Southern Christian University
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
James A. Turner
Class Session One
First, let me thank you for
enrolling in New Testament 3404‑A, which is a study of all four of the
Gospel Books. And when you think about
the length of these books, I believe you will say that is a pretty big order,
trying to study all of them in one semester.
Matthew has twenty‑eight chapters, Mark sixteen chapters, Luke
twenty‑four chapters, and John twenty‑one, making a total of eighty‑nine
chapters. So I doubt that we will be able
to read every verse during this semester, but I do want us to get around to
reading as many as we can.
The first thing I would like for
us to do is to call attention as to how each one of the writers begin their
books. And so, if you will, turn to the
first page of Matthew. Notice that the
first thing that Matthew gives is the genealogy of Christ down to verse
eighteen, and then he picks up and tells about the birth of Christ after Mary
was with child. She was betrothed to
Joseph, and she was with child. They had
not come together as husband and wife, and Joseph, evidently, thought that she
had done wrong, and he was about to put her away privily, when an angel of the
Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,
Joseph, thou Son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that
which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou
shall call his name Jesus, for it is he that shall save his people from their
sins. It is characteristic then
of Matthew to do a lot of quoting, and he quotes from the Old Testament, verses
twenty‑two and twenty‑three. Now, all this that has come to pass might be
fulfilled, which is spoken by the Lord through the prophets, saying, Behold the
virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his
name Emmanuel, which is being interpreted God with us. He quoted there from Isaiah 7:14,
showing that the birth of Christ is a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. And
Joseph arose from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and
took unto him his wife. Now
notice verse twenty‑five, "And knew her not." Which means that he did not have sex with her
until she had brought forth a son.
Now turn to Mark. Mark does not tell us anything about the
birth of John the Baptist or the birth of Christ, but he just begins by telling
about John coming and bearing witness of Christ, and then immediately moves to
talk about Christ. "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus
Christ, the Son of God; even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet." Of
course, here he is referring to Isaiah 40:3,
beginning. "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall
prepare thy way. The voice of one crying
in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." I would like for us to turn and read from
Isaiah forty, where this reference is quoted.
There are three references in the Old Testament prophecies concerning
the work of the coming and work of John the Baptist. You might want to write those three
references down, Isaiah 40:3. The other two are Malachi 3:1‑3,
and Malachi 4:5-6. Picking up here, Isaiah 40:3,
"The voice of one that crieth, prepare ye in the wilderness the way of
Jehovah." Of course, that is
speaking of Christ. "Make level in the desert a highway for
our God. Every valley shall be exalted
and every mountain and hill shall be made low:
And the uneven shall be made level:
And the rough places a plain." And verse five, "And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all
flesh shall see it together: For the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken."
Of course, there in verses three
and four, which is characteristic especially of the writings of Isaiah and also
other Old Testament prophets, there is a lot of figurative and symbolic language. When he talks about make level in the desert
the highways for our God and every
valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low and the
uneven be made level, that does not mean John would come with a lot of earth‑moving
equipment and pushing down the mountains and making a level place, but that he
would make a good way for Christ. And
after John the Baptist had made a good way for Christ, then verse five is
referring to Christ. "And the glory of Jehovah shall be
revealed." After John had done his work, see, the glory
of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the
mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.
Now turn to the last book of the
Old Testament. And notice from 3:1
‑‑ Malachi three beginning with verse one. "Behold, I will
send my messenger." That is
John the Baptist. "And he shall prepare the way before
And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, and the
messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire:
Behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah." So verse one is talking about the work of
John the Baptist and then the coming of Christ.
He will prepare the way before the Lord whom you will see, and that is
Christ, will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger of the
covenant. And we surely know that Christ
is the messenger of the New Testament covenant. "Whom
Behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts. But who can abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is
like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
And he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:
And he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver,
and they shall offer unto Jehovah offerings in righteousness." Again, you see the figurative language there. He is like fullers' soap and like a refiner,
purifier of silver, but it means that Christ came to make a way of forgiveness
for sin in the way of purification for the sins of man. It is very figurative and symbolic
language. Then notice that the book
closes with the promise that Elijah would come.
"Behold, I will send you
Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Jehovah
And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the
heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a
Now verses five and six, again,
is talking about John the Baptist. You
will do well to write down at the end of verse six Matthew 11:10
and Malachi 3:1 and Matthew 17:12. On at least two occasions, Jesus said that
John the Baptist was the Elijah that was to come, as we will notice in chapter
eleven of Matthew, when he was talking about how great John the Baptist
was. He said in that reference that he
is the Elijah to come. And then when
Jesus was transfigured, as recorded in Matthew seventeen, before Peter and
James and John, Peter on that occasion was excited and said, Lord, let us build
‑‑ Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus about his coming
decease. And Peter recommended let us
build three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. And the voice said, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye
him. Jesus then told his disciples not to tell the vision until the son
of man be risen from the dead. But, anyway,
they made the statement about why do the chief priests say that Elijah must
first come. Jesus said that Elijah has
come. Matthew 17:10,
"And his disciples asked him,
saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? And he answered and said Elijah indeed
cometh, and shall restore all things.
But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not,
but did unto him whatsoever they would.
And even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. Then understood the disciples that he spake unto them of John the Baptist." So there is no question about that as
we will notice from Luke's account, and it is definite that John the Baptist
was the Elijah that was to come as spoken of in Malachi four, verses four, five
Mark skips over the birth of John
the Baptist and begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. And let me turn back to Mark.
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; even
as it is written in Isaiah the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy
face, who shall prepare the way before thee.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready in the way of
the Lord, make his paths straight. And
John came and baptized in the wilderness, and preached the baptism of repentance unto the remission of
sins." Mark moves
immediately into the work of John the Baptist and then tells about Jesus coming
and being baptized of John and then moves into the ministry of Christ.
Turn to Luke's gospel. First notice that Luke's gospel is addressed
To most excellent Theophilus, as he
stated. Luke says, "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand
to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among
us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were
eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having
traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee
in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of, concerning the things
wherein thou was instructed."
So Luke is first writing to confirm the faith of Theophilus,
most excellent Theophilus, as he is spoken of
here. From there he moves and tells
about the parents of John the Baptist, Zecharias and
Elisabeth, and how that they were both from the priestly family. "And they were both righteous before
God," verse six, "and walking in all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blameless." Then he tells about how Zechariah was
performing his duties as priest, offering incense at the altar of incense when
the angel of the Lord stood on the right side of the altar and told him that
his prayers had been answered and that Elizabeth was going to bear him a son,
that he was to call his name John, and then what John would do. From that, Luke tells about the angel Gabriel
appearing to Mary six months later and telling her that she was going to have a
So from the standpoint of the
birth of Christ, you see that Luke's is first.
And we will do our first reading from Luke. And then John begins his, which is different
from all the others. He gives about the
preexistence of Christ. "In the beginning was the Word, and
the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him; and without him was not any thing made
that hath been made. In him was life;
and the life was the light of men."
It tells about John the Baptist coming to bear witness of the light,
that he was not the light, but he came to bear witness of the light of
Christ. And then verse fourteen, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt
among us, (and we beheld him as the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace
and truth." And so it looks
like all of these writers wrote having some specific purposes in mind. Let us give a little attention to that. First from the standpoint of early religious
writers, I think it is evident that Matthew's gospel was the first gospel account. H. C. Theissen, in his book, Introduction to the New Testament,
gives a date for the Greek Matthew as 50 A.D., and I think that that would be a
good estimate. Matthew is one of the
twelve apostles that we will soon be reading about. He was a tax collector, sitting at the place
of toll, when Jesus called him, and he left that place of toll and followed
There was a great need for
Matthew's gospel. Remember the book of
Acts shows that there were many thousands of Jewish people, that obeyed the
gospel in the early days of the church.
