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Jesus warns of the devil’s plot
against the 70...

The 70 disciples are mostly unknown by much of Christianity. In the early church, of course, they were known, talked to, about, etc. but since the dark ages, much of the early church knowledge, and writings about them, have been lost.

Even Matthew, Mark, and John do not mention the 70 in their gospels. Only Luke mentions the 70. Why??? Why only does Luke talk of the 70 disciples?

Why are these 70 ignored by three of the four gospel writers? Were they inferior disciples? Were they failures?

Luke read the other gospels, and noticed the 70 and their ministries
were omitted. He (Luke) wrote his book to right that wrong and complete the truth. There was a bias amidst the 12 of Gentiles. It was eight years after the ascension of Jesus, that Peter went to Cornelius’ house. Following their conversion, and an attempted censure of Peter for going there, by the other disciples, the Gentiles were finally accepted, at least in part, by the church.

Jesus had prayed that His disciples would be as "one".

John 17:21-22

"That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are One."

The disciples had not been ‘one’ as much as Jesus had desired. There was the twelve, and there was the 70. There were differences between them,
and jealousies abounded even amidst the 12 themselves, one against the other, debating, scheming for supremacy of some. Most today are ignorant of such differences, and of such jealousies.

Some of the 70 were Gentiles, Greeks were amidst that larger group.

And the 12 had shunned, ignored, or been reticent to even consider the 70 as disciples as were they.

Let me show how Luke records some of the bias:

Acts 6:1-13

"arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews... The 12 called the multitude of the disciples (the 70 plus the 12)... Look ye out among you, seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom..."

The 7 we now call deacons, had been part of the 70. All or some of these seven were Greek, and they were chosen to help the twelve so that the families of the Greeks, would not be neglected.

Let’s look at them:

Stephen, we are mostly familiar with his sermon, his stoning, and that he became the first martyr. Early church tradition and writings identify Stephen as one of the 70 disciples, and this passage (Acts 6:1-13) also identify the whole of the seven deacons as having been of the 70 disciples.

Philip, went to Samaria before the 12, still doing the ministry there that
Jesus had trouble getting the 12 to do. Philip also went to the Ethiopian eunuch, unashamed to share the gospel with those of other races or backgrounds. This has been seen as a trait of the 70, they were followers of the Lord Jesus, Who had no bias holding them back from sharing the gospel message with Samaritans, Ethiopians, Greeks, etc

The remainder of the 7 deacons who were chosen, who were part of the seventy were Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas . Are all Greek names. And it is very unlikely that any of them were Jewish, for their names were definitely indicative that they were Greeks.

The Grecian widows (Acts 6) were being neglected by the early church in
Jerusalem. And so amidst the 70, there were chosen seven that would make sure this neglect did not go on. Therefore, we see now, that of the 70, quite a few were Greeks. How did this happen, and why have we not been made more aware of such? 

Luke likely wondered the same thing. That is why his gospel differs a bit from the other three gospels, for he spends most of his time reporting on the message, commission, and sermons heard by the 70, and not by the 12.

Luke attaches much importance to the mission of the 70. Luke tells of their ministry, tells of their successes, tells much of the last trip of Jesus wherein He sent out the seventy to draw crowds to hear Jesus. Luke was there for that trip. Early church writings and traditions tell us that Luke was also one of the seventy. He was one of the eyewitnesses, and had gathered much from other eyewitnesses, so as to have a complete, a more complete record of the events of Jesus’ first coming.

Luke 1:1-4

"Forasmuch, as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things, which are most surely believed among us (referring to Matthew, Mark, and John, and their writings). Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses (Matthew and John were eyewitnesses from the beginning, and Mark likely gathered most of his material for his gospel from Peter, who also was an eyewitness from the beginning) and ministers of the word. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order." (From what Luke had learned from the writings and talkings of the disciples who were there from the beginning, and from what Luke knew of Jesus’ ministry, from the time he began to follow the Lord, Luke decides to write his gospel.)

Luke says he is not the first to record the record of facts, so why do it then?

One of his motives of writing his gospel, is found in his record. He records the ministries of the 70. A part that the others had neglected to include.


Who was Luke?

He was one of the 70 sent out by Jesus. (Epiphanius Haer ii51, 11)

Luke was also one of the Greeks who had previously been converted to Judaism, were proselytes, who came to Philip for introduction to Jesus, as recorded in John 12:20-21:

"There were certain Greeks among them, that came up to worship at the feast; The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus."

Luke was the companion of Cleopas (also one of the 70, and he was not a Greek) who walked to Emmaus, and Luke and Cleopas were the first two disciples talked to by the risen Lord.


Luke is the Greek name, ‘Loukas’. Paul alone names ‘Luke" (Colossians 4:14, II Timothy 4:11, Philemon 24). Luke does not mention his own name in the gospel of Luke or in the book of Acts. But he does say ‘we’ in Acts 16:10-17, 20:5-15, 21:1-18, 27:1-28. Luke was the humble, unassuming, record keeper of the 70, much like Matthew was for the 12.

Luke was not circumcised, indicating that when he, as one of the Greeks who approached Jesus in John 12, he was likely on the way to Jerusalem to be circumcised into Judaism, but never completed that mission. For in Colossians 4:11-14, we find that Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justus are identified as circumcised, but Ephaphras, Luke, and Demas are identified as uncircumcised.

Luke was a man of culture, as was Paul and Apollos. He was well-schooled (proven by the quality of his Greek writing). And he was called ‘the beloved physician’ in Colossians 4:14, and was Paul’s medical advisor.

Luke was a traveler, a missionary by choice, for we see that:

Luke as one of the seventy had great interest in Antioch

(Acts 11:19-27, 13:1, 14:26, 15:22, 23, 30, 35; 18:22).

Luke lived in Alexandria and Achaia.

Luke lived in Philippi for a long time.

Luke first met Paul at Troas just before Paul’s vision of the man from

Macedonia (Acts 16:10-12).

Luke’s later years were mostly spent with Paul, who also traveled much.

(Acts 20:3-28, 31)

Luke had a brother named Titus.

II Corinthians 8:16-18

"But thanks be to God Who put the same earnest care into the heart

of Titus for you... Of his own accord, he went unto you. And we have sent with him (Titus), the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches."

Origen, an early church historian, tells us this ‘brother’ was Luke.




Well, we have looked at some of the 70, but let us now look at another sermon of Jesus to the 70. We know now, as I have just shown, that we should look to the writings of Luke for this sermon.


Luke 21:12-19 (KJV)

12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.

13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

17 And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake.

18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

But before all these

These words, "But before all these" refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The sermon of Luke 21 concerns the signs of the second coming of Christ. Jesus had just predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The disciples had asked Him when Jerusalem would be destroyed. To prepare the 70 for some things to happen before that, Jesus adds this short but important sermon to them. Then Jesus went on to give the signs of His second coming.


they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake

The 70 had angered the devils when they defeated them in their ministry. The devils were mad and wanted to persecute, imprison them, so that ministry would cease.


Verse 14-15

not to meditate before what ye shall answer... For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist

This has been true for ministers today, and happens because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, Who teaches us all things we need to know. Having that Holy Spirit with us, as did the 70 disciples, the messages we need to speak forth, will be authored by God. We call those words to be ‘rhema’ words, and are the voice of God speaking through us. The Lord is loving and wise. His words through us will reflect His love, mercy, wisdom.

Acts 6:9-10 (KJV)

9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake.


Verse 16

parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death

Jesus predicts here that some of the seventy will be killed by those who oppose the truths they preached. Some would be betrayed by family and friends. True faith of a person oft results in others wanting them dead. The first murder of Cain killing Abel was due to religion. Abel was doing as God commanded, Cain was not. The result was Cain wanted Abel dead. We see this nature of killing still being encouraged by devils today. False religions cause men to commit crimes, and while doing so, think they are doing God service.


John 16:2 (KJV)

2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.


