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A Christian’s New Years Devotion

SIH STSTA ICONThe Jewish Civil New Year begins on the first day of the month of Tishri on the Jewish calendar.  This month equates to our calendar months of September/October.  It was during this one month time frame that the Jews were instructed to observe three New Year related celebrations:  Feast of Trumpets (1st), Day of Atonement(10th), and the Feast of Tabernacles(15th-21st).

As we study these three celebrations, we can learn much about preparing for our new year as well.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Lev 23:23-44; Nums 29:1-40

THE STUDY:

The Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25, Nums 29:1-6)

This feast centered upon the ritualistic sounding of trumpets used to call men to assemble before God.   Besides calling men to attention or assembly, in the Bible, the blowing of trumpets emphasizes a new beginning, with new responsibilities, brought about by God’s intervention:

  1. Giving of 10 commandments – Exo 19:16
  2. Day of Atonement – forgiveness of national sin – Lev 25:9
  3. Fall of Wall of Jericho – Josh 6:20
  4. Defeat of Midianties – Judg 7:18
  5. Ark restored to city of David – 2 Sam 6:15
  6. New moon  beginning of new lunar cycle, new time of worship and service – Psa 81:3
  7. Israel’s deliverance from bondage of Assyria and Egypt – Isa 27:13
  8. Taking Of His people to Heaven at Rapture – Matt 24:31, 1 Cor 15:52
  9. The Lord’s judgments during Tribulation period – Rev 8:13

The Feast of Trumpets helps to remind us that:

It is by the Lord’s grace that we are entering into a New Year which can be a new beginning for us all.  This includes putting past failures behind us and looking forward to a new set of opportunities and responsibilities and victories in our service to Him.

The Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-32, Num 29:7-11)

This was a day set aside for the Jewish people to “afflict” their souls. In other words, it was a time set aside for coming to the Lord in humility asking for forgiveness for sins and a renewal of dedication for His service, putting Him first in their lives.

Just as in the Feast of Trumpets, there was a  series of offerings that were to be made:

  1. Burnt – picturing His death on the cross accepted by God  – Lev 1:1-17
  2. Meat – picturing His blessings given to us  –  Lev 2:1-16
  3. Sin – Picturing forgiveness of our transgressions against Him  – Lev 4:1-35
  4. Drink – Picturing His shed blood on our behalf  –  Nums 15:5-7
  5. Peace – Picturing His work brings about peace (rest, comfort, forgiveness) for us – Lev 3:1-5
  6. Taken together, these represent His death, and shed blood, resulting in our forgiveness, peace and other blessings.

This was perhaps the most important observance for the Jewish celebrations.  If anyone refused to observe this Day of Atonement they were to be cut off from the people, alienated from all areas of worship and service.

The Day of Atonement reminds us that:

We have a great need to deal with our past sins, putting them behind us, and securing our communion with the Lord.  We are to enter into a New Year of service humbly and in submission to the Lord’s will and way for our lives.

The motive for both of these should be His great sacrifice on our behalf.  When we consider what He has done for us shouldn’t we desire a close walk with Him, not hindered by unconfessed sin?  Shouldn’t we desire to be in submissive to His desires for us?  After all, aren’t both of these “our duty to do”?

We cannot over emphasize the absolute importance of communion and submission for the coming year ahead.  To deal with sin in our lives and then be submissive to will for the future is essential to living a victorious life in the coming year.

The Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:34-44, Nums 29:12-40)

The Feast of Tabernacles was an eight day observance (beginning on the 15th of the month and concluding on the 22nd day of the month).  During this eight day celebration, the Israelites were to give sacrifices unto the Lord and dwell in booths (tents).  It was observed to remind the Israelites of their dwelling in tents during their wilderness journeys following their release from Egyptian slavery.

The Feast of Tabernacles helps us to remind us that:

We are currently on a pilgrimage here on earth.  This is not our permanent home, like the Israelites who were traveling through the wilderness waiting for the Promised Land.  We are only strangers and pilgrims on this earth, waiting for our permanent, heavenly home.

