Biblical Period 11
Lesson # 24


Beloved Heavenly Father,

You sent Your Beloved Son to redeem the world in real time in the unfolding events of the history of mankind, but when He ascended into heaven You did not leave us orphans for He continues to come to us—in our daily prayers, in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist, in the study of Sacred Scripture, and at the end of our earthly journeys He will come to take us into His heavenly Kingdom.  Send us, Father, Your Holy Spirit to give us discernment and understanding as we study the Incarnation and Revelation of Your Son, Christ Jesus.  We pray in the name of the One True God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.



"Then Yahweh said to me, 'What they have said is well said, from their own brothers I shall raise up a prophet like yourself; I shall put my words into his mouth and he will tell them everything I command him.  Anyone who refuses to listen to my words, spoken by him in my name, will have to render an account to me.' " Deuteronomy 18:17-18


"I myself have anointed my king on Zion my holy mountain. I will proclaim the decree of Yahweh: He said to me, 'You are my son, today have I fathered you. Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations as your birthright, the whole wide world as your possession. Psalms 2:6-8


"The coming of God's Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over the centuries.  He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the "First Covenant."  He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel.  Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming."  Catechism of the Catholic Church # 522


Readings for Biblical period # 11: Jesus the Messiah

The Announcement of the birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:1-25


The Annunciation

Luke 1:26-38

The Visitation of Mary and the

Birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:39-80

The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem

Luke 2:1-21

Jesus' Baptism and The Temptation in the Desert

Luke 3:1-18; John 1:19-34; Luke 4:1-13

Jesus' Galilean Ministry

Luke 4:14-9:50

The Bread of Life Discourse    

John 6

The Transfiguration

Luke 9:28-36

The Jesus' Judean Ministry

Luke 9:51- 19:27

The Last Visit to Jerusalem

John 12:1-28; Matthew 23:13-39

The Last Supper

Luke 22:1-23

Jesus' Passion and Death

John 18:1-11; Matthew 26:57-66; John 18:28-19:16; Luke 23:24; Mark 15:21-27;

Luke 23: 33-34; John 19:23-27; Mark 15:33-34; Luke 23: 39-44; Matthew 27:45; John 19:28-30; Mark 16:42-47; John 19:31-36; Luke 23:45-56

The Resurrection         

Luke 24:1-49

The Ascension of the King

Luke 24:50-53; Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:1-11





There are 27 books included in the New Testament.  Both Catholic and Protestants accept these same 27 books into their New Testament canon.  These 27 books are divided into the 4 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; the Acts of Apostles, the letters of Paul which include his letters to seven Churches [the Church of Rome, the Church at Corinth (2), the Church of Galatia, the Church at Ephesus, the Church at Philippi, the Church at Colossus, the Church at Thessalonica (2)]; and the letters of Paul to Timothy (2 letters), Titus, and Philemon; as well as the letter to the Hebrews, which may have also been written by Paul.  There are also the "catholic letters" or letters to the universal Church written by Peter (2), Jude , James, and John (3) and finally, the last book of the New Testament, the Revelation of Jesus Christ to His servant John.   


Many scholars believe all the New Testament books were written before the destruction of the Temple in 70AD because there is no mention of the devastating revolt against Rome which began in 66AD nor mention of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70AD. The Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was quite literally the end of the world for the Jews since over a million Jews died during the revolt and the majority of the Jews who survived were sold into slavery and disbursed into the Roman world. 


It has been said that the New Testament books were originally circulated to the Church throughout Palestine, Italy and Asia Minor in the Greek language, but there is evidence in the writings of Church Fathers Origen and Jerome that at least Matthew's Gospel was originally written in Hebrew (or Aramaic) before it was translated into Greek.   When St. Jerome was working on his Latin Vulgate translation in the 4th century he mentioned having access to copies of Matthew's Gospel written "in the language of the Hebrews" and more recently Dead Sea Scrolls scholars made an interesting discovery when attempting to translate the Greek New Testament Gospels back into Hebrew.  They discovered that all the Gospels translated very easily back into Hebrew.  They also discovered "word-plays" in Hebrew that were missing in the Greek translations. Examples are found in each of the Gospels like the Hebrew word-play in Luke chapter 1 verses 72-73 from the "Song of Zechariah" [New American translation]:   " show mercy to our fathers, and to be mindful [remember]of his holy covenant, and to the oath he swore to Abraham, our father."  This passage is a prophecy that the priest Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth cousin of the Virgin Mary, gives upon the birth of his son John the Baptist.  In Luke 1:72-73 the Hebrew root words for each name, Zechariah, Elizabeth, and John are present in these verses:


Verses from Luke chapter 1

Hebrew root word

Hebrew Name

Verse 72 "to show mercy to our fathers..."

Mercy = hanan

Yehohanan = Yahweh is mercy = John

Verse 72 "and to remember his holy covenant"

Remember = zakar [zachar]

Zachariah = Yahweh remembers = Zechariah

Verse 73 "and the oath he swore.."

Oath = shaba

Elishaba = God makes oath or God's oath = Elizabeth

Reference: Stephen Ferris, The Hymns of Luke's Infancy Narratives & Jean Carmignac, The Birth of the Synoptics



How accurate are the copies of ancient text of the New Testament?  In the following chart you can compare other ancient texts with the most ancient New Testament copies available to us.  Especially please note the "time gap" between the original work and the oldest known copy:

Ancient Sources Compared to New Testament copies



Date Written

Earliest Copies

Time Gap

Numbers of early copies



800 BC

c. 400 BC

c. 400 years




480-425 BC


c. 1,350 yrs.




460-400 BC

c. AD 900

c. 1,300 yrs.



