It has been more than a month since we were hit by Typhoon Rai. Practically all our basic utilities were rendered unavailable. No power, no water and no internet. Both power and water are now back in our area, but a lot of areas remain powerless and have no water. Until now, our internet remains unavailable. Yet thankfully, though I can’t do online sharing of God’s Word, writing a blog remains possible.
While watching a TV program, someone from the show quoted a verse from the Gospel of Luke. I checked on the Bible to see how it was explained, if indeed that was the teachings of the Scripture. Somehow upon checking that particular verse, I realized it was inadequately explained. At best, only a particular moral value was highlighted, leaving the real message missing. With that, somehow I was compelled to reread and write about the Gospel of Luke.
The Gospel of Luke has these introductory statements:
“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:1-4)
The obvious purpose of Luke was to write an orderly account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – orderly, emphasizing on the accuracy and truths about Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
If we carefully note the dating of Luke and Acts (yes, Acts also was written by Luke, see Acts 1:1) then we would know the prevailing circumstances and see the reason for the Gospel of Luke.
A big chunk of Luke’s narrative in Acts, his second book, covers the journey of Paul preaching the Gospel beyond Antioch. At the end of Luke’s narrative, Paul was imprisoned in Rome preaching the Gospel first to the Jews, then also to Gentiles. See Acts 28:28-31.
“Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” “He (Paul) lived there (in Rome) two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him,” “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
According to Bible Hub Timeline – an online Bible tool providing historical insights and many other help in the study of the Bible – Acts 28 (the last chapter of Luke’s second book) had its setting on 62 A.D., about three decades following the events concerning Jesus Christ – His life, death, resurrection and ascension – and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2). A lot of things certainly had happened within 30 years. Of great significance, the church had grown from Jerusalem to Rome, which explains Paul’s words to the Colossians – the Gospel had reached the whole world. But of course Paul was referring to the known world of his time, the territories of the Roman empire. That was the whole world of Paul and any Jews alike of his time, having been under Roman rule.
Similarly, we ought to understand Jesus’ utterance of the whole world with the same perspective. See Matthew 24:14.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
It should be noted that Colossians was a prison letter, written by Paul while imprisoned in Rome. And it had the same dating with Acts, 62 A.D. If you have stable internet, click on the link to see Bible Hub timeline.
Christ’s perspective on the “end of the earth” in Acts 1:8 (see below) came to its fulfillment at the end of Acts, when Paul was imprisoned in Rome preaching the Gospel of the kingdom. That’s why Paul said in Colossians 1:3-6 (see below), the Gospel has reached the whole world. See Acts 28:30-31 & Colossians 1:3-6. In effect, Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled at the end of Acts, during Paul’s two years imprisonment in Rome.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8)
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:3-6).
Keep in mind that Paul wrote about the gospel reaching the whole world from Rome, the end of the earth from the perspective of Acts 1:8 and of Jesus Christ of course. Without a doubt, Jesus Christ affirmed the same truth, see Luke 24:44-59.
“Then He (Jesus Christ) said to them (the disciples), “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.””
Jesus Christ reiterated His promise of the Holy Spirit and His command for the disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations beginning at Jerusalem in Acts 1:8. Amazing, isn’t? Jesus Christ has a unified message. Luke’s Gospel intended to tie up possibly loose ends affirming the truth. It’s an apologetic affirmation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, defending the faith.
On a side note, we don’t need affirmations from supposed church fathers ‘cause the Bible in itself, if studied well and thoroughly, is complete and able to defend the Gospel narrative. Only the Bible, all 66 books, is infallible. All else are capable of error or fallible.
The Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 then has been realized at the end of Acts. That was the affirmation of Luke’s Gospel and Acts. But the end of the age came with the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple (Matthew 23:36-48; 24:2), the passing of Old Covenant Israel.