When trials enter our lives this coming year we need to always keep in mind, our heavenly home awaits… our greatest need is to rely on our Lord and keep looking for our heavenly home.

Please note in all of these three celebrations, no work was to be done on these days, emphasizing the need to concentrate solely on the things of God.  We should take a break from all the distractions the world has to offer and take time to simply commune with our Lord.  What better way is there to start the New Year?

Also, in all three celebrations we find a command to convene (assemble) was issued, this would allow for a time of worship and also a time of encouragement to be passed from one Israelite to another as they prepared to face their New Year.

We, as well, should learn from this principle.  Take time to worship at a Bible- believing church and try to encourage other Christians to prepare for the coming year.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

To summarize our preparation for the New Year:

  1.  It is by the Lord’s grace that we are entering into a New Year which can be a new beginning for us all.  (Phil 3:13-14)
  2. putting past failures behind us
  3. looking forward to a new set of opportunities and responsibilities and victories in our service to Him.
  4. Entering into a New Year of service humbly and submitting to the Lord’s will and way for our lives.  (James 4:7-8)
  5. Recognize His great sacrifice on our behalf. (Luke 17:10)
    1. When we consider all He has done for us shouldn’t we desire a close walk with Him, not hindered by unconfessed sin?
    2. Shouldn’t we desire to be in submissive to His desires for us?
    3. After all, aren’t both of these “our duty to do”?
  6. Realize we are currently on a pilgrimage here on earth. We are waiting for our permanent, heavenly home. (Heb 11:13-16)
    1. When trials enter our lives this coming year we need to always keep in mind, our heavenly home awaits, our trials will only last for a season.
  7. We should take a break from all the distractions the world has to offer and take time to simply commune with our Lord.  What better way is there to start the New Year?  (Psa 63:1-7)
  8. Take time to attend a Bible- believing church  (Heb 10:24-25)
    1. We can worship the Lord
    2. We can encourage other Christians to prepare for the coming year.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Now is the time for you to put your life of rebellion against God and His Word behind you and begin the New Year as a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:14-21).    None of us know what the New Year will bring into our lives, however, the greatest insurance for the future is being a child of God (Gal 4:4-7).  He promises to His children that He will never leave nor forsake His children (Heb 13:5-6) .  If adopted into His family, you can be assured of His love, care, communion and intervention in your life, as well as a glorious eternity awaiting you. (Matt 6:25-24)

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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To All My Readers…

The Christmas Story Presented In Chronological Order

SIH STSTA ICONSince we have looked at the Christmas story from two different books in the Bible, I thought it was important to bring the two accounts together, in chronological order.  In this way, we can see how the two accounts fit together.

This is the entire Christmas story as presented in the two gospels, Matthew and Luke…

THE SCRIPTURE:

(Luk 1:26-56)

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

(Mat 1:18-24)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

(Luk 2:1-7)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

(Mat 1:25)

And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

(Luk 2:8-38)

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

(Mat 2:1-23)

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

(Luk 2:39-40)

And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

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This is the Christmas story.  This is what the Christmas is all about.  May the Lord richly bless you with peace and grace during this holiday season.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.  I count it a great blessing and privilege to be able to present God’s Word to you.

My prayer is that, in some way, this blog has helped you to fulfill 1 Sam 12:24 …

“Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.”  (1Sa 12:24)

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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Christmas Devotion:Christmas Story (Luke – 4)

SIH STSTA ICONHere is the conclusion of our verse by verse study of the birth of Christ.  In this blog entry, we will be looking at the conclusion of the account from Luke…

Part #1 – Luke 1:26-38

Part #2 – Luke 1:39-56

Part #3 – Luke 2:1-20

Part #4 – Luke 2:21-40

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luke 2:21-40

THE STUDY:

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

It was Jewish tradition for a child to be circumcised at eight days after birth.  This circumcision was a visible proof that the child was a part of the Jewish nation.  The child officially received his name at the time of circumcision.  In this case, the baby was named Jesus, “Jehovah our freedom” or “Jehovah our salvation” just as the angel had said.

