Vol. 17, No. 51 – December 23, 2018
The Gospel of Luke
B. The Announcement of the Birth of the Son of Man, Luke 1:26-56.
In vs. 26-27, we were introduced to the lowly, humble nature by which our Lord and Savior would be brought into this world.
In vs. 28-31, we are introduced to the grace, mercy, and kind-favor of God by which our Lord and Savior would be brought into this world.
Luke 1:28, “And coming in, he said to her, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
Some translations include at the end, “blessed are you among women,” but that is not found in the oldest and more reliable texts. Although it is found in Elizabeth’s rejoicing over the news in vs. 42, it is not found here. Therefore, it was a later addition to potentially elevate Mary’s position supposedly being classified as such by the “angel who stands before God,” and not just a rejoicing proclamation from her ordinary cousin.
“Hail, favored one!,” is the Present, Active, Imperative of the Verb CHAIRO, χαίρω that means, “rejoice, be glad, welcome, greetings, hail,” with the Perfect, Passive, Participle in the Vocative, Singular, Feminine of CHARITOO, that means, “to give grace, bestow favor,” and means, “to confer grace upon or show kindness to.” BDAG says, “To cause to be the recipient of a benefit, bestow favor on, favor highly, bless.” It is only used here and in Eph 1:6. Both are cognates of CHARIS that means, “grace.”
CHARITOO functions as the verb form of CHARIS in which there is the enduement of CHARIS. Subjectively, grace on the part of the giver is bestowed as part of a favor or kindness. Objectively there is a recognition of favors received with the response of gratitude and joy, cf. Luke 1:30; 2:52; Acts 2:47; 7:10, 46; 24:27; 25:9.
Eph 1:6, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, which grace He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
In our passage, it means that Mary is the recipient of God’s antecedent grace or favor. She is about to be the recipient of a wonderful Divine blessing.
Some think “hail” should be translated “rejoice” given Luke’s pattern of general use and when comparing, Zech 9:9; Zeph 3:14.
Zech 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The angel Gabriel was greeting Mary and at the same time was saying she should rejoice because she was about to be the recipient of God’s indescribable grace. God was smiling upon this young, unknown girl, and Gabriel’s greeting reveals she is chosen solely as a matter of God’s grace. We might be tempted to think Zechariah was chosen because he was righteous and a priest. But God’s grace can smile upon any one, especially a lowly young woman such as Mary.
We must also recognize that by this Gabriel did not mean, as Roman Catholic doctrine teaches, that there was something, (some perfection), in Mary by which she deserved to receive this grace, and that as a result of this perfection, she was able to show grace to others because in herself she was full of grace. No, Gabriel meant that she had received God’s grace. She is the recipient, not the dispenser, of grace. God bestowed His free unmerited, gracious favor upon her to an exceptional degree in choosing her to be the mother of His Son.
Then when Gabriel says, “The Lord is with you,” he was using an OT greeting that conferred that the Lord would guide and protect her. Gabriel is preparing Mary for Divine service with the assurance, “The Lord will help her,” which too is part of His grace. Therefore, God’s grace not only gives us “something,” but it also helps us or provides for us in the reception and application of the grace thing we have been given.
The grace of God means that none of us can earn or deserve even one blessing from God. God does all the work; we do not earn or deserve anything from God. We are not blessed because we do something. We are blessed because God has done and continues to do something for us. We never earn or deserve anything from God except condemnation. Yet, because of who and what God is, His grace is greater than our failures, our sins, our flaws, our self-righteous legalism, our human good, and our dead works.
Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind without compromising His Divine essence. It is the free, unmerited favor and love from God alone, and is not from our works or because we are attractive to God. Many times, it shows itself in favor, kindness, and mercy; therefore, man thinks he earns or deserves it. But, grace is unearned and undeserved, a total gift of and from God.
Grace means that all things from God, including salvation by grace through faith, are received from God as a free gift totally apart from any form of human merit or any system of human works. They are never merited or earned by mankind, cf. Eph 2:8-9.
Eph 2:7-9, “So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Grace is also the manifestation of God’s holiness, power, virtue, efficacy, mercy, compassion, indulgence, forbearance, pardon; unmerited favor based on the exclusive work of God. It includes three categories of Divine blessing from God; His unmerited favor and divine provision for mankind before, during, and after salvation, including our past, present, and future salvation.
