A Few Studies on Christmas

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A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Jarhead on Sun Dec 08 2013, 04:28

This thread will be refreshers on the Christmas story ~ just to brush up our witness during the holiday season!


The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley  http://gracethrufaith.com/childrens-stories-for-adults/the-virgin-mary-had-a-baby-boy/


Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. The virgin shall be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).

There is perhaps no prophecy in the Old Testament more controversial than this one. Many liberal theologians reject the notion of the virgin birth of Jesus as being simply legend, Jews flatly deny its validity and non-believers scoff at it as the best example of the mindless belief necessary for Christianity to flourish.
Yet a careful study of the history of Israel, the laws of inheritance, and the promises by God to King David lead even the most skeptical student to conclude that Jesus had to be supernaturally conceived to be both God and human, and therefore qualified to redeem mankind, and have a legitimate claim to the Throne of Israel.
The God Man
Jesus had to be God to forgive our sins. No mere human can do that. One of the charges levied against Him was that He committed blasphemy by claiming the authority to forgive us, a power reserved for God alone (Mark 2:1-7). To prove He had that authority, Jesus healed a paralytic (Mark 2:8-12) right before His accusers’ eyes.  The immediate healing was incontrovertible evidence of His authority, derived as a direct descendant of God.
But He had to be human to redeem us. The laws of redemption required that a next of kin redeem that which was lost. (Lev. 25:24-25) This so-called kinsman redeemer had to be qualified, able and willing to perform the act of redemption. When Adam lost dominion over planet Earth and plunged all his progeny into sin, only his next of kin could redeem the Earth and its inhabitants. Since Adam was a human whose Father was God (Luke 3:23-38), only another direct Son of God could qualify. This is why Paul referred to Jesus as the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). Since the Laws of sacrifice required the shedding of innocent blood as the coin of redemption, only a sinless man was able (John 1:29-34). Since the kinsman redeemer’s life was required, only someone who loves us the way God does would be willing (John 3:16). This is the real test of the kinsman redeemer. Seeing Jesus as qualified and able to redeem us isn’t a great problem. After all He’s the Son of God. But recognizing that He was also willing to step down from His Heavenly Throne to trade His perfect life for ours should really humble us. What kind of love did it take to voluntarily suffer the pain and humiliation required to redeem us?
The Man Who Would Be King
To my logical mind the issue of royalty is the most intriguing factor related to the virgin birth. The opposite of the mindless belief of which Christians are accused, this one is blatantly logical. Does Jesus have a legitimate claim to the Throne of David under the rules of succession? The answer hinges on two technicalities.
First, God promised David that someone from His family would reign in Israel forever. David wanted to build God’s house, but God declined, saying He needed a man of peace and David was a man of war. So God chose David’s son Solomon to build the Temple and during Solomon’s reign Israel experienced peace as never before (or since). To alleviate David’s disappointment, God promised to build him a “house” making his dynasty everlasting (1 Chron. 17:1-14). From that time forward a descendant of David’s through Solomon’s branch of the family tree would sit on the throne in Jerusalem as King of Israel. But by the time of the Babylonian captivity 400 years later, these kings had become so evil and rebellious toward God that He finally said, “Enough”, and cursed the royal line, saying no son of their line would ever reign over Israel again (Jer. 22:28-30). The last legitimate King of Israel was Jehoiachin, also called Jeconiah, who reigned for only 3 months in 598 BC. Did God break His promise to David?
