Luke 1:1 (Those Things Which Have Been Fulfilled Among Us)

Luke 1:1
Those Things Which Have Been Fulfilled Among Us

“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The world is filled with fanciful stories about events which may or may not have actually occurred at all. Or, if they did happen, how much embellishment has been added on to what really happened? It’s almost impossible to look back on the Iliad and not question what is recorded there by Homer.

The date of the events of the Iliad goes back to the 9th century BC. However, the earliest existing manuscript is from around 400-415 BC. That is a gap of about 450 years. And more, there are only 1900 known ancient copies. And yet, it is taught in colleges around the world as an authoritative narrative of historical events.

When we hear of the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar, we assume we are hearing exacting history of events which were minutely recorded and detailed for us. But the events that occurred were in the years 58-44 BC. And yet, the earliest manuscripts that we possess are from the 9th – yes the 9th – century AD. That is a gap of 900 years. From this period, there are about 250 copies.

Despite this extremely limited number of documents, which are close to a thousand years after the events occurred, we teach what is contained in them as if it is reliable history.

But from the same scholarly sources that teach these events as literal history, come cries of “unreliable” when they speak of the events of Scripture. And yet, of the Greek New Testament manuscripts concerning events which took place from the turn of the millennium until about AD70, the earliest known manuscript – the John Rylands fragment – dates to early or middle second century AD. That is within a few short years after the death of the Apostle John.

Further, it was found outside of Israel, meaning what it says had to be taken there at an earlier date. That first known document is then followed by almost 6000 Greek manuscripts. Also, there are over 18000 non-Greek manuscripts dating as far back as 30 to 300 years after the events they record.

Thirty years is within one lifetime of the events that are recorded. If one is to accept Homer’s Iliad or the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar as authoritative, how much more should the writings of Scripture be held as accurate and reliable! Additionally, because of the immense body of available manuscripts, errors between manuscripts can be easily identified.

What we possess in the New Testament is reliable, it is sure, and it is trustworthy. But what we possess in the New, speaks in the same sure manner concerning the Old…

Text Verse: “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” Luke 1:1-4

Luke is a historical figure. We don’t just possess his writings which make a claim that somewhat parallels the other synoptic gospels. Rather, he is referred to by Paul in the book of Colossians as his companion. He is also written about outside of Scripture as well.

As far as Luke’s writings, the events he mentions, the places they occur, and the details that he includes in his writings are so accurately recorded, that what he says can be used today to identify specific locations by their surrounding characteristics. His writings are meticulous in the extreme because he was a meticulous man.

When Luke refers to those things which have been fulfilled among us, it is because they were written about, in advance, and then what occurred was seen to have come to pass. This is what Zechariah was speaking of when he spoke of the holy prophets who have been since the world began.

Luke obtained the eyewitness testimony of the people that saw these things, and then he lines up what they saw with what Scripture prophesied about. Thus, we have an unbroken succession of events which seamlessly tie the two testaments into one grand story of an Individual who was prophesied would come to save the world.

Such marvelous things encompass what we now call “the Christmas story” and they are to be found in God’s superior word. And so, let’s turn to that precious word once again. And may God speak to us through His word, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Problem to be Resolved

To understand the Christmas story, and why it is important for each of us, we must be schooled on why the coming of Christ was needed in the first place. Without that, we have just another story of a conquering hero. We find them in the movies all the time:

A nation is in subjection to another nation, the people long to be freed from their overlords, a champion rises up from among them and casts off the shackles of oppression, and the hero’s life is recorded as an example of bravery and courage. William Wallace, or Braveheart, immediately comes to mind.

Unlike William Wallace, however, the Hero of Scripture didn’t just arise out of the stream of time and suddenly break onto the scene without any foreknowledge of His coming. Rather, His coming was eagerly anticipated since the very beginning of man’s time on earth. And not only was He anticipated, He was promised. And not only was He promised, His coming was prophesied – in detail.

The first time this was so was right at the beginning. There is God, there is His creation, and in that creation is the central focus of what is created – man. Everything else is centered on this one being which is set apart from all the other beings in Scripture.

We know about angels, but they aren’t the focus of the narrative. They are mentioned in relation to the narrative about man, not the other way around.

We know about the stars, but the location of the stars is mentioned in reference to the earth, not the other way around. And on the earth, the life which is created is spoken of in general terms, with the exception of man. All other life is prepared in advance of man, showing that man is the purpose for that other life to exist – meaning in relation to man, not the other way around.

When the man was created, it was as if he was an expected guest. The preparations were ready, the home was fit for his coming, and then he was brought into his home. But being brought into a home means that there is a home to be brought into. And a home doesn’t prepare itself. Likewise, man didn’t create himself. Rather, there is an Authority over these things who determined how they should be.

Because there is One in authority, it is His call as to how things should be. With all of the attentioned-focus on man, there should have been a great attention directed to the One who created the man, and there should have been an obedience to Him – if for no other reason than that He did the creating, much less that He did it with such care.

But it is hard to know what abundance, beauty, and delight are without knowing what lack, ugliness, and unhappiness is. Without knowing the latter, we cannot really appreciate the former. For those of us who feel well today, it’s just a state that we accept. But for those of us who have just gotten over feeling really crummy, feeling well is pretty great.

We appreciate God’s gift of feeling well much more when we have the knowledge of the opposite fresh on our minds. The man lacked this, and so when he heard the first recorded words that were ever spoken to him, he couldn’t appreciate them –

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” Genesis 2:15-17

First, he couldn’t appreciate what it meant to be commanded. Law was given, but what is law anyway? Without knowing the purpose or the consequences of law, there is no reference by which to appreciate the command. And simply being told what the consequences are, without knowing what they mean, doesn’t give us any more understanding of them than before we heard them.

The man was alive, but that was a state he became without ever having been dead or having seen the state of death in another. Therefore, the words “you shall surely die” had no understood meaning because there was no reference to understand them. “I wasn’t alive before, but I have no idea what that was like.”

It is said in Hebrews that “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” The man hadn’t heard this, but even if he had – “Oh, okay.” With a shrug, he would simply go on without any idea at all of what that meant.

And more, the Lord could have heaped up a thousand commands and said, “You are to do these things,” and it would have made no difference than the giving of that one command. Without an understanding of right and wrong, or the resulting punishment, lack which resulted from it, and so on, a right determination about obedience could not be made.

But, despite this being true, it does not excuse his disobedience. The man didn’t create himself, and he did not place himself into the home that was prepared for him. He was under an obligation which should have been understood, if he just took the time to contemplate the matter.

Chapter 2 of Genesis sees the man given implicit authority over the animals because it was granted to him to name them. But it also reveals, through that fact, that he had intelligence. To give a name implies that he was able to form a name in order to give it.

After that was done, the Lord God – the Creator – then gave the man a woman to be his own. In the naming of her ishah, or “woman,” there is an understanding that he is an ish, or a man. And this implies that there was language instilled in him to form these names, and the other names that he had given to the animals. He didn’t form the language. Rather it existed before he did.

Because this is so, he was both given the rational ability to think concepts through, and to develop new ideas which form what is logical and what is illogical. In other words, he was without excuse if he was to disobey the command of the Lord, even if he didn’t understand the consequences of the command.

However, thinking logically is hard work, and understanding theology, if it is proper theology, is as well. The man lived in a land of delight, his needs were cared for, and he apparently didn’t need to think on such things.

The chapter ends with the words, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” They had no idea of what it meant to be ashamed, and so they were not ashamed. It was a sinless world; a world without death.

Of course, the world where we now live is not a sinless world, and it is not a world free from death. Quite the opposite is true. Things changed, and that was because of a single incident of deception. The man did the one – the only – thing that he was told to not do. He ate of the fruit.

The very next words of the record show us that a great change immediately took place –

‘Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Genesis 3:7

A knowledge they previously lacked now belonged to them. They were unashamed, and suddenly they were ashamed. To correct the matter, they covered themselves. But the record is specific. They didn’t just use leaves to do so. They used teenah, or fig leaves.

From this point on, the fig takes on a particular meaning in Scripture based on what is seen here. The fig signifies a spiritual connection to God, or the lack of it. This is seen, for example, in the words of Jesus in Mark 11 –

“Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, ‘Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’” Mark 11:12-14

Jesus was making a theological point concerning the place where He had left the day before, and where He immediately returned to the next day – the temple. Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree was a parable of the ending of the temple rites and the law as God’s means of restoration with Him. The spiritual connection of the law was to be severed.

He was taking us back to Eden. The man and the woman had tried to make a spiritual reconnection through the leaves of the fig to what they had lost, but it was too late. God rejected that, He cursed the serpent, the woman, and the man. Death entered the world through the act, and then came the judgment.

The spiritual reconnection could not come through their efforts. The fig leaves were insufficient to restore what had been lost. But while standing there, covered in their own unsuitable works, the Lord spoke out words of promise via His curse upon the serpent –

“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15

The new master of the realm, the serpent, would be defeated through the Seed of the woman. It is absolutely certain that this is a promise of the coming Messiah. The man and his woman stood there, dead in their sin and destined to die in their bodies. The Lord had just said to the man that he would return to the dust from which he had been taken, but the promise of life, even from their state of death, was made.

We know this because immediately after the pronounced curse upon the man, the very next words say, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).

The man, though now spiritually dead, and destined to die – meaning he lived in a body of death, now named the woman he had been given – Khavah, or “Life.” Though they stood before the Lord dead, he had believed the promise that the bringer of death would be destroyed. If death was destroyed, life would come.

The naming of the woman “Life” was an act of faith, and in that act, a covering was given –

“Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21

Something died in order to cover their shame. Blood was shed, and it was not done so by the man. Rather, it was the Lord who did it, and thus it was an act of grace. Further, it was the Lord who clothed them with this substitutionary animal. There was no active participation on their part. They simply received what the Lord had provided. This is what the text indicates.

In this one chapter, and actually in very few verses of that chapter, and many of them following one directly after the next, the entire basis for the redemption of mankind is given. The theology of what is presented in the Genesis 3 narrative will never be diverted from.

Man fell, man is fallen, man cannot correct the matter, the Lord will intervene, the Lord – through His grace – will accomplish the necessary sacrifice, the Lord will provide the necessary covering for the restoration with that sacrifice, and it will be based on a simple act of faith by the man. Everything in Scripture concerning salvation after this point will be based on that notion, and it will support that typology.

