This book was written by a man named Luke, a physician. He was possibly a Hellenistic Jew because Rom 3.2 says the Scriptures were entrusted to the Jewish people, and he was a companion of Paul. Not much is known about him because he never included any personal information about his origins and background. He is also the author of the book of Acts which was also written about the same time, about 60-62 AD. He says he wrote this book before Acts and he ends Acts with the death of Paul. Although he never identifies himself by name, the frequent use of “we” in Acts tells us he accompanied Paul often. Luke wrote to a man named Theophilus (Luke 1.3; Acts 1.1) meaning “lover of God” who may have been aristocracy, and compiled his information from various witnesses and sources because he did not witness any of the events in this book himself. Luke writes in an aristocratic style, very detailed and scholarly. He sees Yeshua through the eyes of an educated man and writes to those on that level. His writing style is also based on the hermeneutical level called “Remez” meaning a parabolic level with illustrative stories, and presents Yeshua as the “Son of Man.” He also knows he is not the only one writing about Yeshua (v 1), but he wants to write an orderly account of events as if it had been passed down to him from others. It is as if he is writing an autopsy (v 2), giving definitive detail and establishing factual certainties.
v 1…Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us (both oral and written; these were delivered and made more available to him);
v 2…just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses (Greek “autotes” where the word “autopsy” comes from-being a physician Luke is going to “autopsy the life of Yeshua and write it all down) and servants of the word (the Torah was the only “word” they had) have handed them down to us (Luke was not an eyewitness but comied these written and oral accounts),
v 3…it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning (he was inspired by God, but he had to do the necessary work), to write (it) for you in consecutive order (from the conception of Yochanon, or John, to the ascension of Yeshua), most excellent Theophilus (who this is in not certain so we will not speculate, but this title is used to address governors in Acts 23.26, 24.3, 26.25),
v 4…so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught (or “katechethes” where we get the word “catechism.” Theophilus was possibly a God-fearer who were called “phobemenoi” in Greek. These were non-Jews who believed in Yehovah and were taught Messiah was coming; they observed the Torah as it applied and attended synagogues to learn Torah; Theophilus has been told that Yeshua was the promised Messiah and this fact will be established throughout this book; Cornelius was a centurion and a God-fearer who was taught by Peter in Acts 10.1-48, and God-fearers were referred to in Acts 13.16 and 13.26 for example; remember, Acts was also written by Luke).
v 5…In the days of Herod (the great, the son of Antipater and a descendant of Esau), king of Judah, there was a certain priest named Zechariah (Yehovah remembers) of the division (course) of Abijah (David divided the priests into 24 courses to serve in rotation in the Temple. Each course would serve a week and be present for the festivals; Abijah was the eighth course-1 Chr 24.10), and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron (meaning “light-bearer” and women were also priests but could not serve in the Temple, but had other duties) and her name was Elizabeth (Hebrew “Elisheva” meaning “my God’s oath”, and putting thee names together we have “Yehovah remembers his oath of a light-bearer”).
v 6…And they were both righteous in the sight of God (by faith), walking blamelessly (without guile or craftiness to get around the Torah like the rabbis did) in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord (found in the Torah; they had a righteousness apart from the Torah by faith like all the righteous did, but they walked in the Torah because it was what Yehovah desired).
v 7…And they had no child because Elizabeth was barren (could not conceive) and they were both advanced in years (much like Abraham and Sarah, Elkanah and Hannah, Manoach and his wife; priests stopped serving in the Temple at 50 years old).
v 8…Now it came about while he was performing his priestly service (these 24 courses would begin to serve on Nisan 1, then rotate to the next course until all have served, then the rotation would start again. All the priests would serve at the festivals. Being the eighth course, this would have been around the feast of Shavuot or about mid-June) before God in the order of his division (about the tenth week of the religious year) according to the custom of the priestly office (in the Mishnah tractate Tamid and Yoma it will tell us how thee priests served in the Temple), he was chosen by lot to enter the Temple of the Lord to burn incense (there were four lots cast in the morning to see who would officiate in what duty; the priests would stand in a circle and the leader would think of a number and say it, and the priests would put out one or two fingers. Then the leader would count the fingers till he got to the number he randomly called out. The four lots covered the following duties: cleansing the altar, slaying the Tamid lamb, trim the Menorah and offer incense on the altar of incense, lay the sacrificial pieces of the lamb on the altar and pouring the drink offering. Offering incense could only happen one time during the life of any priest, so Zechariah had never done that before so God arranged the number of the lot, who stood where, how many fingers each priest put forth in order for that number to fall on Zechariah).