Another side note: Despite the claim of futurist Christians that the Jewish temple would be rebuilt, it never happened. And it has been more than two thousand years since it was destroyed, yet the Dome of Rock now stands on its former place ‘cause nowhere in Scripture was there a prophecy or promise of another rebuilding. Sorry to say this, but the rebuilding claim is one of the biggest fake news.
Now back to our discussion. Another important twist of events that occurred sometime A.D. 54, or perhaps a bit earlier, was the distorted presentation of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. See Galatians 1:6-7, the apostle Paul wrote:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”
Next see 2 Corinthians 11:3-4.
“But I am (Paul) afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”
Paul wrote these letters to two separate churches addressing the spread of distorted gospel. Sadly, within just a few decades after the birth of Christianity, false teachings were abound. Without a doubt, it had penetrated the early church. Consequently, that should explain the need for four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The gospel writers aimed to confront false teachings, which evidently was prevalent as early as two or three decades after the events concerning Jesus Christ. Hence, Luke spelled out the purpose of his Gospel narrative – it’s an orderly account of the things that have been accomplished among us. Make no mistake; Luke had his focused on the narrative concerning Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Again, see above Acts 1:1-4.
Make no mistake the Gospel of Luke was purposely apologetic, written to uphold the truth as against false teachings. Perhaps the same may be said of most of the New Testament writings.
The Book of Revelation was an announcement of the end (Old Covenant Israel). Jesus Christ said “the time is near (Revelation 1:3)” and “Surely I am coming soon (Revelation 22:20)”. Of course “soon is soon,” “near is near,” not millennia after and seems indefinitely.
Take careful note that Jesus Christ declared about His return at the beginning and closing of Revelation. And He clearly said “soon” and “the time is near”. By the way, “Revelation” literally means “disclosure”. Therefore, to disclose something that was once concealed. Consequently, it surely is detrimental for anyone to misread or misinterpret Revelation. Check out Revelation 22:18-19.
In our present age, we are bombarded by online informations – truth or lies. If lies can be floated easily while the apostles were still around and without the internet, so much more today. The birth of the internet is both boon and bane. We just have to learn to make good use of it. Similarly, the Scripture speaks of the truths about Jesus Christ and His Gospel. But when manipulated – maliciously or not – it could tell people other things. For instance, a lot of people are connecting Covid-19 vaccinations to supposed microchip implants of the last days. Clearly nowhere in the Bible did it speak of such a scenario. On the topic of the “last days”, you may click on the link and read my blog entitled “Unending Last Days”.
The Bible is a unity. The New Testament writings certainly correlate with each other and the Old Testament Scripture as well. Three decades after the events concerning Jesus Christ and His Gospel, in spite of the presence of the apostles then, false teachings aroused. We shouldn’t be surprised then that it’s also happening today, now that we are millennia away. All the more we ought to be on guard, checking every teaching and be like the Bereans. I hope everyone detests falling into fake news.
That’s all there is to it. False gospels are no different from fake news. Incidentally, “gospel” literally means “good tidings or good news”. And the validity of the Gospel would only be truly good if it’s of divine origin, devoid of man’s opinion. So, the apostle Paul declared:
“For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12)
This is a significant declaration, for Luke’s Gospel narrative, as well as that of the Book of Acts. Luke’s authority to write the said two books (Luke and Acts) was derived from Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul affirmed he received the Gospel from Jesus’ direct revelation to him (Galatians 1:11-12). Also, Luke was a constant traveling companion of Paul, witnessing firsthand the deeds of the Holy Spirit. Lastly, Luke should have the benefit of privilege fellowship with other eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. For instance, Peter and the rest.
We join the call to proclaim the eternal gospel to everyone (Revelation 14:6). The Gospel is eternal ‘cause its message remains unchanging. Let us be sure we are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, not some distorted gospels which actually are fake news.
Lord willing, I will expound more on the Gospel of Luke, sharing insights into the teachings of the Bible.
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