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Wednesday, April 13 2016
Luke 1: The Miraculous Birth Of John The Baptist
"And he shall go before him in the Spirit and power of Elias, 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"
The Book of Luke was actually written as a personal letter, an epistle (see The Epistles: What Is An Epistle?) to a man named Theophilus. Nothing more is recorded 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 (see Luke: The World Of The LORD). Luke thereafter wrote another epistle addressed to Theophilus - the Book of Acts (see Acts: Luke's Second Letter To Theophilus).
Luke was well-qualified to write the epistles of Luke and Acts. As a gentile, he was also a perfect later associate of the apostle Paul whose ministry of the Gospel was to the world - where it began (see What Are Gentiles Doing In Israel? and What Did The Messiah Say About Gentiles?).
"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)
John the Baptist was a Levite - his father, Zacharias, was a Levite priest at the Temple (see also The Messiah's Levitical Birth) and his mother Elizabeth was also a Levite, "of the daughters of Aaron." The tribe of Levi had been chosen by the LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour) to serve Him as a royal priesthood for the coming King of the Kingdom of God (see When Were The Levites Set Apart? and The Patriotism Prophecy).
Interestingly, the Levites led the way, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River in the time of Joshua (see The Crossing Of The Jordan) - in the very same area where John baptized in the Jordan centuries later.
The birth of John the Baptist was facilitated through miraculous means by the LORD: "And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years." If not for the purpose of his ministry to the LORD, John the Baptist, who was a Nazarite from birth (see also Should Every Mother Be A Nazarite?), would not have otherwise existed.
"1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
The purpose of the life and ministry of John the Baptist was to "prepare the way" for the coming of the Messiah. That extended even to the order of their births - John was born a few months before the Messiah.
"1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Mary and Elizabeth, although widely-separated in mortal age (Mary was a virgin teenager, while Elizabeth was life-long childless and elderly, when both of their children were born by miraculous means), were united in the Holy Spirit and their righteousness in the eyes of the LORD. They will be the same age, forever, when they are "born again" in the coming Kingdom of God (see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?).
"1:39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 1:40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
The birth of John fulfilled the prophecy that he would be named John: "Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John" (see also The John The Baptist Prophecies).
"1:57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 1:58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
When John's ministry began as a grown man nearly 30 years later, it would have been no surprise to his elderly parents (both were likely dead by then, awaiting their resurrections; see The Postponement Of Death). They knew for the rest of their lives after his birth that it was going to happen.
"1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
This Day In History, April 13
1059: In an attempt to remove the Papal-appointment power of the German Emperors (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation and Emperors and Popes), Pope Nicholas II decreed that future popes would be elected only by cardinals (see The Struggle For The Papacy; listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1111: German King Henry V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1204: Constantinople fell to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, temporarily crippling the Byzantine Empire (i.e. the east Roman Empire). Constantinople was named after the Roman Emperor Constantine, the inventor of the Church of Rome and most of its Babylonian/Roman doctrines (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1759: French forces defeated the European allies at the Battle of Bergen.
1829: The British Parliament granted freedom of religion to Catholics in Britain. The Catholics had been restricted because of their proclaimed loyalty to the Pope in Rome rather than their own country - including with numerous attempts to assassinate Kings and Queens of the United Kingdom at the behest of various Popes.
1849: The Hungarian Republic was proclaimed.
1861: After 34 hours of bombardment, Union-held Fort Sumter surrendered to the Confederate forces.
1913: An assassination attempt on King Alphonso XIII of Spain by an anarchist failed.
1953: CIA director Allen Dulles began the mind-control program "MKULTRA" that used unknowing U.S. and Canadian citizens and hospital patients as its test subjects. The criminal program included the use of illegal drugs (e.g. LSD), hypnosis, isolation and sensory deprivation, verbal and sexual abuse and torture. Many died from the heinous medical experiments that were equal in evil to anything done by Hitler's Nazi regime during the Second World War.
1959: A Vatican edict prohibited Roman Catholics from voting for communists.
1960: France became the 4th nation with atomic "weapons of mass destruction."
1960: The first navigational satellite was launched into Earth orbit.
1970: An oxygen tank exploded on Apollo 13, causing an abort of the moon landing and near loss of the crew.
1999: Dr. Jack Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison for murder - the killing of a terminally ill man who wanted to commit suicide. He taped the killing which was shown on the CBS program 60 Minutes. Kevorkian claimed to have assisted over 130 deaths during the previous 10 years.