I shall put enmity between you and the woman
An on-going battle through lengths of ages
Your seed, the unregenerate human
Who against me reviles and rages 

But there shall come One, a Promised Seed
Who will crush your head for what you have done
Your days are numbered so take you heed
In my mind the battle is already won 

Jesus is coming to make all things new
This word is faithful and it is true

In the cross, a victory you will assume
A victory – yes – but not for you
After His cross and after His tomb
He will arise and make all things new 

Man’s redemption will have been wrought
By the Seed of the woman, My own Son
With His blood He will have bought
The right to man’s soul, the victory won

II. Promises, Covenants, and Dispensations

Despite the pattern of redemption being set in the manner in which we just saw, there are innumerable things which will seem to deviate from it as the story of Scripture unfolds. But such is not the case. Quite often, those things which seem like deviations – such as the Law of Moses – are detailed lessons and learning tools to more fully understand and/or appreciate this simple message of hope.

A Messiah is coming, and He will make all things right again. Eve knew this and the joy of having her first child is highlighted by an implicit belief that she through he – this child named Cain – would be returned to paradise because she believed that he was the promised Messiah.

That proved to be a wrong assumption, and she went into a state of miserable acceptance of that fact with the coming of her second son, Abel. His name, Havel, means “Breath.” It is the vaporous breath that disappears as it is exhaled. Eve was despondent and the name reflects her state.

And, so sad was the plight of this family, so ingrained in them was the death which infected Adam, that these first two recorded births into the stream of human existence turned into a point of not simply waiting for death to come, but actively bringing it about. Cain killed his brother and the miserable state of man apart from God was highlighted by the act.

However, and despite this, a careful recording of the names of certain men born after Adam is made. Due to the length of man’s lifespan, and the years between Adam and one of those named men – Noah – there could have been millions, or possibly hundreds of millions (or more) people on the earth by the 1656th year of the world. And yet very few names are recorded during all those years and among all of those humans.

In this, we can see that this limited line, and this particular record, is very important. And it becomes especially so when we read in Genesis 6 that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

This is a world which had gone from its first short dispensation into its second. Man had gone from innocence to conscience. There is no specific direction given to man. There were no divine laws recorded. It was simply a time in which man was given to live as he saw fit, but with the understanding that he was in a very short line of humans from their first father, Adam.

And more to the point, the lifespans of man at that time meant that many alive by the time of the flood were born while Adam was still alive. If anyone wanted to know if the story was true, all they need to do was go ask him or one of his direct sons. They had the information they needed.

Would man use that knowledge wisely? No. By the time of Noah, there was no hope and no remedy except to destroy that which had made itself worthless through wickedness. But the careful detailing of that one particular line of Adam is a note of hope in an otherwise dreadful world.

From the tenth in that line, Noah, would come a new world of men with divine commands and a covenant – the Lord would never again destroy the world by flood. But there were expectations levied upon man, and the Lord promised that He would hold man accountable for his actions. Thus, came the dispensation of government.

It is a dispensation which continues to this day in the world at large. God established the nations and the peoples of the world. He gave them their languages and they are to live within those confines.

But during this long-running dispensation, the Lord was still working towards the coming of Messiah. For the nations to have hope, there must be a Hope of the nations. Even if man has forgotten that the promise was made, somewhere – instilled deep within him – is the knowledge that it must be so.

However, to continue the plan without distraction and without manipulation by the nations of the world, the Lord called only one man to continue carrying on this hope. Why would He do this? He has done it because of Genghis Khan, Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin – and because of innumerable others like them. Man looks to man for his hope, and nations look to their leaders for their salvation.

But salvation is of the Lord. That pattern has already been set. And it is not by the works of man but by faith in the Lord. And so, while the nations continued with their own conquests, raising up their own leaders and false messiahs, the Lord called Abraham out of Ur and to a land that He would set before him.

In his calling, he was given a promise, with him was made a covenant, and through him came another dispensation based on the promise. In the Lord’s dealings with Abraham, he was given a sign – that of circumcision. But the circumcision came after the promise, not before. The circumcision was only a sign of the covenant. The covenant is one based on Abraham’s faith in the promise.

To understand the life of Abraham, and to grasp why the selected stories of his life which are recorded in Scripture are there, is to look into the mind of God. It is to see and understand in picture and typology the continued unfolding of the plan of redemption and the hope of Messiah – meaning the Child of Christmas – that goes back to the fall itself.

The dispensation of promise is a dispensation of looking forward to the Promise. When Abraham was told to take his only son and sacrifice him, it was to make a picture of what God would do. When the wood for the offering was laid upon his son Isaac to carry, it was to make a picture of what Christ would do – carrying the cross ordained by His Father. When a ram was provided by the Lord in place of Isaac, it was given to show us what would come about in our salvation – substitutionary atonement. And, the spot where these things took place was to let us know where Christ would die.

These are only a few details of one short story out of many chapters of stories of the life of Abraham, and each of them – names of people he interacted with, names of places he went to, and on and on – all of his life was used to provide us hints and clues of the Promise that would come from this dispensation of promise.

But the types and pictures didn’t stop there. When Abraham was gone, the promises, the covenants, and the dispensation continued with Isaac and with Jacob. Every story, every act, every harvest, and every conflict that is recorded is given to show us what God was doing and how He would do it.

In the life of Jacob is an entire panorama of the story – from Adam to Messiah, and throughout the all of time’s set dispensations. And they are all given to show us that it is centered on the Promise – the coming Messiah, the seed of the woman, the Child of Christmas.

This included the family matters of Jacob – the acquisition of his wives, the births and naming of his twelve sons and one named daughter, the ordeals that those children went through and the conflicts they faced, and so on. When Joseph was sold off to slavery in Egypt, it wasn’t merely a story of loss for Jacob, but a story of what God would do in Christ.

When Jacob’s eldest, Judah, through many various life events finally ended up sleeping with his own daughter in law – without even knowing it was her – it was to give us a typological picture of what God would do through Jesus Christ in the redemption of the world, and the assurance that we possess because of it.

None of these stories is without a reason, and the reason for every one of them is to show us details of what God would do in the sending of Messiah. When Zechariah prophesied concerning God’s holy prophets who have been since the world began, it was because men of God had been prophesying both through their writings and through their actions, as directed by God, that there were things which would be fulfilled in this coming Child of Christmas.

In the movement of Jacob and his family to Egypt, pictures are made. In the death and burial of Jacob, pictures are made. In the years of captivity, pictures are made. Time, and the lives of these people, were marching towards an inevitable meeting with Messiah, and each recorded detail is especially given for that one reason.

And then, after many long years in Egypt, the bondage of the people was great. They were under a harsh taskmaster, and they yearned for freedom. When the time was right, He sent them a deliverer.

The next major figure of the plan was Moses, but though He anticipates Christ, he does so in a different way – not in the promise, but in how the promise is obtained. And it is not in how it is obtained by man, but how it is so obtained for man.

The Lord, through Moses, delivered Israel out of Egypt, but He brought them to Sinai, not to Canaan. In bringing the people to Sinai, a new dispensation came into focus – that of Law. Everything about their time there was given for this purpose. There was the lawgiver, there were the implements, rites, rituals, and commandments which came through the law. And surely, without understanding the reason for the law, the words bog down in tedium, and the mind is overwhelmed with detail.

The laws are restrictive, and they bind the people with a heavy load. If one law in Eden brought such disaster upon the world, what would come of those who were cast under the long oppressive shadow of this law? And how could life come from such a body of death? The Lord said it was possible, but only through an impossible allowance.

In the middle of the seemingly unending laws of the book of Leviticus, and in a chapter that deals heavily with sexual morality, the Lord said –

“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:5

It is a promise, but it is a promise based on law. Thus, it is a promise based on obedience. And because it is based on obedience to law, if an infraction arises, then the promise is nullified.

A person will live in the performance of the Lord’s statutes and judgments. Therefore, logically, one will not live in his failure to do them. But this is where the words of Zechariah, which he prophesied at the time of John’s birth, become relevant again. He said –

“And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:” Luke 1:72, 73

Zechariah does not appeal to the Covenant at Sinai and the Law of Moses. Rather, he appealed to “His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham.” It is what is explained by Paul in Galatians 3 –

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Galatians 3:13-18

What is it that Messiah would do? He would come to fulfill the promise and to keep the covenant to Abraham which was confirmed by God in Christ. In other words, the covenant to Abraham was a covenant of the understanding that Messiah was coming and that He was coming through Abraham.

And so why then did God give the law to Israel? It was to keep Israel as Israel. It was to confirm them as the Lord’s people until the coming of Messiah. And how would they know that He had come? First, He would fulfill the many types and pictures which anticipated Him.

Secondly, He would fulfill the prophesies which foretold of Him and of His coming. And thirdly, in Him would be life. The law said so –

“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:5

When One did the things of the law, He would live. The promise stands. But before He would come, the law would work out its purpose fully. The time of the law was the time of the conquest. It was the time of the judges. It was the time of the kings. And it was the time of the prophets continuing their call.

They proclaimed the word of the Lord to the people of Israel, progressively telling them a bit more with each new revelation about the promise of Christmas to come.

He is coming. Messiah is coming. He will be from the tribe of Judah. He will be from the house of David. He will be born in Bethlehem. He would come before the destruction of the second temple, and so – in fact – before that even took place, He would have to be born.

The timing is so precise that it’s hard to believe anyone could miss it. He would begin His ministry four hundred and eighty-three years after the decree of Atarxerxes to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. If that is when He began His ministry, then He would obviously be born at some point before that.

With all of this information available, it was simply a matter of waiting and watching as history slowly unfolded until that right moment. It came as prophesied. Luke 2 bears witness that Simeon was told he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Likewise, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, an aged woman who stayed constantly at the temple knew He had come, and she announced it to “all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” The matter was not secret outside of the temple, nor was it secret outside of Jerusalem.

Nor was it a secret outside of Israel. Matthew records that wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, having known He had come by the sign of “His star in the East.” Those who were outside of the law and still living under the dispensation of government were aware of His coming.

When they came seeking Him, they went to Herod the king. Herod, in turn, gathered together the chief priests and the scribes and asked them about it. Their answer was that He would be born in Bethlehem. It was written, and they knew – in advance – that it would be so. If they knew this, then they knew what Daniel said as well.

It was Micah, a minor prophet, who had prophesied concerning the birthplace. It was Daniel, a major prophet, who had prophesied of the time of His coming. The timing could not be missed. The end of the four hundred and eighty-three years was not far off at that point.

The Hope of Israel, and – indeed – the hope of the nations had come. Nobody disputed that He was coming, even the Samaritan woman in John 4 anticipated Him. When He passed through her area and stopped to talk to her, she said –

“I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” John 4:25

It wasn’t as if one woman in one town of Samaria happened to know this. Rather, the implication from her words is that it was such common knowledge that even one woman in one town of Samaria would know it. In other words, everyone anticipated it.

