Great (37–4 b.c.)

 

The title Herod the Great refers not so much to Herod’s greatness as to the fact that he was the eldest son of Antipater. Nevertheless, Herod did show some unusual abilities. He was a ruthless fighter, a cunning negotiator, and a subtle diplomat. The Romans appreciated the way he subdued opposition and maintained order among the Jewish people. These qualities, combined with an intense loyalty to the emperor, made him an important figure in the life of Rome and the Jews of Palestine.

After Herod became governor of Galilee, he quickly established himself in the entire region. For 33 years he remained a loyal friend and ally of Rome. He was appointed as king of Judea, where he was in direct control of the Jewish people. This required careful diplomacy because he was always suspect by the Jews as an outsider (Idumean) and thus a threat to their national right to rule.

At first Herod was conscious of Jewish national and religious feelings. He moved slowly on such issues as taxation, Hellenism, and religion. He did much to improve his relationship with the Jews when he prevented the Temple in Jerusalem from being raided and defiled by invading Romans.

Herod the Great established his authority and influence through a centralized bureaucracy, well-built fortresses, and foreign soldiers. To assure his continued rule, he slaughtered all male infants who could possibly be considered legal heirs to the throne. His wife Mariamne also became a victim.

The territories under Herod’s rule experienced economic and cultural growth. His business and organizational ability led to the erection of many important buildings. Hellenistic (Greek) ideas were introduced into Palestine through literature, art, and athletic contests. His major building project was the Temple complex in Jerusalem, which, according to John 2:20, had taken 46 years to build up to that time. From the Jewish perspective, this was his greatest achievement.

At times Herod implemented his policies with force and cruelty. His increasing fear of Jewish revolt led to suppression of any opposition. His personal problems also increased, and by 14 b.c. his kingdom began to decline. This decline was brought on mainly by his personal and domestic problems.

Herod’s murder of his wife Mariamne apparently haunted him. This was compounded when his two sons from that marriage, Alexander and Aristobulus, realized that their father was responsible for their mother’s death. By 7 b.c., Herod had both of these sons put to death. Of Herod it was said, “It is better to be Herod’s pig (hys) than to be his son (huios).”

As Herod became increasingly ill, an intense struggle for succession to his throne emerged within the family. His 10 marriages and 15 children virtually guaranteed such a struggle. One son, Antipater, poisoned Herod’s mind against two other eligible sons, Archelaus and Philip. This resulted in his initial choice of a younger son, Antipas, as sole successor. However, he later changed his will and made Archelaus king. Antipas and Philip received lesser positions as Tetrarchs, or rulers, over small territories.

After Herod died, his will was contested in Rome. Finally Archelaus was made ethnarch over Idumea, Judea, and Samaria—with a promise to be appointed king if he proved himself as a leader. Antipas became tetrarch over Galilee and Perea. Philip was made tetrarch over Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Batanea, and Paneas in the northern regions.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the Great. The wise men came asking, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” This aroused Herod’s jealous spirit. According to Matthew’s account, Herod tried to eliminate Jesus by having all the male infants of the Bethlehem region put to death (Matt. 2:13–16). But this despicable act failed. Joseph and Mary were warned by God in a dream to take their child and flee to Egypt. Here they hid safely until Herod died (Matt. 2:13–15).

 

 

 

Summary

The purpose of the appearance of the angel of the Lord was to announce the birth of a son to Zacharias and Elizabeth. The angel not only gave the name of the son, but he also detailed six aspects of John’s character.

  1. He will be a joy and delight to you (v. 14).
  2. He will be great in the sight of the Lord.
  3. He is never to take wine or any other fermented drink.
  4. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.
  5. He would bring many of the people of Israel back to God.
  6. He will go on before the Lord.


     

[1] (Mal. 4:5-6) Behold, I will send you  Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 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 lstrike the earth with a curse.

[2] (Gen 27:39–40) Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, And of the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; And it shall come to pass, when you become restless, That you shall break his yoke from your neck.”

[3] In the application king of Judea the term Judea may well indicate “the land of the Jews in its entirety.”

[4] (Mt 2:22) But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee.

[5] (Lk 3:1) Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene.

[6] (Lk 23:7–12, 15) And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other…no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.

[7] Acts 12:1–6, 19–23 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison…But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there. Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country. So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.

[8] He must not be confused with any of the thirty other persons with that name mentioned in scripture.

[9] Only four divisions returned from Babylon (Ezra 2:36-39). But these four were redivided into twenty-four, and given the old names.

[10] (1 Chr. 24:10) the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to dAbijah

[11] (Rom 3:21-24) But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. Sin (“to miss the mark”) falls short of attaining God’s standard. Sin is often identified as deeds, such as stealing, murder, adultery, or lying (Ex. 20:1–17; Deut. 5:1–21). However, a more fundamental attitude deep within the human heart underlies all “sins” and is expressed as “I know better than God in this matter.” This attitude led Eve to that first, fatal, disobedient act in the Garden of Eden. Adam had told her that God had forbidden the eating of the fruit, but when the fruit was presented to her as good, pleasant, and desirable, she allowed her own judgment to take precedence over the Word directly from God, and she ate the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:3, 6). God has not given us His Word so we can make a reasoned evaluation of His judgment and decide whether or not we want to obey. He has given us His Word because that Word is truth and life, and we are to obey it without question and with unhesitating confidence. To follow our own judgments in disobedience of God’s Word is to put self in the place of God (Prov. 3:5, 7; 14:12), no matter how innocent or noble the deed may seem.Being justified is a legal term referring to a right standing before God. That standing can never be earned. “Being justified” refers to the act by which a slave is given freedom. Through faith in Christ, sinners are delivered from slavery to sin.

[12] (Jn 2:20).Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

[13] (Rev. 8:3) Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” The angel in this verse is often understood to be the Lord Jesus. He is called the Angel of Jehovah in the OT (Gen. 16:13; 31:11, 13; Judg. 6:22; Hos. 12:3, 4). The prayers of all the saints ascend to the Father through Him (Eph. 2:18). He takes much incense to offer it with the prayers. The incense speaks of the fragrance of His Person and work. By the time the prayers reach God the Father, they are perfectly flawless and perfectly effectual.

 

 

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