Luke chapter 03 - The Jews were corrupt
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John called the Jews snakes, and rebuked Herod for divorce and re-marriage. He was imprisoned. Times were tough for Jesus.
John the Baptist is the forerunner of Jesus.
The conditions amongst the religious Jews at the first Coming of Jesus were very similar to the conditions amongst saved Christians at the Second Coming of Jesus.
So Luke mentions the human issues that John the Baptist dealt with, as they will also apply to our day.
LUKE 3:7 Then said he (John the Baptist) to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
John slams the religious Jews. He calls them serpent seed, a bunch of vipers or rattlesnakes. These are snakes with poison in their mouths. Poison is any belief contrary to Scripture. They do not love God, they are just scared of hell. It shows in their lives as they do not display fruits of repentance. They thought they were safe because they descended from Abraham. This is a sign of smug arrogance. John warns them that God will reject the favourites and raise up the stony hearted who no-one gives a chance of making Heaven. We have a similar attitude today. Saved Christians with smug complacency feel safe in their churches, even though there are thousands of very different conflicting beliefs circulating around in all the different churches.
Luke mentions John claiming that when He deals with men, God rejects the popular and those who feel they are complacently superior. He raises up those who have no hope of winning and are rejected as losers. (A classic illustration was the triumph of the rejected Trump for whom there was no hope and the stunning loss of the overwhelming favourite Hillary Clinton in the 2016 American presidential election. That does not make Trump a good guy. God will use the stony hearted if He has to.)
LUKE 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
LUKE 3:9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
If we do not measure up to God’s standards, then even though we are saved Christians we will go into the great Tribulation. The saved Christians, who are self-satisfied and arrogantly feel that they are certain to be called by God, despite their large ignorance of Scripture, will end up being left behind in the great Tribulation, while God drags some rejects into His salvation plan.
MATTHEW 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
This is written in the future tense. John the Baptist had come as Elijah, but John was already dead when Jesus spoke this. John did not restore anything. He turned the Law upside down by introducing a water baptism and then introducing the Messiah. Today Christians get saved but are then hopelessly tangled up in numerous conflicting beliefs. We need someone to restore us back to the beliefs of the New Testament church. If we fail to do that, then even if we have been saved from hell fire, we will nevertheless be cast into the fire of the great Tribulation time.
How ready are we Christians for the Second Coming of the Lord? God wants us to be restored back to the early church of the New Testament. How far have we moved in that direction? Hardly anyone proves their beliefs from the Bible only anymore. The ignorance of Scripture is now at an epidemic level. Just as long as saved people attend one of the 30 000 different kinds of denominational and non-denominational churches, they feel superior and secure as they repeat the quotes of their leader. The fruits of knowing the Bible are sadly missing. Our ignorance is puffed up by our complacent arrogance. We are saved so we think that we do not really need to know what is in the Bible. After all, we attend our chosen church regularly, and our church leader or pastor studies the Bible. So we delude ourselves that we are safe in spite of knowing very little of what is written in the Bible. But the great Tribulation is coming, and we need to know what is going on in order to avoid it.
Introducing Christ as a Man, Luke mentions the advice that John the Baptist gave to other men.
LUKE 3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. (Be generous)
:12 Then came also publicans (tax collectors) to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
:13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. (Don’t be greedy. Don’t be dishonest with money)
:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Don’t be cruel. Be firm but fair, and be happy that you have a job and don’t demand more salary)
Luke focuses on issues that affect a man, and he sees our biggest human weakness which is selfish greed. Almost all the Jews' questions involved money and possessions. This remains the main obsession with Christians today. Luke then mentions John’s antidote. Give to the poor. Live simpler to get by on your salary. If you hold any public position then be kind and be fair. You are there to help and not to oppress people, and certainly not to enrich yourself.
LUKE 3:19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
:20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
Marriage and divorce is, and has always been, a huge human issue.
MALACHI 2:16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away:
“Putting away” means divorce. God hates divorce.
MATTHEW 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
No-one can separate a legally married husband and wife. A marriage vow is until death-us-do-part.
So no person can divorce a spouse and remarry while that divorced spouse is alive, because the vow stands until death.
MARK 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
MARK 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Divorce and remarriage is thus totally wrong.
But a woman must be a virgin when she marries. If she committed fornication before marrying, and does not confess to the man who wants to marry her, then her marriage vow is false and is not binding on the man. When he discovers her true state, then if he wishes to, he can immediately leave her and is then free to marry a virgin as that marriage “vow” was invalid - it was a false vow. This does not apply to adultery because they were already legally married and a legal marriage vow is until death. The marriage vow is “for better or for worse”. So adultery means being unfaithful which is a “worse” situation. But that does not nullify the vow. The marriage vow remains valid, however unfaithful a spouse may be. Thus no-one can divorce and remarry because of adultery.
