A Jewish holiday the world should celebrate
It is the only time of year that people cannot escape the person of Christ even if they do not acknowledge him for who he is. At Christmas time no one will ever really turn down a gift, it doesn't matter if one is a Buddhist or even an atheist they will receive a gift and they may give others a gift as well. This is the only time of the year this could happen.
Behind all overbearing commercialization there still is the underlying idea of giving a gift. This finds itself in the biblical story of the true gift of giving which was from God himself, as he gave his only son.
This is a time of year where most of the people are happy and they are anticipating getting together with friends and family. Many say this is what Christmas is about, family gatherings. But this was the very opposite in the scripture. It was uncomfortable for Mary as she was turned away from a house having to give birth in a manger. There was an element of insecurity what could happen being away from the population, out in the countryside in winter. They were alone, no mid - wife, no doctor just the two of them and God.
This holiday is not just a remembrance or a birthday of a great man, or another holiday to have a party, but the celebration of the one and only time God took on a human body.
Christmas is prophecy fulfilled to the letter, it is something God told well in advance. It was the prophecy fulfilled from the time of Adam and Eve right after they sinned the promise came in Genesis 3:15. That one from their line would come and would crush Satan, the one who tempted them into sin.
Certainly Adam and Eve did not understand what was spoken of completely and I'm sure they must have wondered each time they had a child if he would be the one. This assurance was the blessed hope of redemption. Each time a great person through Israel was born they might have thought was he the one. But he was not to come through both the man and woman. The sign of a virgin woman conceiving promised in Genesis was later explained through Isaiah thousands of years later that the virgin will conceive.
But it would be almost another thousand years after Isaiah for this to come to pass as Christ was born and Satan as the prophecy stated he would bruised his heel ,his human nature. By doing this he guaranteed his demise and Christ's victory. What looked like the ultimate defeat for God and Satan's triumph became Satan's defeat and Gods triumph. As he made a public display of ruining his spoils. the eventual victory from the seed of the woman who crushes the head of the serpent finally came in a unique way the salvation of mankind was brought about by the death of Christ. The serpent would slay Him but He would rise from the dead. Jesus died purposely to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and to destroy him who had the power of death and sin, that is, the devil. He spoiled his goods and control over our mind body and emotions.
Certainly the Devil tried to preempt the birth of the savior as he moved Herod to quickly kill mercilessly every child in the area from the age of 2 and under. He even tried to trick the wise men who came to see the child by saying when you find him come back to tell me so I too can worship him. Rev. 12:1-6 gives us insight into this event " Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. (this being a symbol of the 12 tribes of Israel coming from Jacob Gen. 37)"Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
We can see it was an all out war as the symbols understood in their literal meaning describe the devil bringing his demons with him to devour this child redeemer as soon as He is born. But it is not to be, as the Lord himself prophesied Isa.9:6 he would have a kingdom and his rulership would go on forever. But this still did not stop the demons from questioning his authority. This child indeed did ascend up to heaven from where He first came.
Christ's birth, and the details of His life, his death and resurrection were foretold centuries before by the Hebrew prophets. No such prophecies are found in other so called holy books, no prophecy preceded the births of Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad or Baha'u'llah in this kind of detail. Biblical prophecy fulfilled is a powerful persuader that we need to use to show that the God of the bible is indeed God.
Christianity is not a first-century invention of apostate Jews. It is the continuation of Judaism and the fulfillment of the voices from the Hebrew prophets of Judaism. They consistently foretold for centuries about the coming one, not by mans ingenuity but moved by the Spirit of God to write down the specific details. The birth of Jesus, is prophecy fulfilled to the letter, it is something God told well in advance.
The Bibles prophecies provide irrefutable evidence for God's existence - and the fact that He has a purpose for mankind. History is not merely happenstance It is going somewhere. God has a plan and it is going forward. Just as Israel did not discern the time of his first coming, today neither does the world do so for his 2nd. But we are not to be in darkness as Peter says 2 Pet 1:19 "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;"
The world celebrates Christmas not knowing that the little baby born is not a child any longer, nor will He be coming back as a lamb, but as a lion. History is moving quickly to its final culmination of this event as one can easily see, if they read their Bible.