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

The ceremony described here had two basic parts to it:

  1. The law of purification applied to the mother of any newborn male child.  This time lasted for a total of 40 days (Lev 12:2-4).  The principle behind the need for this purification was because the woman had brought another man into this world. The male was looked upon as responsible for sin entering this world, and therefore the mother needed to be “purified”.  (Roms 5:12, 19)
  2. Also, a part of this ceremony was to bring to remembrance God’s grace in delivering the Israelites from the Egyptian captivity. (Exo 13:12).   This was done by separating the young child to the service of God.

The offering of animals was a key ingredient to this ceremony.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

A Godly priest, Simeon, was waiting for the coming of the Messiah.  Here, the Messiah is described as “the Consolation” or “the Comforter” of Israel.  He would be the One who would bear the sin burdens of His people, giving them rest and peace in the midst of a sinful world.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Once again, we see the Spirit revealing to man the true identity of the baby.  When Christ was presented to Simeon, he immediately recognized Him as both Savior of the people of Israel and a light that would open the sin blinded eyes of the Gentiles.

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

Joseph and Mary were amazed at Simeon’s declaration about the Christ child.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Simeon spoke to Mary saying that the Jewish people would, at first during His earthly ministry, reject Him as their Messiah (the fall), but later as the gospel message spread, would come to a saving knowledge of Him  (the rising again).  His miraculous life would be a sign of His true identity as Messiah and God, which many people would verbally ridicule.

Mary, as she would watch her child being crucified would suffer as if a sword has passed through her.  This same crucifixion would reveal what was in the hearts of men.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Anna, a woman used of God to reveal His word, who was an older lady of at least 84 years,  but perhaps as many as 100+ years old.  She so frequented the temple that it was as if she lived there for most of her waking hours.  During this her time at the temple she was fasting and in prayer.  She, too recognized the baby as Christ and then thanked the Lord and then began telling others about the Messiah that had come.

And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Joseph and Mary stayed at Jerusalem until all of the demands of the ceremonial law had been met, and then they went back to their home in Nazareth.  It was there that Christ grew physically and emotionally as He showed an incredible knowledge of His Word and the application of it.

It is very difficult to understand how Christ, who was God Himself, could grow physically and emotionally,  but this was all a part of His humanity.

Throughout Christ’s young life it was obvious that the Lord’s presence and blessings were upon Him in a very special way; hence the phrase “and the grace of God was upon Him.”  The word “grace” is from a Greek word meaning “gifts”, “favors” or “benefits”.

This concludes our study of the story of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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Christmas Devotion:Christmas Story (Luke – 3)

SIH STSTA ICONHere is part #3 of our series on Christ’s birth from Luke.

Part #1 – Luke 1:26-38

Part #2 – Luke 1:39-56

Part #3 – Luke 2:1-20

Part #4 – Luke 2:21-40

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luke 2:1-20

THE STUDY:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

Caesar Augustus was the ruler of the Roman Empire.  Israel was a part of that empire.  Augustus desired to tax the people of Israel, but before he levied the tax upon them, he wanted to count them.  Every male head of the family was to return to his ancestral hometown, with his family, to be counted in the taxation census.

Cyrenius was the Roman ruler over the area of Syria, just as Herod was the Roman ruler over the area of Israel.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

Joseph, out of necessity, returned to his hometown of Bethlehem, bringing with him his pregnant wife Mary.  King David was from Bethlehem, and Joseph was a descendent of David.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

During their stay in Bethlehem, Mary gives birth to the Christ.  Die to the great number of people ascending upon Bethlehem (all the male descendants of King David) there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

The shepherds had their flocks in the field overnight.  In Israel, the night temperature was warm enough to keep the flocks in the field only in late spring through early fall (approx. May-Sept).  Probably, the time of Christ’s birth was not in late December, but much earlier in the year.

