The Twelve of Matthew and the Seventy of Luke
Sheep and Rams
by Steve Santini
On two different occasions Jesus sent out followers to heal and announce his presence. In regards to the figurative masculine and feminine comprising the body of Christ, a comparative study of these two records is most revealing.
One may learn much from the differences in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. John wrote in 21:25 that he supposed that the world could not contain all he books pertaining to what Jesus did. Therefore, each author of their gospel, as inspired, selected words and deeds of Jesus to highlight primary yet differing themes for various purposes. Both Matthew and Mark were written soon after the crucifixion of Jesus. Matthew seems to give a chronological overview of the ministry of Jesus from a Hebrew perspective while Mark seems to be later written and to be directed more towards the Gentiles. Some scholars have said that Matthew was derived from an somewhat earlier gospel entitled, The Gospel to the Hebrews, of which Jerome, compiler and translator of the Latin Vulgate, states that the Holy Spirit was considered feminine as the mother in law of the soul.
Both the gospels of Luke and John were written many years later, after the apostle Paul had fully made known the great mystery of Christ and the church. As such, both of these two contain profound records of the differences between the figuratively functional masculine saints and feminine faithful in Christ Jesus.
John’s gospel begins with the Holy Spirit and the only man filled with such from his birth – John the Baptist. Then the gospel moves directly to Jesus’ prophetic words spoken specifically to and about the saint, Nathanael. This introductory section concludes and transits with the first of the eight miracles of Jesus recorded in John’s gospel. On the third day after John the Baptist baptized Jesus, and on the second day after Jesus’ revelation to Nathanael, one uniquely without guile, at a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, Jesus turned water into wine. The remainder of John’s gospel is directed towards the purpose of bringing the feminine faithful in Christ Jesus unto maturity through understanding the Holy Spirit and its forthcoming gift, sealing their betrothal to and eventual “marriage” unto, or, in other words, spiritual union with the saints.
Luke, in Paul’s later ministry, had traveled extensively with Paul. He was with Paul in Ephesus as Paul fully made know the great mystery by preaching and teaching daily over the course of several years. Subsequently, there are unique records and usages in Luke’s gospel pertaining to the spiritually masculine saints that, when compared internally and externally with records pertaining to the faithful in Christ Jesus, reveal necessary differentiations. Luke records a different rendition of the parable of the sower spoken to a differing group at a different place, using the differing masculine Greek word spora for seed rather than the Greek word sperma for seed used in the other record in Matthew. (Luke 8:5) Luke attributes the conception of Jesus unto both the Holy Spirit and the power of the Highest while Matthew attributes the conception just to the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:35) Luke is the only gospel that records Jesus’ “bar mitzvah” presentation of maturity during his twelfth year where, in the temple, now allowed to ask questions, the “sages” of Israel were amazed at his understanding and answers. It was from this point that he declared that he must now be about his father’s business as any recently dedicated male heir in Eastern culture would. (Luke 2:41-52) Luke’s gospel is the only one which records that Jesus told the apostles James and John that they were of a different spirit than that of Elijah. (Luke 9:54-56) It is only in the gospel of Luke that the sending out of the seventy is recorded. (Luke 10:1-24) Although the sending out of the twelve is recorded fully in Matthew and Mark, it is noticeably condensed in Luke’s gospel. (Luke 9:1-6)
In addition to this record’s absence in Matthew and Mark, what seems to draw questing attention is the Greek usage for the word other in verse one and the differences in Jesus’ instructions and responses to these two groups sent out during his ministry.
After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
There are most often in the Greek texts of the New Testement two words translated as other. One is allos and the other is heteros. Basically, allos mean other of the same kind while heteros means other of a different kind. In the above verse the Greek word heteros, meaning other of a different kind, is used. In light of this, when one holds to the tradition that all in the body of Christ are the same spiritual gender or gender neutral, it would be reasonable to assume that these seventy were of a different kind because they were not discipled as apostles as the twelve were. Yet when one considers the record’s unique appearance in Luke, the timing of the event, the contrasts between instructions given the twelve and the seventy and the contrasts in Jesus’ responses to each event, the differences seem too great to assume the only dissimilarity was in type of discipleship.
In this regard, from the prior context of this event in Luke compared to the record of the twelve in Matthew, it is interesting, and possibly revealing, that the sending out of the seventy occurred shortly after Jesus had spoken with Elijah and Moses in the presence of Peter, John and James on the Mount of Transfiguration, while the sending of the twelve had occurred well before this transfiguration. It was God whom had told Moses, who appeared with Jesus on the mount, to select seventy elders of Israel upon whom he could transfer the spirit that was upon Moses in order to assist Moses in administering the children of Israel on their way to the promised land through the wilderness of Sinai. Once again, it was Jesus who appointed seventy as forerunners to assist him in his ultimate mission of sacrificial blessing.