MATTHEW 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication (sex before marriage), causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
King Herod got his brother’s wife to divorce his brother, and then he married her. A typical divorce and remarry scenario. John the Baptist rebuked Herod, and promptly got locked up in prison for daring to preach this truth.
Why did Luke mention this issue? Because divorce and remarriage would become a major sin at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus. The churches today have compromised on this issue, and condone divorce and remarriage.
A married couple may divorce if they want to, but then they must live apart singly.
Men and women have an endless lust to break down God’s standards about marriage.
Nelson Rockefeller in the 1962 divorced his wife and remarried in 1963. This issue dogged him and alienated the votes of many married women, and he never became the Republican candidate for a presidential election in spite of trying three times. Americans then still seemed to recognize that marriage was for keeps.
But in 1980 the divorced and remarried Ronald Reagan became president.
In 2016 Donald Trump, married three times and divorced twice, became president. Divorce and remarriage is no longer an issue to Americans.
If John the Baptist appeared in modern days to condemn this unscriptural behavior which our churches now condone, then he would be locked up yet again as some kind of religious nut case.
So we have sunk far into unscriptural error, and we think that God does not mind. But He does.
LUKE 3:20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Here we notice something most significant.
Luke tells us in depth about John the Baptist and his preaching. But when it comes to the climax of John's ministry, the baptism of Jesus, then Luke does not mention John's name at all. Why? Compared to Jesus, John's name does not even rate a mention.
Yet John was one of the greatest prophets. The prophet messenger who introduced Messiah.
Luke does not mention the events in order. He mentions John being locked in prison as this is an excuse to stop speaking about John. And then Luke goes back in time to the baptism of Jesus where he does not mention John's name.
So what is Luke telling us? As humans we have value because Jesus died for us but we have absolutely no importance. Whatever we do for God, He could use stones and rejected people to do the same job if He wanted to. So none of us is entitled to feel any importance or any comfortable smugness.
Many Christians today have degenerated into being little more than a lump of self-adoration that is desperate to be admired by others.
But, Luke's reality check indicates that compared to Jesus we rate as a zero.
The shepherd's who heard the angel's sing God's praises when Jesus was born were too unimportant to be mentioned by name. And when Jesus was baptized, the great prophet and most important man of his day, John the Baptist was also not mentioned by name.
In the presence of the Man Jesus, every human fades into insignificance.
In our digital information age there are two numbers, one and zero.
These two numbers are the basis of all the information that floods our world.
Jesus is number one, every other human being in comparison is a zero.
Luke wants this to be the basis of all our spiritual knowledge.
I CORINTHIANS 15:31..., I die daily.
Paul, the greatest apostle of the first church age strove each day to be a zero. This was his key to success.
If we zeroes fall in line behind Jesus, with Him being in front as the Head, then every zero that is added increases the value of the total. For example 1 000 000 has more value than 100.
We must not take on the mark of the beast which is represented by the number 666.
Zero is the only number which cannot be numbered. Adding zero does not cause any number to get closer to 666.
Thus as the moon only reflects sunlight, we must only reflect "It is written..." in the Bible. Our own opinion is worth a zero. Only what is written in the Bible counts as a 1.
The mark of the beast is the brainwashing of the mind with man-made doctrines and traditions and opinions that are not written in the Bible.
Luke lists the bloodline of Jesus, the perfect Man, starting with Adam who was the first perfect man.
But Adam messed up, which meant that Jesus as the perfect Man, not only had to live perfectly Himself, but also had to sort out the mess that Adam had made in Eden, and redeem the rest of us from sin as well.
Jesus was not the son of Joseph. Mary proved that by only marrying Joseph when she was more than three months pregnant. Joseph was in the kingly line of David as he was a descendant of Solomon, David’s kingly son.
But this line of kings was cut off by the sins of king Jeconiah (also called Coniah).
JEREMIAH 22:24 As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;
JEREMIAH 22:28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not?
JEREMIAH 22:30 Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.
God promised that none of his descendants would sit on the throne. Thus Joseph could not be king as a descendant of Jeconiah.
Luke picks up this human problem. How can Jesus be king of the Jews if the descendants of king Solomon have been cut off by king Coniah? This forces Luke to trace the ancestry of Mary from David through his eldest son Nathan.
LUKE 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
Heli was Mary’s father. Because Joseph married Mary and adopted Jesus, everyone supposed that Jesus was the son of Joseph.
LUKE 3:31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,
This line is free from Jeconiah’s curse as they are separate from Solomon’s line.
Joseph had to adopt Jesus as his son. This makes Jesus able to be King (as the adopted son of Joseph) and He was free from the curse as He was the born the son of Mary and was not the biological son of Joseph. An adopted son has all the rights and privileges of a natural born son.
That is why Mary had to endure all the slander of being pregnant before she married. She had to prove that Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph. He was the adopted son of Joseph.