Why, then, do we observe His birth in late December?  This is simply a tradition of man that is not sanctioned by God.  The Catholic church began to celebrate His birth at this time of year to try to attract the Pagan worshippers who were observing the winter solstice at this time of year.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

The angel of the Lord (perhaps Gabriel) appeared to the shepherds and delivered to them a message from the Lord.   God’s presence (the person of the Holy Spirit) was clearly seen among the shepherds as they were given this message.   This same Holy Spirit enabled them to understand and submit to the coming of Christ.

The angel’s message was a joyous message telling of the coming of the Messiah, Christ the Lord.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

After the angels leave, the shepherds decide to make the trip to Bethlehem to see the baby Messiah.

Again, notice the faith of the shepherds willing to make this trip based on no proof except God’s message to them. They did not doubt the message, they said “let us now go… and see this thing…”.  They did not say “let’s go and see if the message is true.”

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

After visiting the child, they next began to tell others about Him.  In the same way, we first must hear the word of God, and then come to the Savior; and once we meet the Savior, we then are to tell others about Him.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

The message of shepherds was met with amazement by their listeners.  Mary, however, reflected on the message of the angels, all the events that had taken place, and the message of the shepherds.  Her  faith allowed her to accept all these things without astonishment and unbelief.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The shepherds continued to tell of their experiences to all who would hear them.

We will conclude our study from the book of Luke in the next blog entry: Luke 2:21-40

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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Christmas Devotion:Christmas Story (Luke – 2)

SIH STSTA ICONOur four part study of Christ’s birth in the book of Luke continues with part #2.

Part #1 – Luke 1:26-38

Part #2 – Luke 1:39-56

Part #3 – Luke 2:1-20

Part #4 – Luke 2:21-40

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luke 1:39-56

THE STUDY:

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

Elizabeth was Mary’s cousin.  The angel had told Mary about John the Baptist’s conception in the womb of once barren Elizabeth (Lk 1:36).  A now pregnant Mary, acting on faith, makes the trip to Elisabeth’s house, anxious to hear about Elizabeth’s pregnancy and upcoming birth.

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb;

At the sound of Mary’s voice, the baby moved suddenly in Elizabeth’s womb.  Remember, one of ohn the Baptist’s greatest duties was to announce the coming of the Messiah to earth. (Luke 1:76-79) Here, we see John the Baptist announcing the presence of Christ in the room as Mary entered.  This was the first of many occasions where he would announce the arrival of the Lord.

How did an unborn child (John) recognize the presence of Christ in the womb of Mary?  It was through the divine enabling of the Holy Spirit who had filled John while in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15)

(Please note that even an unborn child is capable of fulfilling a God given ministry.  This speaks to the personhood and significance of the unborn child.  No one should say that an unborn child is simply a part of their mother’s body and does not have life in and of himself.)

and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Now we see The Holy Spirit filling Elizabeth, which in turn gives her the ability to prophesy.  Through the Spirit, due to the movement of John, she understands that within Mary’s womb was the Christ child. Elizabeth, describes the baby in Mary’s womb as “my Lord”, again this emphasizes the life and personhood of the unborn child.

 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Mary’s great desire was to glorify her God for all that He had done for her.  Note she recognized His grace to her, giving her what she did not deserve “he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden”.  This was her motive for giving Him all the glory.  The more we recognize His grace in our lives, the more we see the need to glorify Him as well.

 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

She began to recount His greatness:

  1. He is mighty
  2. He does great things
  3. Holy is His name
  4. He is merciful
  5. He blesses those that fear Him
  6. He  is strong
  7. He punishes the proud
  8. He humbles the mighty
  9. He fills the hungry
  10. He keeps satisfaction from the rich
  11. He helps Israel
  12. He speaks to His people

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

Mary then remains with Elizabeth before making the journey back to her home.

