The Center for
Messianic Learning 

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ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Sections of the Apostolic Writings
The Gospels and Acts • The “Pauline” Letters • General Letters • End Times


Introduction to the Gospels (Good News of the Kingdom) and Acts
Mattityahu (Matthew)  •  Mordichai (Mark)  •  Lukas (Luke)  • Yochanan (John)
Crucifixion Week Chronology3-Year Harmony of the Gospels1-Year Harmony of the Gospels  
Hitgalut (Revelation)  •  P’yilut HaShliyakim (Acts of the Emissaries)  •  The Chosen (Video Series)


The Good News of the Kingdom[1]
According to Lukas:
Yeshua, the Son of Man


~ 1 ~

I. Introduction (Lk 1:1-4)

II. The Birth of Yochanan the Immerser and the Pregnant Virgin (Lk. 1:5-80)

1Dear  Theophilus:[1a]

Many people have undertaken the task of composing a narrative about those events which have occurred among us, 2just as they were delivered to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word from the very beginning. 3So it seemed appropriate, your Excellency, since I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, that I should to write to you a chronological record,[3] 4so that you might know the full truth about the things you have been taught.

A. Gavri'elGabriel appears to Z'kharyahZacharias and announces the birth of YochananJohn (Lk 1:5-25)
[Pentecost, 4 BCE]

5In the days when Herod was king of Y'hudahJudea, there was a priestcohen named ZechariahZ'kharyah, who was assigned to the Aviyah division of priestscohenim.[5a] His wife’s name was ElizabethElisheva, and she was a also descendant of AaronAharon.[5b] 6They were both righteous before Godtzadikim[6a], faithfully observing all the mitzvotcommandments[6a] and ordinances of ADONAI[6b]. 7But they were childless, because ElizabethElisheva was barren[7], and they both were well along in years. 8One day while he was performing the duties of priestcohen during his division’s time of service before God,[8] 9he was chosen by drawing lots, as was his division’s practice, to perform the incense offering in the Temple of ADONAI.[9] 10All the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.

11An angel of ADONAI appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12Z'kharyahZachaariah became very anxious when he saw him; he was terror-stricken.[12] 13But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, ZechariahZ'kharyah, because your entreaty has been heard[13a], and your wife ElizabethElisheva will bear you a son, and you name him YochananJohn.[13b] 14You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth. 15For he will be great in the sight of ADONAI, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with Ruach HaKodeshthe Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16He will turn many of the children of Israel to ADONAI, their God. 17He will go before ADONAI in the spirit and power of EliyahuElijah[17a], ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children’[17b], and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for ADONAI.”

18ZechariahZ'kharyah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

19The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, warrior of GodGabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20HinnehBehold,[20a] you will be deaf[20b] and unable to speak until the day that these things will happen, because you didn’t believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

21The people were waiting for ZechariahZ'kharyah, and they marveled that he delayed in the temple. 22When he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. He continued making signs to them, and remained mute. 23When the period of his Temple service were completed,[23] he went home. 24Shortly afterwards, his wife ElizabethElisheva conceived, and she seqjuestered herself for five months, saying, 25“Thus has ADONAI done to me in the days in which he looked at me, to take away my reproach among men.”

B. Gavri'elGabriel appears to MyriamMary and announces the virgin birth of Yeshua (Lk 1:26-33)

26When ElizabethElisheva was in in the sixth month of her pregnancy, the angel Gabriel, warrior of GodGabriel was sent from God to the village of NatzeretNazareth in the GalilGalilee, 27to a virgin[27] engaged to be married to a man whose name was YosefJoseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was MyriamMary. 28Having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, you highly favored one! ADONAI is with you. Blessed are you among women!”

29But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled at his, and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, MyriamMary, for you have found favor with God. HinnehBehold: Pay attention to this, because it’s very important!, you will conceive, have a son, and name Him ‘YeshuaSalvataion.’ 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. ADONAI Eloheinu will give Him the throne of His father, David, 33and He will reign over the house of Ya'akovJacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.”

C. The Miraculous Conception of the Son of Man (Lk 1:34-38)

34MyriamMary asked angel, “How can this be possible, since I’m a virgin?”

35The angel answered her, “Ruach HaKodeshthe Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of Ha`Elyonthe Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, your holy child will be called the Son of God. 36HinnehBehold: Pay attention to this, because it’s very important!, your relative ElizabethElisheva has also conceived a son in her old age; everyone says whe was barren, but she is now six months pregnant.[36] 37For nothing is impossible with God.”

38MyriamMary said, “HinnehBehold: Pay attention to this, because it’s very important!, I am the servant of ADONAI; let it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

D. MyriamMary visits ElishevaElizabeth (Lk 1:39-45)

 39Then MyriamMary went right away into the hill country to a city of Y'hudahJudah,[39] 40and entered the house of ZechariahZ'kharyah and greeted ElizabethElisheva. 41When ElizabethElisheva heard MyriamMary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and ElizabethElisheva was filled with Ruach HaKodeshthe Holy Spirit. 42She called out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For hinnehBehold: Pay attention to this, because it’s very important!, when I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! 45Blessed are you for believing, because now everything that ADONAI told you will be fulfilled.”

1. The “Magnificat” of MyriamMary (Lk 1:46-56, cp. 1Sam. 2:1-10)

46MyriamMary said,

“My soul magnifies ADONAI.
47My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
48for he has looked at the humble state of his handmaid.
For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.
49For He who is mighty has done great things for me.
Holy is His name.
50His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear Him.
51He has shown strength with His arm.
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52He has put down princes from their thrones.
And has exalted the lowly.
53He has filled the hungry with good things.
He has sent the rich away empty.
54He has given help to Israel, His servant, that He might remember mercy,
55As he spoke to our fathers,
to Avraham and his seed forever.”

56MyriamMary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.

E. Birth and B'rit-milahcovenant of circumcision of YochananJohn (Lk 1:57-66)

57When it was time for ElizabethElisheva to give birth she had a son. 58Her neighbors and her relatives heard how good ADONAI had been to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59On the eighth day they came for the child’s b'rit-milahcovenant of circumcision and they were going to name ZechariahZ'kharyah, after his father. 60His mother asaid, “No, he will be named YochananJohn.”

61They said to her, “You have no relatives with this name.” 62They made motions to his father, what he would have him named.[62]

63He motioned for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is YochananJohn.”

 64His ability to speak was immediately restored and his first words were a b'rakhahblessing to God. 65All the neighbors were awestruck, and news of this spread throughout all the hill country of Y'hudahJudea. 66Everyone who heard this wondered, “What is this child going to be?” for it was evident that the hand of ADONAI was with him.

1. The “Benedictus” of Z'kharyahZacharias (Lk 1:67-80)

 67His father ZechariahZ'kharyah was filled with Ruach HaKodeshthe Holy Spirit, and prophesied

68“Blessed be ADONAI, the God of Israel,
for He has visited and worked redemption for his people;
69and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David
70(as he spoke by the mouth of his ancient holy prophets),
71salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;
72to show mercy towards our fathers,
to remember His holy covenant,
73the oath which He spoke to Avraham, our father,
74to grant to us that we we are delivered out of the hand of our enemies,
we whould serve him without fear,
75In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76And you, child, will be called a prophet of El Elyon,
for you will go before the face of ADONAI to make His ways ready,
77to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,
78because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the dawn from on high will visit us,
79to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death;
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80The child grew and became strong in spirit, and lived in the wilderness until the time came for him to appear in public to Israel.

Chapter 2

_______________

  1. In the 2,000 or so years since these events, the Church has really lost sight of what these accounts are all about. We get the word “Gospel” from the Old English god [good, not deity] spel [news], and the concept of “Good News” is not at all new to the writers of the Apostolic Scriptures that Christians call “the New Testament.” The Hebrew word with the same meaning is rXb (basar) and it is used frequently throughout the Tanakh, or Hebrew Scriptures. For example:

Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news [basar], Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news [basar]; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” (Isa. 40:9)

How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news [basar], Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"  (Isa. 52:7)

The Spirit of Adonai ELOHIM is upon me, because ADONAI has anointed me to announce good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim freedom to the captives, to let out into light those bound in the dark; to proclaim the year of the favor of ADONAI … (Isa. 61:1-2)

“The year of the favor of ADONAI” is the Messianic Kindgom Age, and the basar is that ADONAI reigns as King!

The “Good News” that was preached by Jochanan the Immerser [John the Baptist], Yeshua, and the Apostles was “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is now here!” While individual salvation is certainly an important part of Yeshua’s earthly mission, His primary stated purpose was to bring about the Kingdom of God.

See also the Introduction to the Gospels and Acts. [RETURN]

 1a. This letter is the longest of the four Gospel accounts and was written to someone named Theophilus (qeofiloß), which means “friend of God” or “lover of God” — hence, “God-lover.” Conventional scholarship has long held that Theophilus was a prominant Greek individual, probably an executive at some level of the Roman government, because of the way Lucas addresses him as “most excellent Theophilus” or “your excellency” in Lk. 1:3. Recent scholarship (Barag, D., and D. Flusser, “The Ossuary of Yehohana Granddaughter of the High Priest Theophilus,” Israel Exploration Journal 26, no. 1/2 (1986) 39-44) has discovered that archeological evidence found among the Herodian Mansions in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, and supported by Josephus (Antiquities XVII, 78, 164-165), show that Theophilus ben Ananus was High Priest from 37 to 41 C.E. (see a list of High Priests). Rav Shau'ls active ministry was 48-61, but his encounter with Yeshua was in 36, so it is likely that Sha'ul and Theophilus were in the Sanhedrin together, so Dr. Luke may well have known him at the time. That Theophilus may very well have been the original recipient of these two letters.

I think, however, that it is also possible that he wrote the letter primarily to the Goyim (Greeks, Gentiles) that he and Rav Sha'ul had discipled on their missionary journeys that he discusses in his work “The Acts of the Apostles.”

Goyim (Gentiles) who accepted the “yoke of Torah” — i.e. a Torah-pursuant Jewish lifestyle” — but who had not gone through a process of formal “conversion” to Judaism were called “God-fearers.” HaDerek, or The Way, as the early Messianic sect of Judaism was known, especially in the Diaspora, consisted primarily of “God-fearers,” and I consider it appropriate that Dr. Lucas might write a global letter addressing these people as “Excellent God-Lover.” [RETURN]

  3. Of the four Gospel writers, only Dr. Lucas attempts to record a chronological narrative of events, which he does as as an extremely careful investigative reporter. Tradition says that he interviewed nearly all of the original witnesses to the life of Yeshua that he could. Though this letter to “Theophilus” does, indeed, contain a biography of the Master, it is primarily a theological treatise presenting Yeshua as Ben Adam, the Son of Man, the perfect human. The reason that Ruach HaKodeshthe Holy Spirit provided us with four different Gospel accounts is to provide us with different theological aspect of the Person and work of Yeshua HaMashiach:
   a. Matthew - His Kingship as the promised Messiah Ben-David, the Lion of Judah
   b. Mark - His servanthood, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53
   c. Luke - His complete and perfect humanity, the Son of Man (Ben Adam)
   d. John - His absolute Deity
More here. [RETURN]

  5a. See Divisions of the Aaronic Priesthood and Yeshua’ Birth Date Calculated from the Scriptures[RETURN]

5b. AharonAaron was the first Cohen HagadolHigh Priest under MosheMoses (Exod 28:41). Since then every descendant of Aaron has been a cohenpriest, though only the men serve in the Temple. All the descendants of Levi are Levites, whose responsibility it is to support the work of the cohenimpriests (Num 1:47-54). [RETURN]

6a. Tzadikim: people who are righteous before God.
Mitzvot
: commandments, of which Miamonides (Rambam) enumerated and classified 613.

Contrary to some Christian theologians, the New Testament teaches that the Torah of Moses offers righteousness. To be considered “righteous before God,” Z'kharyah and Elisheva had to love God and fellowman, trust God and believe His word. As evidence of this love and trust, they observed all the rules of behavior God had revealed, including those which demanded repentance and a blood sacrifice as a sin offering when they fell short of full obedience. [Stern, David H. Jewish New Testament Commentary. Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., 1996, p. 103.] [RETURN]

6b. The word “ADONAI” literally translates as “Lord”, but is used as a circumlocution to avoid uttering the unspeakably holy Name of God revealed to Moshe by the four Hebrew letters hvhy (yod-hey-vav-hey). It is used to signify the Name of God appears in the original text. (See also Where Did the Word “Jehovah” Come From?) [RETURN]

  7. Barrenness was considered to be a sign of God’s great disfavor, and was a mark of shame, especially so for the righteous.  [RETURN]

 8. The Aviyah division began their service on the seventh Sabbath day from the Firstfruit offering. The following morning, the Shabbat of the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), the Abiyah Division was responsible for the Temple service. [RETURN]

