Bible Teaching aimed at helping you enjoy the Scriptures which are the Word of GOD!
Preaching by: John J. Malone, Sr - JABSBG*
Author: John Malone
Date: 31st January, 2005 @ 10:51:37 PM
The Christmas holiday was never a good idea. It’s unwarranted, it’s unbiblical.
For a while in the colonial days, it was illegal. “Whitmas Day” celebrations were seen as incipient Romanism ready to devour the continent.
The way the nativity story of the Lord Jesus is commonly told and represented is inaccurate, in nearly every case. The blunders are far too numerous to be a mistake.
First, there is the matter of December 25th. Whenever it was that the Lord Jesus was born – I am inclined to think it was more likely Rosh Hashana in 4 BC – it was not in late December. Why? Even in Israel, it’s too cold in December for shepherds to be staying out in their fields, having their flocks out at night. Why else? Even cruel Rome under Augustus was not so politically unsavvy as to require the census to be done in winter conditions, when night time temperatures approach the freezing point.
There is no evidence Joseph was so hard as to drive his expecting spouse under such conditions. I will give him credit for not having her journey either in the heat of summer, nor the cold of winter, and so the fall suits my reason.
If the day of His birth was to be remembered carefully, it would be given in the Scripture.
It is also incredible that God would arrange the birth day of His only Son to coincide precisely with the day Antiochus Epiphanes defiled the Jewish temple with a hog head.
Second, the traditional depiction of scenes and stories do not align themselves with the biblical account. The pictures of the Babe in a manager, with three “wise men” looking on, their camels nearby all are so familiar and yet point to such inaccuracy!
Those “wise men” certainly came into Jerusalem looking for the King of the Jews, who they knew to be promised as the Sovereign of the world. These “Magi,” were of the Chaldean heritage from the days when Daniel was the Presiding officer over that aspect of the Court of the Persians, from whence they came. Nowhere in the Scripture is their number given, despite that there are named in Scripture three type of kingly gifts bestowed upon the Lord Jesus upon their arrival.
These fellows, being powerful men in an empire still stinging from its loss to the Greeks and subsequently Rome, were certainly eager for another king who was not Caesar. They were astronomers (and astrologers) who, perhaps properly instructed in signs and sacred seasons by Daniel, knew by their measures of “His star” that the auspicious time of His nativity was due.
As for their number, they were enough to create a stir in all of Jerusalem . So, maybe their number seems unimportant. What of their timing? If these “maji” were not present at the manger, when and where DID they visit the Lord Jesus? Let’s assemble some facts.
Observation #1 - The Maji with Herod: The Maji visited Herod in Jerusalem to inquire where “the King of the Jews” is born. They had seen “his star” but it was either no longer visible to them, or else was not such that it could lead them in a more specific way. Herod first inquired of the religious leaders of the Jews religion to learn where the Messiah was prophesied to be born.
Then, Herod inquired of the Maji accurately (Gr. akriboo = “accurately”) what time the star appeared. He then sends them to Bethlehem, and asks them to retun to him with their findings, to discover – again, “accurately” or “precisely” – where they find the yong child.
Notwithstanding Herod’s directions, they will neither go to Bethlehem, nor return information to him.
Observation #2 - The Star Redirects the Maji: The information the Maji receive in the court of Herod is that the Lord Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem, and indeed he was. Nonetheless, upon leaving Herod – who is approximately six miles away from Bethlehem in Jerusalem – the star the wise men saw in the east reappears to them, and going before them, leads them.
Interestingly, they rejoice upon seeing the star. Why is this?
It’s not explicit in the text, but one can well imagine the uneasiness these sagacious travelers must have known while taking leave of Herod. The act that they were looking for the King of the Jews and Herod was not must have struck them odd. Envy is not a motivation easily hidden. Herod’s sudden desire to have information his own initiative could have gained more easily than they must have been disturbing to them.
So, the flood of joy at seeing the star reappear was no doubt accompanied by a renewed sense of purpose, doubly so when the start did not lead to Bethlehem, but to Nazareth!