The Christmas story that we read every year is the story of God’s entrance into the stream of humanity. It is the anticipation of all people to some extent. Some actively hide it. Some purposefully deny it. But all people are aware of the fact that something is wrong, and somehow it will be made right, and that God has told us that it would happen.

Some cultures still have a sense of God’s plan, but it is marred and obscured through years, additions, changes, and twistings. But the underlying concepts are there. The only properly transmitted and maintained revelation of it, however, was through Israel.

And the law of Israel was given to keep Israel together. It was a bind which protected them so that His coming would be unmistakable. But that law was not a means to an end for the people of Israel. It was a guard for them, and it was to be a tutor to them so that when He came they would realize it and receive Him.

In the coming of the Christmas Child was the coming of One who could, in fact, keep that law – that IMPOSSIBLE body of law. “You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.” The Man, the Messiah, did the things of the law. He kept His Father’s words and commandments, and He prevailed over them.

Because He never sinned under the law, He embodied what the law represented. And because He embodied that, when He died, the law – in Him – ended. It died with Him. Paul says as much –

“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15

In that state, meaning as the One to fulfill the law, thus embodying it, God now offers peace to those who come to Him through Christ. The precepts of the law included substitutionary atonement. In other words, the sacrificial system of Israel included the precept that an innocent animal could die in place of a human. The sin of that person was transferred to the animal, the animal was slain, and the sin was forgiven.

However, this was both only a picture of what God would do in Christ, and it was a temporary measure until the coming of Christ. This is certain, because if a person committed the same sin ten minutes later, another animal would be required, demonstrating that the atonement was temporary and ineffective.

Even the annual offering of Israel on the Day of Atonement was temporary. This is because it had to be repeated year after year. This was, then, only a lesson that was intended to lead the people to Christ. His fulfillment of these types and shadows of the law means that His death – which they only anticipated – is the full, final, and forever means of restoration with God.

Apart from Him, no sacrifice, offering, or deed will do. But in Him, every requirement of God is met. The Babe in the manger was sent to perform a mission and to, as Zechariah says, “give the knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins.”

The nakedness and shame of Adam is covered over by the Person and work of Christ under the law. The death which man has experienced because of sin is swallowed up in life because of the coming of the Christmas Child. One might say we are saved through the law, but that is only because of Christ’s perfect obedience to it which is then imputed to us.

For those in Christ, we now live in the dispensation of grace. And the reality of the hope of Messiah is extended to all. Those who are under the law are given freedom from the law in Messiah. Those who are under government are given a new hope in Christ. Those who awaited the promise to Abraham now have the Promise of God in Jesus.

The simplicity of the gospel message is found wrapped up in a little Child, born to a virgin in a small town in the land of Judah known as Bethlehem – the House of Bread. “I will accomplish the work; I will bring forth salvation; I will send my Son to bring you back to Me. Trust in Him – the Bread of Life – and receive the life which is truly life. Here is My Gift and My Present to the people of the world. His name is JESUS.”

Closing Verse: “And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength),
Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Isaiah 49:5, 6

Next Week – Deuteronomy 10:1-11 Moses is in the sweet zone, the Lord’s anger is reversed… (Two Tablets of Stone Like the First) (34th Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts

Unto us a Child is born
A time to rejoice and not to morn

Unto us a Son is given
The One to lead us from death to a’livin’

And the government will be upon His shoulder
Every eye will see Him; every soul will be His beholder

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom’s realm
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever – He at the helm
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this

And His name will be called Wonderful
The Counselor and Mighty God is He
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, pure and white as wool
Of the increase of His government and peace, no end shall we see

Do not be afraid, for behold
I bring you good tidings of great joy
Which will be to all people, forever told
The wondrous story, the birth of a Boy

For there is born to you this day
In the city of David, a Savior, it is He
Who is Christ the Lord, to whom heaven’s hosts obey
The Messiah has come, and now you may go and see

And this will be the sign to you:
You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
Lying in a manger, a glorious view
The Christmas Child whom our Heavenly Father bestows

A Child like no other has come to dwell among us
He shall lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake
And His name is called out, His name is JESUS
Come, and of the Heavenly Child partake

He is God’s gift and heaven’s treasure
He is Immanuel – God with us
And He bestows upon us grace without measure
The Christmas Child, our glorious Lord Jesus

Hallelujah and Amen…


John 16:19-22 (Your Sorrow Will Be Turned Into Joy)

John 16:19-22
Your Sorrow Will Be Turned Into Joy

A few weeks before I typed our sermon for today, a friend, Chris – who is a Navy Seal – and who attends online – sent an email concerning his thoughts on our state before God. I got his permission to use it for the introduction to our sermon today. Other than amending it in some areas of clarity or style for a sermon, and some punctuation, it is just as he sent it to me:

“God not only created the possibility for Adam to sin by putting the tree in the garden, but He also made Satan knowing what he was, and all he would do to mankind. It begs the question, is a test given where the outcome is known or predestined before you give it really a test?

He not only created the test but He tanked it on purpose if you truly think about it. It is common for anyone to ask the question, “Why create man?” (We tend to be self-centered after all). But then why even Satan? God knew he was going to be a murderer and the father of lies before He even created him.

Why would a teacher give any test if he already knew the result, and in reality added conditions that would knowingly cause them to fail? And, anyone having to take it would inevitably be the worse for it? Unless, there is a purpose outside of how we responded to the test, to set a condition that provides improvement of the student whereby he is, in fact, ultimately better off than in the first state.

Understanding some of the nature of God – He is infallible, knows everything before it happens, and works all things to good for those that seek Him, we know that the fall had to be by design. We know Adam was made to praise, worship and glorify God, but was the intent ever to do that in a[n originally] sinless state?

I would have to say no…based on the reasoning above. It could not have been if God created Satan, and us, knowing we would fail. Our worship and praise, or the Glory God receives, has to be greater somehow in-lieu-of our fallen state (and after glorification).

We are then a work in progress to be perfected for His intended purpose in His perfect timing. The simple fact we can even be saved glorifies God through Jesus’ selfless subservient act. God’s intended end-state for us would have to be far better than the first to make it worthwhile to create Satan, and then us knowing our choices in advance.

God does not make mistakes, and He knows the end from the beginning. Those that are His are made perfect in Christ. We will be made perfect at least in God’s ultimate purpose for us, after He comes again. This leads me to this thought:

What’s better? To walk with God like Adam or Enoch, or have Christ in us, which was the intent for man all along? I would argue we can have a closer relationship now, than we could ever have had simply walking with Him?

Jesus’ prayer was for us to be one… Christ is in the Father and the Father is in the Son, we are all one in the Spirit according to His word, and we are in Christ as Christ is in us. Would that have even been possible if our spirit hadn’t died? We could walk with Him, but would we be in He and Him in us?

What’s the difference? I think it is because now we can start to know the mind of God as He reveals Himself through His Spirit in us, not to us. Our spirit is now renewed and we are made a new creature. Not the old brought back again; new and wholly different in Christ.

Was that the intent all along? To develop a condition of perfect union between God and man? Subservient to Him, but with a heart for true love, praise and worship in the realization we were once two – separated from God, but now God is in us? Not that we are God, but we are in God and God is in us because of Christ and through Christ who would not have died if we never sinned. The perfect communion is by design, not an afterthought.

If this is, in fact, the case, we can then know Him better in some ways than any man or angel could ever do, even before the fall. Think about it…Nobody has seen the Father but the Son (according to Jesus’s own words). That included Adam who was sinless, right?

Because Christ is in us, we are told we will be able to walk boldly in His presence because what [God] sees is His Son in us. What a gift, I can’t begin to fathom what that means. But, I do know this… it was by design right from the start, the perfect will of God is manifest in us eternally. We move in relation to Him from sinner to saint – to the glory of God. Amen! Chris.

Text Verse: “Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure.’” Isaiah 46:9, 10

In a part of my response to Chris, I mentioned “contrast,” saying, “We can’t really know good unless we experience bad. We can’t appreciate food until we get hungry. We don’t have an idea what feeling normal is like until we get sick. Contrast is what allows this. For Adam and Eve, there was nothing to contrast their state to.”

When man was in Eden, he had everything he needed, but there was – as there is in each of us – a desire for more. In giving the law to Adam, it set the desire for more to take hold and destroy him. Satan knew this, and he used it to bring about the fall of man. Adam didn’t look at the forbidden fruit in its proper context, which is from his position as the created before his Creator.

First, as the Creator, God had a right to set the boundaries. Secondly, having been created, Adam is a finite being and therefore, could not, by default grasp the infinite. Third, in looking at the created fruit which the Lord had forbidden him to eat, he failed to take into consideration that God is the Source of the fruit. If the fruit could satisfy in some measure, as the account says it did, then how much more could the Creator Himself satisfy!

Look at anything in this world which brings us some measure of pleasure. All things find their source in God. And yet those things that we find pleasure in can cause us harm or even kill us. As the proverb says –

“Have you found honey?
Eat only as much as you need,
Lest you be filled with it and vomit.” Proverbs 26:16

How did Solomon know this? Well, he could have been told it by his mother, and taken her word at face value. Or, he might have figured it out by watching others eat too much honey and seeing the results. Or, he may have overindulged in it himself. No matter which, it was the experiential knowledge of someone that made it known. And that was based on the contrast of “before and after.”

In God, there is a process which is bringing us as a species from one state to another. We need to go through this process in order to appreciate what we have obtained, but we also need to go through this process in order to come to a state where it is even possible to appreciate it. It is a fact that there is a devil, and that he really works out evil in this world. It is also a fact that we suffer through all kinds of troubles, trials, pains, ills, woes, and disappointments. People use these things as an argument that God is incompetent, unable to accomplish anything good, and etc. It goes on and on, and it fails to see the big picture.

But with the word written – His superior word – we can know, and trust by faith, that God has a plan, it is being worked out, and its end goal is glorious. We will have the knowledge of this messed up world, and we will also have the knowledge of what God did for us to redeem us out of it. These are truths which are to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

John 16:19-22

“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17

They are marvelous words which stir our soul. We thirst and there is a Fount from which we can drink. But, unless we first thirsted in death, we would not know what it means to drink of, and to possess, the water of life.

19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?

Jesus is here referring to a puzzling statement that He earlier spoke to those with Him. In John 14, He said –

“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:19-21

In John 16, He repeats a portion of that thought, knowing that the disciples didn’t understand His words, but they had a desire to know what He was talking about. They wanted to ask Him what He meant, and He preempts them, but He doesn’t precisely answer their question.