The second technicality involves the right of inheritance in Israel. God had ordained that Israelites could never sell or give away the allotment of land given to their families during the time of Joshua. “The land is mine,” He declared, “You are but tenants.” (Lev. 25:23) It’s from this declaration that the rules of inheritance and redemption came forth. Family land was passed from father to son through the generations. If a son lost his land, his brother was to redeem it, so the family wouldn’t lose their inheritance. So far so good.
Read The Fine Print
At the end of the Book of Numbers an interesting loophole emerged. A man died without a son, leaving 4 daughters. They came to Moses complaining that they would lose the family land since there was no son to inherit it. Moses sought the Lord, Who decreed that if there was no son in a family daughters could inherit family land providing they married within their own tribal clan. In effect they had to marry a cousin to keep the land “in the family.” This made sense since land was allotted first by tribe then by clan then by family. Marrying within the tribal clan kept the families in close proximity and preserved the tribal allotment. (Num. 36 1:13)
Now compare the 2 genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38, and you’ll discover an interesting bit of information.  Matthew’s account shows that Joseph descended through Solomon, the royal but cursed line, and his father is listed as Jacob.  But in Luke 3:23 Joseph’s father is called Heli, and the line is different all the way to Solomon’s brother Nathan before joining Matthew’s account at King David.  It turns out that Heli was Mary’s father and therefore Joseph’s father in law.  Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of King David.
Here’s the tricky part. Mary had no brothers, and so was entitled to inherit her family’s land as long as she married someone also descended from David. Joseph fit the bill and being in the royal line had a claim to the throne, but carried the blood curse. No biological son of his could ever legally qualify as Israel’s king, but Joseph could secure both Mary’s right of inheritance to her family’s land, and her son’s claim to David’s throne.
When Mary accepted Joseph’s offer of marriage she preserved her family’s land and also made good her son’s claim to the throne of Israel. Her son Jesus legally became Joesph’s son as well.  This made him an heir to the throne but  since he wasn’t Joseph’s biological son, He escaped the curse.  But He was a biological descendant of David’s through his mother and therefore of the “house and lineage of David.”
This whole issue revolves around the facts that; a) God has bound Himself to His own laws, and b) He keeps His word.  These are facts that should give you great comfort.
God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind (Num. 23:19). Legally, a virgin birth was required to produce a sinless man who would be qualified and able to serve as our Kinsman Redeemer, and God longed to redeem us. A virgin birth was also required to sidestep the blood curse on the royal line, fulfilling God’s promise to David that a biological descendant of his would sit on the throne of Israel forever.
We’ll Return After This Pause
But what about the 2500 years that have passed since Israel had a King? Remember Jehoiachin was Israel’s last real King. In Ezekiel 21:25-27, written while a descendant of David’s still sat on the throne in Jerusalem, God declared that He was suspending the Davidic line of succession “until He comes to whom it rightfully belongs” a clear reference to the Messiah. This declaration was confirmed to Mary. The Angel Gabriel promised that her coming son would sit on David’s throne and rule over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever (Luke 1:30-33). But all during the life of Jesus, a member of the Herod family served as King of Israel. Herod was an Idumean (Jordanian), a friend of Caesar’s who was appointed to serve as King. So this promised reinstatement is still to come.  It will be fulfilled at the 2nd Coming when “the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with him” to “sit on His throne in heavenly glory”.   Finally “the Lord will be King over the whole Earth.” (Matt. 25:31 & Zech. 14:4-9).
And now you know the adult version.
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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Jarhead on Sun Dec 08 2013, 04:34



