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Friday, August 31 2012

The Epistles: Luke

Studies in this complete Epistles series:
What Is An Epistle? Luke Acts Romans First Corinthians
Second Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians
First Thessalonians Second Thessalonians First Timothy Second Timothy Titus
Philemon Hebrews James First Peter Second Peter
First John Second John Third John Jude Revelation

Of the four "Gospel" (see The True Gospel Of Christ) "books" (keeping in mind that they were all actually scrolls; books in the present-day form did not exist in the first century AD), Luke is substantially unique, not differing in Truth, but by his vantage point. No other writer was like him.

Earth Some examples:

  • Matthew and John were two of the original twelve apostles, while more youthful Mark was a convert and close associate of the apostle Peter, and then a close associate of the apostle Paul. Luke was not one of the twelve apostles, or closely associated with any of them; Luke was a close associate of the apostle Paul, who also was independent of the twelve.

  • Matthew, Mark and John were Jews (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah and Israel In History and Prophecy: Jews), while Luke was a "Gentile" (as was Abraham, who was neither Israelite or Jew; see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram).

  • Matthew and John were sent to "Israel" ("10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" Matthew 10:5-6 KJV), while Luke accompanied the apostle Paul in his preaching the Gospel to all of the world ("13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth" Acts 13:47 KJV).

  • Luke's "world" (i.e. how he viewed the world and everyone in it) was a much bigger and all-humanity-realistic place than the inward-looking apostles to Israel alone would have been. The Scriptures do record how they grew up, and grew out, of that adolescent perspective, as Saul the Pharisee did when the LORD converted him into the apostle Paul (see Straight Street) and as Peter did after his experiences with "Gentiles" (see The Joppa Lessons Of Jonah And Peter). It's the same reason that a nationalistic teacher of the Gospel, even in the true Church of God today, may have a much narrower and parochial view of the world, and of the Gospel itself, than a teacher of the Gospel, like Luke was, who regards the world as Planet Earth.

  • Matthew, Mark and John wrote their Gospel "books" in the form of a local "off the shelf" history and prophecy text, whereas Luke's work, while also the same history and prophecy, was specifically accomplished by means of a letter - an epistle.

"To write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus"

The "Gospel of Luke" was written as an epistle (see The Epistles: What Is An Epistle?) to a man named Theophilus. Nothing more is known about Theophilus, other than that he was of some high rank in a government or the military ("most excellent Theophilus") and that he was almost certainly a Gentile, like Luke.

The Road To Emmaus

"1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." (Luke 1:1-4 KJV)

Luke's first epistle to Theophilus ends with the account of the Messiah's ascension - the event that began Luke's second epistle to Theophilus, the Book of Acts.

"24:33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 24:35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

24:37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 24:38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

24:40 And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. 24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 24:43 And he took it, and did eat before them.

24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 24:52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 24:53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen." (Luke 24:33-53 KJV)

Luke's second epistle begins at the exact point where his first epistle ended.

"1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:1-3 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) What did the Messiah say about Gentiles? What did the Messiah say about Israel and Judah?
(a) See What Did The Messiah Say About Gentiles?
(b) See Israel In History and Prophecy: The New Covenant

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This Day In History, August 31

1056: Byzantine Empress Theodora died. Without heirs to the throne, her family's Macedonian dynasty that had ruled the Byzantine Empire for two centuries ended.

1218: After the death of his father Al-Adil, Al-Kamil became Sultan of Egypt, Syria and northern Mesopotamia.

1303: The War of Vespers in Sicily ended with an agreement between Charles of Valois, who invaded the country, and Frederick, the ruler of Sicily.

1314: King Hakon V Magnusson moved the capital of Norway from Bergen to Oslo.

1422: King Henry V of England died of an illness while in France. He was succeeded by his nine-month-old son as Henry VI.

1521: Cortes captured the city of Tenochtitlan, Mexico.

1535: Pope Paul II deposed and excommunicated King Henry VIII of England.

1668: John Bunyan, English author of The Pilgrim's Progress, died in London at age 69.

1795: During the War of the First Coalition, British forces captured Trincomalee (known today as Sri Lanka) from the Dutch in order to keep the territory out of French possession.

1798: The Irish Rebellion of 1798. Irish rebels, with French assistance, established the short-lived Republic of Connaught. In their economic and political competition against Britain, the French frequently instigated and supplied rebellions against the British during the 1700s and 1800s - while at the very same time, the French hypocritically tolerated no independence in any of their colonies around the world.

1876: Ottoman Sultan Murat V was deposed and succeeded by his brother Abd-ul-Hamid II.

1888: Mary Ann Nichols was found murdered. She is regarded as the first of the confirmed victims of "Jack the Ripper."

1907: An Anglo-Russian Convention between Britain and Russia settled outstanding disputes between them regarding Tibet, Afghanistan and Persia (Iran); it was one of the bases of the Allied coalition in the First World War.

1942: During the Second World War, British and Canadian tanks and infantry under General Bernard Montgomery defeated Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in the Battle of Alam Halfa in Egypt (see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1980: After two months of strikes, the Polish communist government gave in to demanded reforms, including recognition of the Solidarity trade union under the leadership of Lech Walesa.

1990: West and East Germany signed a treaty to harmonize their legal and political systems.

1994: Soviet troops ended 50 years of military presence on German territory.

1997: Princess Diana, 36, former wife of Prince Charles, was killed in an auto crash in Paris with her friend, Dodi Fayed, 42. The driver of the car, Henri Paul, 41, was also killed in the collision into a concrete road tunnel during an apparent attempt to outrun photographers. A bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, 29, was the sole survivor of the crash, reportedly the only one who was wearing a seat belt.

2005: A stampede on the Al-Aaimmah bridge in Baghdad killed 1,199 people.

2006: Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream was recovered by Norwegian police. It was stolen on August 22, 2004.


Copyright © Wayne Blank