Surviving works

400 BC

c. AD 900

c. 1,300 yrs.



Surviving works

300 BC

c. AD 1100

c. 1,400 yrs.


Julius Caesar

Gallic Wars

 c. 54 BC

(lived 100-44 BC)

c. AD 900

c. 1,000 yrs.



History of Rome


(lived 59BC-AD 17)


4th century (partial)

10th century

c.400 yrs


c 1,000      

1 partial


19 copies



c. AD 100


c. AD 1100

c. 1,000 yrs.


Pliny the Younger

Natural History

c. AD 100

C, AD 850

c. 750 yrs.


New Testament

27 books

AD 50-70 (some scholars date Revelation as late as AD100)

c.114 frag- ments

c. 200 books   c. 250 New Testament (most)

c. 325 New Testament (complete)

10 – 50 yrs.


70-100 years

100-150 yrs.



200-225 yrs.



In addition to these ancient copies of text we have Scripture quotations for the New Testament in the works of the Fathers of the Church from St. Clement writing in the late 1st century and St. Justin in the mid 2nd century to Bishop Eusebius of the 4th century.

Early Patristic Quotation from the New Testament:




Paul's Letters

Catholic Letters



St. Justin







St. Irenaeus







St. Clement of Alexandria



































Totals 19,368       1,352         14,035             870                664 36,289

From Evidence That Demands a Verdict and Faith of the Early Fathers volume I


Our available copies of New Testament documents give us a very accurate account of the original texts.




"Blessed in the name of Yahweh is He who is coming!  We bless you from the house of Yahweh.  Yahweh is God, He gives us light." Psalms 118: 26-27 written circa the 10 century BC


Judah ceased to exist as an independent state after the Roman conquest of 63BC.  Judah became the Roman province of Judea and even though the Romans allowed Judea's citizens to freely practice their religion, the Jews of Judah began to long for the promised Messiah and looked for the promised signs to be fulfilled.  There is little doubt that first century AD Jews were expectantly looking for the advent of the Messiah.  There were a number of factors that led religious Jews to believe the coming of the Messiah was eminent.  First was the prophecy of the 70 weeks of years made to the prophet Daniel in Daniel chapter 9 (490 years) as a time period to be fulfilled before the coming of the

"Anointed One" was completed. Then too, the Jews had calculated that there were 2,000 years from Adam to Abraham and one thousand years from Abraham to David's conquest of Jerusalem and now another 1000 years had passed since David had established Jerusalem as the City of God!  The time was ripe and the people were expecting the Anointed One to come as a Prophet like Moses, a Priest like Phinehas, and a King like David to free them from their Roman oppressors. 


The Romans ruled Judea with the same efficiency with which they ruled the other Roman provinces.  The resources of the province were ruthlessly exploited for the glory and wealth of Rome.  Rome had established an Idumean named Herod as King of Judea and he had successfully, if brutally, ruled the province since 37BC.  Rome even allowed the Jews their peculiar religion as long as a sacrifice of a bull was made daily for the Emperor at the Temple in Jerusalem.  First century AD Jews faithfully kept the Tamid daily sacrifices [see Exodus 29: 38-42 and chart in Biblical period #3] and the other sacrifices of the Covenant offered at the Temple in Jerusalem and faithfully studied the Scriptures in their Synagogues, especially the final prophecies of Yahweh's last holy prophet, the Prophet Malachi who promised "Look, I shall send my messenger to clear a way before me.  And suddenly the Lord whom you seek will come to his Temple; yes, the angel of the covenant for whom you long, is on his way..." [Malachi 3:1] and "Look, I shall send you the prophet Elijah before the great and awesome Day of Yahweh comes.  He will reconcile parents to their children and children to their parents, to forestall my putting the country under the curse of destruction." [Malachi 3:23]. With great expectations they watched for the coming of Elijah and awaited his announcement of the Messiah. 


Biblical Period

# 11 Jesus the Messiah


Announcement &

First Advent of the Son of Man


Presentation of the Son of Man

The Ministry of the Son of Man


Rejection of the Son of Man

Perfect Sacrifice of the Son of Man is offered and accepted


The Sinai Covenant – New Covenant in Christ



Division of

the Text

Birth of John

Annunciation, Incarnation & early life of Jesus

Ministry of John

Baptism of Jesus

Temptation of the second Adam

Galilean Ministry

Calling the disciples and Apostles

Judean Ministry

Ministry in Samaria

Confrontation with Old Covenant Authorities

Trial, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of the Son of Man




Seeking the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel

Harvest of the faithful remnant

Miracles & Teachings

Miracles & Parables


Galilee - Judea


Samaria - Judea



circa September 3 BC – May 30 AD



World Empire: Roman Empire


Julius Caesar's                     Birth of Jesus        death of                                 beginning                      Crucifixion

g. nephew defeats                                in Bethlehem         Caesar                                    of Jesus'                      Resurrection

Marc Antony and                                                                Augustus/                             ministry. Ascension

Cleopatra VII                                                         Reign of                      Jesus is 30 yrs old                2nd Great

at the Battle of Actium.                                       Tiberius Pentecost=Birth of

Octavian will become Caesar Augustus          Caesar                                                the New Covenant Church


Please read Luke 1:1-25: The Announcement of the birth of John the Baptist

Question: What was the priest Zechariah doing when the angel came to him?

