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Luke 4:16-21

by Don Costello  
5/05/2008 / Bible Studies

1. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

a. Jesus had returned to Jerusalem and went into the synagogue. The passage he read was Isaiah 61:1, 2, but he did not read the whole passage. He read all of verse 1 but Jesus stopped his reading of this passage in the middle of the verse and the middle of the sentence, no matter what translation you check out. It is the same in the KJV, the NIV, the NASV, the NRSV, and the Amplified Bible.

2. Isaiah 61:1-3 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach the good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound:
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

a. In the above Isaiah 61:1-3 passage, all the words in italics are part of the passage but was not quoted by Jesus. The reason is the first half concerns the first coming of Christ and the second half concerns the second coming of Christ.

3. "and the day of vengeance of our God"

a. The following six passages all deal with the day of vengeance, or the wrath of God, or the winepress of the wrath of God. These three terms will be in bold and italic type.

1). Isaiah 63:1-6 "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in my anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth."

2). Revelation 14:17-20 "And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
And the winepress was troddened without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."

3). Isaiah 59:16-19 "And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the ememy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against."

4). Revelation 19:11-16 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew, but he himself.
And he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called the Word of God.
And the armies which followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."

5). Deuteronomy 32:41-43 "If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold of judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people."

6). Jeremiah 25:30-33 "Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground."

4. "to comfort all who mourn;"

a. Why they mourn in Zion.

1). Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications..."

a). This pouring out of the spirit of grace and supplications is to enable Israel to receive the revelation of Jesus as their Messiah.

b). Contrast the above with Romans 11:7-10, in particular verse 8: "(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day."

c). Wow! In Zechariah 12 God is pouring on Israel the spirit of grace and supplications and in Romans 11:8 God is reported to have poured on Israel the spirit of slumber to the extent that Israel would not see or hear their Messiah when he would come to them. But we need to look more closely at what Romans 11:8 is saying. Romans 11:8 is a combination of two verses in Isaiah. The first part is a partial quote of Isaiah 29:10, "For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep" The second part is a looser reference to Isaiah 6:9 "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears," On first inspection it appears that God is doing this to the people without them being able to do anything about it. But when Jesus quoted Isaiah 6:9 in Matthew 13:15, we see something profoundly different. Jesus said, "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears," Jesus was saying their spiritual sleep was their own fault.

d). Just as Jesus placed the blame on the people for their spiritual condition, so it is with all of us. Peter warns us to be sober, i.e., alert spiritually, 1 Peter 5:8.

2). "and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced,

a). look (5027 * nabat) To scan, i.e., look intently at; by impl. To regard with pleasure, favor or care:- (cause to) behold, consider, look (down), regard, have respect, see.

b). They begin to look intently at this person who has powerfully rescued them. His rescue causes them to considerthey will look at the wounds in his hands and feet and side. And the revelation will flood their hearts and minds. They will realize that Jesus is their Messiah and their God. The revelation will spark the most bitter, the heaviest, and probably the longest period of mourning in Israel's history.

3). "and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and as one that is in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."

a). Jeremiah 6:26 "O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation"

b). Ashes were a common part of mourning Job 2:8; and for repenting for sin, Jonah 3:5, 6.

c). While Job was mourning the loss of his sons and daughters, his three friends did not speak to him for 7 days, Job 2:13. "So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great."

d). This mourning will not only be the most important of Israel's history, it will be their most sincere and their deepest.

e). The period of mourning for Aaron was 30 days: Numbers 20:29.

f). The period of mourning for Moses was 30 days: Deuteronomy 34:8.

g). The period for mourning for Jacob was a total of 77 days: Genesis 50:3, 10.

h). From the Scriptures listed here and others that I will list below concerning their loathing of themselves because of sin, we can reasonably speculate that the Israelites will not speak to one another for a considerable period of time.

h). As a nation Israel has rejected and murdered their Messiah. His innocent blood is upon them, interestingly at their own request. Matthew 27:25, "Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."

i). Cp. Deuteronomy 19:10; Matthew 23:35.

j). Another reason is they have lost 2/3 of their people, slaughtered by the anti-Christ: Zechariah 13:8, 9.

4). Zechariah 12:11 "In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon."

a). Hadadrimmon (Unger's Bible Dictionary) "A place in the valley of Megiddo, originally named after two Syrian deities. The lamentation on account of the death of good king Josiah, who lost his life in battle here, was so great as to pass into a proverb.

b). 2 Chronicles 35:20-25 "After all this, when Josiah and prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, and disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of the chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchers of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.

5). Zechariah 12:12 "And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart."

a). There are two passages in Scripture that give some light on the fact of the husbands and wives being apart during this mourning period.

b). Exodus 19:10-15 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them them today and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives."

c). 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto her husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency."

d). From these two witnesses it is shown that there are times when spiritual growth requires being sexually abstinent. This explains the phrase, "and their wives apart."

e). There is one more possible reason discussed in verse 14.

5). Zechariah 12:13 "The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart."

a). Another reason is like our own salvation experience, in that when they remember all their ungodly deeds.

b). Ezekiel 20:42-44 "And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mind hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, not according to your corrupts doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD."

c). Ezekiel 36:31, 32 "Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel."

d). Isaiah 57:13-18 "When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain. And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his coveteousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on forwardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.

e). The end of Isaiah 57:18, "I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners", so fittingly leads us to the next part, their healing.

5). Zechariah 12:14 "All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart."

a). According to Zechariah 13:8, 9, two thirds of Jewish people will be slaughtered immediately before Jesus returns. The passages that speak of "a remnant" i.e., Romans 9:27, 28 and Isaiah 10:20-23; or "he that is left in Zion", Isaiah 4:3; and here in Zechariah 12:14, "All the families that remain", are all indirectly mentioning it.

b). As the Scriptures show, the mourning of Israel will be the deepest of any nation in human history. How long this mourning period will last is not stated, but surely it will last longer than the period of mourning for the patriarchs. It will be deeper than the periods of mourning that Israel experienced when Josiah died, when Job lost all his sons and daughters.

5. Isaiah 61:3 "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

a. Chronologically this is immediately after the second coming of Christ, and immediately before the Millennial reign of Christ. Israel will enter an eternal union with her God, never to be separated again.

1). Isaiah 40:1, 2 "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for her sins."

b. Not only will the people be comforted, but the land as well.

1). Isaiah 51:3 "For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody."

2). Jesus is going to minister personally to his people perhaps while they are apart from each other, but surely while they are mourning. He is going to give them beauty, the oil of joy, and the garment of praise, in exchange for ashes, mourning, and the spirit of heaviness.

a). The Old Testament is filled with types and foreshadows of the New Covenant. In that sense I believe we can see a picture of this healing and reunion in Genesis with the story of Joseph and his brothers. In the book of Acts 7:13 it says, "And at the second time Joseph was made know to his brothers; and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh." Just as Joseph was made know to his brothers on the second visit, Jesus will be made know to the nation of Israel after his second coming. In the account of Genesis is a very touching reunion that I believe is a picture of the reunion of Jesus and his people.

b). Genesis 45:1-4, 14, 15 "Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into EgyptAnd he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: after that his brethren talked with him."

My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.

My e-mail address is

I have a blog located at:

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