Verse 17

ye shall be hated of all men for My Name's sake

The words ‘for My Name’s sake’ are key here. The hatred against the seventy, and against we Christians today, is really the hatred of Jesus, of the message of Jesus. These 70 were preaching Jesus, announcing His kingdom, preaching the way to enter this kingdom is REPENTANCE. That message is hated then, and hated now. And the speakers of this message always have been, always will be hated for His Name’s sake.

Verse 18

not a hair of your head perish

This is the surprising part. How can these 70 be killed, but ‘not a hair’ perish? That is naturally impossible. The dead body perishes. We shall look at what Jesus is teaching here, momentarily.


Verse 19

In your patience possess ye your souls

By patient endurance, these 70 were to trust the Lord here, and not understand what He was saying as yet, but patiently trust that He would show them shortly what the message for them meant.

The devil was angry at the success of the 70 who were sent out by Jesus. The devil had been planning the crucifixion of Jesus. Even Jesus had been telling the disciples of the coming crucifixion. The devil had no idea of the coming church to be instituted. But suddenly, 70 disciples are sent forth, in 35 groups of two (the minimum number for a church) The 70 go out and the sick are healed, devils are cast out, crowds get very large coming to hear Jesus, due to the ministry of the 70. These successes make the devil mad, so what is the devil to do with these 70?

The twelve, as we have seen, were soon intimidated, scared, fearful, and following afar off. But the 70 were still out rounding up crowds, having success after success.

Jesus wept and prayed over Jerusalem, but note what He says in that prayer!

Luke 13:34-35

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood, under her wings, and ye would not."

Note that Jesus is talking of others being killed, in the present tense, not of the past prophets, and the past ones sent to the people.

The devil was mad at the 70, who were having phenomenal revival as they went out for Jesus. The 70 had been sent out for Jesus, to the villages and cities, to ask them to come hear Jesus on His last trip to Jerusalem, before the crucifixion. The last stop for the 70 would be Jerusalem. As they came to Jerusalem, they met fierce resistance. As Jesus, sat on the hillside, overlooking Jerusalem, note what He said:

Luke 19:41-44

"And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. ... thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."

The seventy were not present at the last supper, but as they came into Jerusalem in the following few days, preaching as they had been in the other cities, they met the resistance that the devil had built up against Jesus. And some of the 70 were killed, stoned, crucified, scourged. etc.

We have overlooked many passages telling and warning of this:

For instance;

Matthew 24:34-35, 39

"Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets and wise men and scribes and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zecharias, son of Barachias, who ye slew between the Temple and the altar... Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till you shall say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."

Jesus had warned that some who would ‘come’ in the ‘name of the Lord’ would be killed, crucified, scourged. And the ones sent were the 70. And near the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, many of these 70 were suffering greatly, some dying.

Why were the 70 not at the last supper? Why were they not at the cross?
The 70 were just coming to Jerusalem, having done their job elsewhere, when the plot against Jesus was at fruition. Some were killed, some were persecuted. Jesus had told the 12 of the crucifixion and His own death, but Jesus had told the 70 of some of them being put to death.

Remember, Luke was writing mostly of what Jesus had told the 70. Look again at what Jesus said to them in Luke 21.

Luke 21:12-19

"But before all these (the signs of the end times), they shall lay hands on you (not someone else, later), and persecute you,... Shall turn to you for a testimony... ...ye shall be betrayed both by parents and brethren and kinsfolks, and friends, and some you shall they cause to be put to death... ...Ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake... But there shall not an hair on your head perish. In your patience, possess ye your souls."

Luke, himself, and Cleopas, were not killed, but were found by Jesus walking to Emmaus, after they heard that Jesus was resurrected. They were resuming their mission of telling about Jesus, announcing Jesus, and therefore Jesus pays them the first post-resurrection visit, to give their message even more ‘fire’. The two had not seen the risen Lord yet, yet they had dedication and zeal to continue what Jesus had told them to do. They were discussing the events of the week, but they were zealous to obey the Lord, that now the women had told them was risen.

Remember, Luke 21...