In His words, “A little while, and you will not see Me,” He is referring to His coming death and subsequent burial. “You see Me now, and if you think that will continue, you would be incorrect. You won’t see Me.”

We can look back on His words and understand what He meant, but the words are enigmatic enough that anyone hearing them for the first time would wonder what He was talking about. It simply isn’t a normal way of speaking unless a special thought is being conveyed.

In His continued words, the enigma only increased, “And again a little while, and you will see Me.” This statement actually only complicated something that He had already said to them. Earlier in John 14, He said –

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:2-4

It was obvious to them that the two statements were not speaking of the same event. He was going to prepare a place, but there was also a time when they wouldn’t see Him, and then they would see Him again. This is what caused them curiosity, and it is this which He explains. But even in explanation, He doesn’t give specifics…

20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament,

The words that He will not be seen by them is explained with their being brought to a point of intense sorrow. It is not an explanation in the sense of filling in details of what is unknown concerning the previous verse. Rather, it is an explanation which provides details of what they will experience in the time ahead. It is comparable to what one might say when planning a surprise for someone –

“Big things are coming for you in the days ahead!”

“What does that mean?”
“Trust me, when they come, you will be delighted beyond measure!”

20 (con’t) but the world will rejoice;

This is generally taken to mean that those who came against Christ would rejoice at being done with Him. But this may not be the point of His words at all. It is true that the leaders of Israel probably felt smugly satisfied that the thorn in their side was eliminated, but the number of those who would feel this would be limited. The word is kosmos, and it signifies the world as in its arrangement. It is an ordered system.

In John 14:30, Jesus spoke of the “ruler of this world.” That is an obvious reference to Satan, and the power of darkness which he works out, such as through Judas. In the next chapter, Jesus says –

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18, 19

It seems that Jesus is speaking of the world, ordered under its ruler who is Satan. This then is inclusive of those leaders who came against Him, but it is more involved than that. It is the order in which they walk and exist. It is the ordered state of enmity which exists against God through the rule of Satan. As Jesus had said to the Pharisees in John 8 –

“If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:42-44

This then is “the world” which will rejoice when He is gone. The devil, and all of the wickedness which permeates the world under him, will rejoice that God’s Messiah is defeated and that they have prevailed, gaining complete and permanent control over the sphere in which man exists. But Christ, the Light of the world, tells them now that the darkness of their sorrow will not be permanent…

20 (con’t) and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.

Jesus used three expressions of woe to describe their future state, translated as “weep,” “lament,” and now “sorrow.” The first two speak of audible expressions of lamentation and mourning. This third speaks of a more general type of pain and grief which affects the body and soul. It is the pall of great sorrow.

He tells them that these things will be replaced with the same joy that the world had expressed in their delight at His going away. They will exist in a state which is defined by joy. It is a state which Paul, one of the Pharisees who was included in the world of rejoicing in the removal of Christ, would someday express in a new and profound way.

The contrast is given so that for the ages of ages they could look back on what they once had, and see the difference between the two. In knowing the sorrowful lamentation, their joy could be complete in having put the sorrows behind – once and forever.

Paul’s smug and bitter fighting against the Lord, through the persecution of His people, would be replaced with the horror of what his actions meant, so much so that in Acts 9, at hearing the Lord’s words that his actions against the church were a direct attack against Him, it says that he was trembling and astonished.

For the next three days, blinded because of the vision, it says he neither ate nor drank. His was a mourning of the soul like the other apostles experienced, but on a completely different level. They felt the tragedy of loss; he felt the tragedy of having been responsible for that loss.

Before, he was too blinded to see the truth, and yet later, in his blindness, he sat there mourning over the truth he had missed, and thus the grief he had caused. What would be the end of it? As he sat there blind and grief-stricken, he also must have wondered what his fate would be. He had crucified the Lord, rejected the call to repent of that, and had destroyed His people. He must have been sure that a fate worse than that of Korah himself lay ahead of him. Eventually, though, the good news of glad tidings was extended even to him as is recorded in Acts 9:17, 18 –

“‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”

Yes, the scales fell from his eyes, clarity of sight – never before experienced – filled his mind, and joy… joy inexpressible filled his life from that day on.

But without the contrast, there could not be the heartfelt expression of joy. Nor could the depth of his love for the Creator be so great as it was. The plan of God was set from before the foundation of the world. Man would be created, he would fall, he would fail the test, and then the next test, and then the one after that.

With each failure, man was being conducted on a road to a fuller understanding of glory, of intimacy with his God, and in what it means to understand the word LOVE in its fullest, deepest, and most profound sense.

Was God out of control? Is God out of control? Is there a purpose for the pains of life? Indeed – No, God was not out of control. No, God is not out of control. And, Yes, there is a purpose for the pains of life.

21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come;

This was ordained by the Lord in Genesis 3 –

“To the woman He said:

I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire 
shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.’”
Genesis 3:16

It is right and fitting that the Lord pronounced this upon the woman, and it becomes obvious why He would make the connection to that particular event now, just prior to His crucifixion. The woman had been deceived and then had allowed that deception to coax her husband into sin. Death was the result of this, and so in giving birth, there would be the reminder of that state. She would be in pain as she delivered a physically living child who had inherited man’s spiritually dead state. In this, she would be in sorrow because her hour has come.

But this sentence upon the woman was no different than that of the curse which was levied upon the man. The Lord did not exempt Himself from any word of the curse upon Adam, and He did not exempt Himself from this pronouncement upon the woman as well.

Christ Jesus had to go through His own sort of labor pains and sorrow in order to bring forth children to God. But, in assuming this earthly life, carrying the weight of the law upon Himself, and going through the sorrowful labor pains of His passion, He then brought many sons to glory. This is what He looked forward to as He endured the heavy burden He carried.

Jesus now likens this same type of labor pain to His disciples around Him as well. They would have their own labor pains as they watched God’s plan unfold before their eyes. They would have sorrow they had never experienced before, but it would all be worth it in the end…

21 (con’t) but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

When we witness to Jews, a real stumblingblock for them is the term “Christian.” There is such a wall of enmity built up by Jews concerning the term that it is almost impossible to break down, or to climb over. Since the early church, when the term was first used – and certainly as a derogatory term at times – and throughout the centuries as well, it has been a word of disdain to them.

“Christians” have hunted them down, “Christians” have destroyed them and stolen their possessions. “Christians” have been the great enemy of their existence. How does one find common ground when such a battlefield has always seemed to exist? And so, when dealing with a relationship with Christ, many believing Jews state that they are “completed Jews.”

It is a good analogy, and it bears a similar mark of truth to what the words of this verse are saying. The woman rejoices and no longer remembers the anguish because a human being has been brought forth.

Christ Jesus walked in a world full of human beings, but as He walked among them, He saw something that they couldn’t see. It is something we still can’t perceive today. Like a movie about zombies, Christ walked among the living dead. Something was missing from man that kept him from being a “completed man.” And this is true even with the first man, Adam. The record says,

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

Adam was a living soul, and one that could potentially live forever. That is implied in the words of the Lord to Adam. But, as Chris noted in our introduction today, Adam was, like we are, a work in progress – to be perfected for His intended purpose in His perfect timing.

It cannot be said that Adam was already perfected in this way. He was perfect in his state of being, but not perfected in the ideal way that God intended. This is true because he lacked the knowledge of good and evil. This wasn’t a defect, but it was a lack.

The problem was, in order to fill that lack, fault would then result. God set it up this way. God placed the possibility of it before the man by forbidding that he eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Man did, fault (or sin) entered the world, and the perfect life died, first spiritually, and then physically.

This, however, was the plan of God. In order to bring about the perfected man. Man (meaning all men) had to go through this ordeal. It is an ordeal which continued on for thousands of years, waiting for the perfect moment in God’s preordained plan, in order to bring about that which is superior, even to that which Adam experienced.

And that is why there was another tree in the garden, the tree of life. Man had access to that, and he was never forbidden from eating it, but once he sinned, access to that tree was removed. He was separated from God, expelled from the garden, and was destined to die.

Now, through the coming of Christ, in the death which atones for man’s sin, and in the covering His shed blood provides, we are granted access to God’s paradise, and thus to that tree of life, once again. In Christ, we become what even Adam wasn’t. He was created a perfect man, but he was not a completed man.

We now have something greater than he ever had. He had intimate face to face fellowship with God, but we have God residing in us, filling us, and a unity with God that even he lacked. And we have the knowledge of the extent that God was willing to go to in order to bring us to that state.

Adam could not have conceived of the love of God which existed. He may have been able to deduce what the Bible proclaims, that “God is love,” But he could not have grasped what that actually meant.

Only in the fall of man, and in God’s redemptive plans for man, can the depth of that love be truly seen and experienced. The disciples who sat listening to Jesus were told about it, but even they couldn’t imagine it. It was beyond their ability to comprehend…

22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice,

The sorrow Jesus speaks of here is one of perplexity leading to grief. When He says, “you now have sorrow,” it was a sorrow of anticipating whatever He was referring to. That state of sorrow would turn to the weeping and lamentation He spoke of in verse 20. And that sorrow would continue on until they once again beheld the Dayspring from on high who had come to visit them. After that day their hearts would rejoice…

*22 (fin) and your joy no one will take from you.

The Lord said that in that day, they would possess a joy that could never be taken from them. This has to be taken in the context for which it is intended. There is a state of joy, and there is the challenge of daily life.

The apostles faced trials, they got angry – even with one another, they were concerned in many ways, and they were not without fault, both in ordinary life and in doctrine. It is fashionable for some Christians to assume that because they have Christ, they can possess a joy which excludes any of those other negatives, such as trials, pains, frustrations, or even anger.

This is not what Christ Jesus was saying, nor is it a message later found in the epistles. Rather, the joy Christ is speaking of is a state of being that says to us, “Despite these things, you have a hope which transcends them and which will get you both through and beyond them.” That hope is referred to, for example, by Paul –

“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:24-27

Paul spoke of sufferings and afflictions in which he rejoiced because of the hope which transcends the temporary light afflictions. It is, as he said, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” It is this hope of glory which establishes the state of joy.

Pains will come, deaths will continue, and the bodies will be covered over with the soil of the earth. But because Christ came forth from death, so will those who possess the hope of Christ and the promises He has made.

And those promises include becoming the completed man that God intended before He ever breathed the breath of life into the first man, the earthly man, Adam. Paul tells us of this wonderfully marvelous truth in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.

We have gathered here today in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is that moment in history which makes possible the very things that we have talked about, all too briefly, today. But we need to remember what the resurrection of Jesus means.