Luke 1:29, “But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.”
“Perplexed” is the Aorist, Passive, Indicative of the Verb DIATARASSO, διαταράσσω that means, “agitates, greatly troubled, or confused.” The term includes an acute level of distress and mental anguish, (Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon, 1:315), and possibly even fear. This is the only time it is used in the NT. It is an hapaxlegomena. This word comes from DIA, which means “through or through out,” and TARASSO, “to stir up, disturb, throw into confusion.”
Back in vs. 12, we saw that Zachariah was “troubled” TARASSO at the appearance of the Angel of the Lord. But here, Mary was “greatly or thoroughly troubled.” She was more startled than Zachariah at the appearance of the Angel of the Lord. That does not mean anything regarding “sinfulness,” it just means as a young lady she was a bit more startled than an older gentlemen who has seen much in his life.
“Kept pondering” is the Imperfect, Middle Deponent, Indicative of the Verb DIALOGIZOMAI, διαλογίζομαι that means, “Consider, ponder thoroughly, reason carefully and deliberately.” This deponent verb (a verb with a middle form but an active sense) is a compound from DIA, “through,” and LOGIZOMAI, “reckon, count, compute,” and essentially means, “consider, reason, discuss, etc.” in classical Greek. In many circumstances, it has the technical meaning of “balance accounts.” So, we could say she was “weighing” all the information she was receiving; the angel, the greeting, the time of day, the place, what she saw, etc., etc. To be so honored by the heavenly messenger was staggering to the mind of this lowly young woman. This is similar to what we see of Mary at the messages given by the shepherds upon the birth of Jesus, Luke 2:19.
Luke 2:19, “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering (SUMBALLO) them in her heart.”
Luke 1:30, “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God’.”
Gabriel’s announcement begins as it did with Zachariah in vs. 13, “do not be afraid,” ME PHOBEO in the Present, Middle Deponent, Imperative. As with Zachariah, Gabriel could either sense or see the startled reaction of Mary and wanted to calm her fears. He applied grace to her by helping to ease her fears.
Then Gabriel addresses her directly, “Mary,” Maria or Mariam meaning, “rebellious,” is the recipient of his message. Then he states, “You have found favor with God.” In Zachariah’s case, God was answering his prayer. In Mary’s case, it was that she had “found favor,” with God.
“Found” is the Aorist, Active, Indicative of the Verb HEURISKO, εὑρίσκω that means, “find, discover, obtain, ascertain, contrive, etc.”
“Favor” is the Noun CHARIS, χάρις that means, “grace, graciousness, kindness, favor, etc.” As we noted above, “grace” is the free unmerited favor of God. So, we see that Mary is the recipient of God’s grace once again, but in the Active voice she is to apply this grace, first in her thoughts, so that she would no longer be confused, frightened, or perplexed, and then later in her actions as she applies this message she is receiving. In other words, God was about to grace her out of her mind and she is to receive it and apply it. She was to apply the Bible Doctrine she was receiving to her life.
A similar statement is found in Gen 6:8, regarding Noah who also is said to have “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” For both, this grace was the catalyst of a Divine salvation-related event. In both cases, God chose them to fulfill an important task that resulted in the salvation of many. Therefore, by the grace of God, He ordained Mary to carry His Son and raise Him.
Now, in vs. 31-33, we have a wonderful description of who and what Mary’s baby will be. Gabriel announces the babe’s eternal reign and kingdom.
Luke 1:31, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.”
Here we see the main message of grace Gabriel brought to Mary. The opening phrase of Gabriel’s message is similar to the angelic announcements made to Hagar, Gen 16:11, and the wife of Manoah (Sampson’s mother), Judges 13:3-5. The phraseology seems to be an adaptation of the Greek LXX text of Isa 7:14.
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.”
Interestingly, the Future, Middle Deponent, Indicative of the Verb SULLAMBANO means, “to take hold of, conceive, or help.” “Conceive,” in terms of becoming pregnant, is the particular application here, yet, the other two meanings also give nuance to the application of this word in regard to what this pregnancy meant.
The name of this child was of great importance. While Luke does not place emphasis on the meaning of names, the parallel passage in Mat 1:21, includes the purpose clause, “for He will save His people from their sins.” This purpose is born out in the meaning of the name Jesus, which is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Joshua that means, “the Lord saves,” as “Jesus,” IESOUS, Ἰησοῦς means, “Savior.”
Even though this was the name He was given, it was also a title as He is the Savior or Jesus of the world. It comes from the Hebrew Jehoshua, meaning “Jehovah or YHWH is salvation,” and is contracted to Joshua. “Jesus” also emphasizes our Lord’s humanity, as is appropriate here, since we are talking about His human birth; God being born as a man. Therefore, by name and title, Mary’s baby boy would be the God-man and Savior of the world.
The first words to Mary about the birth were simply that she would “conceive in her womb, and bring forth a son.” As she listened to the angel’s words disclosing His name, His greatness, His deity, His royalty, and His eternal kingdom, her heart must have been filled with even further bewilderment and wonder.
The fact that she, a virgin, would become a mother was staggering, but to learn of the greatness of the One she would bear must have been even more staggering. The entire program of the Messiah was flashed before her in a few words, and she was to be the mother of the long desired Deliverer of her people. He is the answer to God’s grace plan of salvation for the entire world.
As we see, she was given a most difficult announcement to comprehend and then service to perform for God, perhaps as difficult as has ever been asked of any servant of the Lord. Virgins do not give birth. Who would believe her? Even Joseph, a righteous man, thought that he should hide her, so that she would not be an object of shame, Mat 1:19-21. Yet, as we see in vs. 38, 46-55, in humility, Mary accepted the grace Word of God from the angel Gabriel and the task chosen for her. Nevertheless, the grace of God would see her through it all, as she was the “graced out one,” vs. 28, who “obtained grace” from God, vs. 30.
In the next two verses, Gabriel predicted 5 things about Mary’s son. Five is the number of “grace.”
Luke 1:32, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.”
1) He will be great.
Here, we have more superlatives for our Lord and another title. “He will be great,” is HOUTOS EIMI MEGAS. Usually, MEGAS is a superlative related to something like power, authority, an emotion, spatially, influence, fame, etc. But here, it stands alone; signifying that in all aspects, Jesus would be great. Given the further descriptions of Him related to His deity and earthly kingship in these passages, we see His greatness as God and as the King of Israel and the entire world, Titus 2:13.
Titus 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
Further, Jesus is referred to as the “great high priest,” Heb 4:14; 10:21, and the “great shepherd of the sheep,” Heb 13:20.
Heb 4:14, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
Heb 13:20, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord.”
This may also be a reference to the Messianic prophecy of Micah 5:4, installing the Messiah as the supreme heir to the Davidic throne.
Micah 5:4, “And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.”
2) He will be called the Son of the Most High.
“Will be Called,” Is the Future, Passive, Indicative of KALEO, does not just mean here “called by men,” but understanding it in its Passive form as including the OT idea where a name expresses the character or existence of something. Thus, Jesus was not simply thought to be the Son of God, He is the Son of God.
“The Son of the Most High,” is the Nominative Noun HUIOS and the Superlative Genitive Noun HUPSISTOS. This title, in contrast to John as prophet, is Luke’s first note that Jesus will be unique in His relationship to God. Gabriel affirmed both the deity and the humanity of Jesus. As Mary’s son, He would be human; as Son of the Highest, He would be the Son of God. Luke declares the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ.
HUIOS means, “son, offspring, or descendant.” Here it speaks of Jesus being the offspring and son of God Himself. Since it will be God the Holy Spirit who adds the necessary 23 chromosomes to Mary’s 23 chromosomes, vs. 35, allowing her to conceive, Jesus is legitimately the Son of God, cf. Psa 2:7-9; cf. Psa 89:26-29.
Psa 2:7-9, “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. 8Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware’.”
In addition, the fact that her baby was to be called the “Son of the Most High,” pointed to His equality with YHWH; The Lord God. In Semitic thought, a son was a “carbon copy” of his father, and the phrase “son of” was often used to refer to one who possessed his “father’s” qualities. Therefore, Jesus was the offspring or Son of the God, The Most High! As such, He is heir to the Heavenly Throne while in His humanity. Since He is already one with God, He is already the Most High! But, in His humanity, He is also qualified to sit upon the heavenly throne of God.
