The conception of Christ is a great mystery. Maybe it is time to get a nice present for yourself and me at the same time. Why not look at it as a donation to the collection for once:
This essay is based on numerous concepts developed in this book. So treat yourself to a thought inspiring book and check your own faith and get an understanding of your own soul, your feelings of anticipation and joy and, on the other hand, feelings of depression. Get food for thought about what was the ‘Image of God’ when He created us, what was the Original Sin and why did the Church ordain celibacy only over thousand years after Christ? How did people change over the Millennia? Was the Church right in not explaining the decisions it made at the end of the eleventh century? Can we reconstruct the reasons today and, most importantly, are these reasons still valid today.
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I kept the price of the book low, so that money would not be an issue. I feel that I could have asked more than ten times this amount for a book like this. You will need to download the free kindle reader for your device from the net.
So today let us look at the description of the conception of Christ in Luke 1. It is an interesting devotion, but critical people should keep in mind that it is based on a thought building which can only be understood after reading Greetings from Paradise. Today’s reading are verses 39 to 45.
Luke 1: 5 to 80:  There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.  And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.  And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were [now] well stricken in years.  And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,  According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.  And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.  And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  And when Zacharias saw [him], he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.  But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.  For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.  And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.  And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.  And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.  And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.  And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.  And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.  And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.  And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,  Thus hath the Lord dealt with [me] in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.  And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, [thou that art] highly favoured, the Lord [is] with thee: blessed [art] thou among women.  And when she saw [him], she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.  Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.  For with God nothing shall be impossible.  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.  And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;  And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb.  And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.  And blessed [is] she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy [is] his name.  And his mercy [is] on them that fear him from generation to generation.  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from [their] seats, and exalted them of low degree.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of [his] mercy;  As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.  And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.  Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.  And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.  And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.  And his mother answered and said, Not [so]; but he shall be called John.  And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.  And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.  And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.  And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue [loosed], and he spake, and praised God.  And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.  And all they that heard [them] laid [them] up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.  And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,  Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,  And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;  As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:  That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;  To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;  The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,  That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,  In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.  And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;  To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,  Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,  To give light to them that sit in darkness and [in] the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
What a nice story. Is there a deeper meaning hidden inside it? Judge for yourselves:
There are really two conceptions involved, the one of Jesus and the one of John, the Baptist. Now John the Baptist was born by Elisabeth, the woman of Zacharias, an elderly couple. The name Zacharias is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Zachariah, meaning God remembers. What God remembered might very well be described in Zachariah’s speech at the end of the chapter in verses 68 to 79, particularly verse 72.
Elisabeth is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Elisheba, which was the name of Aaron’s woman, who brought forth his four sons, including the priest after him, Eleazar (Ex. 6: 23). The Gesenius Lexicon gives two possible meanings for Elisheba: ‘To whom God is the oath’ or ‘Who swears by God’ probably that the sons she brought forth actually were Aaron’s. This was important since the priest’s office was to be inherited (Ex. 28: 43). Zacharias was a priest, so Elisabeth was the woman who was ordained to bring forth his sons, but (verse 7) unfortunately she was barren.
Now there was another very famous barren woman, Sarah or Sarai, as she had been originally called and it is explained in Speculations on the Birth of Isaac that it might very well have been Abraham who was infertile and that he actually enlisted the help of a man with good physical and mental qualities to inseminate his woman for him. Such men might have lived on putting children of their own desirable attributes into the women of others who hired them to do so. (The fact that and the reason why Ancient People believed that what comes out of a man’s penis to be an early form of a complete child, meaning the woman has no hereditary input in it but is just an empty vessel or, according to the Quran (2: 223) a field, is explained in Greetings from Paradise in the chapter on the Original Sin.)
Is there a parallel? Abraham was visited by three men, who were also called the LORD in Gen. 18. When this chapter is superficially read it appears quite confusing as to whether there were three men or God visiting Abraham. It is explained in Speculations on the Birth of Isaac that it was probably not God, who visited Abraham, but a man with two attendants. The Ancient Greeks would have called him a god-like man (E.g.: Homer, Od. 1: 20) in some instances and there are examples in which women are called goddesses due to their chid – bearing ability (Homer, Od. 5: 192). Since men had found out in Gen. 3 that women did not get pregnant without the ‘input’ from a man, men may very well have been seen as gods, because they were the ones who made women pregnant. Sarah was impregnated probably by such a god (see Speculations on the Birth of Isaac). Now later when monotheism evolved the god in Gen. 18 was changed into God, the LORD.
Zachariah was visited by the Angel Gabriel. Gabriel is a bilingual name. Gabr in Persian means man or even Zoroastrian, a man belonging to the religion of Zoroaster. El means God. Gabriel means man of God. Gabriel told Zachariah that Elisabeth shall bear him a son. The text is not very specific about who the father is. He did not say, ‘Elisabeth and you shall have a son.’ She was to bear a son for him and it would be his son, because she was his woman.
Gabriel instructed Zachariah to name the son John, even though he had no relatives of that name. The Greek name is Joannes which is derived from the Hebrew Johanan, meaning ‘whom God bestowed’. Again the question arises whether this was God or a man with good physical and mental properties who would produce a child like himself by inseminating Elisabeth for Zachariah, since Zachariah could not.