It means that He first died. Without His death, there would have been no resurrection. The world we live in is, as we have noted, one of pain, sorrow, trial, and death. But none of those things are without purpose, and God has not lost control. Rather, He is in complete control.

The measure of His love for us is not found in the level of comfort we experience, nor the amount of money we make or possess. The love of God is found in the plan, which He initiated, and which He has lovingly unfolded before our eyes in the stream of human existence. And it is highlighted by one defining act – the giving of His Son on the torturous tree of Calvary.

It is that alone which God has put on display and in which He has declared, “Through this, I will accept you unto Myself.” God has done the work, He has made the offer, and He will instill in you the same hope of glory that the saints of the ages possess, if you will simply reach out to Him, by faith, and be reconciled to Him through Christ’s shed blood.

My appeal you today is to do so. Come to the cross, be washed in the blood of the Lamb, and receive the gift of eternal life which God has placed before you. May it be so, and may it be today. Amen.

Closing Verse: Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Next Week: Numbers 19:11-22 Something for the cleansing of Israel the nation… (The Water of Purification) (37th Numbers Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and a purpose for You. Though Paradise was lost, He offers access to it once again through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So call on Him, and trust Him, and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

A Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

This is the gospel which was preached to you
It is also the one you received and on which you stand
It is the gospel of salvation, providing life that’s new
And which will carry you to the promised Holy Land

What is delivered to you is what was before received
That Christ died for our sins according to God’s word
He was buried and He rose, and so we have believed
And many witnesses testify to this message you have heard

Now, if Christ is preached that He is risen from the dead
How can some among you say the resurrection isn’t true?
If there is no resurrection after Christ was crucified and bled
Then our faith as well as yours is certainly askew

And if so, we are found false witnesses of God
Because we have wrongly testified of this mighty deed
And our faith is futile, no heavenly streets we’ll trod
And we are still dead in our sins; fallen Adam’s seed

Even more, those who have fallen asleep in the Lord are gone
And we are the most pitiable creatures
———-the world could ever look upon

But indeed Christ is risen from the dead
He is the Firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep
And as death came through one man, Adam our federal head
So Christ will make all alive; our souls He will keep

But there is an order to the Resurrection call
Christ was first, the pattern for the rest when He comes
When He does, He will make a shout out to us all
And we will rise as if to the sound of heavenly battle drums

Then comes the time, when He delivers the kingdom to the Father
When all rule, authority, and power have come to an end
The last enemy to be destroyed is death, never more to bother
Then the Son will to the Father eternal rule extend

But you ask, what will we be like after our time of sleep
After we have been buried in corruption’s pit so deep
Our body is sown in dishonor, but it will be raised in glory
It is sown in weakness, but raised in power – the resurrection story

The first man Adam became a living being, it is true
The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit, life to me and you

And as was the man of dust, created so long ago
So are those likened unto him, also made of dust
And as is the Man, the Lord from heaven, you know
That we shall bear His image for eternity just as we’ve discussed

Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God
Nor can corruption inherit that which in incorrupt
Be we shall all be changed, and so, heavenly streets we’ll trod
In the twinkling of an eye, the change will be abrupt

When the last trumpet sounds we will be taken to glory
We shall all be changed, completion of the gospel story

Where O Death, O where is your sting
When Christ our Savior, us to Himself does He bring

Where O Hades, O where is your victory
When Christ translates His children to eternal glory

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin the law
But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord
My beloved brethren be steadfast in all you’ve heard and saw
And cling confidently to God’s eternal word

Know for certain that your labor is not in vain
Be of good cheer, Christ is coming again

Hallelujah and Amen…

Luke 1:35 (The Son of the Most High and of a Maidservant)

Luke 1:35
The Son of the Highest and of a Maidservant

Read Luke 1:26-38. It’s not uncommon in today’s church for women to be upset with Paul for his directions concerning church conduct as outlined in 1 Timothy 2. In the pastoral letters of Timothy and Titus, Paul gives guidance to us concerning all manner of church conduct. Most of his words are taken at face value as things which are still relevant to the proper operation of a Bible-obedient church, even to this day.

However, in 1 Timothy 2, Paul gives directives for the church, meaning any and all churches, during this dispensation. In those directions, he puts set limits on what women can and cannot do within the church setting. They are very limiting, and they don’t square well with modern feminist sensibilities. At the end of his thoughts, he explains why –

For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:13-15

What is Paul speaking of here? A woman will be saved in childbearing? Isn’t a woman saved in the same way as a man? Aren’t people saved by grace through faith? Isn’t it a gift and not of works? How can Paul say that a woman is saved by doing certain things? That seems completely contrary to what the epistles say elsewhere. Why is this being brought up during our annual Christmas sermon? And isn’t Charlie ever going to stop asking questions and get on with it?

Text Verse: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Recently, a woman was angry at me for stating in a prophecy update exactly what Paul writes about concerning a woman’s place in the church. I said his words are to be taken literally, and prescriptively, in all churches at all times. Count me one less viewer on the Superior Word YouTube channel…

She posted something angry on my Facebook page, and then she posted a comment on her own page that said something like (and I am paraphrasing here), “It is unimaginable that a woman could carry the incarnate word of God, the Savior of the world, in her womb, and yet not be allowed to serve as a deacon while administering the bread and wine at the Lord’s Table.”

Now think that one through. The highest honor of any human who ever lived was given to a woman, and yet that isn’t enough for her, or for countless other “liberated” women in the church today. Rather, for them it is better to be disobedient to the very word which God has given us, and which is the only source to tell us of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, than it is to accept the story of the Lord’s coming, and then to accept the word of that same Lord as authoritative. The breakdown in the logic is gigantic.

If she, and others like her actually studied what Paul says, they might actually drop their emotions and agree with God that His word is really the best way of all. Why do I say this? Well, we’ll look over Paul’s words before we conclude today, putting together a picture of what he is speaking of, and which is directly related to the splendid promise which was fulfilled in Gabriel’s coming to Mary with the words of what was soon to occur in her womb.

Really wonderful things are to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Announcement to Mary (Luke 1:26-38)

26 Now in the sixth month

The timing of the birth of Christ can be determined by the timing of the pregnancy of Elizabeth. She is now in her sixth month of pregnancy, and so if one knows the time of her conception, then one can know the month of the year that this announcement to Mary is made. From there, one can then determine when Jesus was born, nine months later.

The exact dating of this will come in a sermon in just a couple weeks. When we arrive at Leviticus 23:23 in our series of the Feasts of the Lord, the timeline will be given then. Until then, be assured that Luke is carefully chronicling certain names and periods of time so that we can know, with all certainty, when Christ Jesus was born. For now let us just know that it is the sixth month of the pregnancy of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.

26 (con’t) the angel Gabriel was sent by God

The name Gabriel means basically “Man of God” but it means more than simply “man.” Rather, it signifies a mighty man. Thus one might say, “Mighty Man of God.”

He is found twice in the book of Daniel, and twice in Luke – once at the announcement of of the coming birth of John the Baptist, and once here with the news to be relayed to Mary. As he is a heavenly angel who passes on messages from the throne of God to humanity, he is often associated with one who speaks with authority and eloquence, and thus we remember him today in the idiom, “He has the gift of gab.”

26 (con’t) to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

The region of Galilee is mentioned six times in the Old Testament. It means “circuit” or “circle.” Most notably, it is found in the prophetic announcement of the coming Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 –

Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

  You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning 
and fuel of fire.

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:1-7

The time for the prophecy to be fulfilled has arrived. The words of Gabriel are to announce that which has already been revealed through Isaiah. The specific place in Galilee is in the hometown of Mary, Nazareth. This town is never mentioned in the Old Testament, but is found 12 times in the New. It’s meaning is widely debated, but it could mean “scattered” or “sewn.”

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

People argue over whether Isaiah was prophesying of a literal virgin or not when he said “the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.” But Scripture interprets Scripture, and Matthew cites that verse and applies it to Mary in his gospel. Luke now repeats the same thought here. It is without a doubt that the Bible expects us to accept, at face value, that Mary is a virgin, and that Mary will conceive and bear a child as a virgin.

The name Joseph gives the sense of doubling or repeating. “He shall add” is an acceptable translation of his name. David means, “Beloved.” And finally, the name Mary, or Mariam, is rather hard to pin down, but it is probably based on the perfume myrrh, and means something like “Myrrhs” or “Occasions that call for Myrrh.” Looking at the uses of myrrh in the Old Testament, the prominent idea which it symbolizes is love, but more especially, love in intimate union, but not necessarily sexual in nature. What an appropriate name for the mother of the Messiah.

28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

Gabriel’s announcement is one of wonder and delight. He entered into Mary’s presence and immediately sent forth a greeting which tells us of divine favor. “Rejoice” here gives the sense of a formal greeting of well wishes of peace or joy. He then says to her that she is one who has a special station by saying “highly favored.” The word is only used here and in Ephesians 1:6. It gives the sense of one who has been accepted through the bestowing of grace.

This is then seen in the next words, “the Lord is with you.” It is a standard Hebrew greeting found in Ruth 2. But coming from Gabriel, it indicates divine favor upon her as an individual. Because of this, she is “blessed,” meaning praised, among women.

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

Here the same root word is used that was seen when Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, received his greeting from Gabriel. The only difference is that for Mary, it is an intensified form. Where Zechariah was troubled, Mary is troubled through and through. She was going back and forth in her mind between her inner thoughts and her emotions. She was unable to process both the presence of Gabriel, and the meaning of his words to her.

30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Gabriel’s words are intended to quell the surge of emotions and thoughts which took hold of her. Her terror was obvious, and so he tells her to not be afraid. Her inability to understand what “highly favored” meant is then fully explained for her to grasp what he meant – she has found favor with God.

31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son,

There is no doubt about Gabriel’s message here. He is making a purposeful connection to Isaiah 7:14. Mary is a virgin, the virgin will conceive, and the virgin will bring forth a Son. Whether she had ever heard of this prophecy or not we can’t know, but she would remember the words and would know that she was the fulfillment of them at some point, be it now, or be it as time progressed and it was revealed to her.

31 (con’t) and shall call His name Jesus.

The name Yeshua, or “Jesus,” is derived from Yehoshua, or Joshua, which means, “the Lord is Salvation.” The name Yeshua simply means, “Salvation.” And so something of a divine pun is being made on the name. As the Lord is Salvation, then we see that the Lord is Yeshua, or salvation.