".some you shall they cause to be put to death... ...Ye shall be hated of all menfor My name’s sake... But there shall not an hair on your head perish. In your patience, possess ye your souls."

How could they be put to death, and ‘not an hair on your head perish"?

How can both be true?

The word "perish’ is apolumi, meaning ‘be destroyed fully, die’. So if they would be ‘put to death’ and yet not ‘die’. We have confusion.

"In your patience, possess ye your souls..." ‘Patience" is the word hupomone, meaning ‘patient waiting’... And "possess" is ktaomai, meaning ‘to acquire, to get, to gain" So Jesus was promising the 70 that they would suffer , and some even die. But the death would not be permanent, and after a short wait, they would regain their lives, and thereby truly have not "an hair perish".

Literally, it means, "after a short wait, ye shall regain your lives."

Luke 17:33

"Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it."

In allowing themselves to be in jeopardy for their own lives, in taking the gospel message out despite the forewarned dangers, the 70 were a bit ahead of the 12. The 12, after Pentecost, would be that brave... But the 70 were already able to go out before some who would try (and partially achieve) to kill them...

But... remember... The Lord had said... ‘not an hair would perish’. Let’s look at what the Bible says happened to some of the 70 who died, and how ‘not a hair’ perished.

Matthew 27:52-53

"And the graves (Greek = mnema = sepulchres) were opened; and many bodies (Greek = soma = the body, as a sound whole) of the saints which slept (Greek = koimao = to be dead, put to sleep in death) arose (Greek = egeiro = arouse from sleep, as was Lazarus, to new human life, not to a glorified body).

And came out of the graves after His resurrection (Greek, egersin, a resurgence from death, only here in N.T.) And went into the holy city,

and appeared (Greek = emphanizo = declared, showed themselves openly, manifested openly) unto many."

(For further study on this see Vide Evang. Nicod. c.17, Acts of Pilate in Thilo’s Codex Apocryphus N.T. p.810, and in Ign.Mag9.2 , {in which, we learn that they were ‘disciples’ who were patiently awaiting for the Lord to allow them to possess their souls})

The resurrection of some here, differed from Jesus resurrection, in that these were recently killed saints, resurrected, as was Lazarus, not to a glorified body, eternal. No, these were resurrected as was Lazarus (who lived and preached 30 years more), or as the young girl, who Jesus said, was just asleep.

I, for many years, had assumed that these ‘saints’ were ones like Abraham, Moses, etc. Yet, those saints had been long dead, and their bodies decayed, dust, etc. The Greek wording here, indicates these were ‘freshly’ killed saints, and the early church records indicate the same.

This was not dust becoming a glorified body, this was a body, lacking life for a time, being restored to wellness, but still mortal, able to be killed later. The devil’s plot was to stop the 70's evangelistic message, but the Lord was not done with their mission, and did not want them dead. The devil succeeded in having Jesus killed, but it ended in victory for Jesus, and His helpers, those spreading the message for Jesus, were not allowed to be held back in their mission either.

This resurrection of some of the 70 who were killed, is why Jesus said to the seventy:

Luke 21:16-19

..."some of you shall they cause to be put to death... But there shall not an hair on your head perish.... In your patience, possess ye your souls..."

That verse would be contradictory, errant if the 70 to whom He said that were killed, and were not resurrected, then ‘hair’ did perish. The ones of the 70 who were killed, as Jesus predicted, were three or more days in paradise with Jesus (and the thief on the cross) and then after Jesus was resurrected, Jesus brought them back to life, and startled the world with their re-emergence to life. Luke and Cleopas, and a few others of the 70 were not killed, but some of them had been...

Paul, after Eutychus died, prayed for him to be resurrected, and he was, but not to eternal life, for Eutuchus died again later. and the same for these of the 70 who had been killed.

The resurrection of Jesus was the prime, most important resurrection of that week, but the resurrection of these also occurred, though it did not get the publicity as did the Lord’s resurrection. That is understandable. But, this was truly a great miracle of the risen Lord, to restore life to them as He had to Lazarus, and allow them to continue in their ministry.


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