HUPSISTOS, ὕψιστος that means, “the highest or most high,” is used in classical Greek literature to denote the highest of all heights. In Scripture, it is used as a reference to heaven, the abode of God or to designate the name of God, as the Hebrew ELYON, “Most High,” also did. Here, it is used by Gabriel in the naming and veneration of God, the God of the heavens as “The Most High”, cf. vs. 35, 76, who is above all rule and authority, Eph 1:21; Mat 28:18; Col 1:16.
Eph 1:21, “Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
It is used by another angel, albeit a fallen one, when Jesus is identified as the Son of God in Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28. We will also see this word when worship is expressed by the angelic hosts at the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:14. Cf. Acts 7:48; 16:17; Heb 7:1.
Mark 5:7, “And shouting with a loud voice, he said, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!’”
3) He will be given the throne of His father David.
In this passage, we not only see Jesus’ heavenly reign, but we see His earthly one as, “the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” Here, we see that Jesus is also the “son” of David, as David is his “father,” PATER. Notice that Jesus has two fathers. The first is God the Father from heaven. The second is king David from earth. Another way to say it is that He has dual “sonship,” which means He has dual “heirship.” Not only is He qualified to sit upon the heavenly throne of God, He is qualified to sit upon the earthly throne of David, as the King of Israel. It tells us Jesus will have human roots in the house of David, the royal line of Israel which shows His humanity and qualifies Him to be Messiah.
Having these two “fathers” means He has two reigns; a heavenly one and an earthly one. This statement by Gabriel was in fulfillment of the prophecies concerning David’s Son’s eternal rulership, 2 Sam 7:12-13, 16; Isa 9:6-7; 11:1-5; Jer 23:5; Dan 7:27.
2 Sam 7:12-14, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14aI will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me.”
2 Sam 7:16, “And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”
Isa 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”
Isa 11:1-5, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.”
Jer 23:5, “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land’.”
His birth is the beginning of fulfilling the Davidic covenant God made with David; he would have a son to be King and sit on a throne forever. Because He was the son of Joseph in a legal sense, as specifically mentioned by Luke in vs. 27, Jesus is also the son of David. David as His “father,” emphasizes Jesus’ legitimate role as the Messianic heir to David’s throne. Matthew was content to confine the angel’s message to one of salvation, but Luke’s version includes strong statements validating Jesus’ right to sit on the throne of David, thus establishing Him as the Messiah. As such, God is fulfilling His kingdom promises to the people of Israel, Isa 9:1-7; 11-12; 61; 66; Jer 33.
Therefore, both phrases of vs. 33, provide a type of parallelism reinforcing that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise made to David in 2 Sam 7:13. Whereas Jesus’ legal lineage through Joseph gave Him the right to sit on the throne, His relationship as the Son of God makes this reign eternal. In not so subtle of terms, Luke is identifying Jesus as God, the King, the Most High, and as the rightful heir to the prophetic eternal throne of David.
Today, Jesus is enthroned in heaven, Acts 2:29-36, but is not on David’s throne. One day, Jesus will return and establish His righteous kingdom on earth, and then these promises will be fully fulfilled.
4) He will reign over the house of Jacob forever.
Luke 1:33, “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
No human ceremony crowned Him King except the mocking ceremony at His trial and crucifixion, Mark 15:16-20, 26, 32. Yet, God pronounced Him King at His birth and will reveal His royal splendor when He returns to rule the world.
So, here we see the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant that God made with Abraham, that he would have a people and nation forever.
Mat 1:1, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
“Reign over,” is the Future, Active, Indicative of the root Verb BASILEUO, βασιλεύω with the Preposition EPI that means, “to reign over, to rule as king, to have authority over, or govern.” The NT uses it to declare God’s sovereign authority over all other rulers and powers. Ultimately, all rebellion and evil will be overthrown, and God will reign in righteousness unopposed, forever.
“Kingdom,” is the Noun BASILEIA, βασιλεία that means, “kingdom, domain, rule or reign.” This is the object of that which is ruled over; the kingdom. Although the main emphasis here is on the eschatological (future) kingdom or throne of David, Jesus’ kingdom includes the here and now of the earthly, as well as the spiritual kingdom lived within your soul. And as stated, it will exist forever and ever.