It is to be His name, and it is to be His function. But Mary, if she has heard of the prophecy of Isaiah 9, would be then be even more confused. There, Isaiah said that His name would be Emanuel, or “God with us.” Unless she was highly astute, and processed the name as to its meaning, she would be left wondering why the name would be Yeshua and not Emanuel. And so to ensure that she at least begins to think it through, he continues without giving her a chance to interject…

32 He will be great,

The English almost sounds like the world’s greatest understatement. But Gabriel would have spoken to Mary in Aramaic, the language of the day. Despite this, the New Testament was written in Greek. The word megas, or “great,” is surely intended here in a superlative sense indicating “exceeding greatness.” “Mary, the Child born to you will be great.”

32 (cont’) and will be called the Son of the Highest;

The Greek word for “Highest” here is hupsistos. It too is a superlative word. In the case of the One being referred to, it then signifies the Most High. There is nothing which can exceed the station to which His Father possesses. The title here is from the Hebrew elyon which was introduced into Scripture at the time of Abraham, where Melchizedek is called priest of El Elyon, or God Most High.

32 (cont’) and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

Of the words of Isaiah, the ones most likely to have been known by Mary would be those of Isaiah 9. A coming Messiah was prophesied, and a list of names and duties were ascribed to Him. That He would sit upon the throne of David was surely known to all of the people of Israel, and Gabriel’s words now would call this prophecy to mind. This throne was to be granted to her Son, the Son of the Highest, by Yehovah Elohim, or the Lord God.

33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Though not identical to the prophecy, Gabriel’s words mirror the thought of Isaiah 9:7 which I read earlier. There will be no end to His government, and He will sit upon the throne of David forever and ever.

The house of Jacob comprises the twelve tribes of Israel. The kingship over them was granted to the throne of David, and the throne of David is now said to be granted to the Child that she would bear. And the reign of his throne over this kingdom would be without end.

But in this there now arises an obvious question for this heavenly messenger. First, Mary is betrothed to a man, but she has not yet been married to him. How could the Child she was to bear be the Son of the Most High and not the son of Joseph? And more, how could she conceive in her womb without having known a man? The betrothal to Joseph, and the obvious state of her virginity, both appeared to render the words of Gabriel impossible to reconcile.

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

It is the most obvious question of all. In the begetting of a child, it takes two to tango, and that music had not yet played in her life. The question is surely one of understanding the nature of humanity, and not one of denying the possibility of Gabriel’s words. Where Zechariah had history itself to provide an answer to his question, meaning Abraham and Sarah, among others, Mary had no such history to rely on. Not since the world was created had a woman bore a child without knowing a man. “How can this be” then is not distrust, but lack of understanding. That lack will now be corrected…

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;

The chances of Mary not knowing the creation account of Genesis would be very, very unlikely. Almost anyone with ten brain cells today will know the words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” They will know where the words came from, and they will know what they signify.

The creation account would have been commonly held knowledge by the people of the land. What Gabriel is telling Mary now would take her mind right back to those early school lessons. In Genesis 1:2, it says, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” The same God who created the universe, and the same God then who formed the barren, lifeless elements into shape, would come upon her and over shadow her.

Just as God uttered the words, “Let there be light,” and there was light, so God would beget a Child in her womb, and the spark of life would ignite within her. The lifeless womb would come alive, even as the lifeless creation had brought forth life. From “Let there be light,” even to “Let there be Life,” the word of God would be accomplished. There was the creation by God, and there would be entrance into that creation by God.

35 (con’t) therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Gabriel’s words have answered the “How?” which Mary asked, Now his words explain what that means. She will bear a Child, and He will be called, “the Son of God.” He will have no earthly father, and no earthly father is even necessary. And because no physical act of union will take place, there can be no sin imputed to her for violating her betrothal to Joseph.

Further, as He will be born of God, the term Holy One is given. He will be set apart unto God, and thus holy. Just as the high priest of Israel was set apart to God, and just as the people of Israel were set apart to God, there would be a special separation of this Child to God which would make Him unique above all others. It is probably here that she realized that Isaiah’s name for the Messiah, Emanuel, is actually a title. His name is Jesus, and He is “God with Us.”

Depending on her knowledge of Hebrew Scripture, she could either find herself getting lost in countless points of doctrine and how they were suddenly cleared up by the announcement which has rested upon her ears, or she could simply take the words at face value and not consider them further than what had been spoken. But what she had heard is still being pondered and studied 2000 years later, and still not all that it means has been drawn from it.

36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

Elizabeth means both “God is Seven” and “God is Oath.” The name carries both meanings. Here she is called “your relative.” In verse 1:5, she is said to be “of the daughters of Aaron,” meaning of the priestly class of Israel. Taking this in its intended sense, this means that either Mary’s father or mother was of the house of Aaron, or that the mother of Elizabeth was of the house of David.

As we are not told, we cannot speculate too far other than to say that it is possible that Christ Jesus descends from Levi through Aaron, as well as from the line of David.

What is significant about these words is that another important event has happened in the land, and it would be reason for Mary to feel that what has been told her is a part of a greater plan than just that which pertains to her alone. The Lord was working, once again, in the land of Israel, and she was to be a great and blessed part of that plan. But even more, Gabriel identifies the child to be born to Elizabeth as a son. He could not know this apart from divine revelation. Everything he says shouts out the supernatural.

37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Jesus will later say in the book of Luke, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” This is the intent of what Gabriel now says to Mary. God cannot make a square circle, or make a two a seven. He also cannot violate His own character, such as being unrighteous. But those things which are deemed impossible to man are wholly possible to God. The barren womb of Elizabeth had come to life, and the virgin womb of Mary would do so as well.

*(fin) 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary’s answer to the news which she has received is the simplest and most basic words of acceptance that one could think of. There are no further questions, such as “When,” as if she wanted to be ready for things to happen. Nor does she ask “Why,” as if she was somehow unsuitable to the role she has been chosen for.

Unlike the parents of Samson, who was also divinely prophesied, she doesn’t ask for a cup full of details as to the many variables of what she should do during her pregnancy, or afterwards. Instead, with the purest of faith that if God has chosen her, and if He has the plan already in motion, then all she needs to do is submit herself to the will of the Lord and that will be sufficient.

And so in saying, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!”, she accepts everything that has been presented as possible, and everything that will occur as in accord with His sovereign will. She simply and faithfully accepts her role in redemptive history. And with that, Gabriel departs her presence.

May it be according to Your will, O God
May my life be used as You alone see fit and right
May You guide my every step as upon the path I trod
Be with me through every day, and be with me every night

I am Your servant, and Your will is what I desire
According to Your word, I gladly live my life
From this day forward, to Your will I aspire
I am in Your hands for use, and not for insolent strife

Thank You for the Christmas Gift, our Lord Jesus
Because of Him, to You my life I submit
How grateful I am for something so very marvelous!
Because of such love, to You my life I do commit

II. The Child of God, Born of a Woman

As we opened today, I mentioned Paul’s instructions to us concerning propriety within the church, especially in regards to the conduct of women. But what does this have to do with the Christmas story? Why include this in a Christmas sermon?

Well, God established a hierarchy which hasn’t changed since the creation of man. There will never be a time that woman comes before man in the sense of creation. She came from him, and he is over her. That is what God ordained. However, there is a time when woman comes before man in the reception of a special honor. Before we get there though, we have to get through the cataclysmic event which precipitated the need for this high honor. Here are Paul’s words to the women of the church –

I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:8-15

Paul sets strict boundaries on women in the church as to what is not permitted. The words are set, and they are prescriptive. Obedience to them is expected. But he then immediately explains why these things are to be by bringing in the creation account to justify his position. He says that Adam was formed first, then Eve – Creation. He then goes from the order of creation of man – first Adam and then Eve – to the fall of man. He cites the creation account saying, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” Paul’s logic is that the serpent went to the one he knew was susceptible to being deceived. If this were not so, then the Bible wouldn’t have bothered with telling us this.

What the Bible implicitly declares, and what is obvious from human nature, is the truth that women are beings which are formed differently from men, and who follow different internal guidelines in order to make decisions. And so in order to avoid the error of the fall, meaning deception, being repeated in the church, Paul gives specific directives to which there are no exceptions.

The problem with exceptions is that they eventually become the rule. This is not how affairs are to be handled, and so rules of conduct are set and fixed. The woman was deceived and fell into transgression. Lesson learned; guidelines are established based on this; doctrine set.

However, Paul then says something which seemingly makes no sense at all unless the context is maintained – “Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” First, the translation is incorrect, and so no wonder it makes no sense.

There is an article in front of “childbearing” which is left out in almost all translations. A direct translation says, “She will be saved, moreover, through the childbearing.” Paul’s context is the creation and fall of man. From there, he immediately went to the idea of salvation – “she will be saved.” The Genesis account comes alive once again at the hand of Paul – Creation/Fall/Salvation. It is all there waiting to be unpackaged.

And so what is he speaking of? Are women saved if they have children? If they don’t have children, will they go to the fiery furnace forever? Will they be “more” saved if they have lots of children? No, none of these things apply.

The second thing to notice is that the account goes from the singular to the plural. It says, “She (singular) will be saved, moreover, through the childbearing, if they (plural) abide in…” Obviously two things are on Paul’s mind, which are completely overlooked by the angry women who want to be deacons and elders in the church, despite being told it is not allowed. Paul has explained why, and now he tells them that in a way there is a great honor which they possess anyway.

Only four of the 26 versions of the Bible that I reviewed includes the definite article before “childbearing.” And two of those make it a paraphrase, although they are correct in the idea of their paraphrase nonetheless. But before we look at what Paul is referring to, let’s see how difficult this verse is when one is trying to force theology into it, instead of drawing it out. Here are the various translations that I looked at. See how they attempted to translate their way out of a theological dilemma –

Women will be saved through childbearing.
She will be saved through childbearing.
Women will be preserved through the bearing of children.
She shall be saved in childbearing.
She will be delivered through childbearing.
But she lives by her children.
She shall be saved through the childbearing. (literal)
Yet a woman will be brought safely through childbirth.

These pretty much represent all of the translations. Only one is literal, the one which includes the article before “childbearing.” A couple of them are so wrong it’s hard to imagine what they were thinking. Of the two paraphrases that get the intent of what Paul is saying, the ISV does the best job. It reads as follows –

…even though she will be saved through the birth of the Child, if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, along with good judgment.” ISV

Do you see what Paul is doing? He has already taken us back to Genesis 3. He has shown us what happened at the fall, after the creation, and he then explains how that is corrected in the same passage. In Genesis 3:15, the Lord spoke to the woman, and then while cursing the serpent, He said what is now known as the Protoevangelium, or “the first gospel.” There, a promise was made that One would come who would destroy him and his works –

And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:

Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:13-15

The Lord promises the woman will bear, and from her would issue the Messiah who would crush the head of the serpent. So who was Paul speaking of when he said, “and she shall be saved through the child-bearing,…” Who is “she?”

Well, the nearest antecedent is found in the previous verse when speaking of “the woman” who was deceived, meaning Eve. Therefore, Paul is referring to her. That is why it is in the singular. She, Eve, will be saved through the bearing of a Child. Not directly, but through her, because she stands in place of all women.

That is why Paul then switches to the plural by saying “if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self control.” It is the call of the gospel. To live in faith. And in living in faith, the woman will be saved, just as the man will be saved. And this faith is based on the grace which was given to humanity in the Christmas Child; the Lord Jesus Christ.

And so why did I include this passage from Paul’s letter to Timothy which governs church-age doctrine in a Christmas sermon? The reason is because of Mary’s simple, humble proclamation of faith, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!” Without having all the details, and with simple faith that God is God, and His will is right, she acknowledged that she was at His disposal.

In the church of 2017, we have so much more than the limited knowledge of God’s plan that Mary had. Rather, we have the entire book, complete and sealed, which tells us of what God has done in Christ Jesus. We have the Christmas Child revealed. We have the perfect Life lived. We have the perfect Sacrifice given. And we have the acceptance of each in the resurrection of Christ. But before He accomplished these things, we have recorded for us the simple faith of Mary which set the stage for all of those other things to come to pass. “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!”

This may not be the most dramatic Christmas sermon – one which gives the warm details of the birth of Christ. Such sermons will bring us to tears when we hear of heaven’s King lying in an animal’s feeding trough. They excite us with high notes of the heavenly choir singing forth the praise of God. Those are sermons which fill us with the Christmas spirit. But we must remember that there could be no Christmas Child without a heavenly Father and an earthly mother of that Child.

The Father’s involvement shows us how much we are loved by the Creator of all things. And the mother’s teaches us a lesson about what the Father is looking for in each of us. He is looking for the simple obedience of faith, and thus for faithful obedience.

We cannot separate ourselves from our actions. They define who we are. Eve, the first female, and thus she who represents all who follow after her, is saved through the birth of the Child. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was saved through the birth of the Child, and any others who will come to Him for salvation, are saved through the birth of the Child, because the Child then died to save them as well.

Why are we expected to live out the roles assigned for us as men and women of God? Because the Child of Christmas came to die for us so that we could live for Him. He is the Creator, and He is the Redeemer. His name is Salvation, and salvation is what He gives to us, if we will simply have faith? Is disobedience to His word worth appeasing the pride that rises up in our hearts? May it never be so!

Gabriel’s words to Mary said, “…blessed are you among women.” It is the woman who was deceived and fell into transgression, but another woman was called blessed among them. Where Eve was faithless, Mary was found to be faithful. Where Eve brought about the need for salvation, she was saved through the birth of the Child named… Salvation. And that birth came through one of her own gender.

Paul’s words are not restrictive on women, they are freeing. The deception of the woman led to the fall of the man. In his fall, she fell as well. But in granting the honor to Mary of bearing the Christmas Child, the disgrace of of the fall can be erased in all of us, even those who were deceived in the first place.

God’s Gift to humanity is given, the Light shining in the dark places has come forth, and the Forgiver of all transgressions has walked among us. Let us acknowledge that His way is best, that His plan is perfect, and that obedience to Him is intended for our good in all ways and at all times. He has spoken, His word is proper, and our humble act of adhering to it will bring great reward when we stand before Him and receive our judgment for the lives we have lived.

Closing Verse: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14

Next Week: Leviticus 23:9-14 Changing from earthly to incorruptible suits… (The Feasts of the Lord, Firstfruits) (38th Leviticus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. He was willing to put on a body of flesh and to dwell among us despite all the pains He had to endure in the process. If He did that for you, think of how much more lies ahead when we walk with Him in glory! So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts

Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon
Her who is distressed or in agony
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali

And afterward more heavily oppressed her
By the way of the sea
Beyond the Jordan it shall occur
In an area of the Gentiles around the land of Galilee

The people who walked in darkness
It is they who have seen a great Light
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death
Upon them has shined a Light so bright

You have multiplied the nation
And likewise its joy You have increased
They rejoice before You with great ovation
According to the time of harvest, a joy which will not be ceased

As men rejoice when they divide the spoil
When they receive the bounty and no longer toil

For You have the yoke of his burden broken
And the staff of his shoulder is taken away
The rod of his oppressor no longer an unfriendly token
As in the day of Midian, when he was destroyed that day

For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle
And garments roooooolled in blood
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire, worthless chattel
Useless implements overtaken by time’s great flood

For unto us a Child is born
A time to rejoice and not to morn
Unto us a Son is given
The One to lead us from death to a’livin’

And the government will be upon His shoulder
Every eye will see Him, every soul will be His beholder

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom’s realm
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever, He at the helm
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this

And His name will be called Wonderful
The Counselor and Mighty God is He
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, pure and white as wool
Of the increase of His government and peace, no end shall we see

Do not be afraid, for behold
I bring you good tidings of great joy
Which will be to all people, forever told
The wondrous story, the birth of a Boy

For there is born to you this day
In the city of David a Savior, it is He
Who is Christ the Lord, to whom heaven’s hosts obey
The Messiah has come, and now you may go and see

And this will be the sign to you:
You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
Lying in a manger, a glorious view
The Christmas Child whom our Heavenly Father bestows

A Child like no other has come to dwell among us
He shall lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake
And His name is called out, His name is Jesus
Come, and of the Heavenly Child partake

He is God’s gift and heaven’s treasure
He is Immanuel, God with us
And he bestows upon us grace without measure
The Christmas Child, our glorious Lord Jesus

Hallelujah and Amen…

Matthew 1:18 (She was Found with Child Through the Holy Spirit)

Matthew 1:18
She Was Found with Child Through the Holy Spirit

As we celebrate this day, just as we do each year, let us remember that it isn’t a day which is founded on myths or superstitions. It may have devolved into that for most of the world, but that was never its original intent.

It has become common for people to find fault in all the assorted things we do at Christmas. We put up pine trees, and someone finds fault in the symbolism. We hang up ornaments, and someone finds fault in our doing so. Even the word “Christmas” is there for people to find fault in.

And it is true, that we should never let these customs and traditions obscure our vision of what this day actually symbolizes, but even the fault finders are to be found at fault over that. The day has real significance, and it has the greatest of importance. And so, whether traditionalist or fault-finder, most of us have never understood the true connection to the meaning of the 25th of December.

It is, in fact, the day that Christ was born, but not in the sense that most people understand. People in Korea would, but for most of the rest of the world, there is little comprehension of the day’s meaning.

You see, Korean people reckon the span of their lives differently than we do. When you ask how old they are, they will tell you an age that is different than what we are used to. I was born on 18 August 1964, and so I would be, as of today, 52 years, 4 months, and a couple of days old.

But a Korean would tell you they were 53 years old. The reason for this is that they reckon life from conception, not birth out of the womb. To the liberal left in the western world, that thought would be utterly scandalous. How can you justify killing someone in the womb if their life had actually already begun. The horror of the thought for them would certainly drive their bloodthirsty minds to madness!

But this is when life begins, whether the left likes that or not. The Koreans got it right. It is a moment to celebrate and to cherish. It is a time of light and happiness. It is the beginning of the time of our life. Our text verse today is Isaiah 7:14 –

Text Verse: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

Seven hundred years before the coming of Christ, Isaiah said that something unimaginable would occur. A virgin would conceive and bear a Son. The two things are separate and yet complementary events. First she would conceive, and then she would have a Son. One follows logically after the other.

But in the normal course of events, the first would be impossible. A virgin simply cannot get pregnant. People argue over the Hebrew word that Isaiah used which we translate as “virgin,” claiming that it doesn’t necessarily have to mean “virgin.”

However, the context necessarily demands it, the Greek translation of the Old Testament supports that fact, and Matthew’s use of a word which can only mean “virgin” settles it. The virgin would become pregnant, and the Child would be called Immanuel – God with Us. The verse itself then tells us when life begins. It is not as the child leaves the womb, but when the womb is impregnated. The word “virgin” explains the matter.

As Isaiah wrote, he may or may not have had any idea what he was writing, but if he did, his mind surely went back to the first pages of the Bible where a promised Deliverer would come who was the Seed of the woman. When speaking of genealogies, it is always the seed of man which is referred to. But in Genesis 3, it is the Seed of the woman.

Whether Isaiah realized the importance of the words he penned or not, we can and should realize them. We who have the whole story penned out for us can see the whole picture. It is a picture clearly revealed in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Spark of Life

Much has been said of both the Deity and the Humanity of Jesus Christ – on both sides of the debate. There are those who believe that He is fully God and fully Man. There are those who believe He is God, but was never really a Man. There are those who believe He is a Man, but is not God. There are those who believe He is not God and that even His manhood is just a made up fable – in other words, He never even existed. And then there are those who just don’t care.

Within those views, there are more divisions – He was both a Man and God for a spell, but now is only God; He became God after being only a Man; and so, on and so on. And yet, if we take the Bible simply and at face value, even from the few words of the one verse which comprises the sermon’s title, we can really only come to one conclusion. Matthew 1:18 says

εὑρέθη ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου –
heurethe en gastri ekhousa ek pneumatos agiou
“She was discovered in womb holding from Spirit Holy.”

Two things must be admitted here from a simple reading of the Bible. One is that Mary is a human and this Child is the product of her womb, and thus this Child is a human being. The second is that the Holy Spirit is not a human.

If one then accepts the obvious interpretation of Scripture which shows that the Holy Spirit is God, then the Child is the product of God. There is no human father, and it is the seed of the father that determines lineage in the Bible, thus this Child is Deity – He is the Son of God.

Of course, there are those who will do anything possible to diminish the Deity of the Holy Spirit because by doing so they can then tear apart the central message of the Bible. However, this stupidly-argued premise is for a debate which is unnecessary here. The Holy Spirit, in both testaments of the Bible, is clearly defined as God and is easily defended as such, and so we will overlook that as unnecessary here.

What we have in these few words, which are so quickly passed over by our eyes and our minds, is a description of the most incredible occurrence which has ever come to pass – in all of time. Not just in human history, but in all of time itself. The very creation of the universe pales in comparison to what is described by the words heurethe en gastri ekhousa ek pneumatos agiou – “She was found with Child through the Holy Spirit.”