We will continue our study in the next blog entry: Luke 2:1-20

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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Christmas Devotion: Christmas Story (Luke – 1)

SIH STSTA ICONWe will now continue our look at the birth of Christ by turning to the account in Luke.  We’ll be breaking up our study into four parts:

Part #1 – Luke 1:26-38

Part #2 – Luke 1:39-56

Part #3 – Luke 2:1-20

Part #4 – Luke 2:21-40

Today, we will start with part number one.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luke 1:26-38

THE STUDY:

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

The angel Gabriel is used by the Lord to deliver the message to Mary.  Perhaps, Gabriel is the “Angel of the Lord” talked about in the Matthew account of Christ’s birth (Matt 1:20,24, 2:13,19)  Gabriel was also used by the Lord to deliver the Lord’s message to Daniel (Dan 8:16. 9:21)

 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The espousal was a legally binding promise to marry.  At this point in time, Mary and Joseph had promised to marry but they had not taken the vows nor had they consummated their relationship.

The word “virgin” here is from a Greek word that can mean three different ideas…“a maiden” or “an unmarried daughter” or “a woman who did not have relations with a man”.  How do we know which meaning is meant here? Context dictates the true meaning.

Contextually there are at least, three different proofs that Mary had never had relations with a man:

  1. Luke 1:34 – Mary’s response makes it clear that Mary had never had relations with a man.
  2. Matt 1:21-25 We are clearly told that her pregnancy was the result of the Lord’s divine intervention, this is why Joseph did not break the espousal agreement.
  3. Isa 7:14 – This prophecy was fulfilled by Mary’s pregnancy, it was a miraculous sign from God.

 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Here Gabriel tells Mary three different ideas:

  1. she was highly favoured – Lord had chosen to use her in a special way uncommon among  other women
  2. Lord was with her – Lord’s presence was with her in a special way
  3. She was blessed among all women – Lord had chosen to show her a measure of grace above that of other women.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

This greeting disturbed her, at this point she did not understand what would take place in her life.

 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

The angel calms Mary’s fears and then explained how the Lord would show her a special blessing above that of other women.  She would conceive and then give birth to a son.  This son would be named “Jesus” which means “Jehovah is our freedom”, “Jehovah is our salvation”  He would be both God and Savior of His people.

 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Truths about this God, and Savior…

  1. shall be great – Christ would be “High One” or One who is over all creation
  2. shall be called Son of Highest – He would be recognized as Son of Jehovah God
  3. Father will give Him David’s throne – God would give Him authority to rule over Israel of God (Gals 6:16)
  4. shall reign over house of Jacob eternally – His rule over Israel would be an eternal rule
  5. shall be no end to his kingdom – His rule is not limited to that of the Israel of God but over all mankind (Phil 2:10-11)

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Gen 4:1 “knew” – intimate relations.  She knew she had never had relations this is why she was so confused.  How could she ever become pregnant? This is a proof that she had never had relations with a man.

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

The answer the angel gives to her is in direct response to her concern about how a virgin can become pregnant… Through the power of God the Father, and through the intervention of the Holy Ghost, Mary would conceive a child who would be the very Son of God.

 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

To prove that this was a message from God and to prove that this miraculous act could be accomplished,  the angel points to another miracle, the conception of John the Baptist in the womb of barren Elisabeth.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Mary shows her faith in the Lord and his word by submitting to His will and believing these miracles would be done.

In our next blog entry we will continue this series by looking at Luke 1:39-56

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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A Christmas Devotion: The Christmas Story Explained Part 2

SIH STSTA ICONHere is part number two of our study of the birth of Christ as we find it in the book of Matthew.  If you remember, we had divided up the Matthew passages into two parts:

Part #1 – Matthew 1:18-2:10

Part #2 – Matthew 2:11-23

THE SCRIPTURE:

Matthew 2:11-23

THE STUDY:

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The identity of this star is up to much debate ranging from the planet Jupiter, to an alignment of planets, or perhaps a comet or meteor.  Different scientists and scholars hold to different views.

One thing, I think, is important to remember… it was possible for the Lord to miraculous create a light in the sky to lead His people.  Remember the “pillar of fire” that led the children of Israel through the wilderness? (Exo 13:21, 14:24, Num 14:14, Neh 9:12 etc.) Could it be that this star was a miraculous act of God prepared exclusively for this one time showing to lead men to Christ?

And when they were come into the house,

Note they come into “the house” not into the stable.  Joseph, Mary and the Baby were no longer in the stable by the time the wise men arrived at Bethlehem.  Most people believe that it took as long as 1-2 years for the wise men to travel from Persia to Bethlehem.  Keep in mind, Herod’s decree was to kill all babies 2 years and under.  Why two years?  Could it be that was approximately how long the star had been appearing in the sky?  And that was how long it took for the wise men to travel from the east?

they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

At the sight of the baby, the wise men kneel down in submission to Him… a sign of their belief in God’s prophecies and the baby being the Christ, their King.  The gifts that were given to Christ was significant.  In the Bible, many times gold is symbolic of kings (Dan 3:1).   Frankincense was used as incense for worship picturing our communion with God (prayers arising to God from earth – Ex 30:34)   The myrrh was used for the embalming of dead bodies (John 19:39).   These gifts teach us that the baby was a King, who was sinless having perfect communion with His Father, and he would taste death for His people.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

The wise men then departed to their country (probably Persia), being careful not to go through Jerusalem where Herod lived.  You can see where the Lord gave them wisdom to understand the true person of Christ and to see through the motives of Herod.

And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

God the Father continued to care for Jesus and His family by warning them of the decree of Herod.  Probably this was the same angel that had appeared to Joseph in Matthew 1:20.

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

From Bethlehem they went to Egypt, trying to escape from the decree Herod had issued.  This was in fulfillment of the prophecy (probably Hosea 11:1.)

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Herod’s decree is issued and heinous death of infants resulted… this was in fulfillment of the prophecy found in Jeremiah 31:15.

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.

Again, the Lord, through His angel,  directs the lives of this family by telling them to return to Israel at the death of Herod.

And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

They return to Israel.  But Joseph would not enter into the province of Judaea because Herod’s son had now taken the throne of his father.  The Lord then directs them to the province of Galilee through the use of a dream.  Please notice how God had gone before this young family every step of the way, leading and guiding them, always for their protection and safety.

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

They settled in the town of Nazareth which was Mary’s home town (Luke 1:26).  This would be the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isa 53:2-3.  Nazareth was a despised city, those who were citizens were looked down upon (John 1:46).  By Christ being given the title Nazarene, he was being looked down upon and rejected by many, just as Isaiah 53:2-3 prophetically described Him.

Please note that in the account of Christ’s birth in Matthew, we find prophecies of His origins to range from He came from Bethlehem, He came out of Egypt and He would be called a Nazarene.  Before Christ’s coming to the earth, NO ONE could have reconciled these passages.  It looked as if He was going to be born in 3 different locations!  However, once He came to the earth and lived His life, all three of these prophecies made perfect sense.

It is much the same with futuristic prophecies for us today.  Great care needs to be taken thinking that we have all the events of the future figured out.  Until these events actually take place, none of us can say for certain, exactly what the future holds for us.

We will continue our study of the Christmas story by looking at the account from the book of Luke in our next blog entry.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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A Christmas Devotion: The Christmas Story Explained Part 1

SIH STSTA ICONWith the commercialized Christmas season upon us, I thought it would be good to remind us of the birth of Christ.  Over the next several postings we will be looking at both the account of His birth we find in Matthew and, later, the one that is found in Luke.

I’m going to break up our Matthew study into two parts:

Part #1 – Matthew 1:18-2:7

Part #2 – Matthew 2:8-23

THE SCRIPTURE:

Matthew 1:18-2:10

THE STUDY:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

An espousal is a legally binding engagement.  Back in the NT times, when the couple made it public knowledge that they are intending marriage, they became legally responsible to be faithful to one another.  Although they were not yet actually married, nor did they have marital relations; the law said they had entered into a legally binding agreement, and were to be held accountable if the did not uphold that agreement.

