Elijah or ancient prophets (Lk 9:8-9:8)

“Some others said

That Elijah had appeared.

Others said

That one of the ancient prophets

Had risen.”

 

ὑπό τινων δὲ ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐφάνη, ἄλλων δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη.

 

Luke said that some people said Jesus was the appearance of Elijah (ὑπό τινων δὲ ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐφάνη).  Others said that Jesus was one of the ancient prophets who had risen (ἄλλων δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη).  There was nothing about this speculation in Matthew.  However, Mark, chapter 6:15, had something similar, almost word for word.  Some people said that Jesus was Elijah.  Still others said that he was a prophet, like the former ancient prophets.  Elijah was a 9th century BCE northern Israelite prophet whose work can be found in the Old Testament Books of 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.  There was no doubt that the role of Elijah dominated late Jewish thought at the time of Jesus, with his name appearing around John the Baptist, the transfiguration, and the death of Jesus.  The prophets were the holy men of Hebrew scripture who brought the word of Yahweh to his people.  Who would you compare Jesus to?

Woe to the false prophets! (Lk 6:26-6:26)

“Woe to you

When all speak

Well of you!

That is what

Your ancestors did

To the false prophets.”

 

οὐαὶ ὅταν καλῶς ὑμᾶς εἴπωσιν πάντες οἱ ἄνθρωποι· κατὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς ψευδοπροφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said they would be cursed (οὐαὶ), using the second person plural.  If people spoke well of them (ὅταν καλῶς ὑμᾶς εἴπωσιν πάντες οἱ ἄνθρωποι), that is what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors or fathers (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) did (γὰρ ἐποίουν) to the false or pseudo-prophets (τοῖς ψευδοπροφήταις).  This is the reverse of verses 22-23, where Jesus said that they would be blessed, happy, and fortunate (μακάριοί ἐστε), when people hated them (ὅταν μισήσωσιν ὑμᾶς οἱ ἄνθρωποι) or excluded them (καὶ ὅταν ἀφορίσωσιν ὑμᾶς) on account of the Son of Man (ἕνεκα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  They would be blessed (μακάριοί ἐστε), when people insulted them (καὶ ὀνειδίσωσιν) or defamed them.  There is something equivalent to Matthew, chapter 5:11.  This persecution is precisely what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) had done to the ancient prophets (γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις).  In a certain sense, they were a continuation of the Old Testament persecuted prophets who had gone before them.  However, if people spoke well of them and treated them nice, perhaps they were the false prophets.

Rejoice! (Lk 6:23-6:23)

“Rejoice in that day!

Leap for joy!

Surely!

Your reward

Is great

In heaven!

That is what

Their ancestors

Did to the prophets.”

 

χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ σκιρτήσατε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ· κατὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they should rejoice that day (χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ).  They were to leap for joy (καὶ σκιρτήσατε) because their reward would be great in heaven (ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ), This persecution is precisely what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) had done to the ancient prophets (γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις).  This passage is very similar to Matthew, chapter 6:11, so this may be from the Q source.  Matthew also indicated that Jesus told them to rejoice and be glad because there would be a future great reward for them in heaven.  In a certain sense, they were a continuation of the Old Testament persecuted prophets who had gone before them.  This saying was like a pep talk.

The prophets of old (Lk 1:70-1:70)

“God spoke

Through the mouth

Of his holy prophets

From of old.”

 

καθὼς ἐλάλησεν διὰ στόματος τῶν ἁγίων ἀπ’ αἰῶνος προφητῶν αὐτοῦ

 

Luke indicated that Zechariah said that God had spoken (καθὼς ἐλάλησεν) through the mouth (διὰ στόματος) of his former older holy prophets (τῶν ἁγίων ἀπ’ αἰῶνος προφητῶν αὐτοῦ).  These ancient prophets were servants or messengers of God.  Here the term holy was applied to them when it was usually associated with the holy covenant.

The cosmic power of Yahweh (Am 5:8-5:9)

“He made

The Pleiades,

The Orion.

He turns deep darkness

Into the morning.

He darkens the day

Into night.

He calls for the waters

Of the sea.

He pours them out

On the surface

Of the earth.

Yahweh is his name.

He makes destruction

Flash out

Against the strong.

Thus destruction

Comes upon the fortress.”

Once again, Amos has a praise for the all-powerful cosmic God, Yahweh, as in chapter 4. Yahweh has made the star constellations of the Pleiades, or 7 stars, as well as the Orion, the hunter star constellation. Notice that these ancient prophets were aware of the night sky. Yahweh was able to turn darkness into morning light. At the same time, he was able to darken the day until it became night. Clearly, Yahweh or God controlled the day and night lights. Yahweh also controlled the waters of the sea that could be poured out on the earth. He also was able to bring destruction to the strongest fortresses that they had. Yahweh was a truly powerful cosmic God.