But then in chapter seven of the book of Acts, you remember how that
they stoned Stephen to death. He was one
of those that the apostles had laid hands on and had miraculous ability, and
they stoned him to death. And those who
stoned him laid down their garments at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul,
who is later known as Paul. In Acts
eight, we read about devout men who buried Stephen. And as for Saul, he made havoc of the church,
committing both men and women to prison.
They were all scattered
abroad, and they went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4).
So persecution soon developed. In
the early days of the church, they were even meeting in the temple, but it was
not long until that persecution started.
You know that those Jewish believers needed a gospel to reassure them
and to comfort and encourage them under those circumstances, and Matthew's
gospel is such a gospel. He shows that
the gospel of Christ is not contrary to the Old Testament scripture, but that
it is a fulfillment of the promises made first to Abraham and then on down to
David. Matthew's gospel was written
especially for the benefit of the Jewish people. And he quotes and alludes to the Old
Testament more than any of the other writers.
You see how that would be very meaningful to the Jewish people; it would
not have had much meaning for the Gentile people. Notice again his reference to the Old
Testament there in the first chapter. "This came to pass that it might be
fulfilled which is spoken by the prophets that a virgin shall conceive and bear
a Son, and thou shall call his name Jesus." He continues to call attention to the
fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.
He speaks of the kingdom of heaven more than thirty times. A good example of his use of the kingdom of
heaven is given in Matthew chapter thirteen.
Matthew 13:24, "Another parable set forth he before them, saying, The
kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field."
Verse thirty‑one, "The
kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed
in his field." Verse thirty‑three,
"Another parable spake he unto them; the kingdom of heaven is like unto
leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole
was leavened." And verse
forty‑four, "The kingdom
of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field; which a man found and hid,
and his joy goeth and selleth
all that he hath, and buyeth it." Verse forty‑five, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like
unto a man that is a merchant, seeking goodly pearls:
And having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he
had, and bought it." And so one of the unique
characteristics of Matthew is that he refers more than thirty times to the
kingdom of heaven. So Christ is king,
and his kingdom will be as stated there in Matthew thirteen. Matthew is the
only one that uses the word church.
Matthew sixteen, "When
Jesus was in the coasts of Ceasaras Philippi, he
asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" They told him, "And
then he said, But whom say ye that I am?"
And it was Peter that responded on that occasion. "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou
art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Jesus said, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: For flesh and blood has not revealed it
unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock." Not upon Peter, but upon the bedrock of truth
that Peter had mentioned that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Upon that bedrock of truth, he said, I will build my church, and the gates of
Hades shall not prevail against it.
Notice in verses eighteen and
nineteen of chapter sixteen that the church and kingdom are used
interchangeably. He has not changed
subject in verse nineteen when he says, "And
I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:
And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall
be bound in heaven:
And whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall
be loosed in heaven. Then he charged the disciples that they
should tell no man that he was the Christ. So there is no doubt about Matthew's
book being an inspired book, because it was written by one of the twelve
Now, in respect to Mark's book, the author of
this book is John Mark. The first
reading we have about John Mark is in Acts twelve. In the first part of Acts twelve, we read
about how that Herod killed James the brother of John. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews so
well, he put Peter in ward and was going to kill him after the feast, after the
Passover. And the angel of the Lord
released Peter from prison, and he went first to the house of Mary, where the
disciples had met together and were praying.
And notice Acts 12:12, "And when he had considered the
thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark;
where many were gathered and were praying."
Now on this occasion, Paul and
Barnabas had gone to Jerusalem carrying the contributions from the church at
Antioch of Syria. You remember Agabus had gone up to that first Gentile church and had
told them that a famine was coming in Judaea, and
they were very generous. They sent
contributions even before the famine came, every man according to his ability,
and sent it to the elders of the church by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. So they were at Jerusalem during the time
that Peter was released from prison.
Notice that many had met together at Mark’s mother’s house praying, and
Peter went to the house of Mary, Acts 12:12.
"When he had considered the thing he came to the house of Mary the
mother of John, whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together and
were praying." And then when Barnabas and Saul went
back to the church at Antioch, they carried John Mark with them. Notice that it says, the mother of John,
whose surname was Mark. That is 12:12. And then Acts 12:25, "Barnabas and Saul returned from
Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministration, taking with them John,
whose surname was Mark." I
wonder if they knew at that time that they were going to go on a missionary
journey and that they would carry John Mark with them. But, anyway, when they went back to Antioch,
they carried John Mark with them. And
then in chapter thirteen, the Holy Spirit said,
"Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called
them." And they went on that
first journey and established the churches of Galatia. Mark went with them for only a small part of
that first journey. He was with them
when they were preaching on the isle of Cyprus, but when they went up to Perga
of Pamphylia, John Mark left them and
went back home.
When Paul and Barnabas talked
about going back and revisiting those churches that they had established on
that first journey, Barnabas wanted to carry Mark, (Acts 15:36-41)
his cousin (Colossians 4:10), again. And because he had left them on that first
journey, Paul did want to carry him, and they separated. Barnabas took John Mark and sailed again to
the isle of Cyprus, the same direction they had gone on that first journey to
revisit those churches, and Paul chose Silas, one of those that the church at
Jerusalem had sent, to tell those Gentile brethren that circumcision and the
keeping of the law was not binding on them, and went by land back to those
churches that they had established on the first journey. John Mark, went on that second journey with
Barnabas, but, we do not have anything recorded about that in the book of Acts. The next thing we read about John Mark was
that he was with Paul during that first Roman imprisonment. For in Colossians chapter four, he is
mentioned as being with Paul at the time of the writing of the letter. Look at Colossians 4:14,
and notice how Paul speaks of Luke there.
"Luke, the beloved
physician, and Demas, salute you."
Back to verse 4:10, "Aristarchus
my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Mark, the cousin
of Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: If
he come unto you, receive him.)"
So notice that Mark was with Paul at the time of the writing of the
Colossian letter. It looks like Paul was
going to send him. "Touching whom ye received
he come unto you receive him.)" So
it looks like Paul was sending him to Colossi.
Paul also mentioned Mark in that short letter to Philemon, he is
mentioned as being with Paul. So he was
with Paul during part of that first Roman imprisonment, and then when Paul
wrote his last epistle, II Timothy, he urged Timothy to come to him quickly. And if you will turn with me to II Timothy
chapter four and verse nine, he says to Timothy, "Give
diligence to come shortly."
And then he says in verse eleven, "Only
Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him
with thee. For he is useful to me for
ministering." So he urges Timothy to come, and he wants him
to bring Mark with him, that he is useful to me for the ministry, which shows
that Mark did prove to be a very faithful person, and Paul recognized how
useful he was, and he wanted Timothy to bring him.
John Mark was not an
apostle. So how may we count his
book? Several writers have said that he
wrote especially for the Romans. Some say, that he essentially wrote down what
he had learned from the apostle Peter.
And in I Peter 5:13, Peter speaks of
Mark as his son. Peter had converted
Mark. Well, how could he write as an
inspired writer? Did he just copy from
the other writers? A lot of what is in Mark is essentially what is in Matthew,
but note that there are many distinctions between Mark’s and the other gospels.
There are several things mentioned in Mark that are not mentioned in any of the
others. Well, the fact that he was a
convert of Peter, and had worked with Paul, and what could the apostles do?
STUDENT: Lay their hands on him.
BROTHER TURNER: All right.
They could have laid their hands on him and given him the gift of
prophecy, which, would have guided him by the Holy Spirit in regard to his
teaching. Do you remember how that in I
Corinthians chapters twelve, thirteen and fourteen are all on the subject of
use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In chapter fourteen he reasons that the
gift of prophecy is much more important than the gift of speaking in tongues,
that a man who had the gift of prophecy that he could teach the church.