Mary, becomes pregnant during this time of espousal.  Therefore, in the eyes of the law, she appeared to be guilty of adultery, even though she was not yet married to her husband to be, Joseph.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

 Although not married, according to the espousal law, Joseph was her husband.  Therefore, if he did not intend to go through with the marriage he must give legal grounds and have her “put away” (ie do away with his legal obligation to marry her – in other words, he was legally severing the espousal contract.)  However, because he still loved her, he did not want to put her to shame by using a public meeting to sever the espousal contract.  He opted for a private meeting with the city elders to sever the contract instead.

 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

The identity of this “angel of the Lord” isn’t specified in Scripture.  Some believe it is the same “angel of the Lord” that is talked about in the OT scriptures (Gen 16:7, 22:11, Ex 3:2, Num 22:22 etc).  Others believe this is a more generic term that is used for any angel that does the bidding of the Lord on the earth.  The identity of this angel is not of great significance to our story.  What is important is his message to Joseph…

  1. Fear not to go ahead with the marriage to Mary
  2. Mary has conceived through divine intervention of the Holy Spirit, she has not been unfaithful to you.
  3. She will give birth to a son
  4. You will call Mary’s son “Jesus”
  5. The reason for this name is to reveal His person and one of the purposes of His coming… – Jesus means “Jehovah is our freedom” or “Jehovah is salvation” .  In other words, in this one name “Jesus”, we learn that this baby would be God Himself (Jehovah), who would bring freedom from our sins (salvation) 

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

This is a prophecy found in Isa 7:14.  Here the name Emmanuel is Hebrew for “God with Us”.  When Joseph gave the baby the name “Jesus” the same truth was brought forth.  He was Jehovah (or God) with us.

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Joseph, by faith, accepted the message of the angel and then changed his plans to obey the angel.  This was true faith at work!   Every human indication was that Mary was unfaithful to him, but based on the message from God, Joseph chose to marry her, trusting the truthfulness of God’s message.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king,

“Bethlehem” is from the Hebrew language.  It means “House of Bread”.  This is the birthplace of Christ. Who is self described as the “bread of life” (John 6:32-51).  Truly, Bethlehem is the “house of bread”!

Herod, this was a family name.  There were many individuals who carried the name of “Herod”.  This man, in the account of Christ’s birth, was a man commonly referred to as “Herod the Great” or “Herod the first” or “Herod the Ascalonite”.

behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

The wise men were religious priests from Persia.  By their words and actions, we can see that they were acquainted with teachings about a coming King of the Jews.  Also, they were familiar with the role of the star (perhaps from Nums 24:17).  They had a submissive attitude toward this coming King, they were coming to worship Him and bring Him gifts, even though they were not Jewish but of Persian descent.   All of this seems to indicate it is possible they were actually worshippers and servants of Jehovah.

There is nothing in Scripture to indicate these men were currently practicing “astrologers” nor “mystics” nor “seers”.  It is much more likely they were highly educated scientists studying the heavens (astronomers).  The other possibility was that these men were reformed “astrologers” who were no longer practiced the sinful craft.  Keep in mind, these men appear to be in submission to Jehovah and His Christ.  It is this same Jehovah that makes it clear that astrology and mysticism is sinful and should not be pursued. (see my blog entry “Ask the stars… they will tell you”)

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

Herod, the current “King” of the Jews, was concerned at the news another “King of the Jews” was to be born.  This troubled him, so he gathered together his religiously educated counselors to find out more information.

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

The counselors quote to Herod the prophecy found in Micah 5:2, which tells of Bethlehem as the birthplace of the coming ruler of Israel.   This Bethlehem was a very small village in the province of Judah (the southern portion of Israel).  That is why it is described as “the least” among the towns (princes) of Judah.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

Herod would use this information to calculate an estimate of the Messiah’s age, as He sent forth His decree to slay all infants two years and under (Matt 2:16).

And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

Herod had no intention of worshipping Christ, he wanted to kill the Christ child.  Here, we see his deceit and his attempt to use the wise men for his own evil purposes.

To  be continued in part #2 of our study which includes Matthew 2:8-23.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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