When God created, He created not out of Himself – ex Deo, or “out of God.” God is Spirit and is not limited to that which is created. Rather, when He created, it was ex nihilo or “out of nothing.” The psalms say –

“For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9

There was nothing. No time, no space, no matter – only God. And by the power of the spoken word, there was then something. Time began, matter stood firm, and space filled the void – both around matter and within it. Everything that we see, even to the farthest reaches of the universe, came into existence at that one moment. It is an incredible thing to contemplate, but it was of far less moment than the enormity of what occurred in the womb of Mary.

In a flash as brief as the utterance of the word of creation itself, life – the true Life of all things – sprung into existence in her womb. And yet, it was life that always existed, even before the creation of our physical realm! What a paradox, and yet what an event of the greatest marvel of all. God had united with His creation in that blessed womb – Christ had come.

Just this past year, in April, it was published that science has discovered that at the very moment of conception, a bright flash of life marks this incredible event. There is darkness in the womb, and then there is a flash of light. For Mary, there was darkness in her womb, and then there was the Light. The Light of the world had come. God stepped into our darkness and revealed Himself!. Imagine it – try to get your mind around that.

That which brought all things into existence by a mere utterance… the light of ten trillions sons, and the light of the candle on the Christmas tree, even the light of the phosphorous creatures of the deepest oceans… and all other lights that our eyes will ever behold – even for infinite days ahead – these combined are not as bright as the Light which created them… this same Light sparked in the womb of Mary. heurethe en gastri ekhousa ek pneumatos agiou – “She was found with Child through the Holy Spirit.” The Christmas Child had come.

Who can believe such a thing! Who could have imagined it in times past, and who can grasp it now that it has happened! And yet the words testify to the event. The Light has come in a form that we can experience, feel, interact with, and rely upon. In this Light, there is no darkness, and thus there is no fear.

This marvelous event is that which occurred on that cold December day in the land of Israel. We celebrate the 25th of December as the day of Christ’s birth, and it is. It is just not the birth out of the womb. Rather, the Bible points to this date as the birth within the womb.

And not without significance, this is the same time of year that the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukah, is celebrated. At times, the two events occur on the same day. Such is the case this year. This is probably what occurred that year as well. The Light of the world came into the world on that same Festival of Lights. This day is mentioned in the book of John, chapter 10, and the 22nd verse, where it is known as the Feast of Dedication –

“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.”

It got its name from the time of the Maccabees when the temple which had been defiled was cleansed and restored to proper worship. Because of this great event, it was memorialized and held annually. A later tradition concerning a day’s worth of oil lasting eight days is merely a fable recorded in the Talmud. But Flavius Josephus tells us the reason for the annual event –

“I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival.”

The Jewish people had been given a liberty beyond their hopes, a light which shone for them that God still favored them. How much more then is the fulfillment of this marvelous picture to be found in the Light which came to provide a liberty never before dreamed of.

The true temple of God, pure and undefiled, was prepared in a human body. The defiled temple which had existed from the time of Adam was, once again, made acceptable to God and for His service. This then was to be a liberty not from human rule and oppression, but that of freedom from the spiritual forces which have waged war on humanity since its very beginning.

This Light stepped into His creation in order to restore all that had gone astray. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied over his own son concerning this Light which would accomplish these marvelous things –

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79

The Light was coming and John would be there to proclaim that fact, preparing the way for Israel to meet the promised Messiah. And Zechariah’s prophecy was one which built upon the words of Isaiah, pronounced 700 years earlier –

Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:1-7

What a marvel occurred in the dark recesses of the virgin womb! The Deliverer had come to deliver! The Light of the world had come as God’s divine Beacon to rescue man from himself. The Lord God Almighty had condescended to come and dwell among us. heurethe en gastri ekhousa ek pneumatos agiou – “She was found with Child through the Holy Spirit.” Christmas had arrived.

In darkness I groped, darkness of the deepest night
Looking for life that would last, but it could not be found
But then came the most marvelous Light
And with it came the heavenly chorus, a glorious sound

Through the tender mercy of our God
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us
There is now light on the path that we trod
The everlasting light of our Lord Jesus

Now there is a new hope for us, a hope eternal
To those who sit in darkness, and in death’s shadow
There is salvation from hell’s pit so infernal
There is from the Lamp of God, Christ’s eternal glow

II. Darkness and Light

The Christmas story fills our minds with wonderful pictures of days past. We revel in this time of year each year. We smell the scent of pine, we rejoice in food which fills our taste buds. The weather has returned to where it was, just twelve months before. These things delight our minds with memories of past days when we smell the same smells, taste the same tastes, and feel the same cool chill upon our necks.

It is a time to remember, and a time to make new memories. But it is a time that we should also reflect upon why we celebrate. In reality, and without the holiday, for many it is the bleakest time of the year. The nights are at their longest, painful cold has settled in, and the winter of our despair has come.

Many don’t survive the ordeal, and the true winter of eternity’s darkness arrives to claim their weary soul. God chose this unfavorable time of gloom to give us the greatest hope of all. What manner of love is it that would impel Him to do what He did? What is it about man that God takes notice of Him?

From our perspective… Oh boy, the answer is easy. “I am ME! This is MY life.” Just like the wolf whose leg is caught in a trap will chew that leg off in order to survive, we will do anything to survive and to keep on living. It is the eternal dream of man to just keep on living. Novels are written about it; movies are made about it. It is our desire to… just keep on living.

But if we try to look at things from God’s perspective, it all is so hard to figure. What on earth is of value in that mass of organisms which are nothing but rebellious, self-consumed, and hopelessly arrogant beings? We walk around in the darkness looking for anything to fill our brief existence with pleasure – going from darkness to darkness.

Maybe that’s it though. Maybe it’s because we are in darkness that we choose the darkness. No, wait… no that can’t be it. Adam was surrounded by light and yet he chose the darkness. Only after making the choice did he want the light once again. He did want it.

That must be it then, without knowing one from the other we can’t know which we want. That must be why God allowed it all to happen, and then to step in and give us a choice as to which we would choose. Surely that is it.

The Light of the world came to show us a contrast. We can choose the Light, or we can revel in the dark. The choice is ours. And sure enough, this is what the Light Himself said. In John 3, while talking at night with Nicodemus, Jesus said to him, and thus to us –

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:18-21

The distinction can be seen, the choice must be made, and all will pursue only one of two paths – towards the Light or remaining in darkness. This then is the reason for the Christmas story. It is the reason for the otherwise unimaginable thing which God has done. He has come to give us Light, if we will but just choose it.

We are here today to worship the King of the Universe, the manifestation of the unseen Father in human flesh, to behold the marvel of the Light which shines forth for us and which came to us in the most astonishing way of all. heurethe en gastri ekhousa ek pneumatos agiou – “She was found with Child through the Holy Spirit.”

God created all things out of nothing. He created something separate from Himself and yet which is contained within His omnipresence. And then He joined together with that which He created – all for the sake of frail, fallible, rebellious beings who otherwise had no hope at all.

In that stupendously marvelous act, He has given us a choice. We can continue on in the darkness, or we can come to the Light. There is no tunnel of light for us to choose after death – I’m sorry, it doesn’t work that way. There is only continued darkness which will span eternal ages. But there is a Light which we can come to now, and in so doing we are surrounded with Light which shall never end, no nor even fade.

God did this thing for us, for you. The perfection of Jesus Christ is seen from His moment of conception, through His birth in a lowly manger, in each step He ever took, and in each word He ever spoke. The perfection of Jesus Christ is seen in His torturous death on a wooden cross, and it is seen in the resurrection which came just days later.

The Child in the womb, the Baby in the manger, the Teacher on the mountain, the lifeless Body on the cross, and the Man standing victorious over death itself all speak of a wisdom and a love which spans the eons of time and the length and breadth of the universe itself. All things make sense when we ponder what God has done, and which started in the sudden flash of Light in the womb of Mary. heurethe en gastri ekhousa ek pneumatos agiou – “She was found with Child through the Holy Spirit.”

Praise God for Jesus Christ our Lord. Praise God for His infinite love, poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Lord. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Closing Verse: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” 1 John 1:1-4

Next Week: Exodus 40:1-16 Paths, and Lights, and even Lambs… (Seven I Am’s) (104th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if the world around you seems dark, there is the Light of Christ to guide you back to your heavenly Father. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Light of the World

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows:
After the betrothal of His mother Mary had come around
Before they came together
She was with Child of the Holy Spirit found

Then Joseph her husband
Being a just man, righteousness he did display
And not wanting to make her a public example
Was minded to put her secretly away

But while he thought about these things
Behold, an angel of the Lord
Appeared to him in a dream, saying
This he did say, his spoken word

“Joseph, son of David
Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife
For that which is conceived in her
Is of the Holy Spirit; the Divine spark of Life

And she will bring forth a Son
And you shall call His name Jesus
For He will save His people from their sins
He is God’s Christmas Child; holy and marvelous

And you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, I know that you agree
You are little among the thousands of Judah, it is so
Yet out of you shall come forth even unto Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel, My word is true you know

His goings forth are from of old
From everlasting, thus you have been told

Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon
Her who is distressed or in agony
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali

And afterward more heavily oppressed her
By the way of the sea
Beyond the Jordan it shall occur
In an area of the Gentiles around the land of Galilee

The people who walked in darkness
It is they who have seen a great Light
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death
Upon them has shined a light so bright

You have multiplied the nation
And likewise its joy you have increased
They rejoice before You with great ovation
According to the time of harvest, a joy which will not be ceased

As men rejoice when they divide the spoil
When they receive the bounty and no longer toil

For You have the yoke of his burden broken
And the staff of his shoulder is taken away
The rod of his oppressor no longer an unfriendly token
As in the time of Midian, when he was destroyed that day

For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle
And garments roooooolled in blood
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire, worthless chattel
Useless implements overtaken by time’s great flood

Praise God O Israel, For unto us a Child is born
Praise the Lord Land of Judah, For u nto us a Son is given
And the government shall upon His shoulder be worn
And through Him shall man’s sins be forgiven

And His name will be called Wonderful
The Counselor and Mighty God is He
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, pure and white as wool
Of the increase of His government and peace no end shall we see

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom’s realm
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever, He at the helm
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this

The scepter shall not depart from Judah
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet
Until Shiloh comes and we shout Hallelujah
And to Him the obedience of the people shall be sweet

This helpless baby lying in a manger
Will rule the world in everlasting peace
Through Him will come security with no danger
And the rule of His glory shall never, never cease

All praise to our stupendous Lord of glory
Yes, all honor to this precious King
Praising God for the wondrous Christmas story
Let all the Lord’s redeemed shout aloud and sing

Hallelujah and Amen…