About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Luke 1 Luke Introduction to the Jesus Christ

LUKE 1:5-   42.9
Charles e Whisnant, May 20 2012
Luke begins the story with the birth of John the Baptist, who we know is the forerunner to the Messiah. One who would come before Jesus Christ. 
Let me point out why it is important that Luke started with the birth of John the Baptist. 
The Birth of John the Baptist connects the Old Testament with the New Testament.  At verse 5 we are still in the Old Testament times per say.  I know 400 years have passed since the last book in the canon has been written, but the New Testament times begins with the birth of John the Baptist.
The OT and the NT do not suggest that there are two different religions.  That is there is not a religion of Judaism and the religion of Christianity.  What we have in the Old and New is one revelation from God with continuity telling the story of redemption. This is called Redemptive-Historical. That is the Bible is really to be viewed as one continue story of the salvation of mankind.
There has only been one faith, and that is faith in the true and living God which involves His Son, Jesus Christ.  The Bible is one complete revelation from God.  And we need both the Old and the New in order to have the whole story complete.
Now this story begins with a little bit of history. 
While the Jews were under Rome rule, they were allowed to have their freedom in worship. They could practice their religion freely so the priesthood was in full force all 18,000.
The Priesthood
In first century Palestine there was no separation between church and state. The priests at the temple in Jerusalem not only officiated over the religious life of the Jews, they were also rulers and judges.    
And God mediated that rule for the officers of the kingdom who were priests. And all the priests were sons of Aaron. 
Aaron represented the priestly functions of his tribe, becoming the first High Priest of the Israelites. While Moses was receiving his education at the Egyptian royal court, and during his exile among the Midianites, Aaron and his sister Miriam remained with their kinsmen in the eastern border-land of Egypt (Goshen). There, Aaron gained a name for eloquent and persuasive speech, so that when the time came for the demand upon the Pharaoh to release Israel from captivity, Aaron became his brother’s nabi, or spokesman, to his own people (Exodus 7:1) and, after their unwillingness to hear, to the Pharaoh himself (Exodus 7:9). Various dates for his life have been proposed, ranging from approximately 1600 to 1200 BC.To be a priest then was to be honored. It was to be a representative of God. It was to be a son of Aaron, if you will. It was to be a descendant of the one who was the originally high priest who was to be set apart by God for holy service, it was to be able to go...to go into the temple and offer sacrifice on behalf of the people. It was a very noble and respected position. They were pronouncers of blessing also.
1       They were servants of the temple.
2       It was the priests who were the butchers who actually did all of the sacrificing of the animals for the people.
3       It was the priests who interpreted the Scriptures.
4        It was the priests who taught the Scriptures and who counseled people out in their villages where they lived. Zachariah was one of them...his name can be with an H or an S, either way.
And now in 04 B.C.  there were many of these, about 18 thousand. In fact there were so many of them throughout all of the history of Israel that they had to be divided into 24 orders.
Back in 1 Chronicles 24, David before the kingdom even divided into the northern and southern kingdom, in the reign of David he divided the priesthood into 24 orders because Eleazar and Ithamar, two of Aaron's sons, combined had 24 sons so they just made those sons, all 24 of them, the head of an order of priests and their sons and their sons and their sons and all the way down the line would belong to those orders.
There were 24 orders of priests. The eighth order, by the way, was named for the eighth son of Eleazar, Abijah. And it happened that that was the division it says there, in which Zacharias did his priestly service.
  "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." – Exodus 19.6.
It's also interesting to note that it says Zacharias was of the division of Abijah. Just a note about that. It doesn't mean that he was a descendant of Abijah, and I'll tell you why. There were 24 orders of the priests until a great event occurred and that was the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. Up to that point those 24 orders, you know, basically were made up of the descendants of whoever the order was named for. They were all the sons of those 24 sons of Aaron.
But what happened in the Babylonian captivity was all of Israel was taken captive in three deportments, 605, 597, and 586 B.C. they're all carried into Babylon. Seventy years later they straggled back, you remember, they straggled back. Only four of those orders of priests came back and Abijah wasn't one of the four that came back. Only four of the 24 came back under Zerubbabel, and that's in the second chapter of Ezra.
Now why was it divided down into 24 orders? Because there were so many priests they couldn't all serve in the temple all the time and they had to be divided down. And they were divided down and here's how it worked...any priest would serve in the temple two different weeks a year...two separate weeks a year. That was it. During the whole year you would only serve one week at one time of the year and another week at another time of the year, and that was how you were brought into temple service. Because there were so many you only were able to serve two different weeks a year in the temple.
Now all the priests came to the temple for Passover. It wasn't uncommon to slaughter as many as a quarter of a million lambs, a quarter of a million animals at Passover. If 18 thousand priests went about to slaughter a quarter of a million lambs just in a week's period, that would be a pretty great undertaking. And remember, they were butchers. They were covered with blood to the top of their head all the way to the toe of their feet. They were butchers, they slaughtered all day long. That's what they did when they were there. But in the normal course of things they served in the temple just two different weeks a year. And that's where we find Zacharias at this particular time. (MacArthur)