This rulership and kingdom is over, “the house of Jacob,” HO OIKOS IAKOB, which in essence means, the Hebrew people and nation of Israel. As Jacob, who is also called Israel, was the Son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham, Luke 3:34; Mat 1:2. This phrase is only used here in the NT. It is an OT phrase referring to the nation of Israel as a whole, Gen 46:27; Ex 19:3; Psa 114:1; Isa 2:5; 14:1; Jer 2:4; 5:20; Ezek 20:5; Micah 3:9.
Ex 19:3, “Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel.”
Interestingly, when the name “Jacob” is used, it typically is reflecting his humanity and sinfulness, or that of the people of Israel. When “Israel” is used, it typically represents the spiritual life, or that of the people, cf. Gen 32:28; 35:9-12; Acts 2:36; Heb 8:8, 10.
Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Therefore, using “the kingdom of Jacob,” also emphasized Jesus’ humanity and His earthly reign that will last forever. As we know from Scripture, entrance into Jesus’ kingdom only comes to those who believe in Him as their Savior. Only by being born again can one enter this Kingdom, John 3:3-5. So, the Cross of Jesus Christ, where in His humanity He took of the sins of the entire world, is also in view.
John 3:3-5, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 4Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’.”
When Jesus began to minister, He associated His message with the Messianic expectations of the people, as He picked up on John’s announcement that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” cf. Mat 3:1-2; 4:17. Jesus announced that the time of fulfillment had come when He was preaching the gospel, Mat 4:23f.; 2:28.
5) His kingdom will never end.
Gabriel also made an announcement of prophetic fulfillment, when he states that Jesus’ kingdom will be “forever” and “have no end.” “Forever,” is EIS HO AION, literally, “to the ages,” and “will have no end,” is EIMI OUK TELOS that describes the time aspect of the promised Kingdom of Israel and David that Jesus Christ would reign over. We could also say, “for all of eternity,” cf. 2 Sam 7:13, 16; Psa 89:36-37; Dan 2:44; 7:14, 18, 27; Mat 28:18; Heb 1:8; Rev 11:15.
In the grace plan of God for the salvation of the entire world, He did something fantastic. He sent His Son into the world so that:
- He would be great.
- He would be called the Son of the Most High.
- He would be given the throne of His father David.
- He would reign over the house of Jacob forever.
- His kingdom would never end.
These are all titles and superlatives related to Jesus the Savior that fulfill God’s promises to Israel and to mankind.
Luke 1:34-35, “Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
In these passages, we see Mary questioning Gabriel about all that he told her and his response. Mary expresses no doubt in what Gabriel says, but only asks about the conception. She is not asking, “Can you do it?” She is not questioning the validity of her pregnancy. She is asking, “How will you do it?” Her question builds on faith, not unbelief. This is why Gabriel does not rebuke.
Remember that Zachariah too questioned Gabriel about his announcement regarding the birth of John the Baptist in vs. 18, “How will I know this for certain?” There, Zachariah first shows his doubt, and then his second response is a question about the conception, which we can assume was not from a place of faith and inquisitiveness. In addition, based on Gabriel’s responses to Zachariah and Mary, Zachariah’s was done in doubt, whereas Mary’s questioning was done in an inquisitive manner, as Gabriel punished Zachariah with muteness, yet Mary only received more information.
“The youthful village maiden, amid her humble daily duties, shows a more ready faith in the far more startling message than the aged priest in the holy place of the temple in the atmosphere of the sacred incense.” (The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.) cf. vs. 45.
She also states, “since I am a virgin,” which in the Greek is EPEI ANER OUK GINOSKO, which is literally, “since a man I have not known.” The Present Tense of GINOSKO is a retroactive progressive present, which is an action begun in the past that continues into the present, with emphasis on the present time. It means, she has not, in the past right up to this present moment, had sexual relations with a man. Therefore, she was, and still is, a virgin.
Sensing this conception to be near, and knowing that she was a virgin, and her wedding date was month’s away, and that she did not want to break the Law, she rightly inquires “How can this be done.” Clearly, the Lord did not expect her to sin, so Gabriel will tell her in the following verses.
In vs. 35, Gabriel does not attempt to explain the details of this miracle, as I tried to in the Meiosis and Polar Body discussion above. Instead, he tells Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” HAGIOS PNEUMA EPERCHOMAI. Cf. Mat 1:18-20.
EPERCHOMAI, ἐπέρχομαι that means, “come upon, approach, or overtake,” is used in Luke 1:35; Acts 1:8, regarding the Holy Spirit who “comes upon” those blessed by God. This “coming upon” from above by the Holy Spirit brings “power,” DUNAMIS. In Mary’s case, the power to conceive and in Acts 1:8, the indwelling enabling power of the Holy Spirit for Church Age believers.
This power is from “the Most High,” HUPSISTOS once again, that means from God Himself, who will “overshadow” Mary, EPISKIAZO, ἐπισκιάζω that means, “to shade or to overshadow.” It is used in a metaphysical sense as an obscuring that distorts the true perspective of an object to be known. It was used in the LXX for the cloud pillar that overshadowed the meeting tent of Moses, which was a visible manifestation of God, our Lord Jesus Christ for Israel, Ex 40:35. It also brings to mind Gen 1:2, where the Holy Spirit was “hovering over” the face of the deep in creation. In the NT, it symbolizes the presence of God overshadowing or being with and providing power. In this case, it was the power to create a body for the Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union. It was also the word used at the transfiguration. And, in all five NT usages, it speaks to God’s power and glory, Mat 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 1:35; 9:34; Acts 5:15. Therefore, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of God the Father, a body was prepared for God the Son who would be brought forth by Mary.
The Importance of the Virgin Birth by the Holy Spirit.
1. Two categories of omnipotence were involved in the preparation of the true humanity of Christ in hypostatic union: the omnipotence of God the Father and the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit.
2. The Old Sin Nature (OSN) resides in every cell in the human body save one, and that is the female egg when released in ovulation. Through Meiosis and Polar bodies, the 23 chromosomes in the egg are free from the Old Sin Nature. The 23 male chromosomes provided in copulation carry the Old Sin Nature.
3. The virgin Mary had an OSN. Both males and females are carriers of the OSN, but only the male can transmit it in copulation. Therefore, God the Holy Spirit provided 23 perfect male chromosomes, meaning they were without the OSN, to Mary’s 23 female chromosomes.
4. Our Lord was born as true and perfect humanity exactly as Adam was created true and perfect humanity. Our Lord was born trichotomous, having body, soul, and spirit; Adam was created trichotomous, having a body, soul, and spirit.
5. When Adam and the woman sinned, they became dichotomous, and spiritual death replaced the human spirit.
6. At our physical birth, God simultaneously imputes human life to our soul and Adam’s original sin to the OSN. Therefore, we are born into the world physically alive and simultaneously spiritually dead. Being spiritually dead means we are totally cut off from God, having only a body and soul.
7. However, our Lord’s physical birth was definitely unique; for the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit fertilized Mary’s egg with 23 perfect male chromosomes. Therefore, our Lord was born without the OSN; therefore, there could be no imputation of Adam’s original sin.
8. Being born perfect and trichotomous with body, soul, and spirit, our Lord was born into the prototype spiritual life. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. He remained inside the prototype spiritual life throughout His life, even though He was tempted far beyond anything we have ever known.
9. Having no OSN and no sin of His own, He qualified as the perfect sacrifice, “without spot or blemish,” for our sins upon the Cross.
10. Therefore, the virgin birth is a major issue. Without the virgin birth, our Lord was not qualified to become our Savior in true humanity.
Next, we see that as a result of the Holy Spirit’s overshadowing, Mary will give birth to a “holy offspring,” HAGIOS GENNAO. HAGIOS means, “holy,” but also “set apart.” Jesus was set apart for special ministry during His life, as we know. GENNAO is the word used for “begat, begotten, or father of,” in the lineage passages of Matthew and Luke. Therefore, because Jesus would be conceived by “the Most High,” or God, and be “the Holy offspring” or son, He could legitimately “be called,” KALEO, “the Son of God,” HUIOS THEOS.
This is the first time the term “Son of God,” would be used for Jesus, which became a distinctive term for Him. And, as we noted above, in Jewish thought being called, “the son of,” made the offspring equal to the father in essence and attribute. Therefore, Jesus, the Son of God, is considered to be God Himself, which He is as the 2nd member of the Trinity.
God, through Gabriel, reveals two of the greatest mysteries in the universe: the incarnation and the Trinity. Interestingly, Luke gives us a Trinitarian account in these passages.
1. The Most High = God the Father.
2. He tells us directly of the Holy Spirit.
3. The Holy offspring and Son of God tell us of Jesus Christ.
Gabriel refers to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit each having a part. But it is God the Son who will take on Himself human flesh in the humility of a babe.
Heb 10:5, “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME’.” Cf. Psa 40:5.
Because of the Future Tense, some have interpreted “He shall be called the Son of God,” as implying that He became the Son of God at His birth, thus denying His eternal Sonship. Yet, the Scriptures teach that He was the Son before He was sent; not only was one of the persons of the Godhead sent, but the One sent was the Beloved Son of the eternal Father, 1 John 4:14 “the Father sent the Son.” Many other such verses teach that it was the eternal Son who came, John 1:1, 14, 18; 3:16, 31-36; 4:34; 5:24, 30; 17:24; Heb 1:1-3; 7:1-3; 1 John 4:9-10.
Because Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, He is the perfect Savior. He needed to be God to supply the righteousness humans could not achieve. He needed to be man to supply to God the sacrifice we owe. So, He became the only mediator between God and man; the God-man, Christ Jesus. He is the only way for men to come to God.
As such, we find three aspects to Jesus being called the Son of God:
- Because of His eternal, immutable, and unparalleled relationship with God the Father, John 1:1, 14, 18.
- Because He was born into the world in a supernatural manner; overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.
- Because by His resurrection He was begotten from the dead, Rom 1:4; Acts 13:33; Psa 2:7, signifying His purpose for coming into the world and His victory won at the Cross, cf. 1 Cor 15:54-57.
Rom 1:4, “Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The Hypostatic Union of the God‑man.
1. The pre-incarnate person of Christ is classified as undiminished deity. He is coequal, coinfinite, and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
2. The post-incarnate person of Christ is classified as hypostatic union. He is undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever.
3. Because of the virgin pregnancy and resultant virgin birth, the true humanity of Christ was trichotomous, having a body, soul, and spirit like Adam at creation.
4. Jesus Christ is God, and as God, He is coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. All three members of the Trinity have identical essence. When speaking of the attributes of God, God is said to be one. But there are actually three persons in the Godhead, all having identical attributes. Each one has coequal, coeternal, and coinfinite sovereignty, holiness, justice, righteousness, love, eternal life, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, immutability, veracity, etc. So, God is one in essence, but three in persons.
5. But Jesus Christ became different from the Father and the Holy Spirit at the point of the virgin birth, because He now became true humanity; hence, the God‑man. This is the doctrine of the hypostatic union.
6. In the person of the incarnate Christ are two natures, inseparably united, without mixture or loss of separate identity, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes, the union both personal and eternal.
7. In other words, since the incarnation, our Lord Jesus Christ is both true humanity and undiminished deity in one person forever. So, Jesus Christ is different from the Father and the Spirit in that He is true humanity. He is different from true humanity in that He is God.
8. Whoever is the mediator between God and man must be equal with both parties. Jesus Christ is both God and true humanity. Therefore, as God He is equal with the party of the first part, God the father. As true humanity, He is equal and superior to all members of the human race, the part of the second part. So, as the God‑Man, He becomes the mediator between God and man.
9. The pre-incarnate person of Christ was Deity. But once His First Advent occurred at the point of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ became the unique person forever, the God‑man in hypostatic union
10. In the Incarnation, no attribute of essence was changed. The union of the Divine and human natures of the incarnate Christ must be considered hypostatic and personal. The Greek noun HUPOSTASIS means, “substance, essence, standing under, taking a thing upon oneself.” Christ took upon Himself true humanity since hypostatic refers to the whole Person of Christ as distinguished from His two natures; Divine and Human also called theanthropic, the God-man, John 1:1-2, 14; Rom 1:3-4; 9:5; Phil 2:5-9.
The False Interpretation of the Hypostatic Union: Gnosticism.
Gnosticism implies that the deity of Christ is possessed by the humanity of Christ or indwelt the humanity of Christ, saying that the union is only harmony or sympathy. In truth, the union is personal. The two natures have been combined into one essence which is personal and eternal.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
# 18-135, 18-136, & 18-137
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!