Observation #3 - The Maji in Nazareth: Matthew’s account cites an interesting and often overlooked fact: the Maji visited Jesus Christ in a house , not at the inn at Bethlehem where he was born in a manger.
Now, time and place converge to tell us the whole story.
How can we further be certain the Maji went to Nazareth, and not to Bethlehem? There are a few reasons besides the accurate usage of the word “house” – instead of “inn” or “manger” – as above.
It helps to understand the movements of Joseph and Mary, the requirements of the Mosaic law, and some other aspects of their manner of life that we can determine from the text of Scripture.
The Bible tells us that Joseph and Mary began their journey to enroll for taxation as required by Roman law, from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem – the city of David – their “home town.” When they arrived in Bethlehem. Mary’s time was completed and she delivered the baby Jesus, and the angel of the Lord informed the shepherds – not the Maji – that the sign they should look for was a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger.
There is no reason to place the Maji and the shepherds at the same location and at the same time. The shepherds were informed by the angel of the Lord to look for a babe in a manger, the Maji were given a star to follow. Indeed, the shepherds found a babe just as they were told, and sounded their findings abroad.
The Maji found a child in a house, very likely nearly two years later!
Observation #4 - Mary and Joseph In Jerusalem: After His birth, we learn that the Lord Jesus was named coincident with his circumcision , which was eight days later, in accordance with the law .
But the law’s provisions are more than circumcision alone, but there is also a purification period and a sacrifice required of the mother, which depend on the gender of the child. In the case of Mary’s bringing Jesus to birth, she has a 40 day time of uncleanness and purification , followed by the presentation of her sacrifice for atonement.
This legal requirement of this sacrifice (not the circumcision) brought Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem. They were classed at the time among the poor of Israel. How do we know? because of the sacrifice they brought on behalf of Mary: “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
It is sometimes argued that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lingered in Bethlehem for the entire 40 days (7 days prior to circumcision, plus 33 days of purification afterwards), affording plenty of time for the Maji to find them in a “house,” presumably hired after the crush of the census during which Jesus was born.
However, the economic status of Joseph and Mary at the time of the presentation of the atoning sacrifice for Mary in the temple voids this speculation.
The Scripture tells us that after the sacrifice for Mary, they returned to their home city of Nazareth in Galilee.
Observation #5 - The Maji enriched Joseph and Mary: When the Maji followed the star that led them to the child – in Nazareth we contend – they presented to Him and his parents gist from their treasures: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Having traveled all that way, having known Who He was, it is incredible that they would have been stingy in their supply of these gifts. It is much more sensible to understand that they greatly enriched this family with their presence.
And having unloaded great wealth, they were then oracally warned to return to their land by a different route than they took to come: the one that led them to Herod and Jerusalem on their way to Nazareth.
When the Maji depart according to that warning, the angel of the Lord tells Joseph in a dream to take his family from where they are – which logically MUST be Nazareth – and flee to Egypt. Joseph immediately does so.
Observation #6 - Herod’s Awful Decree: After Herod realizes he’s been avoided by the Maji, he is left only with the precise knowledge of when they had seen the star from their home in the east, and with the details of the Scripture as to where the Lord Jesus was to be born.
This Herod was known as “Herod the Great.” At the time of the Lord’s birth, he had been ruling in Judea under the Romans for perhaps 33 years. He usurped the rulership over Israel, delicately trading the Jews to the Romans to acquire his petty position of eminence, and paying off the faithless Jewish leaders by giving them a semblance of a temple with its trappings of political and religious power.
The Jewish people overwhelmingly hated this murderous pretender who had destroyed the entire line of their heroes – the Hasmoneans (Maccabeans) – by murder and inter-marriage.
Long ago, faith in the Abrahamic promise disappeared from the minds of the ruling caste among the Jews who appropriated to themselves “Moses seat” . Now this Idumean, like his forefather Esau, is trading in the glory of God for a petty fiefdom under Roman authority. Those to whom he caters no longer are not looking, in the main, for the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, but are content to lie at the feet of this pretender among pretenders, and scoundrel among scoundrels.