There is an interesting website about the meaning of the name Gabriel.
Was it he who made Elisabeth pregnant?
In verse 18 Zachariah asked Gabriel whereby he shall know this, ‘for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.’ Gabriel’s answer is in verse 20. Zachariah shall be dumb and not able to speak. If someone would ask him, ‘How did your woman get pregnant?’ he shall not know what to say. He shall not answer.
In verse 24 Elisabeth conceived. It does not say from whom, but she hid herself for five months! Why did she do that??? She said in verse 25, ‘Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on [me], to take away my reproach among men.’ Was this the LORD or was this the lord Gabriel? Why would she hide, if God had blessed her in the sense that he gave the elderly couple a child without outside help?
Now in verse 26 Gabriel was by God sent to Nazareth. King James has translated ‘from God’ which is literally correct, but it does not imply in Ancient Greek, that he was with God at the time. He might have been sent by God from Zachariah’s house to Nazareth. He was sent to a virgin (verse 27) espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
Now there is an Ancient Hebrew interpretation of the word virgin and an Ancient Greek one. The Ancient Hebrew word is discussed in the link. This interpretation fits together with Mary being ‘espoused’, meaning being ordained to bear a child for a certain man, Joseph. Matt. 1: 25 says that Joseph did not know her before Jesus was born. The meaning of ‘knowing a woman’ is discussed in Greetings from Paradise in the chapter on the Original Sin.
For the Ancient Greek interpretation it has to be noted first, that the word parthenos, translated as virgin, really has an ending which identifies it as a male noun. It is only through the usage of the word in the modern sense, that it has acquired a female character in Greek language, even though its grammatical properties have not changed. It is combined with the female form of adjectives, but itself appears to be male. The word is used in relation to men in Rev. 14: 4, ‘These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.’ In other words parthenos is a religious term, meaning people who observe the first commandment and do not worship other gods through sexual acts, which was common in the Middle East and Greece at the time. Lev. 19: 29 forbids to ‘Prostitute Thy Daughter’ (see the chapter so entitled in Greetings from Paradise) So all the word parthenos might have meant is that Mary was a worshipper of God and did not worship any other gods! This interpretation would also make more sense of 2. Cor. 11: 2 in which St. Paul wrote, ‘For I am jealous over you (the Corinthian Congregation) with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one man, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.’ The word harmozein, translated as espoused, means to join. It only occurs in this one place in the Bible. It is different from the word in verse 27. The word hagnos (chaste) really means ‘exciting reverence, venerable or sacred’ again a word standing for devotion to God, nothing sexual. However it is remarkable that many translators seem to make the high standard of God’s or Jesus’ relationship to the congregation sexual.
So the word parthenos, translated as virgin, just might mean a woman purely believing in God only.
Now the next verse (28) starts, ‘And the angel came in unto her, ….’ This is a Biblical phrase describing sex, often casual sex. What we consider sex between husband and wife to produce offspring of the father would have been described as ‘knowing.’ The use of ‘to come in’ is very clear in Gen. 6: 4, for example, ‘There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown.’ Or in Gen. 38: 16, Judah approached a woman he thought to be a prostitute, ‘Let me come in unto thee.’
Now in the remainder of verse 28, Gabriel said to Mary, ‘Hail, [thou that art] highly favoured, the Lord [is] with thee: blessed [art] thou among women.’ Could this have been a prophecy by the Angel, something that bubbled forth from his mouth in the pleasure of the moment without him actually contemplating what he was saying? (See Greetings from Paradise, Chapter ‘Ecstasy’)
Verse 29 says, when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying and cast in her mind what kind of salutation this should be. She didn’t say anything but she wasn’t quite sure of the praise she was receiving.
Could this have been a conversation during the act? Would he just have gone into her place and lain down next to her and the Holy Spirit would taken its course? Would she have seen him only during the act? This is exactly what happened between Ruth and Boaz in Ruth 3: 3 to 10. The feet are a euphemism for the genitals. The word translated as virtuous in verse 11, really means strong or wealthy, the latter being the meaning here, since Ruth received possessions to which she was entitled in the remainder of the book.
So the conversation between Gabriel and Mary might have gone on during the act up to Luke 1: 38.
In verse 34, however, Mary said, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ The word to know has a different meaning. Obviously she knew a number of men. Does it mean sex? As explained in Greetings from Paradise in the chapter on the Original Sin, in relation to sex knowing means to know who the father of the child with whom a woman is pregnant is. It is a lengthy process which involved a woman to abstain from sex for some time to turn into a virgin. And according to verse 27, she was in this process. Maybe the reasons why Mary was chosen were, she was a true worshipper of God and secondly she had been abstaining from sex in preparation to bear an heir for Joseph. This implies that it is known that the father of Jesus was Gabriel! She was a virgin in both Biblical senses: she was a true worshipper of God and she was not pregnant. That’s why she was chosen, because it was known that she did not bear another man’s child!
In verse 35 Gabriel said to Mary, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’
So Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost with the aid of the Angel Gabriel.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.