QUESTION: Dr. Couch, I am the one who asked you about Marvin Pate's Commentary on Luke and his statement on 1:15. Another question is about his comment on 1:20 and the fact that John the Baptist's father, Zechariah, was struck with muteness because he did not believe the words of the angel who spoke to him. What is Pate saying?
ANSWER: You are referring to this comment by Pate: "Zechariah's partial judgment (the judgment of muteness) was a prophetic sign to Israel, a picture of both Israel's present rejection of, and future restoration to, God."
This is making what happened to Zechariah a metaphor, an analogy. When such illustrations are found in Scripture there are some indicators that that is what is happening in the passage. Such is not the case here. This is a real, historic happening with no signs of being such a type. The story from start to finish is about the miracle of the birth of John to older parents, and the fact that they were going to bring forth the herald, the one who would be the forerunner of the Messiah.
The people who witnessed Zechariah's muteness, and then the restoring of his voice, were believers who saw what that sign was all about. They rejoiced when Zechariah, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, told them what was about to happen, and what did indeed happenthe birth of the herald and of the Messiah!
Pate has some strange views. I would trust other dispensational and Evangelical commentaries over what he writes.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch