Angelic Announcements

Q. In Luke 1 the angel Gabriel announced to Zacharias the priest that his wife Elizabeth will bear him a son to be named John. Zacharias doubted and was unable to speak until John was born. Gabriel also announced to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. Mary also questioned him but was not punished. Why?

A. Both asked a similar question:
Lk 1:18 Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.”
• Lk 1:34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

But the thinking behind each is very different.

What do we know about Zacharias from the text? We know that he:
1. was righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord (v6)
2. had no child, his wife was barren, and they were both advanced in years (v7)
3. had been praying for a son (his petition has been heard, v12)
4. asked for a sign (how will I know this for certain v18)
5. looked at his circumstances (I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years v19)
6. did not believe Gabriel’s words (v20)

Although Zacharias was a priest and ought to know better, he did not believe Gabriel’s words.
Lk 12:48b From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
He prayed but did not believe when God answered his petition. He did not accept God’s messenger’s words at face value, but asked for a sign similar to what Gideon did (Jdg 6:36-40). And unlike Abraham who did not waver in unbelief (Rom 4:20), he contemplated his own body and the deadness of Elizabeth’s womb, and he became weak in faith (contrast Rom 4:19).

What about Mary? We know that she:
1. was a virgin engaged to Joseph (v27)
2. was very perplexed at Gabriel’s statement (v29)
3. was puzzled about her conception as she was a virgin (v34)
4. accepted Gabriel’s announcement without further objection (may it be done to me according to your word v38)

Even though she was only a country girl and not as highly trained as Zacharias was, she received the angelic announcement by faith, despite the impossibility of a virgin conception. Her Magnificat showed that her focus was entirely on God, not circumstances:
1. the Lord (v46)
2. God my Savior (v47)
3. He has had regard for His bondslave (v48)
4. the Mighty One, holy is His name (v49)
5. His mercy toward those who fear Him (v50)
6. He has done mighty deeds with His arms, He has scattered (v51)
7. He has brought down rulers (v52)
8. He has filled the hungry (v53)
9. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy (v54)
10. He spoke to our fathers (v55)

This is in stark contrast to Zacharias. No wonder she was blessed and he got his sign of being struck mute.

Curse on Jeconiah (2 of 6)

prophet priest king 2

(Continued from yesterday)

b) the necessity of having 2 genealogies to resolve the conflict that the Messiah has to be both a descendant of David through Solomon to sit on the throne of David, and also a bloodline descendant of David (Ps 132:11; Isa 7:14 fulfilled in Rom 1:3) through Solomon’s brother Nathan (the pierced Messiah from David…Nathan…Levi…Shimei in Zech 12:10-12 vs. David … Nathan … Levi … Semein in Lk 3:26, 29, 31).

• Ps 132:11 The LORD has sworn to David a truth from which He will not turn back: “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.”
• Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
• Rom 1:3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
• Zech 12:10-12 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves;
• Lk 3:26, 29, 31 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda … the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, … the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,

Again, the irreducible minimum is that the fruit of David’s body will sit on his throne. The promise was made to David and confirmed to Solomon. The necessary condition is that it must be a descendant of David according to the flesh; a descendant of Solomon is sufficient, but not necessary. Then why bother with the line through Nathan at all? It is because of the curse on Coniah in Jer 22:

• Jer 22:24, 30 As I live,” declares the LORD, “even though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pull you off; … Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.’”

Coniah was also called Jeconiah:
• 1 Chron 3:16-17 The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. The sons of Jeconiah, the prisoner, were Shealtiel his son,

And Jeconiah is in Jesus’ genealogy in Mt:
• Mt 1:11-12 Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.

Now we have a problem: No descendant of Jeconiah, who is descended from Solomon (Mt 1:6-7), will prosper sitting on David’s throne. So how can God’s promise to David be fulfilled? That’s where Nathan’s line and the Virgin Birth come in. Jesus’ genealogy in Luke 3 is traced through Mary, who is descended from Nathan (Lk 3:31). As such He is a descendant of David according to the flesh, but not in Solomon’s line through Jeconiah who is cursed. Mt 1 is very careful in stating “Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born” (Mt 1:16). It did not say “Joseph the father of Jesus.” Joseph was only Jesus’ legal father thus entitling Him to the throne, but not His actual father which means He would fall under Jeconiah’s curse.

The Virgin Birth reinforces the fact that Jesus is not Joseph’s son and therefore not in Jeconiah’s blood line. But tracing His lineage through Mary to Nathan the son of David would be sufficient as well.

I believe the Virgin Birth is necessary so that He can be born without sin to be our Savior, otherwise He has to offer blood sacrifice for Himself first:

• Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
• Heb 9:7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.

The necessity is not primarily to resolve the conflict between the roles of king and priest, nor between the Solomon and Nathan lines, although it certainly does that.

(To be continued)