Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

“…And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” That is from Luke 2:14 in the King James Version of the Bible. It was a message meant for all mankind, carried by angels to announce the birth of the long-expected Messiah, the peace-offering of God. Most of us use the name “Christ,” rather than “Messiah,” due to influence of the Greek language. I hope that you believe the message the angels brought.

Most ancient cultures, in the form of stories and myths, have retained some memory of God’s prophecies concerning the Savior of mankind. The mythological records don’t give us the detailed record that we have in the Bible however. I wish that all the prophetical and historical information concerning Jesus could be pulled together into one panoramic writing about Christmas. I guess it’s better to do something halfway, rather than to do nothing at all, so I’m writing a few inadequate words for the sake of Christmas.

After Adam and Eve chose to rely upon their own fragmentary comprehension of “knowledge” rather than to trust God, God gave us (Genesis 3:15) the first biblical hint of the virgin birth of a savior. It is the “seed” of the woman who will crush the serpent’s head, and finally bring peace to the earth. Only this “Seed” can fulfil the promise of God. The leaders of nations have long promised world peace, and the Antichrist will promise world peace, but only Christ can bring it to pass. Sad to say, that will only happen after mankind has brought the world to the brink of total destruction.

Unless you have studied genetics somewhat, you probably will not completely understand the following statement. According to the biblical account of his birth, Jesus would have received all of his human DNA from his mother, none at all from a human father. He would not have had the normal Y-chromosome DNA inherited from a human male, but only what he directly inherited from God. That’s why the Bible didn’t say “the seed of the man,” in Genesis 3:15 (reference Y-chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, and my April 2012 post, “Genetics and Jesus”).

The prophet Isaiah may have been considering Genesis 3:15 and other such verses when he understood that a child would be born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). It is foretold in that verse that the child will be called Immanuel (God with us). In that name, “El” is the short form of the Hebrew word for God, and you also see the word “man.” “Man” in Hebrew however, is the word for the bread from heaven that fed the Israelites during their wilderness trek. We get our word “manna” from this.

Amaryah is a biblical name meaning God has promised. What has God promised? The secret is in the name itself. “Amar,” means “promise.” “Yah,” is the shortened form of “YHWH,” the personal name of God. “MarYah” is an Aramaic name for Jesus. In “MarYah,” you can see the name of the virgin mother Mary, and Yah, the name of God the Father. God has promised himself (Immanuel, or Emmanuel) to us.

When an angel informed Mary of her conception, she questioned how that could happen without seed being implanted by a man, yet she believed the answer that she was given. In Matthew 1:20-23, an angel told Joseph in a dream to give Mary’s child the name “Jesus.” The angel then reminded Joseph of the prophecy of Isaiah. I haven’t the time to go into detail but according to Old Testament prophecy, the Christ’s given name would be “Jesus,” (ref. the Septuagint translation of the name Joshua as “Jesus”). The name “Immanuel” (or Emmanuel) tells us who he really is, “God with us.”

In Luke 2:10, the announcement of the advent of Jesus the Christ is called, “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The fact that we don’t yet see peace on earth doesn’t mean that God has abandoned his desires and plans for the earth. In the song, Bells on Christmas Day, there is a line; “Then in despair I raised my head, there is no peace on earth, I said.” We will all probably feel that way at one time or another in our lives, but the way we feel will not cancel God’s promise. Ideals should not be abandoned just because they are difficult to establish, and God is not a quitter.

Sometimes in the past, for just a little while, the coming of Christmas has interrupted the bitter conflicts of war. In some cases, common beliefs in Christ between countries have prevented them. A great monument called the “Christ the Redeemer of the Andes,” (not the great statue in Rio with a similar name) is erected at an elevation of 12,572 feet on the border of Argentina and Chile. It commemorates a peaceful resolution avoiding a war between the two countries because of their common submission to Christ.