Herod now hearing that there are prominent men from the east who have come to see the King of the Jews does what small and jealous men do: he fights against fact, against all reason, against God Himself. In fact, he turns to his usual means – murder and elimination of Jewish rulership – by ordering that all male children two-and-under in the area of Bethlehem and around it be put to death.
Observation #7 - Why Two Years And Under? There can be no apologies here for the wickedness of Herod the Great. He was a murderer, a scoundrel extraordinaire, and a rapacious lowlife.
That being inexhaustibly said, HTG was nonetheless – as were all the Herods – consummately first and foremost a politician, negotiating his place carefully both with the Jews and the Romans. Only his own selfish interest would risk unnecessarily arousing resentment by either of those parties.
But now he is confronted with precise information from the Scriptures about the place of the Messiah’s birth, and precise information from the Maji about the time they first saw the star. He calculates his options: “If Messiah is born, He will take His rightful place, which is MY place. I need to do something about this.”
Of course, this is exactly the thinking of those in Israel who envied the Lord so much, they sought and accomplished his crucifixion . So it is no wonder to see the same murderous intention in Herod.
All that being understood, Herod would still select his parameters carefully in issuing a pogrom of holocaust against Jewish male infants. And the parameters he chose corresponded to what he had learned: geographically an area widely bounding Bethlehem; in terms of time, two years and under.
That pretty much concludes that when the Maji came into Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus was likely in the range of two years old, and not a “babe in a manger.”
it’s great on this site i pray He will continually help u and grease ur effort
One thing we do know Christ sent his son to die for our sins
I am curious…you sound so basic in your faith…I still do not understand how you can say a day to remember our Lord is wrong…is it just because of the false details…the date…just what is it…because as far as I can tell…God himself pretty much celebrated it by making it known to others in the way He did…
I agree God did celebrate it, but we are not told to.
Of the other two birthdays in the Bible, both end in a death. Pharaoh and Herod’s niece.
I believe we are to look to His salvation – not His first coming. The Tree on which He died and to know our sins are forgiven is far more inportant than His birth, except it ties in with the Jewish calendar and therefore God’s. This latter point is essential to understand the times.
Mark look up Saturnalia and look up Xmas – in respect to Nimrod. That may help you discern with the power of The Holy Spirit. God Bless you
Christ was not born on Dec. 25th. This was the birth date of Mithra, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts. From the research I have done, it appears that the Christian Church, eager for pagan converts, slapped Christian meanings to pagan holidays and practices. I would urge each of you to do some research on this. The United Church of God has a free publication called “Holidays or Holy Days, Does It Matter Which Days We Observe” (www.gnmagazine.org). They have done the research on the current Christian Holidays-all have pagan origins. We need to purge the pagan practices from Christianity. Our Lord does not deserve sloppy seconds from pagan culture.
please send me some more information about this. thanks
“But mow that you know God-how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principals? Do you wish to be enslaved again? You are observing special days and months and seeasons and years!” Galatians 4:9-10
I think that it still can be brought in as something good. Yes it is sad that Christmas has turned into the retail shopping extravaganza that it is now, but we still can take time in our own homes to celebrate what the true meaning is. It may not be accurate with the information the media wants to give us, but we can teach our children the truth and they can decide for themselves what they want to do about the holiday.
Well! The church is becoming worldly now that we no longer differenciate between the doctrine of Lord Jesus Christ and that of the Anti-Christ. Christ was not born on the 25th December we know but the celeberation was fixed for 25Dec. or has the lord forgoten his children that seek his face to hav reveal to them celeberating is not good for a true christian. We dont need to go back to the ancient land mark, but the scripture and stop all all this scientific findings for now becouse it wount help us
Christ birth,death,burial and resurection should be taugh and celebrated every day this will expel all the static about one day, he’s lord every day and we are to be dying daily to become christ in the earth even on December 25th and here after.