In The Time of… (Luke 1:5-25) – After introducing his gospel to most excellent Theophilus, Luke begins with these words, “In the time of …” God has a time for everything (Ecc 3:1). Nothing is coincidence. You and I may have been a surprise to our parents, but you were not a surprise to God. Exactly at your appointed time you were born. Our God controls what happens in time. God is Omniscient. He knows all things because he holds time in his hand.
by Delbert Young
In The Time of … (Luke 1:5-25)
Scriptures: Luke 1:5; Exodus 12:40-41; Romans 5:6; Genesis 18:14; Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 1:5-7; Luke 1:8-10; Luke 1:11-13; Luke 1:13-15; Proverbs 10:1; 17:21; Numbers 28:7; Proverbs 4:17; 20:1; 21:17; 23:20-21; 23:29-32; 31:6-7; Luke 7:33-35; 1 Timothy 5:23; Ephesians 5:18; Romans 14:21-22; 1 Corinthians 6:12; Luke 1:15-17; Luke 1:18; Luke 1:19-20; Luke 1:21-23; Luke 1:24-25
After introducing his gospel to most excellent Theophilus, Luke begins with these words, “In the time of …” God has a time for everything (Ecc 3:1). Nothing is coincidence. I will show a few of these times. There are many. In his covenant with Abraham, the Lord told exactly to the day how long the children of Israel would be in bondage to Egypt.
Exodus 12:40-41 Now the length of TIME the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’S divisions left Egypt. [NIV]
At exactly the right time, Jesus died for you. It was in the time of.
Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right TIME, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. [NIV]
God appointed a time for Isaac to be born to barren Sarah.
Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you AT THE APPOINTED TIME next year and Sarah will have a son.” [NIV]
And she did. You and I may have been a surprise to our parents, but you were not a surprise to God. Exactly in the time of your appointed time you were born. Our God controls what happens in the time of. God is Omniscient. He knows all things because he holds time in his hand. God determines when it’s in the time of.
To better understand the meaning of Luke 1-25, we’ll go back in time from Luke 1:5 four hundred years to the book of Malachi.
Malachi 3:1 “See, I WILL SEND MY MESSENGER, WHO WILL PREPARE THE WAY BEFORE ME. THEN suddenly the Lord you are seeking WILL COME TO HIS TEMPLE; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.
Before the Messiah would present himself to human history a messenger would come “who will prepare the way.” Also, the Lord will come to his temple. There must be a messenger and there must be a temple.(Interestingly, the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. There is no temple today. What do we see? THE JEWS MISSED THEIR MESSIAH.)
Malachi 4:5-6 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
Those are the last words of the Old Testament. God said I will send Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. That dreadful day was the great tribulation of 70 A.D. It all had to happen before A.D. 70. Elijah’s message will grab and deal with hearts of both fathers/parents and children. There were four hundred years of silence from God. Then …
Luke 1:5 IN THE TIME OF Herod king of Judea …
It’s time. It’s in the time of. Herod was not Caesar. He was a “king,” but not as we define. We would relate Herod more to a governor, but appointed by Rome not elected by the people. Herod was evil with a capital “E.” He murdered his wife. He murdered two of his sons. He murdered anyone he felt attempting to come against him. Herod raised unbelievable amounts of money and built amazing structures, some remain standing today 2,000 years later. One structure Herod built was the Jewish Temple. Remember, there must be a temple for the Lord to come.
Around 12 BC Herod decided he would build the Jews a new temple. As godless and evil as Herod was, he built the temple to twice the size of Solomon’s glorious temple before it was destroyed. It was no coincidence. God will use anyone even the devil when it is in the time of. God had a plan and it was TIME. It was in the time of.
I want you to see in our lives there is so much happening every day we don’t understand, but God has a plan. When it’s time, it is in the time of. Watch how our God had all those things working together.
Luke 1:5-7 In the TIME of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
Only Luke tells us about Zechariah and Elizabeth. Zechariah was a priest from a long lineage of ministry. Zechariah was not a “big” priest working at the temple. Priests were literally all over the place. There were 18,000 priests. We’re not even told the name of the town where Zechariah and Elizabeth lived. It was a small rural community in the hill country of Judea (Luk 1:39) with maybe 50 to 100 residents. Zechariah was a pastor with a small congregation of perhaps 25 people. Zechariah may have had a second job to make ends meet. I’m trying to give us a picture of Zechariah and Elizabeth and their seemingly non-importance, but they were actually right on TIME. God determines when it’s in the time of.