I am turning to I Corinthians
chapter fourteen, "Follow after
love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may
prophecy. For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not
unto men, but unto God."
They were having confusion in the church at Corinth. Those who had a
gift of speaking in a tongue, a foreign language that they had not learned, it
looks like they were getting up and speaking in the church in a foreign
language, and the people did not even know what they were saying. So Paul rebukes them for such a thing. And then he says, "For greater is he that prophecies for he that speaketh in tongues, speaketh not
unto men, but unto God. For no man understandeth, but in the spirit he speaketh
mysteries. But he that prophecies, speaketh unto men edification and exhortation and
consolation." So if man had a gift of prophecy, then
he received through the Holy Spirit guidance.
So I do not think there is any doubt that Mark is an inspired book. And then in regard to the ‑‑ If
he did write what he heard Peter preach, and, of course, he evidently had heard
Peter do a lot of preaching as well as Paul, and he would have that knowledge,
and plus being guided by the Holy Spirit.
And the fact that it was received so early as an inspired book, I do not
think there is any doubt that Mark was guided by the Holy Spirit in what he
What about Luke’s Gospel Book and
Acts? Now the first records that we have of Luke is on that second missionary
journey. Remember on that second
missionary journey, Paul started out with Silas, and he went back to those churches
established on the first journey and he went by land. Do I need to show you on the map?
They leave from Antioch, and they
went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the
disciples. And then they go to those
churches that they had established on that first journey. Derbe was the last one that they established,
so they went there first. And then when
they got to Lystra, they found that Timothy, a young man that Paul had converted
on that first journey, was recommended by the brethren at the church at Lystra
and Iconium, and Paul decided to carry him as a companion on the journey. So he started out with Silas, and then he
added Timothy. And after he had
revisited these churches, and those four churches were Antioch of Pisidia,
Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, four churches that they had established on that
first journey. These are churches that the book of Galatians is written
to. After they had visited those
churches, Luke says that he wanted to go into Asia. He probably wanted to go to Ephesus, but he
was forbidden by the Holy Spirit. He
wanted to go up to Bethenia, and he was forbidden by
the Holy Spirit to go there. Then the
writer of the book of Acts says, “that
passing Mysia they came to Troas where Paul
received a vision in the night, a man standing over in Macedonia, (European
territory), saying come over and
help us. Acts 16:10
is the first reference concerning Luke. He is the writer of the book of
Acts, and verse ten reads, "And when he had seen the vision,
straightway we sought forth to go into Macedonia, concluding that God
had called us to preach the gospel unto them."
I did not give an approximate
date for the gospel of Mark. If he did
write, especially for the benefit of the
Romans ‑‑ of course, they would be Gentiles, but maybe a little
different from other Gentiles, then his book was probably written in the late
sixties A.D.. Well, I have not mentioned
this: Matthew, Mark and Luke are commonly
referred to as what kind of gospels?
BROTHER TURNER: Yes, The Synoptic Gospels, meaning what?
STUDENT: They are similar.
BROTHER TURNER: Yes, frequently Matthew, Mark and Luke record
some of the same things, and we will hopefully get around to noticing how that
when you read the three accounts, you get a fuller account than you do just to
read one or two. And, of course, when
you read all three accounts, you probably will not have nearly everything that
was involved. The accounts are brief, but
by reading the three or four accounts, if four of them record about the same
thing, you get a fuller account of the same event. So the gospel books compliment each
Now, in regard to Luke's gospel,
he was not an apostle, but he says that he had traced everything in order. And, of course, again, he was with Paul. He joined Paul on that second journey, and
they did their first work at Philippi and established a church there. And Luke stayed at Philippi until Paul was
ready to go with the messengers of the churches to carry the bounty of the
Gentile churches to Jerusalem. And Luke
joined the company again as one of the messengers of the church carrying the
bounty to Jerusalem. And then he was
with Paul almost all the time from then on.
Paul speaks of him there as a beloved physician in the passage we read
in Colossians 4:14. Luke was a well‑educated
man and the beloved physician. You will
notice in several occasions where it is talking about a person being sick, how
that he will give a little more detailed account than the others give. He sees the same thing as the doctor sees
it. If I remember correctly, when he
talks about Jesus healing, going to the house of Peter, and his mother was sick
with a fever, Matthew and Mark just talk about her having a fever, and Luke
says a high fever. And, of course, Jesus
took away her fever, and she arose and
ministered to them. Luke was with
Paul or at least near Paul during Paul’s
imprisonment at Caesarea (Acts 23:31-36),
and that is probably the time that he wrote his gospel during that time when
Paul was imprisoned at Caesarea before his voyage to Rome. Some account that as being about two
years. And that would have given him an
opportunity, Caesarea is not far from Jerusalem, to talk with a lot of eye
Do you see Caesarea over there on
BROTHER TURNER: It is just a few miles from Jerusalem. And so he could have talked with a lot of
people that were eyewitnesses of all of those things that had transpired. And the Holy Spirit did not take from a man
what he was able to do on his own, but Luke is also writing by
inspiration. I do not think there is any
question about that. And, again, would
not it be logical to conclude that Paul or one of the other apostles had laid
hands, on Luke and given that gift of prophecy to him, whereby he would be
guided by the Holy Spirit.
Now, in regard to the destruction
of Jerusalem Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote before Jerusalem was destroyed by
Roman armies in 70 A.D. which is a fact of history. So all of them were written, Matthew, Mark and Luke were certainly written
before 70 A.D.. And in regard to the gospel of Luke, Luke
wrote the gospel of Luke before he wrote Acts, and he wrote the book of Acts in
about 62 or 63 A.D. And so it looks like
a good reasonable date for his writing the gospel of Luke would probably be
around 58 or 59 A.D. So from the
standpoint of who is first, Matthew's gospel would be first from the standpoint
of time. And Luke's would have to come
in there before the book of Acts, and remember that Acts closes with that two‑year
imprisonment being over (Acts 28:30-31).
During the two years of that
first Roman imprisonment Paul was permitted to live in his own hired dwelling
and receive all that went in unto him.
He had those good workers assisting him, and evidently going out and
encouraging people to go and hear Paul, and he carried on an evangelistic
campaign during that two‑year period and wrote those four prison books,
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. Does not Acts 28:30-31
mean that that two‑year imprisonment was up when Luke finished the book
of Acts. "And
he abode two whole years in his on hired dwelling, and received all that went
in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, teaching the things concerning the
Lord Jesus, with all boldness, none forbidding him."
We are ready to begin our second
period of this first class session. We
were talking about Luke and how that Luke wrote the gospel of Luke before he
wrote Acts. And remember the
introduction to the book of Acts and how that it is addressed to Theophilus when it mentions how he had already written the
gospel book to him. Reading from Acts
one beginning with verse one, "The
former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, concerning
all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which he was
received up, after he had given commandments through the Holy Spirit unto the
apostles whom he had chosen."
And that is exactly what the gospel of Luke includes, the teaching of Jesus from the first until he
ascended back to heaven. Note that Luke
is definitely the author of the book of Acts because he says, "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and
teach, until the day in which he was received up. After he had given commandments through the
Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Whom he had also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs,
appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking of the thing
concerning the kingdom of God." So
we know that Luke is the author of the book of Acts. And we can tell when he is with Paul then or
Paul's company by his use of the pronouns.
For instance there in Acts16:10, "We sought to go forth into
Macedonia." In verse eleven,
"We made a straight
course to Samothracia." And verse twelve, "We were in this city tarrying certain
days." Verse thirteen, “And on the Sabbath day we went
But notice chapter seventeen, "And when they had passed
through Amphipolis and Appollonia,
they came to Thessalonica." It
is talking about Paul and Silas. So Luke
stayed behind at Philippi, and he stayed there for several years, until Paul
was ready to carry the bounty, made up by the Gentile churches, to the poor in Judaea. And notice
that Acts twenty shows he joins the company
of Paul again. In verse four, he
talks about the messengers of the churches.
And then verse five, Acts 20:5, "But these had gone before and were
waiting for us at Troas."
He is referring to Paul and himself.
And we sailed away
from Philippi. So he stayed at Philippi
until he was ready to go on that journey to Jerusalem. And
we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread and came unto
them at Troas in five days where we tarried, seven days. And chapter twenty‑one and verse one, "And it came to pass, that we
parted from them." So he
continued with Paul on that journey to Jerusalem. And then he is with Paul when he goes to
Rome. We know by the use of the pronouns
we there. Chapter 27:1,
"And it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they
delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto the centurion named Julius, of
the Augustan band. And embarking into a
ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail unto the
place in the coasts of Asia, we put to sea." Luke was a well‑educated man, and the
gospel of Luke has been reckoned as the best writing of the four gospel books,
from the standpoint of literary work.
Now let us talk about the Gospel
of John. I think that there is considerable evidence that John wrote a long
time after the destruction of Jerusalem.
He does not say anything about the destruction of Jerusalem. And surely as important and tragic event as
that was for the Jewish people, that John would have recorded about what Jesus
said about the destruction of Jerusalem if he had written prior to that
time. And if he had written within just
a few years after that time, would he not have mentioned that tragic event?
Please turn to John 19:14-16. Does not this passage strongly indicate that
John wrote a long time after the destruction of Jerusalem, when Jewish time had
been replaced by Roman time? In chapter
nineteen Pilate tries to get the people to let him release Jesus, but they cry
out that they want him to be crucified.
Look at John 19:14. And this is speaking of the time when Pilate
released Jesus to be crucified, fourteen through sixteen. "Now
it was the preparation of the Passover, they therefore cried out, Away with
him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king
but Caesar. It was about the sixth hour;
and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! Then therefore he delivered him up to be
crucified." Now, if John is
not using Roman times instead of Jewish time, then you have an outright contradiction
between that and Mark's account. Mark 15:25
says that he was crucified at the third hour.
Well, I will pick up with Mark 15:16 to
get the account. Jesus was
scourged. And sometimes a man would die
from a Roman scourging. Mark 15:16
picking up, "And the soldiers
led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole
band." That is referring to
the soldiers. "And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown
of thorns, they put it on him; and they began to salute him, Hail, King of the
Jews! And they smote his head with a
reed, and spat upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off
from him the purple, and put on him his garments, and led him out to crucify
him. And they compelled one passing by,
Simon a Cyrenian, coming from the country, the father
of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them, that he might bear his cross." Evidently, Jesus was so weak from the
scourging that he could not bear his cross, so they compelled Simon a Cyrenian to bear his cross.
"And they bring him unto
the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The Place of a skull. And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh:
But he received it not. And they
crucified him, and parted his garments among them, casting lots upon them, what
each should take. And it was the
third hour, and they crucified him." Now, Mark, of course, is using Jewish
time. And the third hour of the day
Jewish time would be nine o'clock in the morning. They counted, see, as what we count as six
o'clock in the morning as the first hour of the day. And the third hour of the day would be nine
o'clock in the morning. And then there
was darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour, or from twelve o'clock to three
o'clock our time. And at three o'clock,
Jesus died. But if you think of Mark's
being Jewish time and John's Roman time, you see it works out right. It was six o'clock in the morning, Roman
time, which is our time, when he was released by Pilate, and they had him on
the cross then at nine o'clock. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us that was
darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour, which would be from 12:00
to 3 P.M. and Jesus died at 3 P.M. at the very time that they would begin the
killing of the lambs for the Passover (Ex.12:5).
And that way there is no discrepancy. If
that is not the case you would have a plain contradiction, right?
STUDENT: That's right.
BROTHER TURNER: You would have a plain contradiction if John
is not writing so long after the destruction of Jerusalem that Jewish time is
gone by the wayside.
All of John's books are usually
counted as being written either in the late 80s or 90s. Remember John wrote the gospel of John, I, II
and III John, and the Revelation. And so
John writes a long time after the other gospel writers. And his Gospel Book is very different from
the other accounts. There are a few things that he records that is recorded by
the other three, and as we study, we will notice some of those. But without John's account, we would not have
the early part of the Judean ministry, in other words, chapters one through
three. We just do not have that in the other gospel accounts. Actually, the
book of John covers only a few days of the ministry of Christ. For instance, chapters thirteen through
nineteen cover only one day. So it's
very different, but we will give more attention to that when we get to the
Gospel of John.
Now let us turn and read from
Luke chapters one, two and three about the birth of John and Jesus, and a few
things about Jesus as a boy. We would not have anything about the birth of John
the Baptist, if it were not for Luke's account, and we would not know that John
the Baptist and Jesus were cousins, and that
John was about six months older. So let us begin the reading of chapter one of Luke. "Forasmuch
as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters
which have been fulfilled among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who
from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good
to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately, from the first,
to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus." Now, see, Luke is writing at a time when
there would be so many people still living that had been eyewitnesses of many
things about Christ and many other things and he could inquire and trace those
things accurately by talking to eye witnesses.
And he is writing first to confirm
Theophilus, but it looks like that Luke's gospel is
geared maybe especially for the Gentile people.
And he speaks of them or has Jesus speaking of the Gentile people in a
very favorable way. "There was in the days of Herod, the
king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah." Now, notice that, the course of Abijah. "And he had a wife of the daughters of
Aaron." Do you remember that
all the priests came from the descendants of Aaron of the tribe of Levi. All of the men of that tribe were either
priests or assistants to the priest, but the priest came only from the
descendants of Aaron. And so Zacharias and Elizabeth are the descendants of Aaron. "And her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God,
walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." I can remember the days when studying about
the qualifications of elders of the church in I Timothy chapter three, where it
says that an elder of the church is to be blameless. Sometimes some would say, we cannot have
elders in this church because there is no man blameless. Well, what does that word blameless mean?
STUDENT: It doesn't mean perfect.
Yes. It does not mean perfect. In
Philippians 3:6 Paul says of himself “as touching the righteousness which is of
the law blameless.” Well, did Paul not sin back there when he was
persecuting Christians and seeking to destroy the church of God?
STUDENT: I believe he did.
BROTHER TURNER: Well, he speaks of the law as being
blameless, which means that when he learned that he had sinned he did what the
law required in order to receive forgiveness of sin and then he was
blameless. It does not mean that Zacharias and Elizabeth were perfect people, but they
carried out the requirements of the law.
And when they did, they were blameless before God. In the first five chapters of the book of
Leviticus, it talks about the various kinds of offerings that they were to
make, and the only place that they were to make those offerings were at the
place where the tabernacle was. And when
a person learned that he had sinned that he was to carry the animal that the
law specified to the tabernacle and there before the altar of burnt offering
lay his hand on the head of the animal, and then the person was to kill that
animal, as an offering for sin. And then
the priest took over the sprinkling of blood and the other things the priest
was supposed to do. Do you not think
that laying his hand on the animal testified to the person that I am the one
who deserves to die, but this animal is taking my place, and it gave him
But notice now again that Zacharias is the course of Abijah. And they had no child, because Elizabeth was
barren. And they both were now well‑stricken
in years. "Now
it came to pass, while he executed the priest's office before God in the
order of his course." Now, in the average Bible class would not “the order of his course” just be
passed over? What does it have reference
to? Do you have any idea? It has reference to what David had done
before he turned over the reigns ‑‑ well, he may have already
turned over the reigns of government to his son Solomon. But, anyway, one of the last things he did,
there were so many of the priestly family that he divided up the Levites into
courses or into divisions, and he divided the priests up into courses or
divisions. If you will turn to I
Chronicles chapter twenty‑three, it tells about the dividing up of the
Levites. When he is talking about the Levites, he is talking about those of the
tribe of Levite that were assistants to the priest. "When
David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel." David assembled all the leaders of Israel and
the priests and the Levites, and there were a lot of them. Verse six, "And
David organized them into divisions, corresponding to the sons of Levi, Gershom, Kohath, and Merari."
Now, those were the three families of Levi that fitted into the category
of being assistants to the priests, and so he divided those up. Then in chapter
of the sons of Aaron were these. The
sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu,
Eleazar, and Ithamar." The latter part of verse three, "David organized them, according to
the appointed duties in their service." There were twenty‑four divisions of the
priests in all, and Abijah was the eighth. Moving down to verse nine, "The fifth to Malchijah,
the sixth to Mijamin, the seventh to Hakkoz, and the eighth to Abijah." So David
had divided the priests up into twenty‑four divisions, and,
evidently, they did not have to serve but a few weeks out of the year. So it was Zacharias’
week to serve in the temple. He burned
incense on the altar of incense in the temple.
Does not that make it a little more meaningful?
Picking up with verse eight
again, "And it came to pass
while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,
according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to enter into the
temple of the Lord and burn incense. And
the whole multitude of the people were standing without at the hour of
incense. And there appeared unto him an
angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zacharias was
troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him." I think it would have made us shake a little
too, do you not think so? "But the angel said unto him, fear not Zacharias because thy supplication is heard." Do you not guess that Zacharias
had been praying for some period of time that his wife Elizabeth might be able
to bear children? But his prayer is now
going to be answered. "Fear not, Zacharias,
because thy supplication is heard. And
thy wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and thou shall call his name
John." And so John the
Baptist, like Jesus is named before birth.
"And thou shalt have joy and gladness and many shall rejoice at his
birth. For he shall be great in the
sight of the Lord, and he shall drink no wine or strong drink." And that would make him what kind of person,
according to the Old Testament teaching? STUDENT: A Nazarite. BROTHER TURNER: All right. He would be a Nazarite,
and they were not to drink any wine or strong drink.
he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, for he shall drink no wine nor
strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his
mother's womb. Many of the children of
Israel shall he turn unto the Lord their God." Now, notice what that son is going to
do. His name is to be John, and he is
going to turn the children of Israel.
Many of them shall he turn unto the Lord, their God. "And
he shall go before his face."
Before the face of Jehovah and before the face of Christ. "In
the spirit of and power of Elijah."
Now, remember Malachi four, five and six that before the great and
terrible day of Jehovah come, that Elijah would come. So John the Baptist as stated here in verse
seventeen was the Elijah that was to come, and those two references that we
called attention to in Matthew. "And he shall go before his face, in
the spirit and the power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the
children and the disobedience to walk in the wisdom of the just, to make ready
for the Lord a people prepared for him." Is not that what we read from Malachi 3:1
to make ready, a people prepared for the Lord?
And then the Lord would come. "And Zacharias
said unto the angel." I
guess for six months he wished that he had not asked this question. "Whereby
shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well‑stricken
in years. And the angel answered and
said unto him, I am Gabriel."
The same one that appeared to Mary.
"That stand in the
presence of God, and I was sent to speak unto thee and to bring thee these good
tidings. And behold, thou shalt be silent, not able to speak until the day that these
things shall come to pass."
So the sign that he was given was that he would be dumb until the child
is born. Don't you know that Zacharias wished for a long time that he had more faith
and not asked for a sign? “And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and they marveled while he tarried in the
temple. And when he came out, he could
not speak unto them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple
and he continued making signs unto them and remained dumb. And it came to pass when the days of his
ministration were fulfilled, he departed unto his house. And after these days, Elizabeth his wife
conceived and she hid herself five months saying, now, thus has the Lord done
unto me in the days wherein he looked upon me to take away my reproach among
Look at the latter part of verse
twenty‑five. And from Hannah, you
remember about her, and she considered it was a reproach that she could not
have children. And here Elizabeth was
thankful that God had taken away my reproach from among men that she would be
able to ‑‑ that she was pregnant with child. She hid herself for five months. "In
the sixth month, Gabriel."
The angel Gabriel. So it was the
same one that had appeared to Zacharias. "Was
sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth."
Some of our brethren are making
too much of an angel just being a messenger.
The scriptures teach that an angel was a special messenger of the Lord,
different from a human being. STUDENT: Right.
BROTHER TURNER: Can you imagine here of Gabriel just being an
ordinary person? STUDENT: No.
Now we have several passages
where an angel or angels appeared in the form of a man. In Judges 13:2-20
we read about an angel appearing to Manoah’s wife in
the form of a man but when Manoah offered a sacrifice
the angel “ascended in the flame of
the altar.” Verse twenty‑six, "Now
in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the city of Galilee,
named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the
house of David. And the virgin's name
was Mary. And he came in unto her and
said, Hail, thou that are highly favored, the Lord is with thee. But she was gravely troubled at the saying
and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this might be. And the angel
said unto her, Fear, not Mary, for thou has found favor with God." That surely speaks well of Mary, does it
not? She was a God‑fearing person
for that statement to be made of her, that she had found favor with God. Do you remember back there that Noah found
favor with God. "And behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb." So this is before she conceived in her
womb. Matthew began after she was
pregnant and showing. "And
behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the most high and the
Lord shall give unto him the throne of his Father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob
forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
Now, this is one of many passages that show that Christ is now reigning
on the throne of David. And that old
premillennial doctrine that has Christ coming back to earth and reigning on the
earth for a thousand years is as false as it can be. I do not know of any doctrine that conflicts
with more plain passages of scripture than that doctrine does. David never actually had a throne. The throne was God's. In I Chronicles 29:23,
when Solomon was anointed the second time, “he
sat upon the throne of Jehovah, and all Israel feared him.” Let us take time to look at that
passage. If you can get across to people
that David never actually had a throne, that the throne was God, and God just
raised up David to reign over the house of Israel, and that David's throne is
spoken of as David's throne in the same sense that the Old Testament law is
spoken of as Moses law. It surely was not Moses' law, but since God gave the
law through Moses, it is appropriately spoken of as Moses' law. But I Chronicles ‑‑ I think I've
got the right passage 29:23, Solomon had
already been made ‑‑ had been sworn in as king under an emergency
situation (I Kings 1:1-5, 1:32-49),
but then later he was anointed as king a second time. It was after David got in a better health
condition. Let us pick up with I Chronicles 29:20,
"And David said to all the assembly." And so David is at least back to some degree
of health. "Now bless Jehovah from God. And all the assembly blessed Jehovah and the
God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped Jehovah, and
the king. And they sacrificed sacrifices
unto Jehovah, and offered burnt offerings unto Jehovah, on the morrow after
that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with
their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. And they made Solomon the son of David king
the second time and anointed him unto Jehovah to be prince and Zadok to be priest.
Then Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah as king instead of
David his father, and prospered, and all of Israel obeyed him." Sitting on the same throne of David that he
had been sitting on back there when he was first anointed. But here it is spoken of as the throne of
Jehovah. So the throne was God's. And when we read from Matthew, we will talk
about the king that was carried into Babylon captivity and Jeremiah said about
him “Write this man down as
childless R.A.S.V.. For none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on
the throne of David, and ruling in Judah (Jeremiah 22:30).” The angel Gabriel tells Mary that God is going
to give her son Jesus the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over
the house of Jacob forever. And of his
kingdom, there shall be no end.
