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Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Friday, March 09, 2012

A new gender equality and role for women was an element of the Messianic age

A new gender equality and role for women was an element of the Messianic age

It is not often realized, but the Bible speaks clearly about the fact that a new role and inclusion of women in the development of the Messianic age on earth was going to happen.

The Messianic age was going to be something different. Note what Isaiah says about this time:

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.” (Isaiah 11:6-8) (ESV)

Relationships were not going to be the same between man and animal, between child and animal and between animal and animal. But note this. They were also not going to be the same between man and woman! This is because man and woman were going to participate jointly in the emergence of the Messianic age.

This is the exact teaching of the Apostle Peter in Acts 2, who quotes the same teaching from the book of Joel and Peter does this right at the very beginning of the Christian Church. This new movement called Christianity was going to involve men and women equally. Note what he says:

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour forth my Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your elders shall dream dreams: Yes and on my bondmen and on my bondmaids in those days will I pour forth of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17,18)

This text cannot be much clearer. There is no exclusion here. It says very clearly “daughters” and “bondmaids” and that “they will prophesy.” Luke, under the guidance here of Paul, is showing the gender equality aspect of the new teaching of Christianity. It does not stop here. Go through the rest of Acts and you will find the same thing in evidence.

Really though the place to see the seeds of this gender equality are to be found in the companion book written by Luke under Paul’s guidance: the Gospel of Luke itself. Let us first look at the Gospel of Luke and we will see an obvious focus on gender equality.

Gender equality in the Gospel of Luke

The Gospel of Luke is fundamentally different than the other two Synoptic Gospels as we have shown and one area where there are obvious differences between Matthew and Mark is in the area of its orientation towards women. This orientation has been well recognized by Christians scholars throughout the years because it is such a clear difference.

A good summary of this view is found in the following quotation:

“Most naturally also in Luke we find the most frequent allusions to that which has been one of the most striking distinctions between the old and modern world – the position of women as a fellow-heir of the kingdom of heaven, sharing in the same responsibilities and hopes,” (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, vol v, pg. 554. article: ‘Luke’)

Let us look at a very clear example of this in Luke’s Gospel (there are many). It is not something isolated or something that could really just be subject to one person’s interpretation. In no way! It is a cross cutting aspect of Luke’s Gospel. Women just keep be referenced in Luke in a way which is not the case for the other Synoptic Gospels.

Let’s not stop here though, many women themselves in Jerusalem knew of these prophecies and were looking for the emergence of this period of time in history. One such woman is mentioned very clearly in the Gospel of Luke. She was “Anna, a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher (she was of great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity, and she a widow even unto eight four years), who departed not from the temple, worshipping with fastings and supplications night and day.” (Luke 2:36-38)

If we just read right over this and don’t see something being pointed out here, we are missing out its importance. Luke, under the guidance once again of St. Paul here, is showing that the Messianic age was commencing and here, not only does the prophet Simeon (Luke 2:26-31) get to bless the baby Jesus, Luke and Paul make sure that everyone knew that God was including women in this process exactly as the prophet Joel had said would take place which Peter quotes in Acts 3.

What did this great prophetess Anna do? “And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spake of Him [Jesus] to all that were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Acts 2:38).

When we think about what kind of a woman Anna must have been? She was over 100 years old and would have commanded great respect among the people. It says that she had been fasting and praying in the Temple, day and night, for 84 years! She was called a “prophetess” and her opinion would have not been taken lightly by people.

Note: This is a small excerpt to a much larger paper I have on this subject. Over 51,000 words already. Hope to bring that out in the future.

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