Answer: He was fulfilling his priestly duties burning incense on the golden altar of incense in front of the Holy of Holies.  Incense was burned twice each day at the time of the Tamid lamb sacrifice was laid on the great bronze sacrificial altar at 9AM, the time of the sacrifice of the first Tamid Lamb, and again at 3PM, at the sacrifice of the second Tamid Lamb.  The entire day revolved around this sacrifice [see Exodus 29:38-42 and 30:1-9].  The only time blood was smeared on the golden altar of incense where Zechariah was ministering was during the Feast of Yom Kippur [Feast of Atonement; see Exodus 30:10] in the early fall.  Some Fathers of the Church believed this visitation of the angel Gabriel came to Zechariah on the Feast of Yom Kippur.  If it was on this feast that Elizabeth conceived John the Baptist it would explain the selection of John's feast day 9 months later on June 24th, assuming that Yom Kippur fell on the 24 or 25th of September.  That would make Jesus' Incarnation 6 months later [see Luke 1:26, 36] on March 25th and His birth 9 months later on December 25th.  A number of the Church Fathers also wrote that Jesus died on the exact same month and day He was conceived.  March/April is the time of the Passover and so it was possible that His Passion occurred, as some Fathers of the Church suggested, late in March.  [See the Tamid Sacrifice chart in the Appendix at the end of this lesson].


Question: Is the child of Elizabeth and Zechariah to be consecrated from his mother's womb? See Luke 1:14-15.  Were there other men who were similarity consecrated by God from the womb? See Numbers 6:2-3; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Judges 13:3-7; 1 Samuel 1:11 and Numbers 6:1-21.

Answer: He is to be consecrated from the womb like the priest Jeremiah and the Nazarites Samuel and Samson. 


Many scholars believe that John the Baptist was also a Nazarite but Scripture only mentions that he didn't consume strong drink.  There is no other mention of the other requirement that identified a Nazarite as there is in the case of Samson and Samuel --no cutting of the hair of his head.  The Nazarite stipulations are set forth in Numbers chapter 6:1-21 and fall between the priestly obligations and duties [Numbers 3:1-4:49], purity laws [Numbers 5:1-31 and the priestly prayer [Numbers 6:22-27].  Service in the priesthood was hereditary but if someone not of Aaron's line was called by Yahweh he or she could be consecrated and serve Yahweh as a Nazarite for a prescribed length of time [see Acts 21:23-26] or for life as in the case of the prophet Samuel and the judge Samson.  John the Baptist was the son of a priest and a priest himself.  It would not be necessary for him to take a Nazarite vow to serve God.  That John was commanded not to drink wine or strong drink from his mother's womb may be associated with his mission as the precursor of Christ.  Priests in service to Yahweh in the Temple were forbidden to drink wine or any fermented liquor. In Leviticus 10:9 are Yahweh's instructions to Aaron the high priest for when priests come into God's presence: "When you come to the Tent of Meeting, you and your sons with you, you may not drink wine or any other fermented liquor, to avoid incurring death." John came into the presence of God when the pregnant Virgin Mary visited John's mother Elizabeth in Luke 1:41 and John leaped for joy in his mother's womb.  Then too, the drinking of wine to excess in Scripture is symbolic of rebellion and violation of God's Law [see Isaiah 5:11-12 and the section "How to Study the Prophets" in Lesson # 8.  Examples of the drinking of wine to excess leading to sin and rebellion are found in several narratives in the Old Testament: it is implied that the drinking of wine by Aaron's 2 older sons contributed to offering "unauthorized fire" which resulted in their deaths [Leviticus 10:1-3, 9], Abraham's nephew Lot became drunk and violated his own daughters [Genesis 19:32-35], and Noah became drunk before he was dishonored by his son Ham [Genesis 9].  John's mission was to serve as the precursor and anointing priest of the Son of God and so perhaps abstaining from wine was part of this priestly function and condition of purity in service to the Messiah.  John is the last prophet of the Old Testament and is linked to the prophet Elijah who was prophesized to come before the Messiah [Malachi 3:23-24].  Both John and Elijah wore a camel hair cloak and a leather loincloth [see 2 Kings 1:7-8 and Matthew 3:4].  According to early Church historians James, who was the first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem, kinsman of Jesus, and probable author of the New Testament Letter of James, was a lifetime Nazarite [see The Works of Hegesippus, Book 2 chapter 22 and Eusebius' Church History, 2.23.4].


Question: What prophecy does the angel reference in Luke 1:17?

Answer: Malachi in Malachi 3:23-25.


Please read Luke 1:26-38: The Annunciation

Notice how Luke's Gospel links the family of John the Baptist, who is to be the precursor of the Messiah in the spirit of Elijah to the family of Mary.

Question: How many similarities do you see between the birth narrative of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth?


The Announcement of John's Birth

The Announcement of Jesus' birth

The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to tell of a miraculous birth:

Luke 1:11

The angel Gabriel appears to Mary to tell of a miraculous birth:

Luke 1:26-27

Gabriel tells Zechariah, "Zechariah, do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard." Luke 1:13

Gabriel tells Mary, "Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favor." Luke 1:30

Gabriel announces the name of the child, "...and you shall name him John" Luke 1:13

Gabriel announces the name of the child, "..and you must name him Jesus" Luke 1:31

Gabriel announces the mission of the child, "even from his mother's womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the Israelites to the Lord their God...preparing for the Lord a people fit for him." Luke 1:15-17

Gabriel announces the mission of the child, "He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob forever and his reign will have no end." Luke 1:32-33

Zechariah expresses disbelief and is rebuked, "Zechariah said to the angel, 'How can I know this?  I am an old man...The angel replied...'Look, since you do not believe my will be silenced..'" Luke 1:18-20

Mary expresses concern and is assured, "'But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?'  The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will com upon you, and th4e power of the Most High will over you with its shadow.  And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.'" Luke 1:34-36

John is born: "The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son.." Luke 1:57

Jesus is born: "...the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth of a son, her first-born."  Luke 2:6

John is circumcised and named on the 8th day: "Now it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; ... 'he is to be called John.'" Luke 1:59-60

Jesus is circumcised on the 8th day: "When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception." Luke 2:21

Zechariah speaks the prophecy of the Benedictus in Luke 1:67-79

Mary speaks the prophecy of the Magnificat in Luke 1:47-55

John's birth story conclusion: "...the child grew up and his spirit grew strong." Luke 1:80

Jesus' birth story conclusion: "And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom, and God's favor was with him." Luke 2:40


Question: After the announcement to Zechariah of the future birth of a son how many months later does the same heavenly messenger come to a girl named Miriam in a village of the Galilee called Nazareth which means "branch" [netzer]?

Answer: Six months later the Angel Gabriel announces the coming of the Messiah to Mary in the village of Nazareth.


Question: Usually when an angel greets a mortal human his first greeting is one of assurance: "Don't be afraid" [see Genesis 21:17; Judges 6:23; Daniel 10:12; Luke 2:10; Revelation 1:18], but the archangel is himself overcome to be in the presence of this mortal woman who has been chosen to bear in her womb God Himself.  What is Gabriel's first greeting to Mary?

Answer: In Luke 1:28 the announcement in the literal Greek is "Chare, kecharitomene" [kah-ray kay-kah-ree-toe-may-nay]. Gabriel has called Mary a past perfect participle which can be translated as  = "Hail" ( a greeting to one superior in rank and better translated as "awesome one"), "has been graced" = transliteration. Gabriel addresses Mary by a title that identifies her condition as having always been in a state of grace  = "has been graced".   A good translation would be "awesome one, full of grace" or "awesome one who has been perfected in grace."  The Fathers and Doctors of the Church taught that "this singular, solemn and unheard-of greeting showed that all the divine graces reposed in the Mother of God and that she was adorned with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit".  This singular condition meant that Mary was "never subject to the curse" of original sin and that she was preserved for all sin.  These theologically explosive words of the Archangel Gabriel constitutes one of the important text sources which reveal the dogma of Mary's immaculate conception [see Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus; and Paul VI, Creed of the People of God].  See Catechism of the Catholic Church # 490-493.


Gabriel continues in his greeting to add: The Lord is with you."  More than a greeting these words are an affirmation of Mary's unique condition in her relationship with God.  St. Augustine expands the meeting of Gabriel's words to convey that he is saying "He is more with you than he is with me: he is in your heart, he takes shape within you, he fills your soul, he is in your womb.." [see Sermon on the Nativity of God, 4].  Some early Greek texts include at the end of this verse the words: "Blessed are you among women!", an exultation that St. Elizabeth will make in Luke 1:42


Question: What are the implications of Mary's state of blessedness as expressed by this phrase?

Answer: That God has exalted Mary over all the women ever born -- she is more blessed than the mothers of the Children of the Covenant like Sarah, or Rebecca, or Rachel because she has been chosen to be the Mother of God.


After his initial greeting Mary's fear prompts the angel to reassure her with the words "Don't be afraid".  Mary's fear does not imply any imperfection in her but rather is a reflection of her natural reaction in this encounter with the supernatural.  Her fear also is a reflection of her humility.


Question: In verses 31-33 Gabriel tells Mary that she is to be the Mother of God.  What prophecy do these words fulfill?  Mary surely would have thought of these verses.

Answer: The prophecy of Isaiah in the 8th century BC to king Ahaz in Isaiah 7:14 and later 9:1-6.  In fact in Matthew's Gospel when Gabriel appears to Mary's betrothed Joseph in a dream to prepare him for the great honor of parenting the Son of God, Matthew will quote the 7:14 passage from Isaiah:  "Now all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: 'Look! The virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel, a name which means 'God-is-with-us.' " [Matthew 1:22].


In verse 34 Mary asks a very natural question "How can this come about since I have no knowledge of a man?"

Question: What is the significance of the angel's reply?

Answer: He tells her that the Spirit of God will "overshadow" her.  The "shadow" of God is symbolic of the presence of the Almighty.  In the Exodus experience when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments on Mt. Sinai a cloud covered the mountain [see Exodus 25:15-16], and when God took possession of the Ark of the Covenant in the dedication of the desert Tabernacle a cloud overshadowed the Ark [see Exodus 40:34-36].  In the Greek translation of the Bible in used in the 1st century AD the Greek word used to describe this "overshadowing" of the Ark of the Covenant is episkiazo. It is the same Greek word used here in Luke 1:35.  The Greek word episkiazo is from the word episkopeo, which means "to invest with preternatural influence; to overshadow".


Question:  Is there a connection between the Virgin Mary and the Ark of the Covenant?  What were the 3 items that were placed in the Ark of the Covenant?  See Hebrews 9:4.  Compare Mary's womb with the contents of the Ark of the Covenant from Hebrews 9:4.


Contents of the Ark of the Covenant

Mary's Womb

The 10 Commandments = the word of God

Jesus: the Living Word of God

A pot of the manna, the bread from heaven

Jesus: the Living Bread come down from heaven

Aaron's staff or branch that came back to life as a sign of God's favor

Jesus: "The Branch" of the House of David that died but came to life again


Question: The Old Covenant Ark of the Covenant was last seen just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem when Jeremiah hid the Ark and the Tent in a cave on Mr. Nebo [see 2 Maccabees 2:ff].  But will the New Covenant be deprived of a sacred vessel associated with the very presence of God?

Answer:  No! The Virgin Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant!



"Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the Ark of the Covenant, the place where the glory of God dwells. She is 'the dwelling of God [...] with men.'" CCC#2676


God the Holy Spirit overshadowed and then indwelled the Ark.  The Ark became the dwelling place of the presence of God [Exodus 40:34-35]

God the Holy Spirit overshadowed and then indwelled Mary.  At that time Mary's womb became the dwelling place of the presence of God [Luke 1:35].

The Ark contained the 10 Commandments [the words of God in stone], a pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that came back to life [Deuteronomy 10:3-5; Hebrews 9:4].

The womb of the Virgin contained Jesus: the living Word of God enfleshed, the living bread from heaven, "the Branch" (Messianic title) who would die but come back to life [Luke 1:35].

The Ark traveled to the hill country of Judah to rest in the house of Obed-edom [2 Samuel 6:1-11]

Mary traveled to the hill country of Judah (Judea) to the home of Elizabeth [Luke 1:39]

Dressed in a priestly ephod, King David approached the Ark and danced and leapt for joy [2 Samuel 6:14]

John the Baptist, son of a priest who would himself become a priest, leapt for joy in Elizabeth's womb at the approach of Mary [Luke 1:43]

David shouted for joy in the presence of God and the holy Ark [2 Samuel 6:15]

Elizabeth exclaimed with a lour cry of joy in the presence God within Mary [Luke 1:42]

David asked, "How is it that the Ark of the Lord comes to me?" [2 Samuel 6:9]

Elizabeth asks, "Why is this granted unto me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" [Luke 1:43]

The Ark remained in the house of Obed-edom for 3 months [2 Samuel 6:11]

Mary remained in the house of her cousin Elizabeth for 3 months [Luke 1:56].

The house of Obed-edom was blessed by the presence of the Ark [2 Samuel 6:11]

The word "blessed" is used 3 times in Luke 1:39-45 concerning Mary at Elizabeth's house.

The Ark returned to its sanctuary and eventually ends up in Jerusalem where the presence and glory of God is revealed in the newly built Temple [2 Samuel 6:12; 1 Kings 8:9-11]

Mary returned home from visiting Elizabeth and eventually comes to Jerusalem, where she presents God the Son in the Temple [Luke 1:56; 2:21-22]

God make Aaron's rod (which would be kept in the Ark) return to life and bud to prove he was the legitimate High Priest [Numbers 17:8].

God would resurrect His Son, who had become enfleshed in Mary's womb and born to bring salvation to all mankind, to prove He is the eternal High Priest [Hebrews 4:14].

The Ark is taken from the Temple and hidden before the destruction of Jerusalem in 587/6BC [2 Maccabees 2:1-6] and it is not seen again until..

Revelation 11:19-12:1 "Then God's temple in heaven opened and in the temple could be seen the ark of his covenant. There were flashes of lightening and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.  A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars."  This is the same vision of Mary that Juan Diego saw in 1531 which we call the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2002 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.



Question: In Luke 1:31-33 the angel Gabriel tells Mary "You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end." What is the significance of the name "Jesus?"

Answer: In Hebrew Yehosua [Yahshua in proto-Hebrew] means "Yahweh saves" or even more literally "I AM saves."  The name of Jesus pronounces both His destiny and His mission.  Since God alone can offer the gift of salvation and the forgiveness of sins, it is God, who in Jesus the eternal Son become flesh, who will save humanity.  The name "I AM or Yahweh saves" signifies the very name of God present in the person of the second person of the Most Holy Trinity, made man for the redemption from sin of all of mankind for "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" [Acts 4:12].


Jesus is both the promised son of David's line who will rule forever [see Luke 1:32-33 and 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and the one greater than Moses promised in Deuteronomy 18:17-18

Question: Compare the promises made by the angel Gabriel of Jesus destiny and the promises God made to King David in 2 Samuel 7:


Promises made to David

Promises made to Mary

"I am going to make your fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth."

2 Samuel 7:9

Luke 1:32 "...and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great..."

"Yahweh furthermore tells you he will make you a dynasty.  And when your days are over and you fall asleep with your ancestors, I shall appoint your heir, your own son to succeed you and I shall make his sovereignty secure." 2 Samuel 7:11-13

"The Lord will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end." Luke 1:32-33

"I shall be a father to him and he a son to me.." 2 Samuel 7:14

"And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God." Luke 1:32


Question: Compare Moses to Jesus.  How was Moses a type of Christ?

Answer: Mosaic Typology: Jesus the Greater than Moses


An evil king tried to kill him as a baby: Exodus 1:22

King Herod tired to kill baby Jesus: Matthew 2:16

He was hidden from the evil king: Exodus 2:2

An angel said to hide the child: Matthew 2:13

Moses was sent into Egypt to preserve his life: Exodus 2:3-4

Jesus was taken into Egypt to preserve His life: Matthew 2:13-15

He was saved by women: his mother: Exodus 2:3; Miriam 2:4; Pharaoh's daughter 2:5-10 but his sister Miriam loved supported him during his ministry

Mary saved and helped Jesus: Matthew 2:14 and Mary [Hebrew = Miriam] love and supported Him during His ministry and was with Him at the cross, John 19:25-27

Pharaoh's daughter adopted him: Exodus 2:10

Joseph adopted Jesus: Matthew 1:25

Moses became a prince of Egypt: Exodus 2:10

Jesus is the Prince of Peace

Long period of silence from childhood to adulthood

Long period of silence from childhood to adulthood

He had a secret identity

Messianic secret = Jesus the Son of God

He tired to save a Hebrew kinsman: Exodus 2:11-12

Jesus came to save His Hebrew kinsman first: Mark 7:26-28

Went from being a prince to a pauper: Exodus 2:15-19

Went from being God to being man: John 1:1-3; Mark 6:3

Saved women at a well: Exodus 2:15-19

Saved a woman at a well: John 4

Became a shepherd: Exodus 3:1

He is the Good Shepherd: John 10:11

Moses' mission was to redeem Israel from slavery to Egypt

Jesus' mission is to redeem mankind from slavery to sin

He was often rejected by his own people

Jesus was rejected by His own people

Moses will give God's law on the mountain of Sinai: Exodus 20-33

Jesus will give the new law from the Mt. of Beatitudes: Matthew 5-7

Moses is the prophet of the Old Covenant Church: Deuteronomy 18;15,17

Jesus is the prophet, priest, and King of a New and everlasting Covenant = the Universal [Catholic] Church: Deuteronomy 18:17-19; John 4:18; Hebrews 6:20-8:13; 2 Samuel 7:16; 1 Timothy 1:16-17; 6:14-15; Revelation 17:14

Moses will offer to sacrifice his life for the lives of the Covenant people: Exodus 32:30-33

Jesus will sacrifice His life for the redemption of mankind: Mark 10:45; Romans 6:20-23; 1Corinthians 5:7-8

Moses is the leader of the old exodus out of bondage in Egypt to redemption from slavery and through him God will form Israel into a holy covenant people'the Old Covenant Church

Jesus is the leader of the new exodus out of bondage to sin and redemption from the power of death. Through Him a new covenant people will be formed—a new Israel that will be the New Covenant Universal [Catholic] Church.

Moses leads the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt the day after the Passover to freedom in the Promised land

In the Last Passover God's Son leads the New Covenant people out of slavery to sin through His sacrificial death & resurrection so they can receive the promise of eternal life, the real Promised Land = heaven.

See CCC# 129-130


It is at this moment of Mary's ascent "Let it happen to me as you have said", that the Incarnation takes place as God the Holy Spirit envelops the Virgin Mary.  This is the same Spirit of God that moved over the face of the water of creation bringing life that now comes into the Virgin's womb and the fruit her womb will be the work of God the Holy Spirit.  This worthy Virgin, conceived herself without the stain of sin becomes the new Tabernacle of God [see Revelation 11:19-12:1]!  This is the mystery Catholics repeat every day when saying the Angelus: "The angel of the Lord announced unto Mary.  And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.  Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.  Be it done unto me according to Thy word. Hail Mary, etc., And the Word was made flesh,  and dwelt among us.  Hail, Mary, etc.  Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may, by His passion and cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen." [from my grandmother's prayer book: Key of Heaven, 1906].


Once Mary learns of God' plan she yields in complete faithfulness and obedience and responds perfectly to God's call in verse 38: "You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said."  This is Mary's "fiat" = "let it be done".  In her yielding to God in this moment she becomes the first Christian and the model for all Christians of all centuries.


Commenting on these passages in his homily in Mexico City in January of 1979, Pope John Paul II noted that there are four dimensions to Mary's faithfulness:

-First is her faithfulness in what John Paul referred to as the "search" when she humbly sought to understand God's plan for her and for the world in her simple question "how can this be?" 

-The second dimension of her faithfulness is her "acceptance" when Mary's response is her simple fiat, "Let it be done".

-The third dimension John Paul noted is Mary's faithfulness in "consistency" in that she adapted her life in faithful obedience to God's plan of salvation.  No matter what the cost to her personally, Mary faithfully submitted to God. 

-And then John Paul II spoke of the fourth dimension to Mary's when he said: "But all faithfulness must pass the most exacting text, that of duration.  Therefore, the fourth dimension of faithfulness is constancy.  It is easy to be consistent for a day or two.  It is difficult and important to be consistent for one's whole life. It is easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm, it is difficult to be so in the hour of tribulation.  And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole of life can be called faithfulness.  Mary's 'fiat' in the Annunciation finds its fullness in the silent 'fiat' that she repeats at the foot of the Cross." [Homily in Mexico City Cathedral, 26 January 1979].


Question: Before leaving her what news does the angel give Mary in verse 36?

Answer: That Mary's cousin Elizabeth is 6 months pregnant.


Please read Luke 1:39-80: The Visitation of Mary and the Birth of John the Baptist

Question: The Father's of the Church saw David's leaping in joy before the Ark of the Covenant as it enters Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6:12-15 as a foreshadow of John the Baptist leaping in his mother's womb in the presence of Jesus in the womb of Mary.  What are the comparisons that can be made to link these two events?  Please note that Zechariah's home was in the village of Ein Karem, in the hills near Jerusalem

Answer: Mary traveled to the hill country of Judah and Jerusalem is located in the hill country of Judah.  David danced for joy in the presence of Yahweh since Yahweh's presence was with the Ark of the Covenant and John the Baptist in his mother's womb leaped for joy in the presence God in the womb of Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant.  The Ark had rested in the house of Obed-Edom of Gath in the hill country for 3 months [2 Samuel 6:11] and Mary stayed with Elizabeth for 3 months [Luke 1:56].


Question: What is the other implication concerning John's leap of joy in the presence of Christ?  Hint:  see Gabriel's prophecy in Luke 1:14-15

Answer: In the case of St. John, although he was conceived in sin and therefore inherited original sin like all other men and women, he was however born sinless because he was sanctified in his mother's womb by being in the presence of Jesus the Savior [in Mary's womb].  John's leap of joy was a result of receiving this grace of God which thereby fulfilled Gabriel's prophecy to Zechariah in Luke 1:15: "..even from his mother's womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.." 


Question: Moved by the Holy Spirit by what title does Elizabeth call Mary in Luke 1:43?

Answer: "The Mother of my Lord", meaning the Mother of God.


Luke 1:46-55 contains some of the most beautiful poetry in Sacred Scripture and is known to us as Mary's Magnificat. In this song of joy and faith Mary evokes certain passages of the Old Testament like 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Hannah's song of joy over God's goodness in granting her the birth of Samuel.


Question: Filled with the Holy Spirit, Mary speaks prophetically in verses 48-49.  What is the prophecy?

Answer: That all generations will call her blessed.


After John the Baptist's birth his family, faithful to the Covenant, has the child circumcised on the 8th day of his life.  This was a sacrament established by God under the Old Covenant to mark out the chosen people [see Genesis 17:9-27].  It was an external sign that indicated what was to be an internal condition: the entrance of the child into the Covenant people and the mark on a soul that this child belonged to Yahweh.  This rite was performed either at home or at the Synagogue and in addition the ceremony included prayers as well as the official naming of the child by his father.


Question: What miracle occurs?  Resisting family pressure what does Zechariah name the child?
Answer: Zechariah's speech returns.  Fulfilling the prophecy of the angel he names the child Yehanan [Yehohanan], = "Yahweh's mercy/ Yahweh is mercy" -- John.  St. Ambrose observed that at this moment: "With good reason was his tongue loosed, because faith united what had been tied by disbelief." Like St. Thomas the Apostle's reluctance to believe in the Resurrection of Christ, Zechariah had been reluctant to believe the angel's news that his wife in her old age would bear a son.  God worked a miracle for each of these men but as Jesus would later tell Thomas "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed." [John 20:29].


Filled with the Holy Spirit Zechariah receives a special grace of prophecy.  Known as the Benedictus this prayer gives thanks to God for sending the Messiah as He promised the Patriarchs and prophets of Israel and then Zechariah prophesies that his son John will have the mission of serving as God's herald by announcing the coming of the Messiah and proclaiming God's mercy.


Please read Luke 2:1-21: The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem

The Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar who, upon his defeat of Marc Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium [31BC], was declared by the Roman Senate the first emperor of the Roman Empire in 28 BC. 


Question: The Roman census required that heads of households register in their hometowns.  What prophesy was fulfilled when Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus?

Answer: Micah 5:1 "But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, from you will come for me a future ruler of Israel whose origins go back to the distant past, to the days of old."


Question: In verse 7 it is stated that Mary gave birth to a son, her "firstborn."  What does this title imply?  Does it imply that Mary would have other children?

Answer: No it does not.  In ancient times this title emphasized the dignity and rights of the first male child born from a woman's womb.  It was the right of the "firstborn" to inherit a double portion of the father's wealth and property.  However, Jesus is the first-born son in a much more significant sense, which is independent of natural or biological birth.  Writing in the 8th century AD St. Bede expressed the views of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church concerning the title of "firstborn" as it applies to Jesus when he wrote: "Truly the Son of God who was made manifest in the flesh belongs to a more exalted order not only because he is the Only-begotten of the Father by virtue of the excellence of his divinity; he is also firstborn of all creatures by virtue of his fraternity with men: concerning this [his primogeniture] it is said: 'For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brethren' [Romans 8:29].  And concerning the former [his being the Only-begotten] it is said 'we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father' [John 1:14]. Thus, he is only-begotten by the substance of the Godhead, and firstborn through his assumption of humanity; firstborn by grace, only-begotten by nature.  This is why he is called brother and Lord: brother, because he is the firstborn; Lord, because he is the Only-begotten." [see The Gospel of Luke, The Venerable Bede].


In Jesus' birth His divinity and his humanity are perfectly manifested in the tiny baby in Mary's arms. 


The coming of the Son of God will culminate in the formation of the 8th covenant of Salvation History.  7 Covenants had preserved the "holy seed"  before the coming of the Messiah.  The symbolism of numbers in Scripture designates 7 as the number of completion and perfection.  The Old Covenant will be fulfilled and completed in the coming of the Son of God and in His perfect sacrifice He will establish the 8th and last Covenant of the People of God.  8 is the number of salvation, redemption, and re-birth!







1.         Adam


-dominion over the earth


Tree of Life


Genesis 1:28-30

Genesis 2:15-17

2.      Noah and the earth

-never destroyed by flood again




Genesis 8:21-9:1-17


3.      Abraham = 3-fold


-nation (descendants)

-world wide blessing



On the 8th day


Genesis 15:1-18

Genesis 17: 1-27

Genesis 18:18 & 22:18

4.      Moses & Israel

-Sinai Covenant establishing divine liturgy & covenant sacraments


Ark of the Covenant


10 Commandments



Exodus 19 forward


5.  Aaron & Sons

-perpetual ministerial priesthood



Leviticus 2:13

Numbers 18:9

6.  Phinehas                 

-perpetual priesthood in Covenant of Peace

(prefigures Christ)


Seamless robe & miter


Numbers 25:11-15


7.   David        

-dynasty and throne forever secure


Throne/ Temple


2 Samuel 7:11-17

8.   Jesus  (Yah-shua = Yahweh saves or I save) also written Yehosua = Joshua


The Cross, the true "Tree of Life"


4 Gospels

Michal Hunt


Questions for group discussion:

Question: Did Mary remain a virgin after Jesus' birth?

Answer: Form the earliest centuries of Christianity has always been a teaching of the Church and a dogma of Catholic faith that Mary remained a virgin after Christ's birth.  As you may recall, Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 wasn't just that a virgin would conceive but that the virgin [ha almah] would conceive and bear a child.  In St. Matthew's Gospel he reveals that Mary remained a virgin in giving birth to Jesus [see Matthew 1L25].  It was the testimony of the Fathers of the Church that Mary's bodily integrity remained intact and she did not experience the ordinary pangs of childbirth.  Pain in childbearing was a curse of the Fall but as the Immaculate Mother of the Word made flesh Mary was free from all sin and concupiscence and so it follows that her childbearing would be free of such consequence of sin.  It is a dogma of the Church that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of the Savior and throughout her entire life.  This dogma was restated in the documents of the last great council of the Church, Vatican II: "Joined to Christ the head and in communion with all his saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory of the glorious ever virgin Mary, Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ."   And in regards to her perpetual virginity: "This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's conception up to his death ..[...] then also at the birth of Our Lord, who did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it, the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son to the shepherds and the Magi." [Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 52, & 57, Vatican II].


Question: That night in Bethlehem who first received the announcement of the birth of the King of Kings given?  Why is this significant?

Answer: To the humble shepherds.  The salvation that Christ's brings to us is offered freely to everyone without distinction as St. Paul stated in Colossians 3:11 "Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all."  In His birth He manifested Himself to people from all walks of life from lowly Jewish shepherds, to scholarly Gentile Magi, and to the prophets Simeon and Anna.  St. Augustine commented: "The shepherds were Israelites; the Magi, Gentiles.  The first lived near-by; the latter, far away.  Yet both came to the cornerstone, Christ." [Sermons on the Nativity of God, #202, St. Augustine].  From the very beginning of His earthly life He called Jew and Gentile, the humble and the rich to come to Him and in worship and to receive His gift of salvation!


It is also interesting that the lambs for the Tamid sacrifice were kept in herds outside of Bethlehem.  Perhaps it was these shepherds who kept the lambs sacrificed daily for the sins of the people who were the first to look on the face of Him who would one day be given as the only pure sacrifice for sin.


Question: According to the prophets what family line was the Messiah to come from?

Answer: The house of King David. 


Both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke link the Old Testament toledoths [genealogies] to the birth of Jesus the Messiah and give genealogies that link Jesus to David and Abraham. Read Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38.  While Matthew's toledoth is a pattern of 3 sets of 14 generations from Abraham to King David to Jesus, Luke's genealogy lists Jesus' ancestry from Adam.  The genealogies diverge in the line of David's sons Solomon and Nathan and the line is reunited in Zerubbabel.  It has always been a tradition that Matthew's genealogy reflects Jesus' legal claim through His foster father Joseph and Luke's genealogy reflects Jesus' physical descent through Mary.  [If you are interested in the Bible's symbolic use of numbers see the Resource: "Matthew's Toledoth" for information on Matthew's unique presentation of Jesus' lineage].


Question: Does the Bible provide enough information to historically determine the year of Jesus' birth?  Hint: see Luke 3:23.

Answer: Yes.  It is in Luke's genealogy that we are told that Jesus was about 30 years old when He began His ministry [see Luke 3:23].  Luke also tells us that it was in the 15th year of the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius that John began baptizing along the Jordan River [see Luke 3:1]. Augustus Caesar died and was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius on the 19th of August 14AD.  According to St. Luke, this would make the beginning of John's ministry [as the ancients counted] in the 15th year of Tiberius, some time between the 19th of August 28AD to the 18th of August 29AD.  Since there was an annual 40 day period of national repentance in preparation for the Feast of Atonement in the early fall [about mid September] some scholars believe John may have begun his ministry at this time—sometime between mid August and early September in 28AD.  This priest John [Yehohanan = Yahweh is grace], son of  the priest Zechariah, the last of the long line of Old Testament prophets, was sent by Yahweh on the most important mission of Salvation History: to prepare the Covenant people for the coming of their long promised Messiah!


Question: Please refer to the chart on the Focus of the Four Gospels.  The four Holy Spirit inspired writers of the Gospels address their gospel message to different audiences.  To which groups do they address their gospels and what are the key points emphasized in each of their accounts? 



Resources and recommended reading:

1.      Anchor Bible Commentaries: – Gospel of Luke, Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark

2    The History of Greece, Will Durant

3.   Our Oriental Heritage, Will Durant

4.   Caesar and Christ, Will Durant

5.   Making Sense out of Scripture, Mark Shea

6.   The Didache, James Kleist, translator. Ancient Christian Writers Series,  [Newman Press, New York, N.Y., 1948]

7.    The Navarre Bible Commentaries: John, Matthew, Luke, and Mark

8.    The Anchor Bible Commentary- The Gospel of John, Fr. Raymond Brown

9.    The Ignatius Study Bible – The Gospel of John

10.  Catechism of the Catholic Church

11. Life is Worth Living, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

12. The Gospel of John Study Guide, Dr. Scott Hahn

13. Offerings, Sacrifices, and Worship in the Old Testament, J.H. Kurtz

14. Feast of Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

15. The Annals, Tacitus

16. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

17. The Temple, its Ministry and Services

18. The Mishnah

19. The Anchor Bible Commentary- The Gospel According to  John, vol II

20. The International Critical Commentary – St John

21. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible – The Gospel of John

22. The Dictionary of the Bible, Fr. John McKenzie, S.J.

23. The Feasts of the Lord, Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal

24. Many Religions, One Covenant, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

25. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

26. The Works of Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews; The Jewish War

27. The Works of Philo of Alexandria

28. Hail Holy Queen, Dr. Scott Hahn

29. The Jewish New Testament Commentary

30. Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, Jeremias

31. Salvation is From the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History From Abraham to the Second Coming, Roy H. Schoeman, Ignatius Press

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2008 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.