One meaning of the word “mass,” refers us back to the communion, the bread from heaven broken for us (Matthew 26:26), the word “mass,” being taken from “maza,” a Greek word for a barley cake. Merry Christ’s mass! Spend the Holyday with your family, and remember the birth of our Lord and Savior. He will yet bring “Peace on Earth.”

Read Full Post »

We don’t know for certain when Jesus was born, but Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate his birth. It’s good to have something to look forward to in winter, and a wonderful time for the birth of hope.

If we could convert God from spirit into matter, what we would then have is Jesus. We couldn’t do that of course, but God did. That is what Jesus is. Born into this world as a baby human being, that is who Jesus is; Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23), “God with us.”

I don’t think there’s a person on God’s earth who can get all these things in proper balance. I think that sometimes we don’t see the real Jesus, can’t see the real God, because we are too preoccupied with “omnipotence,” and “sovereignty.” We want to see God rule the Earth, but we seem to want God to take shortcuts. God wants human beings to listen to reason, and to learn the truth. He wants to persuade people, not force them. Jesus once rebuked his disciples for wanting to “command fire to come down from heaven,” to destroy someone (Luke 9:53-56). He told them that he had not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

We should study his life on earth microscopically, and not attempt to set him out again beyond the reach of man, to search for him with telescopes. He came to earth as the Christ, and we need to look at him as the man, because Jesus is the full expression of God (Hebrews 1:3). The world can never see the heart of God otherwise.

Many times the church, attempting to show him in his infinite greatness and power, may make him look small to the world instead. The Bible says the weakness of God is stronger than men (1st Corinthians 1:25), and that he was made perfect through his suffering (Hebrews 2:10). In becoming a man, he touched the heart of man, though it crucified him to do so. Such a demonstration of sacrificial love makes him greater to us than he could have been otherwise. Though he was perfect to begin with, he became even more so.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating the birth of Jesus. I heard all the anti-Christmas propaganda before I was twelve years old, and for a while, they had me believing that stuff, but all days belong to God. Man worships nature (Romans 1:23,25) but the one who gave us all of nature is yet greater than the gifts that he gave us. God’s greatest gift is the gift of himself in the form of Jesus (John 1:1,14, 3:16, 4:10).

Ancient pagans turned altered forms of God’s name into the names of idols (see note below), which they associated with forces and objects in nature. But God created all of nature, the seasons, and the changing of the earth’s relationship to the heavens throughout the year. Genesis 1:14 records God saying of the sun, moon and stars, “Let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” It is wrong to try to disconnect God from the winter solstice, or any other day of the year (Colossians 2:15-17, Romans 14:5).

There is endless evidence to support my statements. The coming of the Hebrew Messiah (Greek, “Christ”) was foretold in ancient history, and witnessed and affirmed by Pagan stories and secular records. The world anticipated his coming, and at least one group of wise men from the east was able to locate him shortly after his birth (Matthew 2:1-12).

I know that practically every sentence in the Bible is disputed by someone, but the story of the life of Jesus became world news at a time when many people would gladly have disproved it if they could. The recorded debate and argument about him from his era is evidence enough that Jesus lived and fulfilled Old Testament prophecies.

Christianity holds celebrations on days that other groups of people observe in other ways, but that doesn’t discredit God. There are only so many days in a year, and someone would claim them all if they could. There is symbolism found throughout the Bible likening the ministry of the Son of God to the sun, providing warmth and light to the earth. There is a prophetic statement in Malachi 4:2 foretelling the advent of the “Son” of God. In that verse, he is called the “Sun of Righteousness.”

To varying degrees, all the ancient world possessed some knowledge of God’s promise to send his Son. That explains the ancient legends and stories containing similarities to the biblical record. As wonderful as the sun can feel as it climbs in the sky, the sun has no feeling for us, but God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten son (John 3:16). The winter’s Son, is the true winter sun. Glory (the rightful credit) to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men (Luke 2:14, K.J.V.).

Note: Practically all yearly celebrations had their origins in the acknowledgement of God, and the names of many major “deities” of the most advanced civilizations began with the confusion of languages at Babel. Ancient attempts to transliterate “YHWH,” the Hebrew name for God, into other languages accounts for many early “names” for pagan “gods” (ref. All posts in my April 2015 through August 2015 archives, and also “Dawn of the Rising Son,” in my April 2011 archives). I pray and intend to follow this writing with another post giving more details.

Read Full Post »

Evil exists. It relentlessly forces itself upon our awareness. Depending upon the situation, it may claim to speak for God, or to be God. It may deny the goodness of God, or even the existence of “good” itself. It uses the hurtful things of this world to try to turn us against God. The mind games it plays with man began at the Tree of Knowledge in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5), and 2nd Corinthians 11:14 says that evil presents itself as a messenger of enlightenment, “an angel of light.”

Evil will promote any answer except the fully correct one. It pushes human beings to do hurtful things, and then uses our guilt in destructive ways. With a few well-chosen words, evil may cast doubt upon any truth, and make long experiments and explanations necessary if the truth is to be found.

Evil tempts us to adopt its tactics in order to defend ourselves against it, and thus, it conquers us by making us more like itself. Sometimes we run the wrong direction seeking an escape. We play around its shadows, and evil uses us as pawns and puppets. Evil made sacrifice necessary, and when God became one of us (Isaiah 9:6), it nailed him to a cross and has ever since tried to bury the evidence.

Evil may seem as inconsistent as all insanity, but there is a method to the madness. Its aim is to utterly confuse man, to divide, conquer and destroy him. Evil mocks the warning sounded against it and causes every caution to seem foolish. Evil misuses every good thing that God has created (ref. “Deviation From Design” in my June 2012 archives) and tries to pin the blame upon the sovereignty of God.

Evil misinterprets the Bible. The Bible says that God was “not in” the wind, the earthquake, and the fire on the mountain where Elijah hid in a cave (1st Kings 19:11-13), yet evil presents all natural disasters as “acts of God” (ref. “A Random World” in my Sept. 2010 archives). Like Elijah, we run from those things, but God calls to us in a “still, small, voice.” Evil pushes us to run away from the only one who can help us. Evil will cast doubt upon anything that God would say to us, either in the Bible, in our conscious, or in any other manner.

Evolutionary scientists think that evil is primarily the result of chemical interactions and circumstances, but they can’t deny that it exists. A few evolutionists may inconsistently allow for certain degrees of human choice, while some theologians, misunderstanding our sovereign God’s gift of freewill to man, may argue that all things are predestined. Evil strives to make us feel as if we have no choice, either because of its own great power, that of God, fate, or destiny.

It may then reverse itself and argue that our wrong choices will have no consequences. If that argument fails, it will swear that our every move will lead us into disaster. It is always ready to back every deception with some misapplication of evidence, and to make the right choice difficult. Evil constantly attempts to manipulate us by fear.

If not for God, it would have had its way long ago, and would completely dominate the universe. It makes use of terrorism, evolutionary thought, false religion, and popular sentiment against the Christian God (along with ignorance in the church), to pave the way for the Antichrist. It is maneuvering Earth’s citizens to accept the absolute control of a government leader who will set himself up as God. No social structure could be formed which evil could not use for our harm.

If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed that our beautiful world could be so evil, even if God had warned me a thousand times. This kind of unbelief is the reason that the world is as it is. God must eventually separate and contain evil, but in the meanwhile, we will see enough of it to become sick of it, and I am tired of writing about it.

In all of its rampage upon the earth, evil has not been able to overcome good, and that is evidence of the protective power and grace of God. The Saviour exists. “Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world” (1st John 4:4). “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).” God is with us in spite of evil. We can therefore give thanks to God.