What is the house of Jacob today?
STUDENT: The church.
BROTHER TURNER: All right.
The house of Jacob today is the church.
Do you remember the words of Romans 2:28‑29,
"He is not a Jew who is one
outward in the flesh, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the
flesh, but he is a Jew who is one inwardly.
And circumcision is of the heart and not of the letter; whose praise is
not of man but of God." So
every child of God in that sense is a Jew.
He is a part of the new Israel of God.
In the book of Isaiah, Isaiah continued to talk about how that the
family was going to be increased. We
will probably get around to calling attention to some of those in the process
of our study. It was going to be an increase by the bringing in of the Gentile
people, and Palestine would not be large enough to hold the new family, the new
Israel of God (Isaiah11:1, 11:10,
42:6, 49:1, 49:19-22,
62:2, 65:15). And so Christ would reign over the house of
Jacob. And the church and the kingdom,
you remember in Matthew 16:18-19 that they are
used interchangeably. So in a sense here
is the same thing, right? The house of
Jacob is the church or the kingdom of God (I Timothy 3:14-15).
"And of his kingdom there shall be no end." So that can refer only to the kingdom of
Christ. It can not be referring to an
earthly kingdom. And remember from
Daniel 2:44 that “in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a
kingdom which shall never be destroyed.
It shall not be left to another people, but it shall break in pieces and
consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” We have a song, “The kingdoms of the earth
pass away one by one, but the kingdom of heaven shall stand. It shall stand. It shall stand. Forever it shall stand.” And that is truly according to the teaching
of the Bible. “And of his kingdom
there shall be no end.” Now
notice carefully verses thirty‑four and thirty‑five, "And Mary said unto the angel, how
shall this be seeing that I know not a man?" Meaning what?
STUDENT: That she's a virgin.
Yes, I have not had sex with any man. So
how am I going to have a child? How am I
going to have a son? And the angel
answered and said unto her, "The
Holy Spirit shall come up on thee and the power of the most high shall
overshadow thee, wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be
called the Son of God." This
is absolutely talking about the virgin birth, that Mary would give birth to a
son without the agency of man. And do you remember from Galatians chapter four,
where it talks about “when the
fullness of time came, God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under
the law. That he might redeem them that were under the law.” That would be a ridiculous statement if it is
not talking about the virgin birth of Christ. What man is there that has not
been born of woman? But spoken of in
that sense, born of woman without the agency of man. Like Genesis 3:15
said was to take place, that the seed of woman would bruise the head of the
serpent or the devil. Remember Genesis 3:15
was the first prophecy of Christ to come.
We were down to verse thirty‑six, I believe. "Behold
Elizabeth thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age, and this
is the sixth month with her that was called barren." So John the Baptist must have been about six
months older than Christ, right? "For
no word from God shall be void of power.
And Mary said, behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according
to thy words. And the angel departed
from her. Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste
unto a city of Judah and entered into the house of Zecharias
and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to
pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
And she lifted up her voice with a loud cry, and said, Blessed art thou
among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." And so when she
goes and meets Elizabeth, she is already with child. "And whence is
this to me that the mother of my Lord shall come unto me." And how does Elizabeth. know that Mary was to
be the mother of her Lord? STUDENT: The Holy Spirit had come to her BROTHER
All right. Notice that she is
filled with the Holy Spirit. So the Holy
Spirit gives her these words, that
the mother of my Lord. How
would Mary be the mother of Elizabeth's Lord? STUDENT: There would be no way she would have known that. BROTHER TURNER: No way that she could have known that, except
given that instruction she's speaking from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had given her those words. And, of course, Christ is Elizabeth's Lord
like he is to be every person's Lord.
Verse forty‑four, "For
behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped
in my womb for joy." And
think of that, John the Baptist leaping in her womb for joy. But remember he is to be filled with the Holy
Spirit, going back to verse fifteen, even from his mother's womb. So we will sign off on verse forty‑four
for a while. (A brief recess was
We are ready to begin the third period of this class
session. We were down to Luke 1:45. "For
behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped
in my womb for joy. And blessed is she
For there shall be a fulfillment of the things which hath been spoken to
her from the Lord." And so
there Elizabeth would be speaking of Mary, that Mary believed what the angel
Gabriel had told her. "And Mary said, My soul both magnify
the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in the God of my Savior. For he hath looked upon the low estate of his
For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great
things; and holy is his name. And his
mercy unto all generations, and generations on them that fear him." I believe Mary is speaking under the
influence of the Holy Spirit too. "He hath showed strength with his arms;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down princes from their thrones,
and hath exalted them of low degree. The
hungry he hath filled with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty
away. He hath given help to Israel, his
servant, that he might remember mercy; as he spake
unto our fathers, to Abraham, and his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months,
and returned unto her house. Now Elizabeth's
time was fulfilled that she be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and her kinsfolks
heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with
her." God had magnified his
mercy toward Elizabeth by making it possible that she could bear a son, and a
great son at that. And they rejoiced
with her. They were doing the proper
thing, weren't they, when they rejoiced with Elizabeth at the birth of John?
"And it came to pass, that on the eighth day that they came to
circumcise the child; and they would have called him Zacharias,
after the name of his father."
This matter of Juniors is no new thing!
STUDENT: That's true.
BROTHER TURNER: But what father does not want a son named
after him? Not many, to say the least,
and that was the pattern of that day.
And so it looks like it was the custom that when the child was
circumcised they named him on that day.
And it looks like the women of the village had a part in coming up with
the name. And they were going to call
him Zecharias, Jr., right?
BROTHER TURNER: "And it came to pass, that on the eighth
day." And why the eighth day?
Abraham. That's the covenant.
BROTHER TURNER: That is the covenant of circumcision given
back there to Abraham, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the book of
Genesis. And Abraham was ninety‑nine
years old, was he not?
And Ishmael was thirteen years old when that covenant of circumcision was
given, but from then on, every Hebrew child was to be circumcised on the eighth
day and all of those slaves born in Abraham's house were to be circumcised when
they were eight days old. Now, let us
take time to turn back and read a little bit in Genesis chapter seventeen. Notice verse one of Genesis seventeen, "And when Abram was ninety years old
and nine, Jehovah appeared to Abraham, and Abram said unto him." Verse nine, "And
God said unto Abraham, as for thee thou shalt keep my
covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy
seed after thee; Every male among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall be the circumcised in the
flesh of your foreskin. And it shall be a token of the covenant
betwixt me and you. And he that is eight
days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your
generations, he that is born in thy house." And remember that when Abraham moved, it was
like a small town or village moving.
There were three hundred and eighteen trained soldiers that had been
born in his house (Genesis 14:14). So really there were a lot of people included
in Abraham's house. "Or bought
with money, of any foreigner, that is not of thy seed." And they told him that his wife Sarah
was going to have a child. Verse twenty‑two,
"And he left off talking with
him, and God went up from Abraham. And
Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that
were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and
circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the self‑same day." That was circumcising a lot of men. "As
God had said unto him. And Abraham was
ninety years old and nine."
Ninety‑nine years old, "And when he was circumcised in the
flesh of his foreskin, and Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was
circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
In the self‑same day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his
son. And all the men of his house,
those born in his house, and those bought with money of a foreigner, were
circumcised with him." So Abraham was a man of real faith, and that
kind of faith caused him to do just
exactly as God had instructed him to do.
And he did it, and he did not put it off.
STUDENT: Active faith.
BROTHER TURNER: So the ladies have a problem, they want to
name him John. Verse fifty‑nine, "And it came to pass on the eighth
day that they came to circumcise the child.