A Comparison of the Two Scriptural Records
In the first verse of each record, there is a differentiation in the meanings of selection. The twelve were “called” while the seventy were “appointed.” The Greek word for called is proskaleo and means literally to call someone towards oneself. Its form is used over one hundred and fifty times in scripture. The Greek word for appointed is anadeiknumi. It is used twice in scripture. Once, here in Luke and again in the first chapter of Acts where the disciples ask for God to show them which one was to replace Judas. It is a compound word prefixed by ana. Ana has the following meanings most often determined by context and the word prefixed by it: repetition, reversal or change, upon, upwards, continuity and completeness. Deiknou, the root of the base of the compound word, anadeiknumi , used 31 times in scripture, means to show and is used most often of spiritual realities. This word is used in the letter to the Hebrews when God told Moses to construct the tabernacle according to the pattern shown him in the heavens. It is used of Jesus’ temptation by the devil when the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment’s time.
Jesus instructed the twelve only to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and not unto the Gentiles or Samaritans, while no such instructions were given to the seventy. The records in Luke preceding and following show that Jesus and his entourage of disciples were traveling through Samaria. Samaritans were not considered of the house of Israel, yet it seems reasonable to say that the seventy went even unto them. The seventy were sent to every place where Jesus would be coming on his way, even unto his ultimate place suffering on the cross in Jerusalem.
The twelve were told that they would be as sheep in the midst of wolves while the seventy were told that they would be lambs in the midst of wolves. The Geek word for sheep used in the instructions to the twelve is probaton. It is a general word that can be used of herds or flocks of animal that travel on four feet. The Greek word for lambs used of the seventy in Like 10:3 is uniquely used this one time in all New Testament scripture. It is the word aner and means, according to Strong’s Analytical Concordance, mature male lambs or, in other words, rams.
The twelve were told to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The seventy were not given this instruction. Wisdom is the primary attribute of the Holy Spirit and the dove is the primary New Testament symbol of the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 10:17-39, Jesus delineates many things that the twelve are to fear. Kings, governors, family members and he that can go beyond the killing of the body unto the destroying the soul are all listed as things to fear. The twelve are also told that they must endure unto the end to be saved. With great difference in Luke 10:19, Jesus tells the seventy when they return, “nothing shall by any means hurt you.” He also tells the seventy not to rejoice in that the spirits are subject to them but to rejoice that their names are written in heaven. It is to those whose names are written in heaven that the feminine faithful will draw near during the transitory times into paradise.
18: For ye (faithful in Christ Jesus) are not come unto ( proserchomai – come near) the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
19: And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake
22: But ye are come unto ( proserchomai – come near) mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23: To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, (saints) and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24: And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (the first saint)
25: See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27: And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28: Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29: For our God is a consuming fire.
After Jesus declared that the names of the seventy are written in heaven, he states:
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Still speaking of the seventy, he terms them as babes. The Greek word here used for babes is nepios. It is masculine and means a male child up to the time of maturity.
Then, in conclusion to this record of the appointed seventy, Jesus turned to his disciples and stated:
And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
The words translated see are the Greek word blepo which means to see and consider yet not to perceive. The Greek word for see and seen is eidon and means to see and perceive. As those who today understand the coming manifestation of the saints, Old Testament prophets and rulers yearned for the day of the glorified saints leading unto the glorified Messiah.
These seventy were the “appointed” ones, from the myriad, again shown to Israel in that moment in time as a foretaste of things then and now yet to come. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the number seventy represents God’s completed purpose. In Appendix Six of E. W. Bullinger’s Companion Bible, the number seven represents spiritual perfection while the number ten, the companion multiple of seven that equals seventy, represents ordinal perfection and a new first. It was not happenstance that God asked Moses to choose seventy elders to assist him, nor is it happenstance that Jesus had seventy appointed ones to send out before him as he traveled to Jerusalem to give up his life on the cross for all mankind’s salvation. In the completeness and reversal of this type, all saints will come yet again, first, before Jesus Christ will come to Jerusalem in the promise of glory rather than in his former shame and suffering on the cross.
At the time of Jesus presence with his disciples there were many things he could not fully reveal to them since they were unable to bear the magnitude of the great mystery with out the fullness of the gift from the Holy Spirit that was to fill them on the coming day of Pentecost. Later, from his completed position ascended at the right hand of the Father, Jesus Christ sent the apostle Paul to declare the fullness of the great mystery first to the Jews then to the Gentiles. Then, with their perspective of the revealed great mystery, both John and Luke, in retrospect, for posterity’s sake, highlighted elements of Jesus’ earthly ministry that were directed unto the eventual revelation given to the apostle Paul.
For one to say that Jesus did not know the great mystery of figurative masculine and feminine until he was ascended bodily unto the right hand of the Father is to be diverted from the central mark. Jesus Christ was and is the great mystery incarnate. He became and is now the only summary perfection of soul and spirit, the essence of the collective union of figuratively functional masculine and feminine. This is his one body of which all who believe are members.
A Basis for Understanding Christian Maturation and Union
The Sheep and Rams
A Journey Unto Revelations' End
Copyright, Steve Santini, 2004