I wanted to finish this post before Thanksgiving, but I have been too busy experiencing the effects of evil. We celebrated Thanksgiving anyway. In spite of evil, there is always something to thank God for. When evil seems to overwhelm us, we can be thankful that Evil can never overcome God and that it is not his equal (Mark 4:37-39). We can be thankful that Christmas is coming, and that someday, Christ will return.

Besides celebrating a historical event, Christmas is a prophetic promise of a time to come. In spite of all the rage of evil, when all is said and done, Jesus will bring the “Peace on Earth” that he has desired from the beginning of the world. Like the softest snowfall, we will hear the still, small, voice of God.

The greeting on the television commercial, “Merry Whatever Doesn’t Offend You,” is humorous, but I really mean no offence to anyone when I say, “Merry Christmas to all.”

Read Full Post »

If you have ever been in a situation, or a relationship, where you have felt continually compelled to prove yourself, then you’ll know that it doesn’t work very well. I honestly believe that God deeply desires to prove himself to man, but how is the best way to do so? The ways in which we attempt to test him are shallow, and unfair. Our “tests” for God are usually ultimatums requiring him to cater to us in some way.

Before the fall, nature would have been a good witness for God, but now it seems to tell two stories. Nature yet testifies of God, but it is also shows evidence that something is very wrong with our world. Besides knowing that God exists, we also need to understand that he is good. Knowledge can be misunderstood, and it can be abused and used in deceptive ways.

Except for the authority to judge all knowledge, with its infinite facets relating to good and evil, God gave the world to Adam and Eve. He gave them practically everything, only withholding something infinitely harmful. Don’t let anyone con you with the shallow idea that this was about sex, for God had already told Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:27-28) to “multiply, and fill the earth.” The forbidden fruit has something to do with the interpretation of all knowledge.

Adam and Eve took from the tree of knowledge, and the harm that God warned them of has befallen us. Now, the world blames God for it. The world can’t go on forever in this condition. How is God supposed to prove his love to a misguided world that cannot be sustained forever in its current state? What if he were willing to die with us, assuring those who will trust him of resurrection and paradise?

According to the Bible record, that’s what God has done. His sacrificial suffering, and death on the cross, proves his love to us in a way that nothing else would, and his resurrection shows us that death is not the end. God is offering us a new world (Luke 23:39-43). By the way, the word “world,” (werald, or weralt) means “old man.” According to the dictionary, it comes from the old English words “wer,” which meant “man,” and “eald,” an ancient spelling of “old.” By the same token, the word “werewolf” simply means wolf man.

Getting back to the subject, this present world is harsh, and unfair in the greatest extremes. It is the contribution of created beings, primarily man, to God’s creation, but this isn’t the final state of things. Whether we accept it or not, God has revealed himself to man (John 1:1-4, and 1:14). His appearance in this world (Christmas) shows us what God is really like. He proves his existence, and the truth of the Bible, by fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies. The remaining prophecies will be fulfilled upon his return to Earth.

Christmas (the sending of Christ) means that someday there will be peace upon the earth. It means that God yet holds good will toward mankind. That was God’s greeting to us in Luke 2:13-14. Christmas means that God isn’t just out there somewhere, but that he is with us. That’s what the term “Emmanuel” means (Matthew 1:22-23, and Isaiah 7:14).

The Septuagint, a Greek version of the Old Testament, was translated in the centuries preceding the birth of Jesus. That is a matter of historical record, and the prophecies concerning the coming Christ were already written there. Christmas celebrates a coming salvation, freedom, and life in an incorruptible paradise. Our loved ones are not gone forever, but we can be reunited with them. This is all real, and has nothing to do with “religion,” That is what Christ’s advent into this world means.

I’m wishing you every good thing, and a whole new world, when I wish you Merry Christmas. Please don’t let any of a million things keep you from receiving Christ. When Jesus was born into my life, he entered a place much more unpleasant than a dirty stable.

Whatever we say in this life must be said in few words, and this post is already long. I hope you had a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year

Read Full Post »