There are more than 300 prophecies pertaining to the Messiahs first coming in the Old Testament. Why so many? So Israel could identify Him. When in the fulness of time God would send forth his Son (Gal 4:4). What was that fulness of time? Much like they were in bondage in Egypt and needed a deliverer, They were in bondage occupied by Rome in their own land. Yet in John 8:31-34 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'You will be made free'? "Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin." The issue was not physical slavery, but a spiritual one. Heb.10:5 tells us he came to do the fathers will, to die. To die for all mankind ,but could only save those who understand their position of being in sin and look to him for the change.
They were far away from practicing the Judaism that came through Moses. Many specific literal prophecies described his coming. He was and rule upon David's throne. Matthew and Luke record the genealogy of Joseph and Mary to prove that Jesus came from this genealogy. That he would be born in Bethlehem fulfilling Mic.5:2, but not just anywhere, but a certain part. Bethlehem is called the house of bread (David's house) Jesus is called the bread of life who came from heaven and is born the house of bread.
Many religions try to find their teachings correlated to the Bible, but it is only by chance that there are some similarities.
Jesus In John 5:39 (and Lk.24:40-44) pointed to the scripture to prove his personhood "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me." All of the Old Testament according to Jesus is about him, the tabernacle the feast days are all derived from and show and illustrate who Jesus is.
It would be ludicrous to believe all the Scripture is about a mere human like Iglesia ni Cristo says. It would be equally wrong to think the Scripture is all about the Arch angel Michael as the Jehovah's Witnesses state. No the Scripture is all about God and his messiah who was to be God himself.
It was Israel's own prophets writings that were searched for to prove who would be the messiah. But they missed it.
The proof of Christianity lies in the person of Christ. He is not just another man in the long line of religious teachers, he is just another spiritual master enlightened by knowledge, or another prophet in the long line of prophets. No prophet ever said they were the express image of the invisible God, or that if you have seen them you have seen the father, they knew better. God the Father never said of any prophet that they were the cause for the existence of all things.
No prophet priest or king ever was able to point to himself and say I am the way the truth and the life.
Jesus prophesied Luke 19:43-44"For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side," and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." This happened in 70 AD when the Roman armies marched in and sacked Jerusalem; they destroyed the temple by burning it, stripping it of its gold.
It is almost 2,000 years since the Jews have rejected Jesus; they still hope for their Messiah to come the first time-but they hope in vain. Jesus Christ already fulfilled Malachi 3:1 "the Lord [Messiah], whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple", when He visited the temple and chased out the money changers and merchants (Mk 11:15). The destruction of the temple some 40 years later in 70 A.D. made it impossible during the last 1,930 years for any would-be Messiah to fulfill this Scripture. Since all genealogical records were lost in the destruction of the temple, no modern "Messiah" would be able to prove his descent from David.
Throughout the Old Testament there were specific instructions to follow in the priesthood and the tabernacle. Everything that God gave Israel to keep and practice spoke of the Messiah God used types and models for theirs and our instruction. He used typology and symbols in the furnishings of the tabernacle, the 7 feast days, as well as people. The feast days gave them illustrations incased in their biblical traditions that would help them recognize the messiah. Gal.3 the law was enforced until the seed should come.
John introduced Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Likewise Paul used Christ in his epistle to the Corinthians as our Passover, Unleaven bread, Firstfruits, feast of trumpets, and tabernacles. All the things that Jesus said of himself were ingrained in the Jewish culture so they understood what he was communicating about himself from the Old Testament.
The tabernacle and the different instruments inside that God gave to Israel to build and practice, were to help them recognize the messiah when he came. He used the Old Testament types and shadows to illustrate He was the light of the world, they understood it as the menorah and the glory of God. When He said He was the bread of life they would understand it as the bread in the holy place that was unleaven (12 loaves symbolized the 12 tribes of Israel) Lev.24:5-9 "Lechem pani" meaning the bread of his face (his presence). Jesus said He was the bread that fed Israel in the wilderness, He called himself the bread of life. The bread that came down from heaven to have fellowship with man. (Matt 4:4 )
Typology is found in various people Just as the first Adam was formed from the ground as a direct creation of God, the Last Adam had a supernatural creation through the virgin. Adam was the natural headship over the human race. Christ, the last Adam is the spiritual headship over the human race. Both Adams were the federal heads of the human race the first Adam was the federal head of sin the last Adam of righteousness and life. The first brought sin and death the last was a life giving spirit to all who believed.
By Adams sin, death came to all people, by Christ's death, this penalty was reversed and eternal life is given to all people who receive it by Him. By the first Adam we became unrighteous, in type the last Adam came to reverse this effect, by Christ and his obedience we were all made righteous.
The tabernacle had a tremendous amount of typology for Israel. John starts off his gospel about the true light coming into the world, that he was the life of all people. John 1:9-12 "That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him."
John uses this in Jn.1:14; the word became flesh and 'dwelt' among us, which means 'tabernacled' among man. The purpose of the Tabernacle was to contain the Shekinah Glory, where God dwelt. He didnít come to restore a temple made in stone but became a living tabernacle which the glory of God would dwell and reveal himself to people. The tabernacle had a tremendous amount of typology for Israel. When God dwelt in the tabernacle, among the Jews, the glory of God was hid except to the high priest who could enter behind the veil into the Holy of Holies. So Christís Glory was hid behind the veil of flesh. While Jesus dwelt among men His glory was manifested in his gracious words and miraculous acts. John starts off his gospel of Jesus being ď the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.Ē (John 1:9-12)
Christ was the ultimate Tabernacle, one not made with hands. God dwelt in Christ, as Col.1:19 states, "it pleased the Father that in Him all the fulness of God dwell."
The details of the tabernacle all point to Christ and describe his attributes, person or ministry. There was only one way into the tabernacle and it was through the east from the tribe of Judah. Jesus came to us through the tribe of Judah and he described himself as the way and the door. As one approached the building itself, "it had no beauty on the outside" Until they entered in. Isaiah speaks of the person of Christ having no beauty that we should desire him (Isaiah 5 3:2). But we discover his beauty when one enters in.
As one enters the tabernacle the articles become more valuable in their worth from brass, wood, silver to gold to ultimately the one high priest enters carrying the blood of the sacrifice into the holy of Holies typifying Christ and Gods Glory. The Veil marked a point of separation, the holy of holies from the holy place, it also separated the high priest from all the other common priests.
Mt.27 :51 at the very same hour the priest was offering up the lamb, Christ was sacrificed as the true lamb. The veil split ripped in half from top to bottom showing it was God who ripped it not man. God had opened the way for all to enter in his presence.
This veil was 60 ft by 30 ft and 4" thick it took 300 people to maneuver it in place. Heb.10:19-21 Jesus was the sacrifice as well as the high priest, and because of him we now have confidence to enter. It was his flesh that was torn It was through the death of His body that access was now provided. The renting of the Veil meant that access to Gods presence was no longer limited to one man out of one family out of one tribe out of one nation of the nations of the world. All have access to God's presence merely by accepting Jesus as Messiah.
The writer of Hebrews whoever he may be spends much time in comparing the work of Jesus with the things going on in the tabernacle. (9:1-10:18) The symbolic correlation of the tabernacle and its furnishings as well as the rituals are all Jesus. (Hebrews 13:10-15). Jesus fulfilled all the sacrifices. The two goats, one set free the other the scapegoat the sins were laid on. He was not only the final sacrifice, but the brazen altar itself as well. Those who claim that the bible speaks of them such as Mohammed or Baha'u'llah cannot find any association to the furnishings or feast days besides the literal prophecies.
Christ spoke of himself as the manna that came down from heaven fulfilling the manna that sustained Israel miraculously through the desert. He said he came to fulfill the law being the word incarnate. He is the type of Aaron's rod that budded-speaking of his resurrection, all of which were put under the lid of the ark where God would appear above. Jesus used the example of Jonah for the last sign to Israel, his death and burial and resurrection he also used Old Testament typology to show literal meanings.
7 branched lampstand was the light for the priests in the holy place. The seven lampstands mentioned in Rev.1:20 are symbolic of the whole of the Church which Christ holds in his right hand
Oil was the Light of the 7 branched lampstand in the holy place. Oil was used for anointing the objects in the tabernacle setting them apart for Gods use. It speaks of Christ being anointed Isa.61 quoted in Lk.4. in Mt.3 When the anointing, the holy spirit came upon Jesus it rested on him. It came as a dove a bird that is faithful to its mate for life.