Elizabeth was also from a lineage of ministry (Aaron). Both were up in age with no children, not because they didn’t want children, but because Elizabeth was barren. We don’t think about it, but in that day not having children, a son in particular, was dangerous. Children were responsible for taking care of aging parents. Zechariah and Elizabeth had none.
They both loved God, were upright, observing all the Lord’s commandments, and blameless serving God out in the rural boonies. They were seemingly insignificant old people known only by their congregation, beyond normal childbearing years who loved God.
Luke 1:8-10 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when THE TIME for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
The 18,000 priests were divided into 24 divisions of 750 priests each. Each division went to Jerusalem for dutyone week twice a year to minister at the temple. Once there, they rolled dice to see who got to go inside the holy place to burn incense and say the prayer. That was the big event of a priest’s life. Once he did it, he was done. He could not do it again. It was his Super Bowl and World Series of life. While inside, the people were praying outside until he came back out, blessed them, and dismissed.
Every year, twice a year, for lets say thirty years of ministry, Zechariah went to Jerusalem, rolled the dice, and lost (60 times), but this TIME the dice rolled and Zechariah won! He got to go in. It was in the time of. Imagine Zechariah going into Herod’s temple. Zechariah enters into the holy place alone, awed by the gold, silver, engraved cherubim on the ceiling and embroidered on the veil, the golden lamp stand burning to his left, the golden table of shewbread to his right with the bread of presence. Zechariah stood before the altar of incense looking at the veil knowing the Ark of the Covenant was only a few feet away. He’s made it to his big day. He smiles. All alone captured in the moment, he drops the incense on the red hot coals, and Zechariah prays.
Luke 1:11-13 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah …
Wow! … An angel standing in Zechariah’s face inches away! Zechariah freaked! Can you imagine? The angel said, “Do not be afraid …” Sure! It’s a wonder the old guy didn’t have a heart attack.
Luke 1:13-15 …your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink …
” …your prayer has been heard.” Obviously, right there at the altar of incense Zechariah prayed God give Elizabeth and him a son. He will be a joy and delight to you. John would be a good child. Nothing brings more joy and delight to a parent than children like John was to be. The opposite is just as true. Nothing removes joy and delight like children not like John.
Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother. [NIV]
Proverbs 17:21 To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool. [NIV]
It wasn’t that way with John. Why?
He will be great in the sight of the Lord. What better thing to hear about your child than he or she will be great in the sight of the Lord? I have two godly children. Nothing is greater.
He is never to take wine or other fermented drink …Let’s deal with this straight up from the Bible. First I’ll say I don’t know of one good thing that comes from the consumption of alcohol. I can tell you many bad things that come. I can’t tell you drinking alcohol is sin. I can tell you it will make it much easier to sin.
Wine was incorporated into many sacrifices and offerings given to the Lord daily.
Numbers 28:7 And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering. [KJV]
Many offerings incorporated alcohol and were received by the Lord. This one shows strong wine along with the lamb offered.
Speaking of the evil and wicked, wisdom says,
Proverbs 4:17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
Alcohol consumption will lead some the way of wickedness and violence. It makes it easy to go astray. Wisdom says,
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not WISE.
Alcohol can cost you your future. Wisdom says,
Proverbs 21:17 He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.
Don’t hang with people who drink and party too much. Wisdom says,
Proverbs 23:20-21 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Who has lots of trouble? What is responsible for poisoning so many lives? Wisdom says,
Proverbs 23:29-32 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.
Proverbs 31:6-7 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
Alcohol removes the desire to excel. People forget their poverty and miserable life. But, is alcohol sin? Well, Jesus turned water into wine. He made it so people could consume it at a wedding party and in his presence, so it can’t be sin. Jesus said,
Luke 7:33-35 For John the Baptist didn’t drink wine and he often fasted, and you say, ‘He’s demon possessed.’ And I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners!’ BUT WISDOM IS SHOWN TO BE RIGHT BY THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO FOLLOW IT.”
Jesus went to places, hung around people, and did things you and I would consider “off limits” and wrong, but wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it. Follow what? Follow wisdom. Anyone who consumes alcohol must incorporate wisdom, i.e. don’t drink and drive, don’t get drunk, and don’t mess up your witness. Paul instructed Timothy
1 Timothy 5:23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
Paul also said
Ephesians 5:18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.