And they would have called him Zacharias after
the name of his Father. And his mother
answered and said, not so; but he shall be called John." So Elizabeth knew what the angel had said. Zacharias
must have written a note to her telling her what the angel had said. "And
they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this
name." That is not the pattern. "And
they made signs to his father, what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and he
wrote, saying, His name is John. And
they marveled all. And his mouth was
opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake,
blessing God." And so just
as the angel told him he would be dumb until the child was born, at the time of
circumcision, he writes his name is John, and his tongue is loosed. Verse sixty‑five, "And fear came upon all that dwelt
round about, and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill
country of Judaea." Well, do you see how that they knew something
very unusual was taking place? "And all that heard them laid them up
in their hearts saying, what then shall this child be, for the hand of the Lord
was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied,
saying." And, again,
speaking by inspiration. "Blessed
be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and brought redemption for his
people." And, of course,
that would have to do with John the Baptist making a way for Christ, and then
Christ coming and dying as a sin offering and for all of us. "And
hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant
David." And, again, Christ
is of David's descent. "And he spake
by the mouth of the holy prophets, that have been of old." A number of the Old Testament prophets
spoke of Christ as being the one that would be raised up to rule over
from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to show mercy toward
our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he swear unto
Abraham our father." And
that is referring to Genesis 12:3, don’t you
think, when God told Abram, when he was called back there, that if he would
leave his kindred and his father's house, and go into a land that he would show
him, that he would bless him, and through his seed all nations of the earth
would be blessed. And remember Paul
refers to that in the third chapter of the book of Galations. He said to Abraham was the promise made that
he saith not to his seed as of many, but to thou seed
which is Christ. I think that is about
Galatians 3:16. So Christ was to come through the seed of
Abraham. So verse seventy‑three
again, "The oath which he swear
to Abraham, our father, to grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the
hand of our enemies should serve him without fear, in holiness and
righteousness before him, all of our days.
Yea, and thy child, thou shalt be called the
prophet of the most High."
And there he is speaking of his son John the Baptist, right? "And
yea, thou child, shalt be called the prophet of the
For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord
to make ready his ways." And
so very definitely, we have many references saying John is to make the way of
give knowledge of salvation unto his people and the remission of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high
shall visit us." Would not
that be Christ? "To shine upon them that sit in darkness and in the
shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew,
and waxed strong in the spirit, and was in the desert till the day of his
showing unto Israel." And so
John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judaea.
Chapter two, "And it came to pass in those days,
that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be
enrolled." Enrolled for
was the first enrollment made when Quirinius was the
governor of Syria. And all went to
enroll themselves, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem;
(because he was of the house and family of David.)" It would be like our going to vote, the place
where we are enrolled to vote. We are
enrolled at a certain place, and we ought not go somewhere else and expect to
vote, because we would not be on that roll.
They are going to be enrolled for taxation. "And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of
Nazareth, unto Judaea to the city of David, which is
called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and family of David:) To enroll himself with Mary who was
betrothed to him, being great with child.
And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled that
she would be delivered. And she brought
forth their firstborn son, and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid
him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." So many people would be going there to enroll,
there were no accommodations for them there in the inn. And so it looks like they may be in the
quarters where the animals were, right?
Don't they say that animals sometimes were down on the first floor
underneath the house, as we might think of it.
"And so she wrapped him
in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger." And so what would the manger be?
STUDENT: It would be the feeding trough.
BROTHER TURNER: It would be the feeding trough where they fed
the animals or they put the hay. "And there were shepherds in the same
country." Matthew tells
about the wise men coming from the east, but at a later date than Luke has
given here. He tells about the
shepherds, about the angels appearing to the shepherds while they are watching
over their flock. “There were
shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, keeping watch by night over
their flock. And an angel of the Lord
stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shown round about them; and they were
sore afraid. And the angel said unto
them." And, again, when the
people came into the presence of angels, it is pretty well the pattern of the
whole Bible about angels, that people were afraid of them. "And
they were sore afraid. And the angel
said unto them, be not afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great
joy, which shall be to all the people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is
Christ the Lord." So the
angel makes the announcement to the shepherds keeping watch over their
ye tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people. For there is born to you this day in the city
of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this is a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothing, and lying in a manger."
And so those shepherds could go and find the child wrapped in swaddling
clothes and lying in a manger. Now,
think about this. When we read Matthew's
account, evidently, the child is around two years of age when Matthew tells
about the wise men going. But here the
babe has just been born. He is still
wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.
"And this is a sign unto
you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a
multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying." And, again, the heavenly host, not an
earthly host. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among
them, in whom he is well pleased. And it
came to pass, as the angels went away from them into heaven." Notice, they went back to heaven. So do you not think that they are just
stretching a point too far, that the angels are messengers and leave it as
though a man can be an angel. STUDENT: Right.
"And it came to pass, as the angels went away from them into
heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem,
and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known
unto us. And they came with haste,
and found both Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger. And when they saw it, they made known
concerning the saying, which was spoken to them about the child.
And all that heard it wondered at the things which were spoken unto them
by the shepherds. But Mary kept these
sayings, pondering them in her heart." Mary must have kept a lot of sayings for many
years, but by the time Jesus began his ministry, she decided that he could turn
the water into wine. She had come to
some conclusions by that time. "And all that heard it wondered at the
things which were spoken unto them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, pondering
them in her heart." And what
do we need to do with many passages of scripture that we read? STUDENT: We need to meditate upon them.
BROTHER TURNER: All right.
Ponder them in our heart as to what the real meaning is. Peter said of
Paul's epistles that he had written in them of some things that were hard to be
understood, and they needed a lot of thought and a lot of pondering and a lot
of studying. Verse twenty, "And the shepherds returned
glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen,
even as it was spoken unto them. And
when eight days were fulfilled for circumcising him, his name was called Jesus,
which was so called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." So Joseph and Mary did not have a problem
about a name. "And when the days of their purification according to
the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present
him before the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male
that openeth the womb shall be called holy to
the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law
of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
Here we have a requirement of the
Old Testament, “every male that openeth the wound shall be called holy to the Lord.” And what is the background of that? When God passed over the houses of the Egyptians,
the firstborn of man and beast was killed (Exodus 12:29-30). And because of that, the firstborn was to be
offered unto the Lord and, of course, they did not kill the child, but they
were to offer a sacrifice in its stead.
Let us turn to Leviticus twelve.
I think it will give us some instruction about that. This has to do with them offering a
sacrifice. The law required for them to wait for a certain number of days after
the birth of a child before this sacrifice was to be made. Let us read beginning
with Leviticus 12:1. "And Jehovah spake unto Moses,
saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman conceived, and
bears a man child:
Then shall she be unclean seven days; as in the days of the impurity of
her sickness shall she be unclean. And
in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall continue in the blood of her
impurity three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come
into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a female child, then she
shall be unclean two weeks, as in her impurity, and she shall continue the
blood of her purifying three‑score and six days. And when the days of her purifying are over,
for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb a year old for a burnt
offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the
door of the tent of the meeting unto the priest. And he shall offer it to
Jehovah and make atonement for her, and she shall be cleansed from the fountain
of her blood. This is the law of her
that beareth whether it is a male or a female. Now notice verse eight, “And if her means suffice not for a
lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons. The
one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering, and the priest shall
make atonement for her, and she shall be cleaned.” Now going back to the reading of verse twenty‑four,
“and to offer a sacrifice according
to that which is said in the law of the Lord a pair of turtledoves and two
young pigeons.” So what does this
tell us about the parents of Jesus? STUDENT: That they were poor. BROTHER TURNER: Yes, that they were poor, and they did not have to offer a lamb, but they
can offer a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
Okay. Let us turn back, I think that Exodus chapter
thirteen would be about the firstborn.