Acts 2:36 Peter says God has declared Jesus both Lord and Christ, and God's anointed one, not one of many.
Heb.1:8 quotes Ps.45:6-7 The Father speaking," But to the Son he says "Your throne ,O God is forever and ever... God, even thy God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." So much more could be said about the tabernacle and its rituals.
All the prophecies, all the offices of prophet, priest, and king, even the geography of Israel's journey would be used to identify Israel's Messiah. As Jesus was led to the wilderness for testing which lasted 40 days in victory compared to Israel's 40 years in defeat.
He used the water being poured out on the feat day to say if any one comes to him they will never thirst again. This again correlated to the rock that was struck on Israel's journey to the promise land to give them water. Paul says that rock in the wilderness was Christ.
It would culminate with the true light in a human being as God coming to earth. .What would be the best way for God to communicate to man. For example if we as humans wanted to get a message to the ants what would we need to do. Well the best way would be to become one of them and communicate on their level.
God became one of his own subjects The word that made all things as the work of his own hands became his own workmanship in his incarnation. He was planted in the sea of humanity specifically Gods vineyard Israel. He then after the resurrection was exalted to the right hand of God, his prior position before he came as a man.
Phil.2:7 But made himself of no reputation taking the form of a bond servant, being made in the likeness of men."
Vs.8 "Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
This is the reason he came to earth and became a human to give his body as a sacrifice to God for our sins. Since God is Spirit he cannot die, he needed to take on the human form with all its conditions of humanity (minus the sin).
Luke 2:11-12 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
A king is born unannounced to the important people of the world. Unnoticed by the governments and rulers But to humble servants. What do they see when they visit the manger a baby that looks like any other but he is the creator, the king of kings.
The sign was the swaddling cloths, a baby born and wrapped in swaddling cloths. What kind of sign is this? Well these cloths were burial cloths that were left in caves outside the city. The Jews buried people in caves. They didnt have separate buildings for animals. The sign was the way he was born; it will be the same way he will also be buried. His birth was a humiliation to come as man and born among the animals with no home. His death will be an exaltation as he was buried in a rich mans cave. Resurrected and received into the fathers right hand where he was before.
Zechariah 9:9 Announces" Behold, your King is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey." Even his fulfilling prophecy as a king was in humility of his position.
Some actually think if Jesus came today, hed have the best clothes, drive a Rolls, and eat steak every night. He didn't come as a King, although he was one. He didn't come born into royalty, although he was royalty.
He wasn't born into the Levitical priesthood which was for the nation of Israel, but came in the priesthood of Melchizedek, the priesthood for all mankind. While many are born into a royal family to grow up to be king Christ did it differently he was king and was born into a common family coming from heaven to earth.
He was born in a stable, a cave with animals. Lk.2:22-24 Mary sacrificed two turtle doves for her cleansing which is a poor households sacrifice (Lev.12:2-8) Archeological excavations of Nazareth from the 1950s show the village of Jesus day were occupied by poor agricultural people. As Jesus grew up he worked in the trade of a carpenter, not a trade known for its wealth. There is absolutely no indication he was wealthy.
He was buried in another mans tomb, (a rich mans.) If he or his family were rich, they would have buried him in his own family tomb. This again proves that he had no money for this. Neither did his family nor the apostles have the money to by such a burial, it was borrowed. After all it would not be permanent.
Around the first tree man sinned so he could no longer partake of the tree of life, death came to all. Around the 2nd tree Jesus conquered sin and forgiveness was made available to all. The curse began at the 1st tree and ended by the 2nd tree, as Jesus became a curse for us. The lamb is tied to the altar, Christ was bound by his hands and feet, pierced through with nails, but He was actually bound by His love for us, not by any mans decision but his own.
Peters favorite saying was Christ was crucified on the tree.2,000 years ago Godís [Christmas] tree was a cross decorated with a bloody man, it may not have looked beautiful to man but it was acceptably decorated to God. This is the Christmas gift to all of us, this is the one gift we all need to open. It's not what is under the tree that counts but what hung on the tree, Jesus Christ; who was born to be crucified on the cross so that you can have a relationship with God.
Those who reject him from his first coming will identify Him by His marks of crucifixion at His second coming. All the debates of who He was and what He did will end, and peace will come to those who have accepted and followed Him before He comes again.