v 10…And the whole multitude of the people (priests, Levites and the Ma’amad or “standing men”) were in prayer outside (of the Temple building) at the hour of the incense offering (about 9 am).
v 11…And an angel of the Lord (possibly the same angel who appeared to Daniel about the time of the evening Tamid at 3 pm in Dan 9.21; Zechariah went in alone to burn incense as all the priests did and a certain set of prayers were prayed called the “Amidah”) appeared to him standing to the right of the altar of incense (north side).
v 12…And Zechariah was troubled (as was Daniel and John-Dan 10.7-8; Rev 1.17) and fear fell upon him.
v 13…But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your petition has been heard (he was praying the Amidah, a set of 18 benedictions, and number 15 says, “May the branch (tzemach, a term for the Messiah) of David thy servant flourish speedily and may his horn (power) be exalted in your salvation (Hebrew “Yeshua”), for in your salvation (Hebrew “Yeshua”) do we hope all the day (to come). Blessed are you, Yehovah, who produces the horn (power) of salvation (Hebrew “Yeshua”).” It was at this point the angel appeared and told Zechariah his petition for the coming of the Messiah has been heard. Notice in this prayer the name of the Messiah, Yeshua, is mentioned three times), and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name Yochanon (John).
v 14…And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
v 15…And he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor (possibly a Nazarite-Num 6), and he will be filled with the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) while yet in his mother’s womb.
v 16…And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.
v 17…And it is he who will go before him (the Messiah Zechariah had just prayed for; John is his forerunner) in the spirit (anointing, calling, purpose) and power of Elijah (meaning John would be cut out of the same cloth as Elijah), to turn the heart of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Mal 4.5-6).”
v 18…And Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know this? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.”
v 19…And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
v 20…And behold (since you distrust me), you will be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in the proper time (Zechariah could not finish the Amidah prayer or bless the people on the steps of the Temple after he came out of the Holy Place; this was part of his duties).
v 21…And the people (outside) waiting for Zechariah, and were wondering at his delay in the Temple (they knew how long it took to say the prayers at the incense table; he was to come out and pray the priestly blessing over the people).
v 22…But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them (give the blessing), and they realized that he had seen a vision in the Temple; and he kept making sings to them, and remained mute (and apparently he was deaf also-Luke 1.62).
v 23…And it came about, when the days of his priestly service were ended (his week was over), that he went back home.
v 24…And after these days (the days of his service) Elizabeth his wife became pregnant; and she kept herself in seclusion for five months (Zechariah had told her who this child was going to be and she waited to reveal to others what was happening) saying,
v 25…”This is the way of the Lord (how he has dealt with me) in the days when he looked (with favor) upon me, to take away my disgrace among men (to be without children was seen as a calamity since Yehovah promised children to the righteous in Psa 128.1-6).”
v 26…In the sixth month (of her pregnancy) the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth (meaning “branch” and a title for the Messiah, as we have seen in the Amidah prayer of Zechariah in v 13),
v 27…to a virgin betrothed (they were considered married and needed a divorce to separate) to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David (this shows how far the condition of David’s family had fallen, scratching out a living in a backwater town); and the virgin’s name was Miriam (Mary meaning “bitter; rebellion”).
v 28…And coming in (to her house), he said to her, “Hail (prosperity), favored one (to obtain mercy by the sovereign choice of Yehovah, not because she had any special virtue in herself), the lord (Yehovah) is with you (the usual Jewish greeting-Ruth 2.4); Blessed (empowered to succeed) are you among women.”
v 29…But she was greatly troubled at this statement (in addition to even seeing him), and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be (what does it mean, what is he up to).
v 30…And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor (obtained mercy) with God (by his sovereign will, not because of any good works she performed).
v 31…Ans behold (see and take note), you will conceive in your womb (this was six months after John’s conception about mid-June, and this is about the time of Chanukah), and bear a son, and you shall name him Yeshua (Yehovah saves-again alluding to the 15th Amidah Zechariah prayed in v 13).
v 32…And he will be great, and will be called the son of the Most High (alluding to a king-1 Chr 28.5-6; Messiah will be the actual “son of God” also), and the Lord (Yehovah) will give him the throne (as king) of his father David (in the Messianic Kingdom; he will literally sit on the throne of David ruling over the kingdom of God, or the “kingdom of the Lord”-1 Chr 28.5; 2 Chr 13.8);
v 33…and he will reign (as king) over the house of Jacob (all twelve tribes) forever; and his kingdom will have no end (Dan 2.4, 7.13-14, 27; Mic 4.7).