Exodus thirteen beginning with verse one, "And
Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Sanctify unto me
all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among
the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: It
is mine." Now, remember God
had passed over and killed the firstborn of man and beast in the houses of the
Egyptians, but the people of Israel had sacrificed the Passover lamb and had
applied its blood to the lentils and to the doorposts of their houses, Exodus
chapter twelve and I think around verse seven.
I believe it is verse thirteen that says, God said that when I see the blood, talking about the blood
of the lamb, applied to the lentils and to the doorposts of their houses, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” And now the people of Israel are to sanctify
unto the Lord the firstborn of man and beast.
Later this was changed to, I believe, the priestly family would be for
the taking of the firstborn of the other tribes. But, anyway, the firstborn was to be
sanctified unto the Lord. Exodus 13:12
beginning, “You shall set apart to
the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstlings of your cattle that
are males shall be the Lord’s --- Every firstborn of man among your sons you
shall redeem.” So they were to redeem their first born children by
offering a lamb, but notice Leviticus 12:8, “And if he cannot afford a lamb then he shall take two turtle doves or
two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering,
and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”
Back to Luke 2:25,
"And, behold, there was a man
in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout,
looking for the consolation of Israel:
And the Holy Spirit was upon him." Again, he is going to be speaking by
inspiration of the Spirit. "And it hath been revealed unto him
by the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death, before he had seen the Lord's
Christ." So Simeon was an
old man, a devout man, but it had been revealed to him that he would not die
before he had seen the Lord's Christ. "And he came into the spirit into the
temple. And when the parents brought in
the child Jesus, that they might do concerning him after the custom of the
law." (Offering the sacrifice). "Then he received him into his arms, and
blessed God, and said, now let thou thy servant depart, Lord, according to thy
word in peace:
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before
the face of all people; a light for revelation to the Gentiles." Isaiah,49:6
reads that it. It would not be enough
for Christ to be raised up for Israel, but God would give him as a light to the
nations or Gentiles. So that is what
this is talking about. "Which thou hast prepared before the face
of all people; a light for the revelation to the Gentiles." And so Christ is that light, a
revelation to the Gentiles. "And the glory of thy people
Israel. And his father and his mother
were marveling at the things which were spoken concerning him." They knew that they were meaningful, did they
Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set
for the falling and the rising of many in Israel." He would be set for the falling of what part
STUDENT: It would be the Jewish nation.
BROTHER TURNER: Yes, as a whole that would be the nation. It
would be those that did not believe on Christ, but he would be for the rising
of all those who believed on him. "Behold, this child is set for the falling
and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against; (Yea,
and the sword shall pierce through thy own soul,) that thoughts out of many
hearts may be revealed." Do
you think that would have reference to the death of Christ, verse thirty‑five? That would be like a sword piercing through
her own soul. "And there was Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher:
She was of great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her
virginity; and she had been a widow even unto fourscore and four
years." Boy, she is old!
Fourscore and four, that would be eighty‑four years, and she had lived
with her husband seven years from her virginity, and she had been a widow eighty‑four.
STUDENT: She's up there.
BROTHER TURNER: She must have been above a hundred,
right? She had to have been, would she
not? Am I reading correctly? If she was just fifteen when she married and
then lived with her husband seven years, that would be twenty‑two. Then eighty‑four to that, would put her
over a hundred. "Who departed not from the temple, worshiping with fastings and supplications night and day. And coming up at that very hour, she gave
thanks unto God, and spake of him to all them that
were looking for the redemption unto Jerusalem.
And when they had accomplished all things that were according to the law
of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in
spirit, filled with wisdom:
And the grace of God was upon him."
And, again, Luke is the only one
that tells anything about the childhood of Jesus. And here the child is strong, filled with
wisdom, and the grace of God which was upon him. "And
his parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the passover. And when
he was twelve years old, they went up after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they
were returning, the boy Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and his parents knew
it not." And I have heard
people talk about how that that reflected on his parents, that they went two or
three days with him not being with them.
But can you imagine as the people journeyed back home, the multitude of
people that would be going, and how children usually get with other children,
and especially if there are a lot of cousins in the crowd. It is a very natural thing to think that he
was with their kin people. Is that what it says, kinsfolk? "But
supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey; and they sought
for him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they returned to
Jerusalem, seeking for him. And it came
to pass, after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of
the teachers, both hearing, and asking
them questions. And all that heard him
were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him, they were astonished:
And his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with
us? Behold, thy father and I sought thee
sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is
it that ye sought me? Knew ye not that I
must be in my Father's house?"
I imagine Mary pondered that statement too, don't you guess? "And
they understood not the saying which he spake unto
them." So they did not have
full understanding of it then. "And they went down, and he went down
with them, and came to Nazareth, and he was subject to them; and his mother
kept all these sayings in her heart." Again, that would be the same thing as she
pondered them in the heart. And so they did not understand what Jesus meant
when he said, knew ye not that I
must be about my Father's house. "And Jesus advanced in wisdom and
stature and in favor with God and man." It is only from Luke's account that we have
very much about the boyhood of Jesus. Matthew tells about their carrying the
child to Egypt, and then after the death of the king, carrying him back
home. But Luke at least carries to when
he is twelve years old, and then we have a gap from twelve to thirty. He was about thirty years old when he begins
his ministry. Chapter three. Luke begins
and tells about John the Baptist and he tells when it was. So he has done a lot of tracing, and notice
that he gives the history. "Now in the fifteenth year of the
reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being the governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his
brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and
of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias
the tetrarch of Abilene. And the high priesthood
of Annas and Caiaphas, the
word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in
the wilderness. And he came into all the
region round about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance unto
remission of sins."
I can remember the day when a lot
of our brethren would say that John's baptism was a baptism of repentance, but
it was not for remission of sins.
STUDENT: They must have missed this verse.
BROTHER TURNER: Yes, turn back and notice Mark’s account. In
Matthew's account, they were baptized of John in the river Jordan, confessing
their sins. And so if there was no
forgiveness of sin, why would they have been confessing their sins? And then Mark definitely says it was for
remission of sins. Mark 1:4,
John came who baptized in the wilderness
and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins. Of course, the King James says for
remission of sins. The American
Standard, unto remission of sins.
And the Greek word there is the same Greek word as used in Acts 2:38,
where Peter says, “repent ye and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for, the
(King James Version), unto,
the (American Standard
Version), for the remission of sins.
Young's Analytical Concordance says the Greek word used there means in view
of. And, of course it means, in view
of receiving remission of sins. It is
the same Greek word as used in Matthew 26:28,
where Jesus says this is the blood
of the covenant which is poured out for many for the remission of sins. And you need to keep in mind Matthew 26:28. There are a lot of sincere people out there
that believe what their preachers have told them that for means because
of. Well, sometimes for does mean
because of, but it is a different Greek word.
In Young's Analytical Concordance, I believe it gives forty‑three
different Greek words for our English word for.
And I do not remember the one that says ‑‑ that means
because of. Some preachers would say, a man is in jail because he committed a
crime, for he committed a crime.
And so they pull the wool over the eyes of the people. And there are a lot of people that have heard
that so long, and the way that the preachers talk about it, that they think you
are to be baptized because you are already saved. That is the doctrine. Notice that Jesus was about thirty years old,
according to Luke's account, when he began his ministry, Luke 3:23. And
Jesus himself when he began to teach was about thirty years of age, being the
son, as was supposed, of Joseph.
And then he begins and traces back to Adam. And so his genealogy is very different from
Matthew's genealogy. Well, I guess we
better plan on beginning with Matthew, reading from Matthew for our next
session. As we read from Matthew, we'll
note a lot of the parallels that are given in the other gospels. I appreciate your good attention.