The Christmas Story … Part 1
Saturday, December 7th, 2013
http://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/the-christmas-story-part-1/

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:1-2)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:26-35).
Some commentators try to cast doubt on the validity of Isaiah’s virgin birth prophecy, saying the clearest Hebrew word for virgin is bethulah.  In Isaiah 7:14 a different word, almah, is used. It means virgin too, but can also describe any woman of marriageable age. They contend that Isaiah’s failure to use the most specific word for virgin could mean that he wasn’t really prophesying a virgin birth. As if anticipating this, Isaiah included a rebuttal to their claims.  It’s simple and appears in Isaiah 8, but first some perspective.
Long-range prophecies often have what’s called a dual fulfillment. The first is a partial one that confirms the certainty of the second, final one. As an example, Jesus said, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him” (John 5:43).   He was speaking of the future appearance of the anti-Christ, the impostor Israel will accept as their messiah at the end of the age having rejected Him, their true Messiah, back then. But at His trial, Pilate offered to release one prisoner in honor of Passover. He asked them to choose between Jesus and Barabbas, and the crowd chose Barabbas (Matt. 27:15-23).  (Interestingly, Barabbas means “son of a father.”)  This was the partial fulfillment that confirmed the final one.
Since there would only ever be one virgin birth, Isaiah’s prophecy had to be given in a broad enough context to accommodate a partial fulfillment, and that’s why he used almah instead of bethulah.   Isaiah’s wife was actually the one who provided the partial fulfillment. (Isaiah 8:3) How do we know? The Lord referred to the son she bore as Immanuel (Isaiah 8:8) even though He told her to also give him the ceremonial name of Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.
But think about it. In the context of Isaiah 7 the virgin birth was intended as an important sign to Israel. What kind of a sign would it be to say, “A woman of marriageable age will give birth.” That happened every day.
And there’s further support for the prophecy’s validity as well. About 600 years later, after Isaiah and his family were long gone, his writings were officially translated into Greek by 70 leading Hebrew scholars. When they got to the passage we know as Isaiah 7:14 they chose the Greek word parthenos which in the Bible only describes someone who has never had a sexual experience. (Parthenos is the Greek word Paul used in 2 Cor. 11:2 to describe the Church as a chaste virgin.) These Hebrew scholars expected a virgin birth, and 150 years later they got one.
And finally, the only way Jesus could have a legal claim to the Throne of David was to be a biological descendant of King David’s and in the royal line of succession, but not carry the blood curse God had pronounced on the royal line six centuries earlier. (Jere. 22:28-30)
Joseph was a descendant of David’s through Solomon, the royal line. But like every other living descendant of Solomon’s he carried the curse that disqualified him and all of his biological offspring from ever being Israel’s King. Mary was also descended from David through Solomon’s brother Nathan whose line wasn’t cursed, but whose descendants weren’t qualified to be king either.
Born of Mary, Jesus was a biological descendant of David’s. As Joseph’s adopted son, He was in line to be Israel’s King but didn’t carry the blood curse. In short, Jesus is the only man born into this world since 600BC who is legally qualified to serve as Israel’s King, and only because he has no earthly father. Read “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” for all the details on this incredible story.
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:36-38 )
Elizabeth was six months pregnant when Mary conceived. Since John the Baptist, Elizabeth’s son, was born in March, a normal nine-month gestation period would place his conception in the previous June. Elizabeth would have been six months into her pregnancy in late December, the time of Mary’s conception, placing the Lord’s birth in the following September, six months after John’s.  (Read “Happy Birthday Jesus” to review the Biblical support for this view.)
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matt. 1:18-25)
In those days a betrothal was as legally binding as a marriage, but it permitted no unsupervised contact between bride and groom to avoid tempting them to consummate their union prematurely. Joseph knew he was not the baby’s father, but accusing Mary of infidelity would have ruined her entire life.  A betrothal could only be ended through divorce, so that’s the remedy he sought. The name Jesus is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew Yeshua which means God brings salvation. Though in every sense of the word, he was “God with us” (Immanuel) it is only through Him that “God brings salvation” (Jesus).
The Birth of Jesus
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. (Luke 2:1-3)
Quirinius was governor from 6-4 BC and again from 6-9 AD. He had a census taken in each term of office. This one was during his first term. (Acts 5:37 refers to the second one.) More importantly, roads in the Jerusalem/Bethlehem area often became impassable after late fall due to winter storms, so it’s highly improbable that he would have required everyone to travel in late December. Early fall is a more likely time.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:4-7  )
Swaddling cloths, as they were called, were cut from worn out priestly garments. Mostly they were braided together and used as wicks for the four great four-branched menorah placed in the Temple courts during the Feast of Tabernacles. These giant lamps were so tall that priests had to lug buckets of oil up 30-foot ladders to keep them burning, and it’s said that the light they produced illuminated the entire city. These linen cloths were the first earthly garments to adorn our High Priest, the Light of the World.
The Shepherds and the Angels
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)
Again, the winter weather around Jerusalem would have kept shepherds out of the open fields after late October. The animals being tended were Temple flocks, lambs that had been carefully bred over many years to be free of spot or blemish. These were the animals the pilgrims from far off bought to serve as sacrifices during the Holy Days, rather than take the risk of bringing one of their own on the long journey from home. These lambs served no other purpose. They were born to die for the sins of the people. It’s fitting that their shepherds were the first to learn of the birth of The Lamb born to die for the sins of mankind (John 1:29).
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:13-20)
Traditionally, the birth of a firstborn son was cause for great celebration in Israel. The firstborn was the heir, and assured the continuation of the family. Those fathers who could afford it hired musicians to parade through the streets singing, dancing and joyfully announcing the new arrival to all within earshot.
Mary and Joseph were several days journey from home and family and didn’t have money for musicians, but the God of the Universe had it all taken care of. Opening the Heavens, He had His angelic choir sing the praises due this uniquely blessed event.
We’ll conclude this study in Part 2 next week. Merry Christmas. 12-07-13
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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Tryphosa on Tue Dec 10 2013, 10:54

Thanks JH, look forward to studing this next week.  This week is a cruncher.
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Kelley ~ The Christmas Story … Part 2 (Conclusion)

Post by Jarhead on Sun Dec 15 2013, 05:38



The Christmas Story … Part 2 (Conclusion)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley  http://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/the-christmas-story-part-2-conclusion/#more-146


On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. (Luke 2:21)

Long before the Lord ordained the ritual of circumcision for males, He arranged for the coagulating pro-enzyme called prothrombin to be at 130% of normal adult levels on the eighth day of life, and for natural analgesic enzymes in the blood to be at lifetime highs as well.
Circumcision on any other day can be a painful and bloody event, but on the eighth day of life it’s remarkably less so. Of course, this is a fact the medical profession has only learned in the last century. Back then people just knew that everything worked better when they were obedient to God’s commands.
When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24)
It was 33 days after Jesus had been circumsized. Since Joseph and Mary could not afford a lamb for Mary’s purification, the Law permitted them to use the two birds instead. (Exodus 12:8)
The Visit of the Magi
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel … (Numbers 24:17)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” (Matt. 2:1-6)
The Magi were Parthian Priests, descendants of the priesthood the Prophet Daniel had organized in Persia some 500 years earlier, upon learning the timing of Messiah’s coming (Daniel 9:25).  Knowing the time was at hand, these priests had been searching the heavens for the promised sign of His coming, a new star in the Eastern sky.
Parthia was a powerful kingdom north and east of Israel, a remnant of the Persian Empire that had recently defeated the Roman Legions, and the Magi were among Parthia’s most powerful leaders. No Parthian ruler could ascend to the throne without their blessing and indeed their political influence was felt through out the Middle East.
Contrary to the popular Christmas Carol, they were king-makers, not kings, and they were many more than three. Since Israel was under Roman control, the Magi technically represented an enemy country. Aware of this, but not intimidated, they traveled in a huge caravan with lots of guards, and their arrival in Jerusalem set the whole city a-buzz (Matt. 2:3).
Herod would be called a Jordanian today. He was appointed King by the Roman Senate. In short he was a pretender to the throne in Israel, and now these Parthian King-makers had come seeking the one born to be Israel’s King. No wonder he was disturbed.
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matt. 2:7-12)
The three gifts are symbolic of the Messiah’s three present offices in His Kingdom. Gold is the gift for a King, frankincense points to the Priest, and myrrh, an embalming spice that foretold His death, represents the Prophet.
The Magi didn’t arrive on the night the Lord was born. The text indicates that by the time they did arrive, Joseph and Mary had found a house to stay in. And as we read above, they had already had Jesus circumcised and dedicated at the Temple on His eighth day of life, and Mary had completed her 33 day time of purification as required by the Law.
If Jesus was born on Rosh HaShannah as seems likely, the family would have stayed in the Jerusalem area for Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles as well, since Joseph’s attendance, as with that of all able bodied males, was mandatory.
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matt 2:13-15)
Too poor to buy a lamb for the purification only a few days ago, Joseph and his family suddenly had the means to travel to Egypt and stay there until Herod died. How can this be?
Tradition has it that because of his lifetime of service at the highest levels of Babylonian and Persian governments, Daniel had become a wealthy man. Since he was most likely castrated by Nebuchadnezzar he had no heirs, and so after he formed the Magi, he left his fortune in their care to be given to the Messiah upon His birth. If so then the Magi’s gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh came from Daniel’s estate, and were delivered to the Holy Family just in time to fund their escape from Herod’s soldiers.
This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15)
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (Matt 2:16)
The Magi had been watching for the star. When they first saw it they made preparations for a long journey and once prepared, set out to follow it. We don’t know exactly where they set out from, when they first noticed the star, or how long it took them to get ready, but their journey could easily have been several hundred miles long. The only clue we get as to the time of their arrival is that after asking them when they first spotted the star, Herod ordered all the boys in Bethlehem below the age of two years killed.
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” (Matt. 2:19-20)
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. (Luke 2:39-40)
Home at last. A journey of several days had lasted several years. And just about every day of it a reminder to our Lord that the world He came to save held no place for Him.
“Foxes have holes,” He would later say, “And birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58)
It’s always fascinated me that after reading Micah’s prophecy of the Messiah’s birthplace, Herod and the chief priests sent the Magi to Bethlehem in search of Him, but didn’t go to see for themselves. Did they think they were sending the Magi on a futile search, certain they wouldn’t find anything? If so, why did they consult their Scriptures for an answer to Herod’s question, and why did Herod have all those children killed?
Maybe Herod can be excused for not going. He wasn’t even Jewish and probably knew very little of Messianic prophecy. But the Chief Priests were reading from their own scriptures, and with evidence of the star the Magi had followed to confirm the prophecy, they should have been the first to investigate. After all, Messianic prophecy was being fulfilled right before their very eyes. What I’d give to have overheard their discussions on this.
The nature of the Lord’s life on Earth had been predicted long before, and right from the start the words of the prophets were proving to be all too true.
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2-3)
The only ones who even had a clue as to Who He was were given their understanding through a direct revelation from God. They included Joseph and Mary of course. The Parthian priests had learned of Him through Daniel’s revelation, and the shepherds witnessed the angelic visitation. Two others, Simeon and Anna, had both received direct revelations about the baby and gave eyewitness testimony that He was the Christ child (Luke 2:25-38).  This was a fulfillment of Deut. 19:15, A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
And that’s it. Having looked for the arrival of the promised Messiah for nearly 4000 years, when He came only a hand full of His people understood. There’s no indication that either the priest who performed the circumcision or the one who received the obligatory sacrifice of the firstborn had any idea who this child was.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)
And yet He had come for the sole purpose of healing the incredible rift in our relationship with God, (Colossians 1:19), delivering us from the unspeakable horrors of the destiny due us (Romans 5:9) and elevating us to the highest position in His Kingdom (Ephes. 2:6). Not because we could ever earn or deserve it, but because He loved us enough to do it, and had promised He would.
Thank you Lord Jesus. We owe you our eternal lives. Blessings and honor and glory, love and worship, devotion and adoration be to you. For you alone are worthy. 12-14-13.
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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Tryphosa on Sun Dec 15 2013, 16:19