v 34…And Miriam said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin (or by what means will it happen; womb and tomb are related in Hebrew. He will be born, or come out, of a new womb, and later, he will come out of a new tomb).”
v 35…And the angel answered and said to her, “The Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow (like a sukkah-Hertz Authorized Prayer Book, p. 813) you; and for that reason the holy (has a kedusha) offspring shall be called the son of God (also a term for a king which we have seen).
v 36…And behold (take note and see), even your relative Elizabeth (the tribe of Judah and Levi did intermarry tribally; they were cousins and Yeshua had Levitical blood it seems) has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month (making this event about Kislev on the religious calendar, around the time of Chanukah).
v 37…For nothing will be impossible with God (so put your faith in what I just told you).”
v 38…And Miriam said, “Behold (see), the bond-slave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (We believe according to these Scriptures that this occurred about the time of Chanukah, which came about at the time of the Maccabees who overthrew Syrian rule. They could not keep Sukkot so the length and liturgy for Chanukah is similar to Sukkot. What Miriam says here is very similar to a prayer that is said on the first night of Sukkot in a sukkah and we would like to quote a portion of it: “May it be thy will, O Lord my God and God of my fathers, to let the divine presence abide among us (Immanuel, God with us-Luke 1.28). Spread over us the canopy (sukkat) of thy peace in recognition of the precept of the Tabernacle (sukkah) which we are now fulfilling, and thereby we establish in fear and love the unity of thy holy and blessed name. Surround us with the pure and holy radiance of thy glory, that is spread over our heads as the eagle over the nest he stirreth up; and thence bid the streams of life flow in upon thy servant (thy handmaid-Luke 1 35-38)). And seeing that I have gone forth from my house abroad (Miriam left her home in Luke 1.39), and am speeding the way of thy commandments, may it be accounted to me as though I had wandered far in thy cause”).
v 39…Now at that time (in Kislev) Miriam arose and went in haste to the hill country, to a city in Judah (she went south, possibly to Hebron where Elizabeth lived, in the area of Jerusalem),
v 40…and entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth (Zechariah was still deaf and dumb).
v 41…And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Miriam’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb (with joy and gladness; this had not happened before and confirmed Miriam’s conception also; this also confirms that there is life in the womb and contradicts today’s abortionists); and Elizabeth was filled with the Ruach Ha Kodesh (was controlled by, according to his purposes).
v 42…And she cried out with a loud voice, and said (inspired by the Ruach Ha Kodesh), “Blessed (empowered to succeed) are you among women (the same thing the angel said in v 28), and blessed is the fruit of your womb (the promised Messiah)!
v 43…And how has it happened to me (that such notice is taken of me and being favored with a child), that the mother of my Lord should come to me (Yeshua was the master of Elizabeth and Miriam even then; let’s quickly dispel the myth of Miriam as proposed by some Christian denominations. First, is she a mediator? No, according to 1 Tim 2.5. Do we pray to her? No, according to Luke 11.1-2. Is she a perpetual virgin? No, according to Matt 1.25, 13.55-56. Is she a sinner? Yes, according to Luke 1.47 and Rom 3.23).
v 44…For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy (a theme of Sukkot).
v 45…And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment (given meaning) of what had been spoken to her by the Lord (Luke 1.38; this is in contrast to the doubt of Zechariah in Luke 1.18).”
v 46…And Miriam said: “My soul (spirit, mind, heart are synonymous-see Lam 2.11 notes) exalts the Lord,
v 47…and my spirit (a parallelism) has rejoiced in God my savior (she needed salvation).
v 48…For he has had regard for the humble state (her fallen state as a daughter of Adam, not just her physical status); for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed (for having brought the Messiah to the world0Gen 12.1-3, 17.7).
v 49…For the Mighty One has done great things for me (in her conception); and holy (he has a kedusha) is his name.
v 50…And his mercy is upon generation after generation to those fearing him (the concept of the “phobemenoi” came from this term for the non-Jews who believe in Yehovah in the first century and they were called the “God-fearers”-Acts 10.35).
v 51…He has done mighty deeds with his arm (power); he has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart (intentions, desires).
v 52…He has brought down rulers from their thrones (as he wills, even though they thought they were secure), and has exalted those who were humble (reversing the world’s order).
v 53…He has filled the hungry with good things (spiritually), and sent away the rich (self-righteous) empty-handed.
v 54…He has given help to Israel his servant (Yehovah’s elect-Isa 41.8; Gal 3.29-by sending the Messiah), in remembrance of his mercy (as promised in the Torah),
v 55…as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever (Gen 17.19).”
v 56…And Miriam stayed with her about three months (until there was visible evidence; this would be about Passover when John was born. She helped Elizabeth), and then returned to her home.
v 57…Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth (around Passover) and she brought forth a son.
v 58…And her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed his great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.
v 59…And it came about that on the eighth day they (neighbors, relatives) came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zechariah, after his father.
v 60…And his mother answered and said, “No indeed (not so); but he shall be called Yochanon (John).”
v 61…And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name (none used it).”
v 62…And they made signs to his father (he was also deaf) as to what he wanted him called.
v 63…And he asked for a tablet (he was also mute), and wrote as follows, “His name is Yochanon!” And they were astonished.
v 64…And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed (his doubts were gone), and he began to speak in praise of God.
v 65…And fear (a normal response when one is confronted by a miracle) came on all those living around them, and all these matters (words) were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea (Jerusalem and the surrounding area).
v 66…And all who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child be ?” For the hand of the Lord (Yehovah) was certainly with him.
v 67…And his father Zechariah was filled (controlled by) with the Ruach Ha Kodesh (the Holy Spirit), and prophesied, saying (when Zechariah was struck mute in the Temple, he was to come out and give the priestly blessing. So, now that his speech was restored, his first words were this blessing in v 68-79).
v 68…”Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited (Hebrew “pakod”-in Gen 50.24-25 it says, God will visit you” but in Hebrew it is “pakod yifkod” or “visit, visit.” This alludes to the two redemptions of the Messiah. Yeshua will allude to this concept in Luke 19.44. John’s birth was around Passover and they would have been talking about this verse as it related to the first and second redemption) us and accomplished redemption for his people (in Egypt as a type of the redemption through the Messiah).
v 69…And he has raised up a horn (power) of salvation (“Yeshua” in Hebrew) in the house of David his servant (it must have been known Miriam was of the royal line; also he is quoting form the Amidah prayer that he was praying in the Temple when Gabriel appeared to him. Amidah #15 in modern prayer books says, “Speedily cause the offspring of David, thy servant, to flourish, and lift up his glory by thy divine help because we wait for thy salvation (Hebrew “yeshua”) all the day. Blessed art thou, O Yehovah, who causes the horn (power) of salvation (“yeshua”) to flourish.” This teaches us that the ultimate salvation of Israel is possible only through the Davidic Messiah-Luke 1.14 notes).
v 70…As he spoke by the mouth of his holy (had a kedusha) prophets from of old (Gen 3.15).
v 71…Salvation from our enemies and from the hand (power) of all who hate us (a parallelism);
v 72…to show mercy toward the fathers (as promised in Jer 23.5, 30.10-11; Dan 9.24) and to remember (“zekor” and part of Zechariah’s name) his holy (has a kedusha) covenant (his pledge),
v 73…the oath (part of Elizabeth’s name) which he swore to Abraham our father (Gen 12.1-3, 22.16-18).
v 74…Grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies (as in 1.71; this points to the future that will result from Yehovah raising up the horn of salvation), might serve him without fear.
v 75…In holiness (kedusha) and righteousness (as defined by the Torah) before him all our days.
v 76…And you, child (now he will prophesy about his son, who is the “voice” of Isa 40.3, 52.10-12, 11.3; Mal 3.1) will be called the prophet of the Most High (the people have been trained in “remez” and knew these verses applied to “Elijah”-Matt 11.11-14, 17.11-12; Mark 9.11-13); for you will go on before the Lord to prepare his ways;
v 77…to give his people knowledge of salvation (“da’at” knowledge of God in Torah facts-Hos 4.6) by the forgiveness of their sins (atonement or reconciliation meaning to “restore a covering”-Rom 3.25 notes),
v 78…because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the sunrise (Messiah) from on high shall visit us (Mal 4.2; Psa 19.4-6),
v 79…to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death (Isa 9.2), to guide our feet unto the way of peace (as found in the Torah and the Scriptures).”
v 80…And the child continued to grow, and to become strong in spirit (desires, wisdom, knowledge, intentions), and he lived in the desert (he dwelt in obscurity and was not known by the people, possibly near Hebron, either at Ziph or Maon, like David in 1 Sam 23.14. He was a Nazarite. He was not exposed to or taught by the rabbinical schools).