Luke 1:79 Commentary - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

79. To them that sit in darkness The image is here completed. The people are sitting in sullen darkness, the darkness even of death, and the dayspring pours down its splendour from the eastern sky upon them.

Guide our feet into the way of peace The sitters in darkness have wandered far from the paths of peace, and the dayspring from on high reveals to them the true way.

‘So breaks on the traveller, faint and astray,

The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn.”

On this song of Zacharias, and on this chapter generally, we may remark:

1 . On the very eve of the Messiah’s appearing the speakers are still in the dimness of the Jewish dispensation as to the exact character of the Messiah and his reign. Had these prophetic passages been, as sceptics represent, composed after the crucifixion, or even after the destruction of Jerusalem, the writer would have suited the details to the then existing facts.

2 . All the elements which are here ascribed to the Messiah’s kingdom are really in its very nature and substance, and are to be developed in its history from the beginning and in future ages. Mercy, holiness, truth, light, and peace are its inmost principles, and to those are given, in the present and future, power to triumph in the world.

3 . The Messiah now truly lives and reigns in this kingdom. He lives and reigns personally and in the body. He lives and reigns as personally and corporeally as if he reigned visibly, and as if he now sat upon a golden throne in the city of Jerusalem. He sways the sceptre of the world though the world be in rebellion. Without visible manifestation or show of physical or mechanical power, and allowing the principles of probation and free-agency to work out their problem, he is ever ruling and overruling the affairs of men in order to the development and ultimate prevalence of the reign of truth and righteousness in the earth, in order that millions on millions may be redeemed; to the end that he shall finally “see the travail of his soul and be satisfied.”

4 . Christian scholars have always been aware that, in the narratives of the births both of John and of Jesus, there is an abundance both of events and phrases that are framed after the model of Old Testament examples. Zacharias is visited in the same manner by an angel, and with the same message, as was Abraham. Mary’s hymn is paralleled by Hannah’s upon a similar occasion. John is, like Samson, heralded by an angel before his birth, and is bound to be a Nazarite. The mythical scheme of the skeptical Strauss uses these well known facts to show that the whole story is a fabrication manufactured by the imagination of the early Christians out of these Old Testament histories, blended mythically together. His system represents the main share of gospel history to be thus constructed out of Old Testament materials. Every New Testament fact that has anything like it in the Old Testament is a plagiary and an imitation; and every event fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy is held to be invented to fit the prophecy, or to be made out of the prophecy itself. The real truth is, that the Old Testament does contain the kernel and shadows of the New. The Jewish people were a living type of a better dispensation. The prediction is verified in the fulfillment, the type in the antitype, the sacrifice in the atonement, the shadow in the substance.

Consult other comments:

Luke 1:79 - The Greek Testament

Luke 1:79 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Luke 1:79 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Luke 1:79 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Luke 1:79 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Luke 1:79 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Luke 1:79 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Luke 1:79 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Luke 1:79 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Luke 1:79 - Geneva Bible Notes

Luke 1:79 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Luke 1:79 - Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 1:79 - Henry Alford's Greek Testament

Luke 1:79 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Luke 1:79 - Church Pulpit Commentary

Luke 1:79 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Luke 1:79 - Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Luke 1:79 - A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:79 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Luke 1:79 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Luke 1:79 - Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

Luke 1:79 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Luke 1:79 - Combined Bible Commentary

Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments