The Pharisee prayer (Lk 18:11-18:11)

“The Pharisee,

Standing by himself,

Was praying thus.

‘God!

I thank you

That I am not

Like other people.

I am not

A thief,

A wicked person,

An adulterer,

Or even

Like this tax collector.’”

 

ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἅρπαγες, ἄδικοι, μοιχοί, ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης·

 

Luke has Jesus tell a parable about this Pharisee and a tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said this Pharisee stood by himself (ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν).  He was praying (προσηύχετο) to God.  He said thank you to God (Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι) that he was not like other people (ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  He was not a thief, a robber, or a swindler (ἅρπαγες), unjust, unrighteous, or wicked (ἄδικοι), or an adulterer (μοιχοί), or even like this tax collector (ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης).  This Pharisee considered himself a just, righteous person, not like other sinners who were evil.  Certainly, he was happy not to be a terrible Roman tax collector, like that other person in the Temple.  Thus, he uttered the prayer of an upstanding righteous Jewish person.  Do you thank God that you are better than other people?

 

The Holy Spirit and the Son of God (Lk 1:35-1:35)

“The angel

Said to her.

‘The Holy Spirit

Will come upon you.

The power

Of the Most High

Will overshadow you.

Therefore,

The child to be born

Will be holy.

He will be called

The Son of God.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι· διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ.

 

Luke then has the Angel Gabriel reveal the whole plan.  Just as in Matthew, chapter 1:20, the angel told Joseph that the child conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit.  Luke did the same here.  This Angel Gabriel answered Mary (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ).  He said that the Holy Spirit would come over her (Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ).  The power of the Most High God would overshadow or envelop her (καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι).  Her child would come forth or be born holy (διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον).  He would be called the Son of God (κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ).  This was a very theological statement uttered by the Angel Gabriel.  This child, Jesus would come about because of the Holy Spirit.  Elohim, the most high God, would overshadow her, the way that Yahweh had overshadowed the tent of dwelling with the covenant in Exodus, chapter 37:1-9.  This presence of God in Mary would make her pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The unique act of Jesus’ conception was a fully Trinitarian action involving the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit within the womb of Mary.  Obviously, the Son, her son, Jesus, would be born as a holy human person, clearly and rightfully called the Son of God.  This was a very developed theology of Luke, who always stressed the role of the Holy Spirit in his writings.

Destroy the Temple in three days (Mk 14:58-14:58)

“They said.

‘We heard him say.

‘I will destroy

This Temple

That is made

With human hands.

Then in three days,

I will build another,

Not made

With human hands.’”

 

ὅτι Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν αὐτοῦ λέγοντος ὅτι Ἐγὼ καταλύσω τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον τὸν χειροποίητον καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἄλλον ἀχειροποίητον οἰκοδομήσω.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:60-61, who said that at last 2 witnesses came forward to speak out.  There was nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Mark indicated that someone said that they had heard this man saying (ὅτι Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν αὐτοῦ λέγοντος) that he was going to destroy this Temple made by human hands (ὅτι Ἐγὼ καταλύσω τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον τὸν χειροποίητον).  Matthew had called it the Temple of God (τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Then Jesus said that he would build another Temple in three days (καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἄλλον οἰκοδομήσω) without human hands (ἀχειροποίητον).  There was no indication of when these witnesses said that Jesus had uttered these words.

 

Two witnesses come forward (Mt 26:60-26:61)

“At last,

Two witnesses

Came forward.

They said.

‘This fellow said.

‘I am able

To destroy

The Temple of God,

And to build it

In three days.’”

 

ὕστερον δὲ προσελθόντες δύο

εἶπαν Οὗτος ἔφη Δύναμαι καταλῦσαι τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:57-58, but Mark has more details and does not explicitly mention 2 witnesses, but only some witnesses.  There is nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Matthew said that finally 2 witnesses came forward (ὕστερον δὲ προσελθόντες δύο), an important number under Jewish law.  They said that this man had said (εἶπαν Οὗτος ἔφη) that he was able to destroy the Temple of God (Δύναμαι καταλῦσαι τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ) and rebuild it in three days (καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι).  Jesus had mentioned destroying this Temple in chapter 24:2.  He had also spoken about his resurrection in three days in chapters 16:21, 17:23, and 20:19.  There was no indication of when the 2 witnesses said that Jesus had uttered these words.

The final return (Zeph 3:20-3:20)

“‘At that time,

I will bring you home.

At the time,

When I gather you,

I will make you

Renowned.

I will make you

Praised

Among all the people

Of the earth,

When I restore

Your fortunes

Before your eyes.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, uttered his final oracle.  He was going to bring them back home at that time.  He was going to gather them from everywhere.  Thus, they would be renowned and praised among all the people on earth.  They would have their fortunes restored right before their own eyes.  Yahweh has spoken.  Good times were coming.

Azariah stands still to pray (Dan 3:1-3:2)

“They walked around

In the midst

Of the flames.

They were singing

Hymns to God.

They were blessing

The Lord.

Then Azariah stood still

In the fire.

He prayed aloud.”

Like the Book of Esther, this Book of Daniel has several sections that were not in the Hebrew text. Thus, they did not make it into the English King James Bible, and so became known as Apocrypha. This prayer of Azariah, one of the 3 men in the furnace, and then their joint prayer that follows, can be found in the Greek Septuagint, but not in the Hebrew text. The Bible of Jerusalem also includes it here. The New Oxford Standard lists it as “additions to Daniel, inserted between 3:23 and 3:24.” I have given it its own separate verse numbers as if it were complete in itself. The 3 men in the furnace, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, walked around in the middle of the hot flames. They were singing hymns and blessing God, the Lord. Then Azariah, who was called Abednego, stood still. He uttered his prayer out loud. The rest of this section is his beautiful prayer.

Yahweh is against the false prophets (Ezek 13:8-13:9)

“Therefore

Thus says Yahweh God.

‘Because you have uttered

Falsehood

With envisioned lies,

I am against you.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘My hand

Will be against

The prophets

Who see false visions.

My hand

Will be against

The prophets

Who utter lying divinations.

They shall not be

In the council

Of my people.

They shall not be

Enrolled

In the register

Of the house of Israel.

They shall not

Enter

The land of Israel.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh God.’”

Yahweh was clearly against these false prophets who had uttered falsehoods and lying visions. His hand was going to be against these prophets with their false visions and lying sayings. Yahweh was not going to allow them into the council of his people. They would not be allowed to be enrolled or registered in the house of Israel. In fact, they would not be allowed to enter the land of Israel. Everyone should know that Yahweh was their God. No one else or no false prophets would have the final say.