Thanks JH, all this on one thread, nice.  Did learn a few things...

"Again, the winter weather around Jerusalem would have kept shepherds out of the open fields after late October. The animals being tended were Temple flocks, lambs that had been carefully bred over many years to be free of spot or blemish. These were the animals the pilgrims from far off bought to serve as sacrifices during the Holy Days, rather than take the risk of bringing one of their own on the long journey from home. These lambs served no other purpose. They were born to die for the sins of the people. It’s fitting that their shepherds were the first to learn of the birth of The Lamb born to die for the sins of mankind (John 1:29)."
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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Tryphosa on Sun Dec 15 2013, 16:20

Gratefull for this.......
"This whole issue revolves around the facts that; a) God has bound Himself to His own laws, and b) He keeps His word.  These are facts that should give you great comfort."
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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Jarhead on Sun Dec 15 2013, 16:39

A recurring character in the A.D. Chronicles was the head shepherd of the Bethlehem flock.  The 12-book series was a great read!
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Kinsella ~ The Gift

Post by Jarhead on Sat Dec 21 2013, 09:54

The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest
Vol: 147 Issue: 21 - Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Gift

One Christmas, my son gave me a book on the history of the Irish race. I was stunned to learn that the history of the Irish kings dates back to the time of Solomon, and that the Roman historians of antiquity considered Ireland to be an ancient kingdom when Rome was young.

The Irish nation has maintained its history with an attention to detail surpassed only by the nation of Israel. The book, "The Story of the Irish Race" by Seumas MacManus, was published in 1921 and contains more than seven hundred pages of history.

Today, I want share my Christmas gift with you. A little bit of that history --specifically, the story of King Conor MacNessa. Stay with me, it will be worth the effort. I promise.

King Conor was the Ard-Righ, or High King of Ireland in the first part of the first century.

King Conor was described by a contemporary historian of his day as,

"A tall graceful champion of the noble, polished and proud men stood at the head of the party. This most beautiful of the kings of the world stood among his trops with all the signs of obedience, superiority and command.He wore a mass of curling drooping, yellow hair. He had a pleasing, ruddy countenance. He had a deep blue, sparkling, piercing eyein his head and two branching beard, yellow, and curling upon his chin. He wore a crimson, deep-bordered, five-folding tunic; a gold pin in the tunic over his bosom; and a brilliant white shirt, interwoven with thread of red gold, next to his white skin." - the herald MacRoth to Queen Medb of Connaught.

In King Conor's day, Rome had not yet constructed the Colliseum and had just conquered what would become Britain. While King Conor's life was fascinating, it was the circumstances of his death that are of interest here.

Conor died from a brainball that sunk into his skull, fired in battle by Cet MacMagach, a Connaught champion, whom Conor had pursued following a Connaught cattle raid.

It didn't kill him directly -- the brainball lodged in his skull, and his physician, Faith Liag, would not remove it because it would have instantly killed Conor.

With care, Conor might live long, provided he live quietly, avoiding passion and violent emotion and live a life of peace such as few kings of antiquity knew.

Under Liag's care, Conor lived seven more years. One day, writes the historian, the pagan-King Conor MacNessa's court was, quoting MacManus directly,

"thrown into consternation by finding broad day suddenly turned to blackest night, the heavens rent by lightening, and the world rocked by thunder, portending some dread cataclysm."

Conor asked his Druids and wise men for explanation of the fearful happening.

The Druid Bachrach, a noted seer, told him that there had been in the East, in one of the many countries under the dominion of Rome, a singular man, more noble of character, more lofty of mind and more beautiful of soul, than the world had ever known, or ever again would know -- a divine man, a God-man, who spent his life lifing up the lowly and leading the ignorant to the light, and giving new hope to a hopeless world -- one too, who loved all mankind with a love that surpassed understanding -- one, the touch of whose gentle hand gave speech to the dumb, sight to the blind, life to the dead. He was the noblest, greatest, most beautiful, most loving of men.

And now the heavens and the earth were thrown into agony because on this day the tryant Roman, jealous of his power over the people, had nailed him high upon a cross, and between two crucified thieves, had left the divine man to die a fearful death.

Fired to rage by the thought of the terrible injustice meted out to such a noble one, Conor MacNessa, snatching down the sword that had not been unsheathed for seven years, and crying, "Show me the accursed wretches who did this base deed!" burst through the restraining ring of courtiers, leapt into the storm, fiercely hewing down their bending branches and shouting, "Thus would I treat the slayers of that Noble man, if I could but reach them."

Under the strain of the fierce passion that held him the brainball burst from King Conor's head -- and he fell dead. (The Story of the Irish Race by Seumas MacManus, pp. 26-27)

King Conor lived three hundred years before St Patrick introduced Christianity to the Emerald Isle. The story of Conor MacNessa and the circumstances of his death, were known and recorded in Irish history before Patrick arrived to tell The Greatest Story Ever Told and was surprised to find it was already part of the history of the Irish kings.

Macmanus says in a footnote on the page, "Some say that it was a Roman consul (who informed Conor of death of Christ).

Still others say it was the Royal Branch champion, Conal Cearnach, who had been a prisoner of the Romans and who had been taken to the limits of their Empire.

In the course of which expedition, he was in Jerusalem on the day of days, and witnessed the Crucifixion. "A representative of every race of mankind was on the Hill of Calvary at the dreadful hour."

Conal Cearnach represented the Gael (Irish). The beautiful story of Conal Cearnach at the Crucifixion is related by Ethna Carberry in her book, 'From the Celtic past'."

This is not just a beautiful story, but is part of Irish history attested to by the pagan generations who recorded the events long before Christianity came to the Emerald Isle.

"And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst." (Luke 23:45-47)

When Jesus was crucified, the Bible says the darkness was all over the earth for three hours. Not just in Jerusalem, or in Israel, but the whole earth -- a FACT of history attested to by Scripture, and also attested to by the history of the pagan High-Kings of pagan Ireland.

Causing even the pagan-King of pagan Ireland, Conor MacNessa, to echo the Roman centurion who stood at the foot of the Cross.

"Truly, this Man was the Son of God." (Mark 15:39)

Truly. Merry Christmas.

This Letter was originally published: January 5, 2003
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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Tryphosa on Tue Dec 24 2013, 11:12

Love this!  Will pass it on this Christmas to the family (they all have a little Irish blood in them).
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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Tryphena on Sun Dec 29 2013, 09:49

Jarhead wrote:A recurring character in the A.D. Chronicles was the head shepherd of the Bethlehem flock.  The 12-book series was a great read!

By Bodie (& Brock) Thoene

http://www.goodreads.com/series/56218-a-d-chronicles

I have not read this series (or any of their books) but certainly reconize the author's names. Thanks, I just finished a book, looking for something good to read...
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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Tryphena on Sun Dec 29 2013, 10:05

We watched "The Nativity Story" movie the other evening. It is entertaining and very well done but it is nowhere near amazing as the real story from the Bible. Fascinating OT Messanic prophecy scripture JK includes in his article.

Thanks for posting. I need to copy & keep handy.

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Re: A Few Studies on Christmas

Post by Annie on Fri Jan 03 2014, 12:37

Thank you, Jarhead.  Bookmarked.  This a study good for the entire year...
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