That’s wisdom. I always fear teaching about this. People hear me incorrectly. They hear me saying “license” meaning it’s ok to drink. No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. Drinking alcohol could be the dumbest thing you ever do. It might not be ok for you to drink. Some need to be like John and leave it alone totally. Some hear me being too liberal. I hear me being biblical. I don’t know what else to say. I wish Jesus had said it is sin. Instead, he said your wisdom will tell the tale. Jesus made it, drank it, and went to places it was consumed, never condemned it, and never said it was sin. So, what is my stand? (1) Don’t get drunk. (2) Don’t encourage anyone else to get drunk. (3) Don’t disobey the law. (4) Use wisdom. I understand this is very controversial. Sometimes when I hear Christians argue about it, it sounds like they all drank too much. I don’t argue about it any more. Some people teach and make everything sin. In truth, we have certain freedoms in Christ we can’t allow anyone to take away through religion and legalism. However, wisdom says,
Romans 14:21-22 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do ANYTHING ELSE that will cause your brother to fall. SO WHATEVER YOU BELIEVE ABOUT THESE THINGS KEEP BETWEEN YOURSELF AND GOD. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
A person can condemn themselves, but be scriptural.
1 Corinthians 6:12 “Everything is permissible for me” – BUT NOT EVERYTHING IS BENEFICIAL. “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.
Because you can, doesn’t mean you should. God told Zechariah to teach his son to give away his permission and freedom. John did and it was right for John. It might be right for you. To you it might be sin. Do this. Pray. Ask God what he would have you to do. Then do it.
Luke 1:15-17 …and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
…and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. This is a major reason John brought joy and delight to his parents. How important is it to have children filled with God’s spirit?
John would be the forerunner of Malachi spoken of 400 years earlier. I’m going to talk about something that will force you to think and know for certainty what you believe and are taught (Luke 1:4). That is what this series is about. I know most of you don’t know the difference between Arminianism and Calvinism. They’re theological terms. Most of us have been taught Arminianism which says a person has to be at a certain maturity to use their free will and receive Jesus Christ and salvation. Arminianism is all about a person’s free will. Calvinism says God elects and chooses those to be saved through foreknowledge and calling which equates to predestination. I know I’ve got most of you saying, “Do what?” Here’s where I’m going. God knew John’s name, knew he would be a joy and delight to his parents, knew he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and knew John’s ministry, John’s spirit, and John’s destiny before John was ever conceived. John was elected and chosen to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ in the spirit of Elijah at least 400 years before conception. So, had Elizabeth aborted John, would John go to heaven or hell since he never had the opportunity to express his free will?
If you believe it’s all about a person’s free will to be saved, then millions of – all – aborted babies are in hell. However, if you believe God is so great he can elect, call, and save even before conception then things change. At least many of those aborted babies are with Jesus. I purposefully threw that out. As we progress in our study, we will discuss this more. Don’t miss hear me. Your will is more important than you can imagine. It will determine the life you live and your rewards in eternity (Heb 10:36; 1Jn 2:17), but it’s not all about your will. It’s all about God’s will. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done … Not my will, but thy will be done.
Zechariah should have said, “Amen, Hallelujah” and gone home and hugged Elizabeth, but like us, he opened his mouth.
Luke 1:18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” [NIV]
We laugh at Zechariah,but aren’t we the same way? We read the word of God. God speaks to us in many different ways. We say, “How can I be sure of this?”
Luke 1:19-20 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will COME TRUE AT THEIR PROPER TIME.”
Will come true when? God controls time. It was in the time of. Gabriel told Zechariah he was not going to allow him to damage anyone’s faith about this, so he would not be able to speak (and probably hear) until the day this happens. What do we learn from this? Sometimes we need to simply shut our mouths and watch God work. We say, “But, I think …” Shut up! “But, what if …?” Shut up and watch God work. We talk too much. We listen and wait too little.
Luke 1:21-23 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. When his TIME of service was completed, he returned home.
A long time passed. Zechariah was supposed to come out, pronounce a blessing over them, say a prayer and dismiss the gathering. All he could do was keep making signs. Someone else dismissed and Zechariah went home.
Luke 1:24-25 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Elizabeth became pregnant just as Gabriel said. She kept secluded, blessing the Lord, getting ready for her baby, and probably rejoicing that her husband was mute. She rejoiced in the fact that God really was aware of her, that God really did love her, and that God was giving her the desire of her heart, a son. She had lived in disgrace for years because she could not conceive. She had been laughed at and mocked. God removed all that.
How about you? Do you feel hidden, unimportant, off in the boonies forgotten of God? You’re not. God knows exactly where you are and has an IN THE TIME OF for you. Your part is to remain faithful, minister to whom you can, keep on praying, do what Zechariah and Elizabeth did. One day the lot will fall on you, you will get to go into your holy place with God, the angel of the Lord will show up, and the desire of your heart will come.
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