  9. There were many thousands (at least 24,000) of priests who served in the Temple, so this was a very high honor for a priest, and was usually experienced only once in a lifetime. This was probably the very pinnacle of Z'kharyah’s career. The Incense Altar stood in the Holy Place just outside the veil to the Most Holy Place. Except for the one time a year on Yom Kippur when the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place to pour out the blood of atonement on the Mercy Seat, this was as “close to God” at it was possible for a man to ever get. [RETURN]

12. If we read casually through the Scriptures we might be inclined to think that the appearance of angelic messengers was a relatively common event. We must remember, however, that the Scriptures span a period of about four thousand years and in four millennia we have recorded only about 25 separate appearances of angels (listed here). This was an extremely unusual event and Z'kharyah was rightfully terrified. [RETURN]

13a. Apparently Z'kharyah had been praying for a child, and HaShem heard and answered that prayer; and in a very remarkable way. Yeshua was later to say of His cousin, “among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than YochananJohn.” The miraculously-conceived son of Z'kharyah and Elisheva was to be the first prophet in Israel since the death of Mal'akhi over 500 years earlier. For reasons that I will discuss later (see note on 3:21), I believe that YochananJohn was in fact the rightful High Priest of Israel. [RETURN]

13b. YochananJohn is a shortened form of the name Yehohanan, which means “ADONAI has graced.” [RETURN]

17a. “Look, I will send to you EliyahuElijah [Elijah] the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible Day of ADONAI. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers; otherwise I will come and strike the land with complete destruction.” (Mal 4:5-6)

The Day of ADONAI will have two aspects: There will be the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom (the Kingdom of God on earth); but there will also come judgment of the unrighteous and terrible destruction. In Matthew’s account of the Good News, he quotes Yeshua as suggesting very strongly that if Israel had repented corporately, YochananJohn would have indeed fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah’s return and the Kingdom of God would have been established on earth in their lifetime.

For all the prophets and the Torah prophesied until YochananJohn. Indeed, if you are willing to accept it, he is EliyahuElijah, whose coming was predicted. If you have ears, then hear!” (Matthew 11:13-15) [RETURN]

17b.  Quoting Malachi 4:6. [RETURN]

20a. Behold, Hebrew hnnh, hinneh. “Look here,” but not just look; “Really pay attention to this, because it’s very important!” [RETURN]

20b. The Greek text says “silent and unable to speak,” which is redundant. Greek siopao, siopao, silent; but Aramaic manuscripts say Xrx, kheresh, blunted in any of the senses, which can be translated as deaf, dumb, blind, or lame. If he could not hear, everything would be silent for him. In verse 62 his friends and neighbors communiated to him using signs, indicating that he could not hear. [RETURN]

23. The Sunday after Pentecost, the 15th of Sivan. [RETURN]

27. Critics of the virgin birth of Yeshua argue that the word translated “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 is the Hebrew word ‘almah (hml[), which simply means “a young woman of marriageable age.” Theological Word Book of the Old Testament says, “There is no instance where it can be proved that this word designates a young woman who is not a virgin.” Additionally, the Torah requires that any unmarried young woman who is found to not be a virgin was to be stoned to death (Deut. 22:20-21). The fact that Miryam had not been stoned to death supports her virginity. Further, that Miryam was anatomically a virgin is confirmed by whoever rendered Luke’s letter into Greek (whether Luke himself or another translator) the word was rendered by the Greek word parthenos (parqenoß), the primary meaning of which is “a woman who has never had sexual intercourse with a man.” Luke was a well-educated man, a physician; surely he would have known the difference. And the Greek version of his letter is considered my most scholars to be the finest example of the Greek language in all the Apostolic Writings. Since Luke was very likely a Proselyte, a Gentile convert to Judaism and disciple of Rav Sha'ul, Greek was probably his primary language. [RETURN]

36. Elishiva’s pregnancy was thus far a closely-guarded secret. Miryam was the first family member besides Z'kharyah to find out. [RETURN]

39. This was a four- to seven-day journey. [RETURN]

62. Although verse 20 does not specifically say that he was deaf (see the note), the fact that these people were trying to “talk” to Z'kharyah using sign language supports the contention that he was deaf as well as mute. [RETURN]

Originally posted on Shabbat, 30 May 2020

Page last updated on Saturday, 19 June 2021 02:07 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!